Manifest 07: Day 2

My second day at Manifest started out far more smoothly since I already had a pass and didn't need to queue up to get one. Surprisingly, there was still a huge queue to pick up passes! With a day full of events there was plenty to do and I feel that Saturday is the real start of the festival.

The first thing I did for the day was check out the fan traders as they were again placed just outside the main events theatre. I think the fan traders are a great asset to the festival – you can usually find some excellent artwork and various non-canon scenarios envisaged – such as typical yaoi/yuri couples or pictures of canon pairings that haven't … err, announced their relationship. You can also find doujinshi, original artwork and a couple tables were offering anime-styled portraits for very reasonable prices. I ended up buying a set of 20 Harry Potter bookmarks of various characters.

After the fan traders it was into the theatre for the Manifest Opening Ceremony, which was mostly a short welcome by a member of the organising committee (MOC) followed by an amusing short video about Peppa-chan making her way to the event.

Following the Opening Ceremony was one of my highlights of the festival: the AMV competition and AMV Iron Chef Unveiling. The AMV competition showed off some excellent videos from the year, many of which I had already seen from One downright hilarious video which I had not seen, called Plunder Propaganda, had the entire audience in stitches. To sum up, it was a send up of the ubiquitous anti-piracy ads from the movie publishers, set to the anime One Piece which, if you didn't know, is about pirates. Irony ahoy!

The Iron Chef unveiling was rather interesting. If you don't know how an AMV Iron Chef works, it's like this: a group of AMV makers are given roughly 24 hours to complete a video from a given set of anime footage, the "ingedients", and a "secret ingredient" that they must use (other ingredients being optional). The anime they were given to work with was Murder Princess, The Girl Who Jumped Through Time and Byousoku 5 Centimeter, which I had seen the previous day. the secret ingredient was perhaps the most insane thing I have ever seen: the chefs had to use 10 seconds of the Naruto manga! Yes, that's right, they had to make a video including 10 seconds of video of a comic. There were actually a few cries of anguish.

By this time it was lunch so I quickly checked out the commercial traders in the Grand Buffet Hall of the Union House building. The place was packed as expected and I had fun squeezing through crowds of people and standing on tip-toes to see over heads at the merchandise. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more of what I wanted to buy, which was mostly posters and anything for Lucky Star, Code Geass, Lovely Complex, Hayate the Combat Butler, Ouran High School Host Club, and a few other (apparently) more obscure anime. There were a few things available, such as a Zero mask, but overall I was underwhelmed. Posters for anything were hard to come by too – they mustn't be as popular as things like plushies and figurines. I did manage to score a nice looking Naruto wallscroll though. Some series that were quite popular with the vendors were Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fruits Basket, Fate/Stay Night, Death Note, Bleach and, as usual, all the popular mechas were available as kits (Gundam, etc).

Overall, the traders tend to sell stuff for less than they would in their stores but that doesn't mean a lot of the products aren't expensive. It's not uncommon to see the really nice figurines going for $150 or more. I ended up buying 7 volumes of the Ouran High School Host Club manga from the Madman tables since it was going for $10 a book, as opposed to the regular price of $14.95. DVDs weren't all that much cheaper so I didn't bother with them – JB Hi-Fi is usually my purchasing venue of choice on that front.

The cosplayers were out in force again and they did a great job of bringing a real "otaku" feel to the entire festival. There were plenty of Bleach and Naruto characters out and about along with some characters from Haruhi Suzumiya, Ouran, and even a whole group of Code Geass guys! Some people chose the more toned down way and just went with some cat ears or came as "generic ninja". Overall, the quality of the cosplay was outstanding.

I spent the rest of the day watching screenings of D.Gray-man, Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto and Bartender. I thought D.Gray-man and BKI looked interesting and have potential. Bartender didn't really do it for me and I found it to be pretty boring and dull, although it did have excellent production values.

Well, that does it for the Day 2 report. Days 3 coming soon!