If there is one thing troubling about being an anime fan in Australia, it is that there are never enough anime conventions spread throughout the year to encourage the entire community to get together – with some states not even having one outside of Supanova: Pop Culture Expo which is also dominated by other fandoms.
Unfortunately was decided today that the Melbourne Anime Festival (Manifest) which last took place on the 16-18th August 2013 will not be continuing, with the following being issued on the events official Facebook page:
Yesterday the MAFI committee met to decide the future of Manifest. After much discussion and a painful vote, I am sad to say that MAFI is closing its doors. This means that Manifest will not be running again.
Please note that some other events that have previously fallen under the MAFI umbrella are independent groups and will therefore continue. This includes Mani-Midnight, who have a Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/
When Manifest began, it wasn’t trying to be an anime convention; we just wanted to watch some decent anime and maybe talk about Japan. There was no reason why it should have taken off as it did except that people really wanted it to. They believed in it, devoted time and energy and money to it, and grew to love it. Attending Manifest each year was like a family reunion – some of the people there might drive you bonkers, but there’s still love on both sides. The affection and support shown to us is immeasurable. I value each of your friendships and the dedication that helped grow Manifest into the giant it became. Lack of an annual Manifest is going to create a void in my life which will be hard to fill.
The MAFI committee decision to end Manifest was not made easily. Over the last few years, Victoria has gone from having one anime and pop-culture convention to having four, with others in development. Wider Australia went crazy with conventions and somewhere along the way, it became a competition: who could have the largest crowds, the newest games, the coolest guests? It was only a matter of time until people chose to save their money for the biggest conventions, leaving funds spread too thinly to allow all the Australian conventions to run well. As a fan-run convention, unfortunately Manifest’s time has now come.
‘Goodbye’ is a simple word with a complicated meaning. I believe that the best way to remember Manifest is with smiles and stories, and hope you do too. Some of the committee members will be sharing their experiences via the #ManiMemories tag on twitter, and I hope that you will add your own positive comments. You can also share your photos on our Facebook page.
This is definitely a very important break in 14 years of history, but we cannot say that this is the end. Manifest will live on in all of your hearts, in the friendships that were formed, and the experiences that were had together. The memories that I will take with me are something money cannot buy. All in all it has been quite a satisfying and exhilarating journey, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Love and peace,
(Last) President of Manifest
Considering that there was no mention on the convention’s social media channels hinting of any potential issues, it is disappointing to see its 14 Year History ended out of the blue like this.