Last weekend I attended the first major convention since the launch of Ex Manus Studios; the SMASH! Manga and Anime convention. Accompanying me were my close friends and fellow artists & stall-holders: Fox & Talen Lee of Invincible Ink.
I’ve been attending local anime conventions on and off for more than a decade now; I watched the rise and fall of Animania, and the inception of SMASH! (I remember it’s first year in the UNSW round house), and I’ve seen my fair share of convention spaces.
This year the venue was at the Rose Hill Gardens, and I had my misgivings at first, Parramatta seemed very far from the CBD, but I have to admit, it was one of the best venues I’ve been to for a convention. The multiple smaller indoor areas made it easy to create distinct areas for the Artist’s tables, the panels, the merch stalls & the ‘main’ stage (for cosplay competitions and the like). There was also a large outdoor area, much of which was covered, which was still part of the convention area, connected the smaller indoor spaces, and had food stalls and the like.
The whole arrangement resulted in there being plentiful room, easy flowthrough and a generally comfortable atmosphere very different to the one-big-super-noisy-hall I’ve seen in other conventions.
Oh and the cosplays! At my first Anime convention years ago there was but a smattering of cosplay, a few Vash the Stampedes, some Sailor Scouts, and that one guy dressed as tentacle monster. I would not have believed me had I been told what it would be like a few years later.
While I did not get our from behind my stall for much of the convention, I did get to see lots of amazing cosplays. My stall mate Talen Lee, was calling over every excellent one we saw and politely asking for their photo so he could put them on his twitter. Upshot: I got to see an inordinate number of great cosplays; including a princess Mononoke, several Astrids, and very through Hiccup, a full Gundam, a female Thor, and many more. (All pictures (All pictures courtesy of Talen Lee)
As for my personal experience, well, I had a lot of fun, and met plenty of great people and fellow lovers of miniatures. I explained what I do soooo many times I lost count, but it never got boring.
It was an excellent reminder of why I decided to get into this business.