Do the words Death Note, Naruto, Dragonball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist mean anything to you? Have you been dying to meet CC from Code Geass, Goku and Chi Chi from Dragonball Z, Uzumaki from Naruto or Monkey D Luffy from One Piece? Or have you been waiting to let loose your blue and purple locks and channel your inner Kawaii (Japanese for cute)?
The first edition of Animecon 2018 has opened up a new world for anime lovers in the city, a burgeoning crowd in its nascent stages, on Friday.
This three-day fest is part of the month-long celebrations at Palladium and Phoenix Marketcity's Septemberfest. The event was kicked off on September 14 at Phoenix Mall in Velachery.
While the scene in Chennai is still in its early stages, Nitesh Rohit, Animecon’s Founder in India shares that the turnout does look promising. “It is a very enthusiastic crowd and we are liking our first time in Chennai. We’ve got a good college and school-going crowd and there’s also family who are coming in with children. It is encouraging,” he says.
Nitesh also adds that unlike Mumbai, Delhi or Bengaluru, where there’s already a sizeable population, Chennai’s has a growing, evolving crowd. “Chennai is an artistic city and the scene does look promising,” he says before being jostled by the crowd that gearing up for the third round of Ramen eating contest.
Animecon that is about 10 years old in the country is different from its international editions. While the scene is far more advanced in Japan, in India, we’ve got interactive sessions with cosplayers, art booths and anime contests.
Nitesh shares that while Animecon focuses mainly on cosplay contests, the team has focused on its cultural aspect in Chennai. “We have set up an exclusive Manga lounge, we’ve got origami and calligraphy workshops, performances by cosplayers and karaoke booths to capture the interests of the crowd.” The event saw the likes of Chiichi (World Cosplay Summit India participant, 2017), Onorin (India gaming Show 2017, runner up), Chakbi (Shangri la Cosfest Winner 2017) and Tsuyoshi Shiba (Cosfest Champion 2016).
Some of the events organised in Chennai included Ramen eating contest, treasure hunt and a cosplay contest on its final day. Nitesh’s team had spent close to 6 months putting the event together for the first time in Chennai.
Having slurped up two Ramen tubs to win the Ramen eating contest on Friday, Sashwath, an Engineering Design student from IIT Madras shares that it was indeed his first time at an Anime Convention. “We do have an Anime interest group in IITM which is more of a culture club. This event, however, is very exciting for us anime lovers,” he grins.
A bigger cosplay competition with prize money of Rs 1.5 Lakhs, judged by movie costume designer P Poornima Ramaswamy, Vijay Choraria, Promoter and Managing Director of Crest Ventures and Nitesh on its final day was the biggest event of the edition.
Ratikha Venugopal from Chennai, well known for her national cosplay wins, is excited to be a part of animecon in the city. The three time cosplay winner is, however, not worried about winning. “I’d like to create an impact. Chennai has a good crowd that’s interested in cosplay. We need a bigger, better platform to bring out our talents,” says Ratikha.
What is she dressing up as for the competition? Why, only the grandest and towering 6.5 ft. tall Archangel of Hope called Auriel!
Septemberfest will have K-Beauty from 21 to 23 September for those interested in Korean beauty products and beauty regime, Phoenix gaming expo from September 28 to 30 that’ll have multiple gaming installations inside the Mall and will also see the launch of FIFA 19 and a special curation of Asian films on its last weekend from October 5 to 8. For more details, check out their schedule here.