Manifest (convention)

Manifest (convention)
Manifest (Melbourne Anime Festival)
Status Active
Venue Melbourne Showgrounds
Location Victoria
Country Australia
First held 2000
Attendance 7,100 as 2009[1]
Official website

Manifest, or the Melbourne Anime Festival, is a three day fan convention focusing on the art of anime and manga, Japanese video games, East Asian culture, and its fandom held annually in Melbourne, Australia. Manifest has traditionally been held in August at the Parkville campus of the University of Melbourne, but has recently been held in September. In 2009 it was back to its late August date, but at the Melbourne Showgrounds

Run by the not-for-profit organisation Manifest Inc. and staffed entirely by volunteers, Manifest is the longest-running Japanese animation convention in Australia. Approximately sixty people make up the Manifest Organisational Committee, meeting on weekends to plan and co-ordinate the event. In addition, more than a hundred individuals volunteer their time on the event weekend to help run the convention.

In 2009, Manifest moved to the Melbourne Showgrounds and for the first time, ran overnight with a branch out event called Mani-Midnight.

Manifest 2008 was held at The University of Melbourne for three full days, starting on the morning of Friday 26 September, and finishing the evening of the 28th.

In 2007 Manifest decided to support the Amaranth group - who organised an Anime Ball, on the Thursday evening (13 September) prior to Manifest's commencement. The ball, known as "Amaranth" was a huge success. It continues to be a part of Manifest, with the event occurring the Thursday before Manifest proper.



Typical Manifest programming includes:

  • Several screening theatres, in which anime is shown on big screens throughout the convention.
  • Discussion panels hosted by experts. Two notable recurring panels are the Madman Entertainment panel and the long-featured YAOI panel.
  • Workshops on subjects such as model/cel painting, or how to draw manga.
  • A Traders' Hall, in which commercial vendors and fan groups set up booths or tables to sell their merchandise.
  • The Art Show, in which amateur artists may display their artwork.
  • Karaoke.
  • A trivia competition.
  • A range of events that showcase Japanese and East Asian culture. Examples from previous years include ikebana, origami, taiko drumming and the Chinese boardgame Go.
  • A video game room in which attendees may play a variety of console games. In addition to the console room, a room for Dance Dance Revolution play is available and a theatre is reserved for tournaments.
  • An "Iron Chef" anime music video competition, in which contestants are given set footage (the "ingredients") and a time limit in which to create an AMV.
  • An "Iron Artist" competition, similar to the "Iron Chef AMV", but using traditional cartoonist mediums for the purpose of creating a comic page.
  • An "Anime Idol" competition, in which contestants aspire to become the "Manifest Idol."
  • Cosplay competitions. Many attendees spend most of the convention in costume as their favorite anime, manga, or video game character. The Cosplay competitions (traditionally one on each day of the convention) have been the most popular events at Manifest.
  • Cosplay Chess, based on Human Chess, which began in 2006 and has become a Manifest regular event.
  • Free Dance Dance Revolution free-play and competitions.
  • A drawing room, in which people are free to sit and draw, as well as receiving feedback from professional artists if they request it.

Recently, an all night event was added to the line up, with an additional charge for those wishing to attend an extra 8 hours of anime screenings, games, and workshops. No traders take part in this overnight event, and one does not have to purchase a pass to Manifest's daytime events to attend.

Attendees to Manifest receive a membership badge. All attendees receive a showbag, traditionally containing the event Programme Book and "Quick Reference Card" - a single foldable sheet of paper that shows the event schedule and venue map in convenient form.


In 1998, the anime clubs of Melbourne and Swinburne universities (WWWA and SAC, respectively) and the Melbourne Anime Society (MAS) staged a fundraising event for the then-new Monash Anime and Comics Club (MACC]), with six hours of anime and a barbecue lunch. The four clubs put together a similar event in 1999 called Anime Marathon '99, adding cosplay and a live band. Taking inspiration from anime conventions in the United States and elsewhere, in 2000 the clubs transformed this event into Australia's first anime convention, and named it Manifest. The convention ran for two days in August, including a cosplay competition, trivia competition, fanfic competition, anime music video (AMV) competition, discussion panels and anime screenings.

The 2001 event added role-playing, a great debate event, and a selection of traders. 2002 saw the addition of an artwork competition, auction and karaoke. 2003 added more artwork competitions, and minor events. The LaTrobe University Anime Society (LUNASY) also became involved in the organisation of the convention. The increasing size of the convention, and increasingly diverse organisational talent (with members of the community who were not members of the clubs volunteering their time) prompted the formation of the non-profit Manifest Inc., to which the clubs ceded control.

The 2004 event added an Anime Idol competition, Trading Card Game tournament, model painting and Japanese video games. The number of discussion panels had increased over the years, as had the number of screening theatres and traders in the Traders' Hall. 2004 dropped the great debate event and the live band. An unexpected increase in attendee numbers caused the convention to hit an attendance limit imposed by venue size and before the end of the first day many people had been turned away.

In April 2005, Manifest Inc. staged a small, single day convention called Minifest. This small convention (with approximately 350 attendees) was used as a gesture of gratitude to people who had volunteered during the Manifest 2004 event (these volunteers gained free entry), a training camp to give newer Manifest Organisational Committee members experience before the much larger Manifest event, and as a launch for Manifest 2005 pre-registration. Minifest featured anime screenings, video games and an art room provided by OzTAKU. It did not feature a Traders' Hall.

In 2005 the Manifest event was moved to September to acquire the use of a third building at the University of Melbourne. The date chosen also allowed the convention to expand into Friday, and the committee added a half-day of events. The RMIT Society of Anime and Manga Addicts (SAMA) became involved in the organisation of the convention in 2007.

In 2008 the Amaranth Anime Ball was introduced. In 2009, moved to a new venue of the Melbourne Showgrounds. The venue greatly increased capacity so no one had to be turned away as in previous years, but was plagued with a number of teething issues as the committee had never run a large scale event outside of the confines of Melbourne University, and "Acts of God" (or Mothra attacks, as they were described by MOC) such as the roof being torn off one of the hired buildings by high winds six days prior to the event.

Event history

Dates Location Atten. Guests
11–12 October 2001 Melbourne University
Old Arts Building
Melbourne, Australia[2]
10–11 August 2002 Melbourne University
Melbourne, Australia[3]
8–10 August 2003 University of Melbourne
Economics and Commerce Building
Melbourne, Australia[4]
14–15 August 2004 University of Melbourne
Parkville Campus
Melbourne, Australia[5]
23–25 September 2005 University of Melbourne
Parkville Campus
Melbourne, Australia[6]
22–24 September 2006 University of Melbourne
Parkville Campus
Melbourne, Australia
14–16 September 2007 University of Melbourne
Parkville Campus
Melbourne, Australia
26–28 September 2008 University of Melbourne
Parkville Campus
Melbourne, Australia[9]
21–23 August 2009 Melbourne Showgrounds
Melbourne, Australia[1]
20–22 August 2010 Melbourne Showgrounds
Melbourne, Australia
7900 2

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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