This was slightly Misleading !! The event schedule / information mentioned that, “Fellow manga enthusiasts can read a variety of Manga and Anime books throughout the course of three days” or something along those lines, unfortunately about 95% of all the Manga’s and Magazine’s on display were in Japanese and just a handful of them in English. Sadly even the English manga’s were incomplete volumes or random volume numbers + a lot of Pokémon stuff. That being said, it was still a lot of fun to look at and browse original Japanese Manga’s / Shōnen Jump and other Japanese magazines, I even got a bit excited to see one of my favorite Japanese Music Groups “SMAP” being featured on the front cover of a Japanese magazine. In short – if you really like Japanese culture, you would have enjoyed just browsing through them, recognizing stuff and going “Oh! I know this!!”
I feel if your proficiency in Japanese is excellent you would probably have enjoyed it a lot more.
|Its-a me! Mario!|
|Bento box – so very Japanese…|
The Ai café (or Love café in English) had a small variety of Japanese food like the Bento Box (Japanese lunch box), it had some rice, fried chicken and a type of curry (they had a vegetarian supplement as well) – even thought it was priced at Rs. 350/- per box, it was tasty !! I felt it was not worth the money nor was it close to filling but that is to be expected as Japanese food everywhere in India is as expensive and about the same price. However, if you are in a mood of “Lets experience Japanese food”, then it would probably be worth it.
|…almost as Japanese as Sushi!|
They also served two types of Sushi, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, priced at 150 bucks for eight pieces accompanied with garlic, wasabi and wooden chop-sticks. The sushi tasted amazing, though it’s not for everyone – it differs from person to person and only if you have a taste for it would you really enjoy it. I did in fact encounter some who did care for it much.
Overall the food was expensive but really tasty if you are into Japanese food – if you would like to try out Japanese food the Ai café is a great place to eat! (Or drink some miso soup or green tea which was great too!!)
For all three days movies were being screened at a small screening room that seated fifty-ish people, which featured full length films and various award winning short films. The movies ranged from classic animation to modern animation including the ‘CALF Independent’ short films and also a few live action movies. The room was dark and the projection quality was slightly dull though it was still fun to watch Anime on a big screen.
It was your typical gaming lounge as could be expected: 3 TV’s and 3 different Consoles (PS2 / PS3 / NES) where players gathered around to take turns to play various games. Some of them in preparation for the Gaming challenges / tournaments, others just chilling out in the AC lounge and chatting with new-found friends (a lot of time was spent hanging out there – definitely a fun place !)
|No worries, ’bout a thing… just hanging.|
Moving on to the daily activities, a few items mentioned in the event schedule never happened and a few events were shifted to the next day due to either smaller crowds or other complications.
Everyone was given a piece of paper with a clue, each clue lead you to a location at the venue where you pick up the next clue and so on and so forth. The last clue was at the manga lounge with a list of Japanese names on a sheet of paper and we were supposed to find out that one of the names on the list is an author of one of the manga’s at the manga lounge in which the Winning Token would be present. But thanks to Mobile Internet + Google we found out the answer was the author of AKIRA – so all we had to do was find Akira manga which had the winning note inside it. The Overall event lasted to about 10 minutes but it was fun seeing people running all around the venue and searching through every manga at the manga lounge.
With a 5 minute break and no time for lunch – the Next workshop started called “Finding Mario” – it was a very interesting talk about the gaming industry and Japanese pop culture in India, it featured a talk about the “Finding Mario” survey in India and also a Q&A section for various gaming /Japanese pop culture references etc. A really informative workshop.
Overall the Anime Con did fall a little short of its expected footfall and most of the events were not on schedule, so if you would ask me, “How was it?” – I would say “it was good but not amazing however we had a Blast!! We had tons of fun, met some really great people, made loads of new friends, had some amazing food and overall just hanging out with fellow otakus and connecting with people similar to you was all worth it!
The workshops were fun and I did learn a lot from them. I would definitely recommend everyone visit the next Anime Con, even if it’s not as grand as you may hope it to be – anyone with an interest in Japanese animation and Japanese culture would enjoy themselves at the event.