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Dear Akira

Author: Darryn King
Monday, March 30, 2009

3D’s Darryn King with the seizure-inducing best from Australia’s anime scene.

This last weekend saw a couple of conventions of note to fans of all things anime. On Saturday, the venue-hopping, half-yearly Sydney Animania Festival took place at the Citigate Central Hotel. One particular item in the Animania Festival Guide looked like it could be interesting: ‘Cosplay Chess’. We’ll be sure to cover that, and the Animania Festival, when it touches down in Sydney again later in the year.

It was also the first Supanova pop culture expo of the year down at Melbourne’s Royal Showgrounds. Anime sadly seems to have been a tad underrepresented – an awful lot of the attention went to the guys behind Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Hayden Panettiere (who is apparently a cheerleader of some kind) – but making an appearance was veteran anime voice actor Vic Mignogna, who did the Sydney convention in 2006.

Admittedly the word ‘veteran’ is bandied about in a misleading fashion when it comes to anime voice dub actors. It usually just means ‘prolific’. Well, Mignogna certainly is that, with his somewhat boyish tones appearing in more than 100 anime titles. He’s best known as the voice of Broly in Dragon Ball Z and Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist, but he’s also gotten in the sound booth for Tsubasa Chronicle, Bleach, Full Metal Panic, Trinity Blood and Excel Saga, and his very first anime role was as Vega in Street Fighter. Mignogna also sings the One Piece theme and the re-jigged theme for the remastered Dragon Ball GT. Phew.

The voice talent lined up at this point for Sydney Supanova should whet a few appetites: rocking the mics will be Christopher Sabat, who lends his gravelly tones to characters like Vegeta and Piccolo in the Dragon Ball series; Tara Platt (Temari, Naruto); and Spike Spencer (Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion).

This weekend’s Supanova convention also hosted the first preliminary heat of Madman’s National Cosplay Competition – which promises to be an extra dollop of excitement and humiliation at Supanova this year. Entry is only open to single applicants, not groups, and all applicants will have to perform a three-minute skit. There will be rounds at Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide, and the winners will come together for the National Championship in Melbourne in November – by which time they will need to have a brand new costume.

Get this though: the overall winner will bag two return flights to Tokyo to attend the Tokyo Anime Fair 2010, seven nights’ twin-share accommodation, entry to the Studio Ghibli Museum and a visit to an anime production studio. If that’s not worth a few nights at the sewing machine and squeezing into a Sailor Moon miniskirt, I don’t know what is. Check out all the details at the comp website below. Sydney Supanova will be at Sydney Olympic Park on 26–28 June.