We don’t get a lot of conventions in Perth. At least, not the ones we really want. So when Madman brought along their Anime Festival to our humble state this past weekend, the anticipation and response from the local fans was greatly positive. Though it may have been smaller than an Oz Comic Con or Supanova, that positivity was justified thanks to a well organised and enjoyable festival of a continually growing scene.

If you’ve been to a convention at all of late, then you know the drill by now. Madman’s Anime Festival wasn’t too far from the bigger pop culture cons that travel across Australia each year, though by focusing exclusively on Anime, the crowds themselves were clearly smaller in comparison. I doubt anyone complained, as it allowed for a much more enjoyable experience, without the crowded out aisles and long wait times. Credit to the volunteer staff too, who were more than happy to be involved and chat about their favourite shows.

Between the many cosplayers and fans in attendance, the festival brought with it the best in Japanese animation. From breakout hit One Punch Man to long time favourites Tokyo Ghoul and Sword Art Online, fans in attendance were treated to the presence of high quality artwork and behind the scenes sketches. It’s great to get an up close look like that, to see some of the artwork and what it took to take something from the page to the screen.

Most of the con was filled out with the usual collection of retailers dishing out the best merchandise, and a few local outlets that have become somewhat household names with many con goers, but there were some nice little touches here and there that made the Anime Festival stand out from the crowd. A giant paper wall allowed fans to leave their own pieces of artwork, messages of love and support or a few hidden jokes here and there for others to laugh and smile at. Another stall sold traditional Japanese treats … let’s get real for a moment, you’ll always have my attention if you sell Pocky.

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It might have been small, but Madman certainly put on a well orchestrated event for its first visit to Perth. If there’s one quirk right now, it’s the cost of entry. Most in attendance would have been involved in Cosplay through some form or another, so they would no doubt get their worth out of a weekend or VIP pass. For those who were down for a day, it didn’t take too long to go through everything on the show floor, and it wasn’t too clear what panels or events were happening elsewhere to really get involved (unless, of course, you planned ahead). Tickets, therefore, may have been a tad expensive for those fans.

Still, it’s good to see another con make an appearance in WA. We’re a growing state with plenty of fans across the pop culture scene, so to have more to do and put on by a professional team is exciting. It helps to break up the long wait between major cons, certainly nothing wrong with that. Our thanks to Madman and everyone involved, we hope to see you again next year.

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