SMASH (Sydney Manga and Anime SHow) this year was the biggest yet, at a new location (again) and spread over two days for the first time, and including guests Kotono Mitsuishi (Misato Katsuragi Neon Genesis Evangelion, Usagi Tsukino Sailor Moon), Toshihiro Kawamoto (Co-founder and Director of Studio Bones), and Reika (World Famous Cosplayer). This year it was held at Rosehill Gardens, a racecourse, but a location big enough to accommodate the hundreds of stalls and the thousands of people that came to this event. The show was spread across 3 different enormous buildings, which it needed to be as each room was filled with stalls and booths.
SMASH is one of the biggest Anime and Japanese culture conventions in Sydney and continues to be one of the best. It includes panels by special guests, artists, creatives and people from the industry, Cosplay competitions, Art classes, AMV (Anime Music Video) competitions and screenings, Workshops for all sorts of things, Anime screenings, card and video gaming competitions, karaoke, stalls from professional businesses, artists and community groups, and so much more. I’ll just be running through what I managed to get up to over these 2 days.
The line to get in.
The first thing I caught was some AMV screenings on the main stage before the Kotono Mitsuishi panel. Unfortunately I had to leave her panel early to go participate in the Pokemon TCG competition, in which I successfully defended my 3rd place title from last year (once again there were only 4 people in the competition, though at least this year the fourth wasn’t a little kid).
After that I headed to the Mitsuishi signing and got my Evangelion DVD cover signed (which was previously signed by Yuko Miyamura, Tiffany Grant and Matt Greenfield).
The line for the signing.
Then I went and checked out the second half of the Anime Funeral Panel, which was basically just a guy running through memorable deaths of characters, then yelling and sobbing about them, it was pretty entertaining. The cosplay competition was next, which I am never all that interested in because I don’t like the skits, but a friend of mine wanted to see it.
The last thing I went to before finishing off the Saturday was the Mitsuishi mini panel, which was in a smaller room and was much more intimate and interesting. I got to ask her how different it was working on Evangelion the series compared to the films in terms of working with the director Hideaki Anno, to which she replied that she never really worked directly with Anno during the series, that she got most of her direction from the sound designer, but now with the new movies she gets all her direction directly from Anno.
Some other things she said about Evangelion during her panels was that when she was cast in the role of Misato she had never done that sort of role before, she had mainly done girly cute roles, so when she started she felt that she over acted the maturity of the character. She also said that Misato was probably one of her most difficult roles. Furthermore, when someone asked about the differences in approaching the character then and now, she said that she wanted to come into the new films and start from scratch with Misato, because she was now a more mature woman and wanted to bring her experiences into the character, and so she didn’t go back and watch her previous performance. However when she was working with Anno he told her that she didn’t sound like she used to, that she used to sound younger and more lively back when she was working on the original series.
So, once that was over me and my friends went to Hooters (because they parked their car there) and that was a really weird experience. Then I stayed at my friend’s place for the night and watched JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Yakitate Japan while having a few beers.
The second day was a much more relaxed affair, and I spent most of the day taking photos and filming. I think there might have been less people, but I’m not sure because there was still A LOT of people.
First up was another Mitsuishi panel in which she did a bunch of live dubbing, which was really awesome. She did Misato in 1.11 when Shinji first activates the Eva, Boa Hancock from One Piece, Murrue Ramius from Gundam SEED, and of course Usagi from Sailor Moon. She also did a line from Excel Saga and (the highlight) sang part of the Sailor Moon theme song as Usagi.
The rest of the day was pretty chilled, I checked out the Madman panel and saw what they were planning on releasing in the future, I had a big bowl of curry rice with takoyaki, I bought a bunch of (too many) Evangelion fan art, and finished the day with the GAMMA.CON trivia, AMV finals (which was really good) and the closing ceremony.
I had a really great time, and I can’t wait till next year.
Here’s a bunch of photos of cosplay and other stuff: