Madman Anime Festival 2019 was the fourth time the annual festival was run in Melbourne. (In fact, it was the last time it was run, since 2020 and 2021 was cancelled.) As usual, it was held at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Center close to the CBD. The hall was definitely bigger than the previous iterations and was packed with people excited to play new demos of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 and to take part in numerous events, including the One Piece Treasure Hunt and so much gear. It’s normal to to see so many people dressed up in cosplay as their favorite anime or video game character. I took part in most of the events, from playing the demos, engaging in the One Piece Treasure Hunt, posed at numerous points with anime characters and bought so much stuff. As usual, I had a fantastic time and always enjoy these events.
The whole exhibition was filled with photo opportunities with your favorite anime characters. My Hero Academia featured heavily around the venue with Midoriya and Bakugo and plenty of other characters making an appearance.
Madman, the event organizers, managed to bring a lot more figurines and exhibitions to this event. It certainly felt bigger with more places to see all the latest figurines from leading Japanese companies, such as Banpresto and Kotobukiya.
Below is a display of Dragon Ball figurines with a lot of Goku and Vegeta in the mix. There is a lonesome Broly figure in there. Dragon Ball Super: Broly only released at the start of 2019 in the West and so it was fitting to see a lot of tie-ins to that film at this event. Most of the figurines here were about AUD$30, so not a bad deal if you want decent sized figurines.
In order to get to the Melbourne Exhibition Center on Southbank, as usual 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: Cherami Leigh, Natsuki Hanae. Akari Kito, Aina Aiba, Shinichiro Miki, Yuu Asakawa, Yuuma Takahashi, Shizuka Kurosaki, AGS102
- Attendance by cosplayers: Aza Miyuko, K & A.K Wirru
- Premiere screening of One Piece Stampede, Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl, BanG Dream! FILM LIVE, Promare, My Hero Academia Season 4 English dub, Anemone: Psalm of Planets Eureka Seven: Hi-Evolution
- World premiere screening of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’s episode 24
- Screening of Human Lost
There are special guests that attend and to secure a signature and/or short meet and greet with one of the special guests (usually 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…)
This year there were various anime displays that people could walk through, including displays for Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, My Hero Academia, Tokyo Ghoul and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Each of these exhibitions usually have some nice displays for photos and usually have some nice behind the scenes props to view, such as animation artist sketches of the anime and other unique, promotional visuals.
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.
I found that the Madman store booth was always breaming with people. I noticed that they stopped doing deals on the manga and DVDs/Blu Rays. They used to sell all the manga for $10, no matter which one except for the bigger ones. Also, when you purchased from Madman, they used to also include a special manga and/or DVD with single anime episodes and trailers to get people excited about various properties. At the stall, which was biggest stall, 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. I
The video games booth had some long lines to play several anime based video games, some were full release, retail games but others were just demos. I had a hand with One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 and Dragon Ball: Kakarot. Both games were really fun and on their respective release dates, I managed to pick both these games up because they were well made and fun to play. I could tell that a lot of effort was put into making each of these games the best they possibly could be.
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. Each of the tickets were AUD$15. Unfortunately, this year, I was less lucky and didn’t snag anything interesting. (Plus, I just came back from Japan and the tickets there were only 600 to 700 yen and were pretty much half the price I was paying at this convention so I was keen to spend heaps on this like I was in 2018.)
In the Melbourne Convention Center, you could watch screenings for various anime and/or join several panels and expos to listen to people talk about their experiences in the anime industry. It is always quite a sight to see so many people waiting outside the various plenary halls to listen to the voice actors.
Outside the main hall were several cars on display with anime decal, including My Hero Academia, Kill la Kill and Digimon. 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 won’t stop anyone from doing what they like to their own car.)
Overall, like the previous years, I love attending 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 merchandise and things to talk about. I felt that the 2019 festival was a heap better
The Melbourne Exhibition Center is located at 1 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf VIC 3006:
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