Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Two days at the worst edition of Made in Asia so far...

Bert trying on the Rick hat

Two weekends ago was Made in Asia. 
Bert and I went on Friday and Sunday, and this post is about both the days and how it was an unmitigated disaster. 
I'm not writing a review for BCM this case as that's Lora's job (which she did admirably, I've already sorted it out for the next edition) and I'm not reviewing it for Neverwas Mag (previously known as The Gatehouse) as its not steampunk enough. 
Anyway, this was one of the WORST conventions I've ever been to. 
And here's why.
selfie with Bert and Mikaru 

Of course, it wasn't all bad! I had a great time hanging out with friends.

photo booth fun :) 

I had fun playing with the photobooths.

LARP stuff at Made in Asia 

I liked discovering Propcorn, an amazing LARP and steampunk shop from Spain.

Bert and Mikaru taking photos 

Interviewing Mikaru and shooting with him was a joy, as always. 
It was cool to meet and interview She, in the haze and see all the live bands. For some live photos of Mikaru and TsuShiMaMiRe on Bert's instagram :). 

And the little eatery selling chicken nuggets had the most amazing nuggets, omg! They were from free range organic chicken and just as nice as the chicken I had in Tokyo. Which, some of you may recall, was the best chicken EVER. I had them both con days. They were that good! I will have them every time I'm in that hall of Brussels Expo from now on! 

There were definitely up-sides and not mentioning them would be unfair.

Photo booth fun 

It was freezing cold. 
Some areas were tolerable, but most were the same temperature as outside. 
On Friday it was warmer OUTSIDE than inside. 
And on Sunday it was just horrid because it had started FREEZING the day before and it was still freezing on Sunday. 
This is point blank unacceptable. 
To add insult to injury, all the doors leading to the little outside squares where the smokers go to enjoy their death sticks were wide open. 
I know the heating wasn't on in most of the con, but that's not reason to add insult to already frosty injury. 
That photobooth photo is from Sunday, Bert is wearing heattech and I'm wearing a real wool cardigan. 'Nuff said (that t-shirt on Friday didn't last at all, he massively regretted it on Friday already, hence the heattech on Sunday).
Most people were wearing their coat inside. Which was for the best because the cloak room was tiny and definitely not equipped to deal with that many visitors!

Made in Asia 

All the progress MiA had been making the last couple of years went down the drain. 

There was enough fun stuff to do, but it was terribly spread out. 
On Friday, there were barely any people at all. Which wasn't surprising because it was a school/workday for most. There was a surprising amount of children and teens, so either they were lucky enough to not have school that day, or they had skipped. 

Made in Asia 

The planning was dreadful for Bert and I personally. 
If you didn't have to review or make sure there were enough photographs to accompany press pieces, I'm sure it would have been alright, but in our case, Bert lost most of his days standing in front of the stage photographing things. And it wasn't much better for me. But hey, at least I had friends to keep me company, and I had a good time with them. 

They had tried to expand, adding another hall, but they just couldn't properly fill the areas up. 
They should have just stuck to last year's lay-out, that was wonderful. 
But MiA's main priority is selling tickets, and they rather have halls utterly packed with people that are half empty than a proper lay-out and a functioning event. 
All my barely any crowd shots are from either Friday, or just after it opened on Sunday, because for half an hour, it wasn't swamped yet.

Bag decoration 

Lora got the same, but in green. 

Contrary to Friday's utter under population, Sunday was SWAMPED. I heard Saturday was even worse, so I was well pleased I hadn't been there because Sunday was utter and total HELL. 

Because Made in Asia doesn't believe in proper security, the convention was swamped with people you could barely move. Leading to all sorts of BS. 
Sadly a ton of people were also incredible RUDE. RUDE AF. 
We were constantly jostled and pushed and shoved and it was super unpleasant. A few friends of mine even told me they got groped, but thankfully Lora and I were spared of that. 
Gods if that had happened I would have made such a fuss! 
Even Bert was very fed up with trying to get around after just one little stop at the Propcorn stand where Lora and I stopped to buy little bag charms. 
And Bert's tolerance for stupidity and rudeness is MUCH higher than mine. Compared to me, he's calmness itself.

Made in Asia 

It's also supposed to be an Asiamania convention, but half of it was just pop culture. And that wasn't even put in the You Play! section of the con, which is you know, the actual pop culture part. 

And half of the Asiamania stuff for sale was bootlegs and replica's. 
You read that right, this is a convention where most of the “official” merchandise was a fake. 
We saw whole stands with bootleg manga, anime, toys, fashion, Kpop items. Even bootleg geek stuff. Although most of that was legit. Whilst I know that you'll always find at least some fakes at a con, them being sold in such an amount was really rather shocking. 
It was almost like the convention encouraged that sort of thing (I'm not saying they did, but the impression of them at the very least not caring was rather big). 
So yeah, MiA this year was a massive disappointment. 

Of course, just a few days after the event it was announced that Artexis Easyfairs, who also run FACTS (and who are responsible for the demise of Antwerp Convention, which I will NEVER forgive them for. EVER) are now the owner of Made in Asia. 
And it explains so, so much. 
Frankly, I believe that this year's shit edition is just the prelude for more crap. Either that or they'll just bin MiA like they made Antwerp Con disappear because they feel it's too much competition for their FACTS spring edition. 
Not sure whether or not that's a bad thing, considering how shit this edition was. 
Frankly I hope that Japan Con, the J-culture convention from the guys of the Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp Comic Cons will be a rocking success, and that we can just move all the cool concerts to that one. That would be so, so good.

Cosplay at Made in Asia 

Shout-out to this girl, she was super sweet, and she made her entire costume herself from upcycled materials! How amazing is that! 

But yeah, a huge thank you to everyone that stuck by me ranting like a maniac, and have some more pictures to look at. 
I'm still in the process of editing and uploading all my Made in Asia photos because BCM takes priority, but eventually all the photos will be in this set :).

Made in Asia

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