Despite COVID-19, Supanova in Melbourne has happened each year without being cancelled. Although the convention has been scaled back in 2021 and 2022, there are signs that it will return to its glorious 2019 version by 2023 and hopefully bigger and better. This year’s event brought some highlights and felt slightly bigger than 2021 but it was obvious that travel restrictions in various countries and multiple factors, e.g. COVID-19 spreading unimpeded and less super star guests, hampered any chance of a complete return.
The main events took place in the Main Exhibitors’ Hall where booths of vendors were set up selling their wares or promoting their product. The Batman had a booth where people who take a video with a cool background. Similarly there was a similar showing for the Fantastic Beasts, Harry Potter film franchise.
There were plenty of people dressed in anime, comic book, television and film characters. Lots of creative people out there and it’s just great that they can show off their talents. Many people are quite happy for you to take photos with them (if you politely ask).
The main anime distributor Madman didn’t have a showing, but they did have their Ichiban Kuji (meaning first lottery) booth. Here there were several anime figurine lotteries on offer for either $15 or $20 a ticket. The aim is to draw a ticket that nets you one of the big figurines. There were lotteries for One Piece, Dragon Ball, Demon Slayer, Evangelion and My Hero Academia. I find these games fun, because when I manage to pull a winning ticket its a great feeling. My luck has generally been pretty good with these.
On the day, I managed to win 3 decent figurines out of 9 tickets. Two were from Demon Slayer (or Kimetsu no Yaiba) and one from One Piece.
There were plenty of figurines and statues on sale. It seemed that anime was quite popular this year. My tip is to shop around and look out for bargains. Each vendor has a different approach, but occasionally I find some vendors just go out of their way to mark down their products and it’s a real great feeling when you are buying things at half recommended retail price. I managed to snag some trading cards and boxed figurines from Banpresto at really cheap prices.
I noticed that certain stores like Shin Tokyo from Adelaide and Anime-Oz from Sydney didn’t make it to this year’s convention. Hopefully they can make it next year. They normally have a great selection of figurines, video games and trading cards.
I was slightly disappointed that Madman again didn’t take part in this convention and offer their free screening of anime or even have their own booth. I feel that they normally do pretty well out of these conventions thanks to their large collection of manga and DVD/Blu Ray.
There were plenty of Q&As and other events taking place around the grounds. I don’t normally pay attention to them unless it is with a celebrity that I am interested in, but cool nonetheless.
The Alley is where individual talents show off their artistic talents or creativity. I managed to find some really nice prints from someone who did a great job creating Pokémon posters with eccentric colors and detailed backgrounds. I find that some unofficial stuff is better than the official stuff. For example, a lot of the unofficial drawings are so much better than what you can find at say Zing or some hobby store selling licensed products, because the official stuff usually stick to bland and uninspired images.
One of the biggest annoyances is the lack of food variety, the queues at the food trucks, and the cost of food at these conventions. It was $3 for a jam donut, $12 for a large chips and not a very hefty serving, or $15 for a small pizza. The food is so so in taste, yet so expensive. You are better off bringing your own food if you sneak it in, but be warned that they do check your bag before entering. Other option is to take a leave pass and head out for lunch elsewhere and then come back.
I visited Supanova on Sunday and tickets set me back AUD$37.50 for each adult and it was free for children under 12 if they attend with an adult. I come to support the convention and used to dress up, but having a child makes it really difficult.
The entry gate can be confusing given that there were queues for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations and also the main gate to the convention. There is a $15 car parking fees and you will be directed where to park on site. Melbourne Showgrounds is located at Epsom Rd, Ascot Vale VIC 3032:
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