With the year over, and the turkey almost 75% eaten, it’s quiet in the Bunka Bunker so our Monsters of Culture have got on to their favourite topic: what was the best event of 2019? Miles have been travelled, shoe leather has been worn thin, bus timetables have been sworn at, and fellow attendees have been jostled to bring you this definitive list.
The Art Of Manga, At The British Museum
This is about as high-brow as it gets for pop culture: a three month display of the largest manga exhibition ever outside of Japan at The British Museum! Astro Boy and Dragon Ball rubbing shoulders with the Elgin Marbles at the first public national museum in the world. It had proto manga from the 1700s all the way up to the layouts of modern era works and things in between like
the Shintomiza Kabuki Theatre Curtain, a 17 metres long and 4 metres high from 1880 featuring painted demons and ghosts. It got coverage across mainstream media, introducing the form to new comers and sticking two fingers up to anyone still going “but it’s not art”. It was also just a massive weeb out geek-a-thon, and how can we say no to something like that?
“Absolutely fascinating to see blood, sweat, ink and ton up front in real life amongst Godzilla scale replicas of page artwork. Lovingly curated, something for everybody, regardless of how much or how little Japanese comics you have read in your life. Brilliant to see it in such a hallowed placed as the British Museum which gives it the gravitas the art-form deserves. That people travelled from all over the world for it shows the importance of the art-form and the positive effect it has on readers, regardless of language they are reading it in.”Laura Watton (who was interviewed live on the BBC News Channel about manga as a result of it.)
Can anyone even remember when this wasn’t the biggest event in the Geek Culture calendar of the UK? Rumours persist that there was a time when it was once a year and only occupied one section of the Excl Centre, but that’s been lost to the distant past. Now it’s where what feels like everyone turns up, with big names showing off their latest shows, games, comics and movies, and a hundred indie makers and traders hawking the most amazing of wares. Yes, it’s essentially a trading hall and not to everyone’s taste. But its the biggest day out in public for UK fandom as a whole and a social hub for thousands of attendees.
“Imagine three days of unending, noisy, hell in a bunker where you can never see the light of day, get a decent coffee, or meet anyone who knows what soap is. Now have it sell everything you never knew you wanted and be filled with a ten thousand people that are just as high on being excited about geekery as you are.” Andrew Watton-Davies
Now on it’s third year, this Milton Keynes based Anime event may not be the largest or the longest running. But a load of the Bunazilla team go to it and we podcast live from it, so you should be able to work out how close it is to our hearts. Given its place in the calendar, it could be considered a wind down event for the residential convention scene if it wasn’t for just how much they pack into it. It’s centrepieces are the two discos and the Sunday Cosplay Ball, but it’s also filled with panels, activities, games, and performances. The organisers have a very open attitude towards content, the mix of what’s on is broad and there is always something going on.
“It’s is a delightful residential hotel based convention that delivers your usual con events with a chilled vibe. Whether you’re new to conventions or a veteran looking for something familiar, Hibanacon is the event to get tickets for.” Iain Boulton
Agree? Disagree? Why not let us know your thoughts at the <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheStompyGrounds/”>Stomping Grounds</a>!