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2017-11-08 / \/ \/ / \
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Welp, phew, I guess I'm back. Ok. / _/ / /
Hello. / \/ \/ / \
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I've got a few things to cover I guess /- / _/ /
but I want to talk about this past weekend \________/\________/\___/____/
and Madman Anime Festival, 2017.
Madman Entertainment is an Australian company that got their start
distributing English language anime from Manga Entertainment UK and ADV Films
in the mid-90s, they've since grown into a pop-media titan and last year,
coinciding with their 20th anniversary they started their own convention in
Melbourne; Madman Anime Expo (MadFest for short). The con went so well they
did three this year, in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne.
Now, y'all read about the disconnect after Animaga, my weird link to the
anime convention circuit was severed so I shouldn't have been at another
convention unless there was a really good reason for me to be there and in
this case that reason was Ladybeard.
For the uninitiated, Ladybeard is an Australian-born entertainer in Japan,
he sings, dances and wrestles all in cute outfits and cosplay. He was in an
idol group called Ladybaby and later formed a group with another body
builder/wrestler idol called Deadlift Lolita. We've been fans for a while so
when we heard he was going to be at the convention we had to go and it was
absolutely worth it.
Saturday started off kind of bumpy, we needed something for him to sign,
the convention booklet would have been fine but merch would have been better
so we asked some staff and they had no idea. We got in line for the meet and
greet and then found out they DID have merch. Good. But cash only. Bad, and
that one's really on me, I should have known better than to wander into a con
without cash. I ducked out of line to get some old fashioned money and when I
came back I didn't want to cut back in because I don't want to be a shit, it's
not anyone's fault I didn't come prepared, so I joined the end of the line. He
arrived late because of a drama with his flight but the line plodded along,
everything ok until one of the staff started kicking people out of the line
saying he can "guarantee you won't get in this session".
I was heartbroken, the only reason I'd come to the con was for Ladybeard
and in trying to do the right thing I'd fucked myself. I was sour and stayed
in the line anyway because fuck it, as long as he was still going I was still
queuing. They passed back a book to write a message to Ladybeard and I was
kind of snotty in it which I regret but I was angry and upset and embarrassed.
I stuck it out though and did manage to get in the tail end of that first
session. I got a copy of the Deadlift Lolita Muscle Cocktail single and got a
hug and a polaroid, it was great, he's the sweetest most disarming guy you'll
ever meet. I love him.
Right after that first autograph session was done he went straight to his
Q&A panel which was great, really interesting to hear how he got started and
what a difficult path he'd chosen and the fan questions were all really
Then after the Q&A he was right back to the second autograph session and so
were we, this time to meet him together since we were separated in the line
the first time and to pick up something singed for my sister who is also a fan
but couldn't attend. We got a three shot polaroid and more hugs and then I
think we called it a day. Hopefully he did too hahaha, from Tokyo to Melbourne
to an autograph session to a panel to a second session without a break, the
dude is a machine.
Sunday we had more tickets for photos, they were given out with merch
purchases and Dani had an extra couple given to her by someone in line who
wasn't going to use them, but skipped the morning autograph session so we
could see some other parts of the con and because we were feeling a bit self-
conscious about taking up so much of his time.
We attended his concert and that was wild, people crowding the stage and
waving lightsticks and this is where he really shined. The adoration he has
for his audience was so genuine. He did a few songs and at one point was
interrupted by an Australian wrestler who had some very disparaging things to
say about anime and anime fans so they rumbled on stage and through the crowd,
it was a good time.
We caught one more autograph session to say goodbye and use the remaining
photos we had or give them away, we ended up getting two more three-shots and
Dani had one more with just the two of them, I didn't feel confident enough to
get another one with just the two of us and was kinda hiding behind Dani by
this point but I'll go over that in a sec. We had more hugs, said goodbye,
Dani told him to get some rest, I told him he smelled amazing and that was
that. We wobbled off, exhausted but all smiles.
Ladybeard aside, the con was pretty good, lots to see and do, Madman throws
a good party. Lots of con exclusive screenings, vendors and talented artists.
The variety at the vendors felt a bit thin if you weren't into Love Live but
that's the landscape right now so it is what it is.
On Saturday we didn't get up to much aside from Ladybeard but on Sunday we
found out there's a wotagei group in Melbourne but they're small and seem
pretty insular, just some guys that were already friends. I tried to talk to
them a bit but got nowhere. They mentioned they were a club but when I asked
they said not really, they said they had a YouTube channel but when I asked
they said to just search for wotagei and there's lots of good videos. Oh well,
I tried? Dani was a little bummed, we're really struggling to find much of an
idol fandom in Australia and when we do find some people we share idol
interests with it's either a superficial passing fancy, insular or just Love
After the wotagei demonstration there was a live from a group called AGS102
and they are legit. They're from a maid cafe in Sydney and they've captured
the Japanese maid and idol act perfectly. They were excited to announce
they're opening two cafes in Melbourne. Not sure if they're permanent or if
they're pop-ups but you can count on me to attend and report back, sports
Between the morning panels and the Ladybeard concert I had kind of a
meltdown, my face has been kind of messed up the last week or so from a
combination of allergies, dehydration and eczema and it really flared up
around my eyes, leaving me feeling super self-conscious. I legitimately wanted
to go home and if it wasn't for the concert being next I probably would have,
if it was another meet and greet or autograph thing I would have felt too
anxious to stay. Thankfully Dani is an angel and took me out into the sun to
burn off some of the bad brain and the concert got me fired up enough to not
let it beat me.
Ok. So, the question on no one's mind; was my anchor there?
Yes he was. We walked right past him in the middle of the hall, I pointed
him out to Dani and we both got excited. Later Dani remarked "why was that so
emotional?!" hahahaha. I was glad to see him. We saw him again on Sunday at
the wotagei demonstration and he even was up and participating during the
AGS102 concert, it made me genuinely happy. Is that weird?
Now I'm faced with a decision; my one-sided pact was that if I attend a con
in Melbourne and he's not there then I'm done, my time is over unless there's
a really good reason for me to attend. There was a really good reason and he
was there so is the orbit renewed or am I set adrift? Does it matter that no
cons had passed between the one he skipped and this one? Is any of this really
worth thinking about?
Answers on the back of an evite, I guess.