Last Saturday I went to IberAnime! Lx, 2017 edition, which took place at MEO Arena (Lisboa, Portugal) on the 6th and 7th of May. also happening was 4Gamers, featuring international gaming brands and some national game developers.
This was my second experience in events like this and the first time ever I ventured into doing a sort of poorly put together cosplay (yes, I will put up photos, rest assured you will be able to laugh).
Thanks to having been invited by my friend João (you can find him here, on Facebook and here, on YouTube), I decided to go along his plan to go to an evento gathering many of the things I like: anime, manga and comics, japanese culture, games, technology, fandoms and geekness (lots of that!) and, of course, truckloads of merchandise! The invite had a condition atteched to it that João only told me after the tickets were bought: he was cosplaying e I was supposed to do some cosplay too… me of all people, who after years of suffering for Carnaval and, even though loving Halloween, can only be bullyied into dressing up in costume for a party! But, with his enthusiasm (and pleading, hihi), I agreed to doing something that didn’t make me feel completely ridiculous or totally bankrupt – considering DIY and sewing are not my strong skills (I shall learn).
Tokyo Ghoul João and Pokémon Go trainer Sónia, all ready, off we went to IA! Lx2017. There, we saw some interesting cosplays, inspired and well-achieved, representing current and past animes, movies and TV shows (including a Doctor, which made me go into hyper fangirling, and a Ruby Rose, from Rooster Teeth ‘s RWBY).
After a good 10 minutes on the phone trying to find each other, we finally met with the guys from Próximo Nível, THE Mr. Remedy and also Hermy from Hermylution! From there onwards, exploring the venue was even more filled with laughs and it was fascinating to go on observing these YouTubers working to bring you interesting videos about the event.
We went throught the merchandise booths, filled with cute and awesome stuff we all wanted to just take home; we saw everything and everyone; went on to explore the 4Gamers space, specially the Retrogaming area, which was really nice and had some relics (including an NGage, that mythical mobile phone/console made by Nokia lol).
That all happening, we were reminded that the final round of the world cosplay competition, the WCS, was happening. There we went, João and I, to see what competition level cosplaying is all about: Tejo room was reserved for this purpose and it was full, so the images we got were captured from afar (hence the slightly inferior quality). Victory went to a cosplay of The Hound from Game of Thrones, with an amazing 2nd place going to a beautifully made cosplay of Princess Zelda (twilight Princess) – and Portugal was represented in a faithful presentation of Anna from Forzen (those dresses were AMAZING!)
A last tour around the venue brought us to some stuff we hadn’t seen yet, including a Wrestling area, from a Lisbon Academy, CTW.
My thoughts? Taking into account the size of the portuguese market and the slice of the population that will currently be prone to be attracted to this kind of event, the turn-up seems high. This market dimension factor also bleeds into some limitations to what can be done and who can be brought to the event, budget-wise; still, all different areas achieved good representation.
I don’t think having 4Gamers as a separate event (and paid separately, too) in the same venue was ideal, particularly when it came to circulation; placement of the developers’, retrogaming’s and Youtubers’ areas was not ideal, forcing people to long walks in infinite hidden stairways – which were also needed to access all different areas set up in the Arena. Constrains of the venue itself, truth be told; there is always room for improvement – at least the air was circulating well enough and it wasn’t stifling hot inside!
I must confess that I only found the board games area by accident, while looking for the back exit of the venue, by the end of the day. It deserved more attention, perhaps better signaling of the different areas.
In conclusion: it was a day well spent with friends, that allowed me to release my inner geek and have fangirling moments without feeling ridiculous (the best in these events, there is no shaming about loving something and expressing it!) There is room for improvement, of course, in particular when it comes to the arrangment of the different areas and accesses – I believe the the FIL venue could be more appropriate for this kind of event, as I saw in the 2015’s edition of Lisboa Games Week; the audience has a tendency for growth, since many anime and pop/geek culture fans are now reaching ages of movement and financial autonomy, which gives this event the opportunity to expand and encompass a more international participation in presences and pannels (I do wish there were more of those and also less scattered). In general, I liked the people and the community feeling of it, there was a bit of everything for everyone (Reiki, japanese culture, calligraphy, language lessons, etc.). I might return, who knows.
Next adventure, ComicCon Portugal?
Here are some pictures of our day (there will be videos on the YouTube channels I mentioned, links will be available here ASAP):