Aptly named ‘Mazecon Bangladesh 2011’ hosted by MazeCity, Bangladesh’s 1st Anime Community took place at Zigatola of Dhanmondi at the capital city of Bangladesh, Dhaka. The convention hall was splendidly decorated with colorful paper lanterns hanging from above reflecting various themes that only an ‘Otaku’ can recognize. Almost all the walls were covered with both printed and hand-made Anime posters illustrated by the staff members. There were separate enclosed areas assigned as changing rooms for male and female Cosplay participants. The hall’s layout was cleverly designed so that the attendants enjoyed everything from the central seating area, which was surrounded by all the booths. At the very front was the center of all entertainment; the stage and beside it, was the technical booth.
As the gates opened at 10:30 am, the attendants took their sweet time and started coming slowly and steadily to the grand event. It took a whopping 2 hours for almost everyone in the attendance list to show up, while AMV (Anime Music Video) of various Anime were being played on the big screen. At 12:30 pm, the event finally kicked off with introductions from each of the administrators of MazeCity, enlightening the audience with the glorious history of MazeCity and its former self TeamOtaku. After that, all the staff members lined up in front of the stage, bowed and shouted ‘Arigatou Gozaimasu’ enthusiastically towards all the attendants.
To start the event, Nikhat Kuchiki came up on stage and presented a small interactive tutorial on the Japanese language or ‘Nihongo’. She explained with great detail how the entire language can be written and read in four ways; Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji and Romaji. This was not all, she then Showcased an array of Anime genre featuring some of the greatest Anime out there! When famous or newly released anime opening sequences and beloved characters appeared on the big screen, fans could not help but cheer out on top of their lungs. However, it seemed she kept a few mismatched genre/anime combinations just to test the audience, but it could not throw them off. Fans immediately recognized the flaws and screamed out to correct them, which goes to show that Bangladeshi Anime fans are no less in knowledge than any other fans around the world. Finally, with an exciting opening from One Piece as the example of Adventure Genre, she ended this segment.
Although in the next segment, everyone was going to have a light lunch while watching a special anime movie but it needed to be halted due to the arrival of the Chief Guest escorted by two of the Cosplay participants. The main guest of the event was Ahsan Habib; the man behind the great Bangladeshi satire magazine ‘Unmad’. As the administrators greeted Ahsan Habib with the warmest of welcomes, everyone got restless to take pictures with him or get his autograph. Thus, people were allowed to have their wishes granted . It was a dream come true for many fans who have been reading ‘Unmad’ since their childhood and their eyes glittered with joy as they got his autograph at the back of their Mazecon tickets which they will cherish forever! Ahsan Habib also blessed us with a speech. He especially complimented the anime fans of Bangladesh on the fact that our dedication for Japanese culture is extremely respectable and honorable. The administrators, staff members and the Cosplayers didn’t forget to take group pictures with the man who took ‘Bangladeshi manga’ to its pinnacle before he took his leave.
Now, on to the most anticipated segment of Mazecon, after all, what is a Anime Convention without it’s Cosplay competition? This was quite an amazing spectacle as Cosplayers were called upon stage one by one to show off their ‘special abilities’ and to act out the characters by throwing their most famous punch lines! Some showed sword fighting skills while others maneuvered into special poses and called out the names of their respective ‘jutsu’ or techniques. Among the Cosplayers, there were quite a lot of Naruto and One Piece fans. The panel of judges carefully scored the authenticity of the characters that were being played as the crowd cheered at the various demonstrations.
Following the Cosplay, the ‘quiz show’ segment began as promised. This is sort of a tradition for MazeCity and was prepared to test the knowledge of all the anime fans. The quiz was an interactive event where questions would appear on screen and needed to be answered within a time limit. There were video/sound clips and provided with many screenshots, which made it quite a challenge for all. Thus, during this time, everyone was quite serious!
Shortly after the Quiz, the lights were dimmed and the host announced the start of yet another greatly anticipated segment; the Karaoke Competition! To my surprise there were quite a lot of enthusiastic fans lined up to sing their hearts out to many of the familiar Anime opening and ending songs. There were not only solo singers but, duets , trio and even in large groups, who gave extremely fun packed vocal performances. One song in particular was very popular and sung by more than 5 subsequent participants, this was ‘Again’ by YUI; the first opening song of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. A big 'Thank you' goes out to Sakiko Imaya who painstakingly put together all the karaoke Videos! Participating Solo artists gave their best performances; bravely singing to their most favorite Anime songs on stage, in Japanese! Their pronunciation was quite superb and all of them did a great job being up on stage and singing for the first time in front of so many people!
As the event was coming to a close, all that was left was to announce the winners of the various contests. So as the staff members were onto this important task, there were various small fun incidents taking place around the hall. A large group of fans were called upon stage to sing the English opening of Pokemon that we are all familiar of, which was extremely hilarious and quite nostalgic. Many of the Cosplayers were engaging in epic battles with characters from different anime, kind of like a cross over! Among the highlights of the battles, Zabuza/Sasuke versus Zoro/Nico Robin was quite a spectacle. Surprisingly team Zoro won, with his superb handling of his Three Swords Style Santoryu against Zabuza’s colossal sword Kubikiribōchō and Robin’s ‘Hana Hana no mi’ techniques against Sasuke’s Chidori! I was laughing so hard that it drew tears to my eyes. Like this, time flew by and it was time to announce the winners:-
Best Cosplay Artist: Yoi Shirou (Zoro) with Shadab (Zabuza) as close Second
Best Karaoke Singer: Yokai Onni with PetiteMuslimah/Nikhat Kuchiki as close Second
MAZECON Quiz Contest Winner: Kai (Cosplaying as Sasuke)
Finally, there was a surprise waiting for all; it was actually MazeCity’s Birthday and a large chocolate cake was brought in for everyone. As everyone present enjoyed and celebrated, the Fan Art booth was opened. It featured hand sketched art drawn by fans and was up for sale from the booth. Many people couldn’t help themselves but admire all the amazing artwork being displayed. Many artworks were sold while gift packages and prizes were distributed by the Administrative staff as a token of appreciation to all the people attending the event.
That’s all folks! Yet another detailed review from Nikhat Kuchiki (me) with Co-writer Tonmoy Shams (HellBound Soul). However this one is very special, I am sure you all have guessed why. To those who couldn’t attend the event, I hope this will help you imagine vividly what took place in the first ever Anime Convention of Bangladesh!
Written by Nikhat Kuchiki & HellBound Soul