Madman Anime Festival 2018 – Melbourne, Australia – 15 September 2018 – a huge festival where anime fans can meet and have a great time


Madman Anime Festival 2018 was the third time the annual festival was run in Melbourne. It was held at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Center close to the CBD. It was just packed with people excited to see how the new manga and anime exhibits for Sword Art Online, Attack on Titan and Dragon Ball Super. It was great to see so many people dressed up in cosplay as their favorite anime character. I bought so much stuff, experience a whole bunch of games, watched some cool anime and had a blast.

Until the Madman Anime Festival started in 2016, Australia’s anime fan festivals were mostly organized by smaller groups and organisations, like university clubs and MeetUp groups. They were alright, but nothing like the Madman Anime Festivals.

Thankfully Madman took the reigns and has made it the premier anime festival in Australia. It has, since its inception in 2016, been exported to various Australian capital cities. Madman is Australia and New Zealand’s anime and foreign film distributor and deals with the bulk of the Shonen and Shoujo manga/anime. You can tell if Madman is the distributor for an anime by looking at the DVD and/or Blu-Ray box for the red and white ‘madman’ logo, which looks like a prison straitjacket figure. (I admit, looking at my shelf I have quite the anime collection with many of them having the Madman logo on their spine.)

The hallway in the Melbourne Convention Center at the Madman Anime Festival 2018

In order to get to the Melbourne Exhibition Center on Southbank, I drove to Crown Casino to take advantage of their all day parking for around AUD$10 (this price was only available if you get in early before 11 am). From Crown Casino, the Melbourne Exhibition is within walking distance. (It is literally across the road from the Crown Casino food court.) For people taking public transport, there is a tram stop right outside the Melbourne Exhibition Center, but this tram stop is outside the free tram zone so you have to pay.

There were several events at the Madman Anime Festival which I was keen to do. Just quickly, here were some of the things on offer on the day:

  • Attendance by voice actors Christopher Sabat, Luna Haruna, Nanaka Suwa, Ayako Kawasumi, Kōki Uchiyama
  • Attendance by cosplayers: Pugoffka
  • Ticketed world premiere screening of Sword Art Online: Alicization (you had to purchase a ticket to watch this film)
  • Premiere screening of I Want to Eat Your Pancreas, Penguin Highway, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, K: Seven Stories 1 and 2
  • Access to play beta versions of My Hero One’s Justice, Jump Force, Black Clover: Quartet Knights, Dragon Ball FighterZ for Nintendo Switch, One Piece: World Seeker, Soulcalibur VI, Taiko no Tatsujin, Devil May Cry 5 before their Australian release date
  • Dragon Ball Super exclusive display with Tournament of Power wall displays and a chance to take a photo between pumped up Vegeta and Goku
  • One Piece display with a balloon display of the Thousand Sunny
  • Tokyo Ghoul Twitter art display
  • Hatsune Miku Magical Mirai 2017 concert

To secure a signature and short meet and greet with one of the voice actors, you needed to get in early to get a ticket to line up. Once the tickets are exhausted, you aren’t able to get into these lines. The tickets are marked with a time so that people could enjoy the event and only queue up at the time marked on their ticket. (I missed out completely…)

The Sword Art Online exhibition at the Madman Anime Festival 2018

There were various anime displays that people could walk through, including a Sword Art Online exhibition which house several concept art and key visuals from the film Sword Art Online: Alicization. There was also a small exhibition for Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Attack on Titan and Tokyo Ghoul. It’s nice to see these exhibitions and I could tell that the fans were really impressed with some of the behind the scenes stuff that you wouldn’t normally be able to see.

The Sword Art Online exhibition and its drawings and key art on display at the Madman Anime Festival 2018

The main hall was in the Melbourne Exhibition Center. Here, you could visit various vendors who were selling their wares, mostly anime and other pop culture related wares. There were heaps of figurine, manga, DVDs and Blu-Ray on offer. It’s an anime lovers shopping dream. There were also smaller vendors were their own unique offerings.

The other relief was being able to play several video games, some were full games but others were just demos. I had a hand with Jump Force and One Piece: World Seeker. I am glad I played them both as I was keen to pick them up, but after playing both demos I was sorely disappointed in the games, so I didn’t get either game when they were finally released. The gameplays were too sluggish and both games seemed to lack depth and complexity.

The Colossal Titan sticking its head out while a trailer for the anime plays on the side screen at the Madman Anime Festival 2018

I found that the Madman store booth was always breaming with people. There were people browsing and purchasing manga, DVDs/Blu-Rays and various Banpresto figurines from popular anime like My Hero Academia, One Piece, Naruto, Evangelion, etc. In previous years the Madman store booth usually offered discounts on their wares, particularly at the Supanova Pop Culture Convention, but the prices were retail prices.

Near the Madman store booth was the Ichiban Kuji booth. Ichiban Kuji just means Number One Lottery in Japanese. I love Ichiban Kuji, because it is a fun lottery to play, though it can be pretty expensive. I have played the lottery in Japan as well, where the tickets are much cheaper.

In essence, you are able to see what prizes are available in a particular draw pool for your chosen anime. For instance for the one of the Dragon Ball pools, there were several sought after figurines and smaller prizes like clear files. You could tell which prizes were remaining as each time a ticket was drawn, the ticket would be stuck to the poster to indicate if the prize had been taken. As a result, I would focus on the prize pools where there were figurines that I was after, such as the Ultra Instinct Goku. Each of the tickets were worth $15 each. To my surprise, out of five tickets that I purchased, I luckily managed to pulled 3 figures and 2 clear files as prizes. This is ridiculously lucky. (Anyways, needless to say that I had a lucky day.) I pulled two Ultra Instinct Goku, a Super Saiyan Goku and two clear files for Vegeta and Broly.

The Universe 6 team who will be fighting in the Tournament of Power at the Madman Anime Festival 2018

Outside the main hall were several cars on display with anime decal. My only thought was whether it was a good idea to have these decals on the car given how dirty cars can get from time to time. (I’m not going to stop anyone from doing what they like to their own car.)

Some cars with various anime decals at the Madman Anime Festival 2018

In the Melbourne Convention Center, you could watch screenings for various anime and also join several panels and expos to listen to people talk about their experiences in the anime industry. It was quite a sight to see so many people waiting outside the various plenary halls to listen to the voice actors.

The loot from the various lucky boxes and stalls at the Madman Anime Festival 2018

Overall, I love the Madman Anime Festival. I have gone to every single festival that has been held in Melbourne. I like that the festival is hosted close to the CBD as it makes it easier to get to and I always come home with interesting things. I also bought two costumed Pikachu for my wife. (I am glad to see they were legit and aren’t easy to come by.)

The Melbourne Exhibition Center is located at 1 Convention Centre Pl, South Wharf VIC 3006:

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