The first Magnificon back in 2003 was one of my first conventions. Although I am not attending manga cons any more I thought that the anniversary would make a good reason to come. Similarly to 2018 I had some mixed feelings but let’s go there step by step.
When I saw that Magnificon is celebrating its 20th anniversary I thought it was a great opportunity. First and foremost it mobilized me to finish the latest issue of the fanzine that brought me into fandom – DOJI. Having a set deadline was really important as making this issue took me over two years. (In the meantime I published seven issues of A~Zyn.) Yet I managed to complete it and was able to distribute DOJI 42. at the con.
Another Idea I got was to make a panel on the history of Magnificon. Twenty years is a long time. As I attended Magnificon regularly for the first 10 years I got some nice memories to share and wanted to do so. Here I was a bit disappointed. I proposed to join such panel if they plan it by any chance. Yet I didn’t receive any answer from the programme team. There was no acceptance and no refusal. On one Discord server I learned that recently Magnificon outsources most of the programme to others. because of that they don’t reply to submissions. I was lucky as Shippo is one of the people to whom the programme is “outsourced”. She accepted my proposal for the panel and even held it with me and Yen! Still I am disappointed by how the con itself handles submissions (and I was not the only one in this situation).
I was hoping to spend more time at the con but because of work commitments I only managed to visit it on Saturday. At least I had a full day to enjoy it! Programme-wise it was better than the previous one I visited (in 2018). I managed only to attend two programme items (plus my panel). The first one was kind of a “weeb guide to Japan”. I learned quite a few things on what I can do there as an anime fan. The talk lasted for two hours. From what the presenter (Shippo) said it was initially prepared for four hours. I must say that single item lasting for four hours would be too much for me. Still the presentation was quite good and fun.
Later I was hoping to go to the talk about administrative division of Japan. Yet last minute I decided to visit another item – devoted to etiquette during the tea ceremony. It was quite interesting. I regret I didn’t volunteer to try the tea though. Fortunately not all is lost – the society that gave the presentation meets weekly in Kraków. There is still a chance for me to participate in the proper ceremony.
And there were more items to see but there were also people. Because of the anniversary, and the panel I worked on some older members of m&a fandom decided to come. Many of them is not going to cons any more so it was a great occasion to meet. The weather was lovely (or even a bit too hot) so we spent half of the day outside. We talked about the old times, and what we do right now. And of course this conversation could be held anywhere. Yet it was held during Magnificon as a convention is a great excuse to meet each other. It was delightful.
The anniversary panel went faster than I expected. Shippo suggested to make it two hours long. I was afraid we will not use so much time. Oh how wrong I was! We didn’t manage to go through everything. I think we would fill in three hours or even more… I want to thank everyone who appeared and commented. And special thanks should go again to Shippo and Yen who ran the item with me.
Magnificon is now run by a company and is a commercial event. The dealer’s hall is one of the most important aspects of it. And in this regard a lot has changed. Firstly I was sad that there were no publishers or book stores selling manga. I would love to browse a bit and buy something interesting. On the other hand there were many booths of artists and I appreciate it a lot. I managed to buy a paper version of Yaoi Market. It is a Polish comic that mocks both cliches in yaoi manga and supermarkets in Poland.
I didn’t take any good picture showing how many artist attended Magnificon. Still the booths visible here had artists selling their works. My guess is that there were over 20 artists selling their works.
Another big change (when comparing to “ages ago”) is related to guests. For years having a guest from Japan was a dream for M&A cons. At Magnificon there were guests from Japan (plural form!) including Mika Kobayashi. I didn’t listen to any of the concerts but am quite happy that we finally can invite Japanese guests including some very well known artists!
There are some things I can complain about. Apart from the lack of response from the programme team I was disappointed by the lack of programme book. It would not be a problem should there be a proper programme description online. I can list also some other issues but there is no point in doing that.
Yaki Kingu is where I got some delicioius onigiri for lunch.
So did I enjoy the con? That is not an easy question. I had a very good time but this was mainly thanks to my colleagues – some of whom I have seen for the first time in a decade. If not for them my experience would be different. Yet I cannot put the blame on the convention. I drifted away from the manga and anime part of fandom and thus such events are not as attractive to me as they used to be.
I was negatively surprised by some things but I was positively surprised by others. Especially the programme looked more interesting than five years ago. Multitude of artists attending was a great development. There are things that should be improved in the future but overall I am happy with my visit. Maybe I should even try attending another M&A con?
You can find more pictures in my FB gallery.
The next post will treat about Eurocon and should appear in second half of June.