The inaugural 2022 Crunchyroll Expo was held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre over Saturday and Sunday, 17-18 September 2022. It replaces the Madman Festival which happened around the same time each year. (Madman has been bought out by Funimation which was bought out by Sony.) This official festival focuses on Japanese anime and is usually packed with guest appearances, panels, anime screenings, activities, vendors and plenty of opportunities to hang with like-minded individuals in cosplay.
Normally, when I arrive at these events at 11:00 am, I am usually able to get in with no hiccups. It seems that this year there were several hiccups, including that there were limited numbers allowed in the Convention Centre at one time and they oversold the event. This led to several people waiting hours in line on Saturday in rain and hail. It was apparently quite miserable for those attendees. (Luckily for me, I visited on Sunday and although the line was huge when I arrived it fizzled by 1:00 pm. For me, I arrived at 11:00 am and got into the main hall by 12:00 pm.) Next time (if there is one), I think they definitely need a bigger hall and to cater for larger crowds.
As I entered the main hall, to the left were all the activities and exhibits for Spy x Family and Sword Art Online and on the right were all the vendors and merchants. There was even an area where you could jump on a trampoline like the characters in Attack on Titan. Plus there was a manga reading area, screening area, a location to play Vanguard: Cardfight and tables to learn to create your own cosplay armor. I also noticed a maid cafe which offered finger food for $25 per person.
I thought most of the vendors and merchants were okay. Notably some offered overpriced merchandise, which is a shame, like $110 for Final Fantasy XIV soundtracks… Unlike my usual approach, I didn’t buy much on the day. Plus, although I took part and won myself a B Prize of Broly (from Dragon Ball: Super), Ichiban Kuji (best lottery) was AUD$20 a ticket! I was a bit heartbroken by how expensive everything was, hence I only bought three tickets. (I was lucky enough to pull the B Prize on my last pull.)
There were several guests visiting from the United States and Japan, which seemed cool.
There was a lot of energy going around thanks to the group dance stage and apparently anime karaoke. Heard a few nice singers and songs including the new One Piece song from One Piece: Red, New Era, and from Code Geass, Color.
The tickets were $40 per adult, which is pretty expensive. If you wanted, it could get even more expensive. You can pay from $35 to get signed autographs and/or photos with the guests. Plus you could also pay for a ticket to attend the advance screening of the latest One Piece film, Red.
The Crunchyroll store sold some unique items, such as Studio Ghibli plushes and certain gear with 2022 Crunchyroll insignia, but overall nothing really stood out. Plus, I found single manga being $15 and DVDs/Blu-rays going for recommended retail price off-putting even how expensive it was to visit.
The Crunchyroll Expo was hosted at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre at 1 Convention Centre Place, Melbourne VIC 3006:
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