The Supanova Expo is an annual event where pop culture enthusiasts (and geeks) can come together in cosplay or their pop culture attire to meet and be part of an event that celebrates all things popular with like-minded people. It is usually a crowded affair with famous guests from around the world, who appear on our television screens or in the theatre, and where you can enjoy some live entertainment or be inspired by some speakers.
COVID-19 definitely impacted this year’s Supanova expo. This year, the guestlist, the number of exhibitors in the main hall, and the floor space for the whole event was notably smaller. No doubt this was all due to the ongoing concerns that Melbourne could go into another pandemic lockdown at anytime. To be frank, for both 2020 and 2021, the Supernova Expo in Melbourne has gone ahead without being caught up with any lockdown or restriction. I’d say that the organizers have been pretty lucky.
Although I knew ahead of time that this year’s expo was smaller, I thought I’d attend to support the people behind the scenes who go an amazing job putting these events together. Hopefully next year’s will be even bigger and better.
A prudent measure by the organizers was that they only released tickets to this event only about two weeks before 22 and 23 May 2021. It was a good idea.
As we walked from the unsealed carpark towards the entrance to the Supanova Expo, we came across the Masterchef Australia set. We saw the iconic building with the iconic M and the herb garden. We thought the venue would have been much bigger, but it was all there. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any contestants or any video cameras in the area. (I am glad we came across this set.)
The Supernova Expo is always hosted at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds in Flemington. I have attended most years and usually get a photo or two with the guests, from Michael Rooker (Merle from The Walking Dead), Jack Gleeson (Joffrey from Game of Thrones) and Nozawa Masako (Goku’s Japanese voice actress from Dragon Ball). But I opted not to do it this year for various reasons. (It wasn’t due to there being no one interesting. There were.)
This year there was a good cast of guests from Zach Synder (via virtual Q&A), Miranda Otto, David Wenham and Liam McIntyre. I managed to see a few as they were all lined up near the back taking people’s autographs.
The main hall was just limited to Melbourne Showground’s Expo Hall which had both big and small exhibitors. Back in the Supanova Expo 2019, the whole event took up many more buildings at the Melbourne Showgrounds. At least two and half times bigger. This time around, there were just three buildings in use.
One notable absence was the Madman booth and anime viewing room. I kind of enjoyed seeing their booth at each expo. It’s a shame that they couldn’t make it. Also, the number of big exhibitors booths from interstate didn’t make it either. I’m glad they had a decent number of booths.
Star Wars was featured a lot near the entrance to the Expo Hall. There were light saber duels, opportunities to take photos with Star War looking personnel and characters, including R2, and a spin-the-wheel prize promotion where a 3 month subscription to Disney Plus was on the table.
I noticed that the autograph and photo sessions had smaller queues. It could be due it being a Sunday or perhaps a better organized system. But I didn’t see any crazy long lines.
Although the event was smaller, it was still a lot of fun. Plenty of people dressed up in awesome cosplay. There was a good mix of characters from Western and Eastern pop culture. I noticed a large number of people in Marvel, particularly Captain America, and Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer) attire.
The number of seminars and speaking engagements was small, but it had enough in there to keep things interesting.
I am still looking forward to the next Supanova expo and hope things start to go back to normal soon.
Getting to the Melbourne Showgrounds can be difficult as there are many bottlenecks. I drove to the venue and paid $15 for parking. But you have the option of taking public transport, from trains, trams and buses.
The Royal Melbourne Showgrounds is located to the northwest of the city at Melbourne Showgrounds, Epsom Rd., Melbourne, Victoria 3032, Australia:
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