Beyond Cosplay was happy to be back better than ever at Rosehill Gardens for SMASH 2016. As a smaller convention sandwiched between Supanova and OZCC, it really stands out as a legitimate alternative to the big two.
Given that this was its tenth Anniversary it’s clear – its unique focus on Anime and Japanese pop culture is a winning formula for both the organisers and the fans who flock to the event every year. From its humble beginnings in 2007 as ‘Comic World Sydney’ with its main goal being to provide an affordable place for artists to sell their prints and other creations, it has rapidly grown into the BIGGEST Anime convention in Australia. Current President Andrew Qiu believes it rivals any of the South-East Asian conventions out there and that it has earned its place as a world renowned event. It attacts stars from all facets of the Japanese popculture world. This year we had no less than Vocaloid star IA, producer Hachioji P. and many other icons who got the fans salivating…and queuing up for autographs and photos.
Packed into two days and this time, an entire evening of entertainment as well – its a non stop rollercoaster ride of choosing what to not miss out on next. From art competitions of all types to origami lessons, panels, anime screenings, the maid cafe, hundreds of art stalls, merchandise and of course, the various cosplay competitions.
We saw a big upswing in a number of people cosplaying this year and the quality is, as ever, hitting new heights. Check out our albums linked below this article and you wont be disappointed, the World Cosplay Summit round went off without a hitch and a big congratulations to Ingrid and Alix of https://www.facebook.com/demonswithteacosplay/.
If there was a noticeable trend, it was of a couple more Harley Quinn cosplayers than usual for obvious reasons and a whole lot of Pokemon related costumes. Including one very spot on Pikachu who was so large, it must have been a chore for the wearer to squeeze through the very excited crowds.
Saturday evening had the usual crowd of cosplayers retire to Hooters across the road. It’s not very often that the patrons get more attention than the waitresses at this infamous family restaurant but on SMASH weekend, all the usual rules are thrown out the window. Including that unwritten rule saying anime fans have to be tucked up safely in bed by 8 PM – not on 20 September! The convention partied on well into the night thanks to a special anniversary event which included DJ’s , karaoke and all the usual entertainment such as free arcade games.
This writer is still yet to understand the attraction to the Vocaloid phenomenom but seeing a packed crowd of delirious fans in brightly coloured wigs, waving their extra long glow sticks while singing along to the warbling, high-pitched voice of a dancing holographic CGI Anime character will not easily be erased from memory. Thankfully neither
will the rest of the conventions highlights which continued well into late Sunday afternoon. Numbers had tapered off a little by then but for the dedicated among us there were bargains to be had on the merchandising floor and plenty of artists were willing to get flexible on prices for their artworks.
I for one went home with an armful of prints, nevermind that there is no more wallspace for them to be hung on. Some beauty simply must be rolled up and brought home!
So was SMASH 2016 a success?
Does your favourite Anime series have a montage of its characters running in the opening credits?
Do most of those characters lose their parents for some plot furthering reason?
I think you know the answer to all three of those questions…..
~ Patrick Hamilton