Monday, October 17, 2016

Anime Cons | Inside the Animax Carnival 2016

10.17.2016 – Animax Carnival has been consistently hosting events in the Philippines as far back to 2012, but if you’ve been around longer they’ve been having small scale events way back in 2005 when the cable channel was launched the year before.

But it wasn’t as consistent that they’ve organized the event annually until “Animax Carnival” was launched, which became the yearly anticipated ‘anime convention’ in the country. It’s been years since I went to a convention that became a staple in the Philippine culture since the ‘anime’ became a mainstream thing.

When you talk about anime conventions the primary draw for these events are the cosplay competitions and the pageantry why it became an event on its own. Many convention organizers has added ‘cosplay’ as part of their activity that sometimes overlaps the other activities due to its draw with the crowd seeing talented individuals craft their costumes and invest in them.

For this year’s Animax Carnival it’s been that same ‘cosplay’ that is part of what is Animax is known for being an original Japanese cable channel. While the booths are fairly the same hosting specialty stores that sell collectible figures and other merchandise what’s missing from this convention are the promotion of local artists who were inspired to do their version of comic books or Manga. They have the activity booths which promote the current shows, but there are no local or even foreign artists being promoted that could also add flavour to the usual anime convention that have cosplay and selling booths.

There are food stalls that don’t need visitors to leave the venue just to eat, which is good but there are little options to choose from. Still the food in the area is an alternative without need to walk all the way out the SMX Convention Centre.

The only legitimate booth that is promoting their products as well as having their very own activity is the Sony Philippines booth. It’s obvious that they are there since Sony is the mother company that also owned four other cable channels that includes AXN, One, Sony Channel and GEM. They did have Sony workshops featuring a local Toy Photographer who became their endorser using their digital cameras aside from that the booth lets you play the latest games Playstation and its VR add-on unit.

They have foreign guests from Japan that is relatively unknown from the local mainstream, but popular with those who have been viewers of the cable channel. Though some might not understand the complexities of why digital recording or taking photos are not allowed during the scheduled concerts.

But if there’s a welcome suggestion the organizers should adopt what AsiaPop Comic Con has been successful for their guests and fans. They (the fans) are willing to spend having their autograph, photo or event & greet if their guests allows it knowing Japanese are pretty much wanting to control how they distribute their material through social media. Having experience this 10 years ago when I got invited to a music festival that didn’t give warning that taking photos and recording videos where not allowed as per request of the Japanese guests without explanation.

This was almost the same experience when the Japanese performers at this year’s Animax Carnival has implemented their rules in video recording and capturing images during the mini concerts until the second they have prohibited it entirely.

Overall Animax Carnival has been the same event since 2011 that became consistent every year. There has no significant changes to the template, but it could have been more a crowd drawer if they continue to evolve not just promoting their shows on Animx, but also promoting the grassroots which is the local artists and they can also incude guest animators of their shows. They can also be open to the idea that they let the fans to have their autograph, photos and meet & greet without complex rules the way APCC is successful with their guests.

Anime conventions are a culture within the fandom itself, and if Animax wants to be relevant they should invest and continue to evolve in keeping with the times. You can only do so much being stuck with the same thing every time with most of the anime conventions in this country, but Animax can do more if they also run a suggestion box for their recent visitors what they want to see in the next Animax Carnival.

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