Saturday July 16, 2011 was a day of anime amusement at SMASH! (the Sydney Manga and Anime Show). Over the past few years the local interest in manga and anime has been growing. Initially ignored by existing comics conventions the manga fans went out and created their own event. Some even began learning Japanese so that they could translate the manga. The new conventions provided opportunities for fans to meet and enjoy these two media. Some local female creators began making their own versions of shōjo manga as a form of alternative comics using with local content. Interest continued to grow, as did the events. In Sydney there was Animania, in Melbourne, Manifest. And then there was SMASH!
Located for the first time in its short 5 year history at the Sydney Convention Centre due to it outgrowing its previous smaller venues at the Rounhouse, University of New South Wales and the Sydney Town Hall.
A suitable occasion for dressing up, there were costumes that required weeks of sewing, beading, feathering and functioning, paraded throughout the venue and on the cosplay stage.
Many children attended in addition to university and high school students, and even a few primary school students, some with their parents.
There were Hobby Rooms for the construction and display of dolls and robots.
There were Art and Doodle Rooms for art and doodling… …and an epic two hours plus Cosplay Competition…
…not to mention a Gundam workshop, Karaoke, videogames, a screening of the excellent anime Summer Wars, sewing, pattern and armour making workshops, and a huge trading floor full of vendors, artists and clubs. And it all flourished in the presence of the patronage of the Japan Foundation. Japanese popular culture thrived on a wonderful day! My report on last year’s event can be found on Forbidden Planet International.
This is the third in a series of posts around the theme of Archives of Australian Comics History that document moments in the recent history of Australian comics, particularly alternative comics and the Australian Small Press. I started researching this subject in the late 1990s and it eventually led to my PhD thesis: Ph.D. Macquarie University, Division of Society, Culture, Media and Philosophy, A Study Of Contemporary Australian Alternative Comics 1992-2000 With Particular Reference To The Work Of Naylor, Smith, Danko And Ord, 2003. On completion of the research I donated the materials and comics I had collected to the National Library of Australia: Michael Hill Collection of Australian Comics. Posts in Archives of Australian Comics History: Comic-Fest Comics in Record Shops Comics Workshops Down Under Ground Getting SMASH(ed)! Imaginary Worlds Symposium International Exhibition of Drawings OZCON Mind Rot Savage Pencils Sick Puppy Comix TiNA Arena MCA Zine Fair 2002 Sequential Art Studies Conference 2nd Sequential Art Studies Conference
FOOTNOTE: I SAW A BIG SAW AT BIG SIGHT! As an addendum to this convention report I must mention another I visited in Tokyo. I travelled by monorail to Odaiba Island, an artificial island built in Tokyo Bay to attend the Tokyo Anime Fair at a venue called Tokyo Big Sight (pronounced Biggu Saito in Japanese). Big Sight? I thought that must be a misspelling along Japlish lines for the name of a large exhibition space. Shouldn’t it be called Big Site? However, as it turned out, it was named Big Sight but there were definitely some big sights to behold and it was a very large exhibition site. No sign of Godzilla but I thought of Thor as the monorail travelled over the Rainbow Bridge past some rather high tech looking buildings such as this one in the photo below of Fuji TV headquarters.
Then on arrival at the Big Sight location things started to look a bit unusual. There was an open space beneath a series of inverted pyramids sitting on glass covered, cantilevered legs. This giant entrance had the effect of reducing the scale of the people passing beneath it and thus enhancing the ‘big’ aspect implied in the name of the site.
The walk from the monorail station to the entrance of the Big Sight exhibition centre has something of an epic feel to it. It’s over there but it’s a long way to go over there and as one approaches, and that takes some time, the pyramids appear to grow in size and tower above one, providing something of a shrinking feeling as one nears. It was during this long walk that I happened to look over a railing, because I had drifted to one side of the open walkway, that I caught a glimpse of another large object embedded in the grass on the level below. A sculpture…an art installation…a large saw…unmistakably something by the Pop artist Claes Oldenburg. It was a big sight to see at this big site.
This BIG SIGHT post was first published on the Doctor Comictopus blog that has now been merged with this Doctor Comics blog.