The 3rd edition of MAGIC (Monaco Anime Game International Conferences) organized by Shibuya Productions, took place at the Grimaldi Forum on Saturday February 18th. It’s an annual event dedicated to the universe of manga, comics, animation, videogames and pop culture. It was met with unprecedented success for an event of its kind, welcoming 3000 visitors and more than surpassing the maximum expectancy as fans flocked in from neighbouring areas.
The day was mainly centred on “meet and greets” as well as the various competitions and talks. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this event was that the fans got to meet the incredible people that were invited for the day. Big names in the animation and videogame industry, including Frank Miller, creator of Batman The Dark Knight, and Tetsuya Nomura, a videogame producer that created Final Fantasy characters. The excitement was palpable as many passionate fans were able to meet their videogame idols, the creators of some of their favourite games, for the very first time. The conference area was filled with long queues of fans waiting patiently to see some of the biggest names in the videogame and comic book sphere.
JJ Sedelmaier, the famous animator and creator of cartoons such as Beavis and Butthead and comedy skits for Saturday Night Live gave an interesting talk on succeeding in the animation business, while showcasing some of his favourite cartoon creations through funny clips that highlighted the diversity of his artistic talent. He explained that his focus was to use cartoons to satirise adult themes, concentrating on the message being portrayed rather than the quality of the cartoon created. The talks were uniquely interactive, as fans were able to ask the guests all the questions they wanted.
Various stands dedicated to the world of video games provided an area where visitors could congregate, while waiting for a specific talk. They included a stand for the event sponsor ActivBody, a small instrument that uses pressure sensors to measure strength used for toning exercises in addition to being incorporated in videogames. A workshop showed how videogame characters are created using various software, and a couple of stands sold videogame inspired jewellery made by Nous Sommes des Héros, comic books and figurines.
A mini-exposition of the art of anime and manga was also featured – a small presentation of impressive sketches and photographs showing the process of creation of some of the most famous anime characters from the 1960’s to today including Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball.
Visitors were also able to try-out a selection of games, such as arcade machine games showcased by L’Atelier du Pixel, a company that customises machines to personal preference, as well as old-school Nintendo-Sony consoles and a new videogame for iPads called Léon. This new game is great for children between the ages of 6 and 12, as it is interactive and allows the player to make choices at the beginning of the story that impact its continuation, switching words of the written gameplay and changing character traits. A fun way to learn new vocabulary and visualise the impact of your choices!
Perhaps the most anticipated event of the day was the Cosplay Competition, featuring some of the best international ‘cosplayers’. ‘Cosplay’ is a blend of the words ‘costume’ and ‘play’ as people dress up as their favourite videogame or comic book character and act out various scenes from their respective universe. It is an interesting concept, largely unknown to those outside of the gaming sphere and can be compared to a form of art. Those that take part usually design hand-made costumes from various materials, to create replicas of the characters they love. Many fans used this event as an invitation to showcase their costume creations, with a select few chosen to compete in the Cosplay Competition, where the best performer would win a plane ticket to Japan, the home of all that is manga and anime.
The competition was impressive as dedicated fans travelled far to compete and showcase their talent and passion. The participants came out in turns, welcomed enthusiastically by the crowd, presenting their outfits by dramatically acting out crucial scenes from the respective videogame, dancing and acting on stage in front of a jury of three professionals. The costumes on show included Buzz Light Year, Ezio from Assassin’s Creed and the cosplay winner of the day Tira from the Soul Calibur videogame.
Last but not least, the winner of the Video Game Creator Competition, unique in its kind, was awarded a prize of 100,000 euros towards further development of their game.
The success of this years MAGIC has ensured that the event will return to Monaco next year, so if you’re a fan of the world of videogames and animation make sure to check it out in 2018!