The Saturday is the first full day of the convention, and there's a hell of a lot crammed in to keep everyone occupied.
This year saw a special event occur first thing in the morning.
Minami Con's treasurer Ewan Chrystal tragically died earlier
in the year, and his family had donated his colossal anime and manga
collection to the convention. The committee had decided to
honour his memory by holding a charity sale of these DVDs and books,
giving Minami Con attendees the opportunity to buy some rare
and out-of-print titles for a set price and raise money for the
British Heart Foundation. Although the sale started at 10am
the day after a late night party, there was a constant queue of
people waiting to get in, and the sale raised hundreds of pounds for
charity - we spent over £100 on our own!
Of course the sale wasn't the only event that morning, the screening rooms had started up at 10am as had the curiously named Pinky Panzers (which we missed, so we have no idea what it was!). Cosplayers also had the opportunity to get professional photos taken in the Cosplay Photoshoot and anyone who still had any money left shortly lost most of it when the Dealer's Room and Bring & Buy opened at 11am. The dealers room was well run and far more spacious than those at most conventions despite its small size. There was a wide range of stuff to buy as well, dealers in attendance included Neon Martian, United Publications, Otaku UK and Sheffield Space Centre, as well
as t-shirt designers Genki Gear and Team Giblets and artist Niki Hunter. The Bring & Buy was one of the best ones we've been to content-wise, but the room is far too small considering the massive queue that assembled. When your wallet could take no more there were also several free events and workshops going on to drag you away. The room that held the charity sale hosted several interactive games and contests, ranging from Iron Cosplay, which pitted teams against each other and the clock to make a themed costume on the spot, to Gundam Speed Building, which saw people compete to build Gundam model kits as quickly as possible. Elsewhere there was a bar quiz for those who wanted a more cerebral challenge.
There were also non-competitive things to do, including panels on
ball-jointed dolls and Japanese live-action 'Tokusatsu' series.
The screenings rumbled on all day, and those of a more practical
mind also had the opportunity to take part in origami, cosplay and
Taiko drumming workshops, or venture outside for a chance to make
the trademark Osakan food Takoyaki (octopus balls)! The events
were as varied and interesting as any we have come across at other
conventions and were run very well, the only problem was that some
were a little too popular - we missed out on the Sake and
Beer tasting because of the colossal queue!
Each day of a convention usually has a main event and Saturday's - as with most cons - was the Cosplay Masquerade. The event rooms were reset once again to make a large space for the masquerade, but unusually, for Minami Con anyway, it started over half an hour late. Despite this the Masquerade was still the best run of any at a UK anime event, and was streets ahead in terms of organisation and planning. The room had not only a large screen at the front but also additional speakers and a screen half way down the room, which ensured that people at the back could see and hear what was going on. It wasn't just the audience that benefited
either, cosplayers were given baskets to put their belongings and bags in to keep them safe and separate from everyone else's and had a rehearsal to help them prepare. The quality of the costumes was awesome as always, probably better than those at other cons, and the range of inspiration was a bit more interesting than usual too. Instead of the streams of Final Fantasy and Bleach cosplayers you get at many masquerades, Minami Con's included retro games like Earthworm Jim and the Sega Saturn game Burning Rangers and older anime like Armitage III! A special word has to be given to the excellent Team Giblets' skit, thank you, o ginger one, for making skits that are actually funny.
The masquerade lasted for some time but the committee cleverly broke it up by playing videos on the screens, the best of which was one of the most obscure things in Ewan's donated collection - Binary System Agricultural Transformable Tractor. It was animated like a PS1 cutscene and featured a tractor that transformed into a remote controlled super robot to combat mutated vegetables. We kid you not. Only the intro was shown, which was probably for the best, but you can see the full episode here. A list of the winners of the Cosplay Masquerade can be found here, and pics of many of them can be found in our Minami Con gallery! Also be sure to check out the Team Giblets skit here.
The Masquerade wasn't the last event of the day though. After a quick room reset, which saw the large room split into smaller ones once again, we got karaoke and the Auction. Perhaps it was a testament to the credit crunch (or the amount of money everyone had spent in the charity sale) that the bids were a lot lower than last year, but the splitting of the room also saw the amount of people remaining shrink to just a handful. It was a shame, but on the plus side it did put some really cool items within reach of us mere mortals and Webmaster Tom came away with an awesome original painting from Genki Gear designer Phil English! The Karaoke carried on past midnight and were joined by a screening of the Ghost in the Shell film Solid State Society and a Dance Dance Revolution dance off once the Auction ended. By this point however we had retired to the bar and were gearing ourselves up for the final day...