An array of sights delighted my senses upon stepping into MAICON 2015 at the UTAS Newham Campus in Launceston last weekend. With the Mini Anime Island Convention teeming with attendees dressed in colourful costumes of their favorite characters for the event.
Unlike other conventions, these Cosplayers (costume-players) not only dressed up as characters from popular Japanese animations, but also in various styles such as Lolita and Steampunk, as well as characters from popular western franchises like Disney and Doctor Who.
As I walked around the event I could see Batman’s The Joker laughing menacingly for the cameras while manoeuvring his wheelchair around, and the Scarecrow striking a commanding pose on the open lawn when approached for photos.
Anna and Hans from Disney’s Frozen were also spotted engaging in a heated debate as Noiz from Japanese game Dramatical Murder looked on in amusement.
It was Captain Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean who were the most highly-recognised and popular characters at the event and were even seen taking selfies with a clam adorned selfie-stick.
It was this distinct mix of both Eastern and Western fandoms that set MAICON apart from anime conventions that I’ve attended in Asia.
At the convention I also had a chat with some cosplayers which affirmed that cosplay isn’t just for the young but can be embraced at any age.
Young siblings Jed and Manny cosplayed as Kevin the Minion from Despicable Me and Frodo Baggins from Lord of the Rings. When asked why he chose to dress as Frodo, Manny said that character selection was based on his preferences.
“I dress [up] as characters [from] the books that I like,” said Manny cheerfully.
On the other hand, Cookie, a woman in her fifties, showed off an incredibly detailed Victorian Scuba-diver costume which she hand crafted herself.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are …[one can] just dress up and [attend] for fun.” She said.
Apart from the main Cosplay Competition, there were various events organised, including a pop quiz, fruits fashion competition, art competition and also game tournaments for FIFA and Halo.
A maid cafe was also open for attendees to get their fill of butler- and maid- eyecandy and to unwind at, while booths were set up in the Trader’s Hall for fans to get their hands on a variety of merchandise, including comics, fashion, art and games.
As the first anime convention I have attended in Australia, MAICON 2015 was far from being a letdown, with a buzz of activities and characters, covering a wide array of interests in anime, comics and japanese culture.