This was the second Madman Festival hosted in Melbourne at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, after a successful run in Melbourne in 2016 and several other capital cities. This Madman Festival proved to be more interesting than the first one in Melbourne as it used up more floor space in the main hall and had a lot of interesting exhibitions and events happening. Attack on Titan, Cowboy Bebop and Dragon Ball Super were heavily featured this time around.
At a Madman Festival, you can expect to see people in cosplay as their favorite manga/anime character. You will still see people dressed in non-manga/anime characters as well. The main hall is where most the exhibitors and vendor stalls are, both boutique and big names. You can purchase heaps of merchandise, watch free anime and movies, view exhibitions, meet and greet guests if you are lucky and/or play some video games or board games.
The Madman Festival attracts a lot of interesting people, including people who are really good at cosplay, but one thing is common to all, an interest in Japanese culture. While the event celebrates probably Japan’s most famous export, manga and anime, it also celebrates all things popular in Japan from its video games, food, music, lottery games, figurines, etc. Even if you are not a big manga or anime fan, I think you will at least find something interesting at this event.
For Melbourne’s Madman Festival 2017, here were some of the key attractions (according to the host Madman themselves):
- Attendance by Shinichirō Watanabe, Kana Ueda, Atsuhiro Iwakami, Bryce Papenbrook, Ladybeard, AGS102
- Attendance by cosplayers: Ely, AmenoKitarou (A.K. Wirru), Orochi X, Pinky Lu Xun, Knitemaya
- Exclusive Your Name exhibition
- Exclusive Cowboy Bebop exhibition
- Premiere screening of Mary and the Witch’s Flower, Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel I. presage flower, No Game No Life: Zero, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable Chapter I
- Exclusive access to play Dragon Ball FighterZ before release, Attack on Titan in VR
- Love Live! Sunshine!! Aqours First LoveLive! ~Step! Zero to One~ concert
- Announcement of Shinichirō Watanabe’s upcoming anime
There were several exhibitions to visit and all of them were things I had an interest in. They had an exhibition for the following: Attack on Titan, Cowboy Bebop, Dragon Ball Super and Your Name (or Kimi no Nawa).
The Attack on Titan exhibition had several interesting key concepts art on display and some interesting backdrops. The pages from the manga were nice to see. The whole exhibition was quite spacious and didn’t feel constricted. Earlier in the year, we both visited the Attack on Skytree exhibition, which happened at the Tokyo Skytree back in May 2017, so we didn’t think too much of this exhibition because the amount of resources put into the Attack on Skytree was huge.
The Cowboy Bebop exhibitions had some great sketches on display of some of the key characters and art from the anime.
The walls for Your Name (or Kimi no Nawa) exhibition looked really impressive. The walls had a synopsis of the movie and a summary of each of the characters’ background. I think what made the exhibition so good was that it made good use of the visuals from the movie.
The Dragon Ball Super exhibition was on the smaller side. There were trailers playing in the background for both Dragon Ball films, Battle of Gods and Resurrection F, and some key art for Goku, Vegeta and Frieza on display. The Dragon Ball exhibition had a hodgepodge of old Dragon Ball Z stuff as well.
Here is a closer look of the key art for some of the characters from Dragon Ball Super.
Melbourne’s Madman Festival 2017 was very spacious. In the later years, the festival becomes more packed with things. (With all things, these things only gradually get bigger and bigger.) One thing that they get right is knowing how to separate things apart so that people aren’t packed like sardines in certain area.
I was excited to play some Dynasty Warriors 9. I know the game flopped when it was released, but the idea of open world and being able to enter battles in real time seemed like an interesting direction. During the Dynasty Warriors 9 demo, I played as Xiahou Dun during Northern campaign against Yuan Shao. I smashed through the enemies on the fields and absolutely decimated the main officer in a castle by juggling him around with my button mashing skills. (Dynasty Warriors isn’t a series known for its depth. It is a pretty simple game.) Although I bought the game (because I have played all the Dynasty Warriors games since 2), I thought the demo was the only highlight since the blemishes in the game only become more pronounced when you play the full game.
The tickets to the Madman Festival are usually around AUD$40 per adult. You can purchase the tickets near the entrance, but the best way is to just purchase the tickets online so that you can just flash your ticket and enter through the main entrance.
The Melbourne Exhibition Centre is to the south west of Melbourne’s CBD and located on the other side of Crown Casino at 1 Convention Centre Pl, South Wharf VIC 3006:
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