Magnificon Expo 2018 – Manga fandoms strikes back

I usually don’t write about manga & anime conventions. This is related to the fact that I haven’t been to any such con for the last three years. But it was the M&A fandom that I started with and although I am not active in this part of fandom any more, I still like watching anime and reading manga. This year, Magnificon had a programme item I wanted to see so strongly, that I decided to visit the convention.

A little bit of Magnificon’s past and present

Magnificon was established in 2003. I think it makes it the oldest Polish M&A convention that is still running. First Magnificon was my third convention and therefore I do remember it well. I quite enjoyed my time there and I attended it regularly for many years. Time passed by and the con grew. Firstly, they had to change the venue and later the tenth edition was named Magnificon eXpo. Since then, the name of the convention was changed to Magnificon Expo. The character of the con itself changed a little bit during the years. It is not a typical expo show, but the two most important things during the con are definitely the Dealers Hall and cosplay.

Multiple people in a large hall filled with booths. Part of the dealers hall.

For many years, Magnificon was associated with its nice graphic design. At least I and some of my friends were making such association. It was similar this year. The design of programme booklet and lanyards was really good. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about the badges… because they simply didn’t arrive. The printing house delayed the printing and therefore we didn’t receive any badges upon entrance. It was not a problem for the convention itself as we got wristbands instead (I do recall that during my previous visit to Magnificon I had had both the badge and the wristband). Yet for me it was really sad, as (as you may know) I collect convention badges.

Masked person in costume. Apart from the mask the most notable feature of the costume are three pairs of arthropod like legs. One of the cosplayers.

The reason to come

As I mentioned before, there was one programme item that made me visit Magnificon this year. It was Attack on Titan: The Musical. I really liked the anime that was the basis for the musical and when I had realised that such an event would take place at a con located ~15 minutes by bus from my home, I decided that I must go.

The musical was taking place in the prime time – meaning: Saturday afternoon. I wanted to meet one of my friends who played the role of Sasha Blouse. Quite a while before the show started I’d checked if I can get to the backstage and it was possible. Here, I met few other friends (I had no idea some of them were also involved!) and I spent some time with them. As you may imagine, I didn’t have too much time to chat with the actors who were quite busy with their preparations. The voice actors however weren’t so busy, because the sound was recorder before the show.

Two people sitting on the floor. One is helping the other with make up. Being at the backstage gave me some more insights into the musical. It also made me really excited.

The musical itself

When the time came, I took a seat and started watching. I must mention one thing here. Despite the fact that the musical was basing on Attack on Titans it did not use the music from the anime. Different songs were used instead.

Eight people standing on a scene. They all have tall black boots and belts around their legs. One person wears red scarf. Musical was well thought through.

The whole show was in Polish and the lyrics were quite nice. What surprised me was the amount of humour. I know that some fans were disappointed by the addition of jokes to the story but I think the creators did a good job. The anime itself was way more serious, but had also some comic relief. I think that totally serious musical of this type wouldn’t be as good as the one I watched.

Multiple people standing. Some of them clap their hands. Standing ovation for the artists.

I liked the approach they have chosen to tell the story. A part of it was just described by the narrator, while the rest of the story was played by the actors. The narrator took over the parts that would be impossible to prepare with a small budget – including the actual fights with the titans. Some small scenery and screening of the backgrounds was present throughout the performance. All in all, I quite enjoyed the show and I am waiting for it to be released online.

After the musical, I bought two prints of the actors and I got them signed 😉

People queueing in a large hall. Behind them there are dealers' booths. A lot of us from the audience wanted to buy prints.

The rest of the convention

I visited the con on Saturday only and half of my time I spent watching the musical or its preparations. I managed to get to only one other programme items – a talk about Japanese magical creatures. Unfortunately I have mixed feelings about it. The presenter had a good knowledge of the topic, but I didn’t really enjoy how he presented it to us.

I spent the remainder of the day talking with my friends. Most of them manned their sales booths, so our conversations were often interrupted by their customers, but still I enjoyed them. It was my first convention after the GUFF trip and I talked to my friends about this experience. I even had a chance to show some pictures (on the small screen of my camera only).

Picture shows people playing music games. Music games are typical for manga conventions but are not so popular on SF cons.

Right now I am not sure if I’ll attend the next Magnificon. I was happy with my visit, but the main reason was the musical. If there is another musical based on the anime I like, I’ll possibly visit the con next year. If not-? I am not sure yet. But the Attack on Titan: The Musical was definitely worth it and I am happy I managed to see it live.

You can find more pictures in my FB gallery.

My next post will be related to Polcon and will be published on 31st July the latest.

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