fan art

Japan Day 2014 by Aisha Anime

cosplay left.jpg

After much pony loving at Buck 2014, Manchester is the place to be and Bank holiday Monday at the Midland's Hotel was home to Japan Day this year. This event was completely free and hosted by Japan North West society with help with the London Japan Society.

Upon walking inside you were greeted by the bright lights and amazing tree in the middle of the foyer creating a great backdrops for photos. The staff at the Midland's hotel were exceedingly helpful and even took some coats into their cloakroom to help the cosplayers. 

tree

Upon passing the info desk and cosplay registration, past that takes you to the martial arts demonstration room, where a heated kendo match ensued, with tables at the back laden with different types of weapon and armour for people to look at. Shortly after an authentic tea ceremony took place. Where a audience member sat and received tea made in a stylish and methodical way. You would have to wait a while for this cuppa ! Six lucky members also got to partake in the ceremony for only £2 per person.

samurai

We also had the lucky opportunity to listen to Rakugo Comic Storytelling by Katsura Sunshine. A 400-year-old tradition of comic storytelling told my Canadian comedian in a Kimono kneeling on a cushion who literally converses with himself. What really struck me was he was teaching us about Japanese etiquette at the same time. There wasn't a single member of the audience who was not laughing. Mr Sunshine will be touring the UK check out  his page for more info: http://katsurasunshine.com/

sunshine


If you ventured to the right of the main hall you would find the dealers room where a huge array of Japanese merchandise was on offer from cosplay outfits and Japanese fashion from Manchester's store Tokyo Royale to traditional Geisha head pieces from Kikuya Kanzashi.

There was also an abundance to art - especially from deviant art artist Kidura who was donating all her profits to charity, a Japanese manga artist was showcasing her art, Japanese Railway Society, Northern To-ken and the Ningyo (dolls) were bewitching making me reminisce of my JRPG survival games. If you also wanted to you could try on a Japanese Kimono for free and wear it throughout the day.

A lot of people simply came to watch the Cosplay contest where a lot of entries graced the stage with their outfits and personality. Third place came Haku from Spirited Away, then the L and Light duo and first place was Lightening from Final Fantasy. All of them looked great and Totoro and the Wolf man got honorable mentions.

We also got to watch some authentic Japanese lottery where Mr Sunshine picked out the raffle winners of free sushi, tea set, picnic hamper and more. Straight after was the really energetic Taiko drummers. If you were interested in the cuisine you had a choice of curry rolls (Japanese equivalent to Pasties), noodle, rice and pastries fro the Sweet Cup Cake maid cafe.

~Aisha Anime~

tea ceremony

Buck 2014: 5 Top Stalls by Aisha Anime

Beautifual MLP badges, patches, 

Beautifual MLP badges, patches, 

Five Awesome stalls:

1. I met these two blokes selling trinket boxes and cube shaped plushies, I asked them where this idea came from. One of them simply said he liked blokes and worked with that in mind. Thus ‘Spirit Blocks’ was born and now you can get all your fav pony’s, anime characters, just about anything in block form! I PARTICULARLY like the Nyan-cat looking medium plushies, so hug-a-ble!

https://www.facebook.com/spiritblocks

Pinkie Pie plushy block resembling Nyan Cat :D

Pinkie Pie plushy block resembling Nyan Cat :D

2. I can’t even describe what Pulsefire Kitten sells as she was sold out on Saturday morning ! 8-bits King buddy explained her handmade pony plushies were either all reserved before hand or bought Friday night. From detailed pony plush for £110 the detail is worth the price or else go for a pudgy poni with a squishy and chubby pony for £45.

https://www.facebook.com/PulsefireKitten

Pulsefire Kitten creator and partner posing with her leftover art as all her plushies sold out Friday night !

Pulsefire Kitten creator and partner posing with her leftover art as all her plushies sold out Friday night !

3. Now Jillah is a whole new pony mane you’re dealing with she makes pony plushies with detachable manes ! You can mix and match or give them a whole new funky mane altogether. Feel free to check out her etsy or email her:

jillah@hotmail.co.uk
https://www.etsy.com/shop/Jillahs
 

jillahs demonstrating swapping the Pinkie Pie's mane for soemthing more funky!

jillahs demonstrating swapping the Pinkie Pie's mane for soemthing more funky!

4. Sparkler’s Custom Ponies not only dabbles in plushies, badges, keyrings and all sorts of retro and new pony merchandise she makes custom MLP snow globes! Seriously have never come across something so unique, definitely check her facebook out for the bespoke designs.

https://www.facebook.com/sparklerscustomponies

 

5, I quite like Violet Rose's miniature plushies with her own signature chibi faces which she happened to be sewing whilst at the stall, something more affordable for con goers. 

one-violet-rose.tumblr.com

violet rose.jpg

These are just a few among many other great stalls such as Mare play selling lots of exclusive MLP merchandise, Forbidden Planet were offering official Adventure Time merchandise at bargain prices and deviantart model maker Frozenpyro Sculptures - who sold out all of his wares friday night too.Geek Stitch there with cross stitch patterns of your favourite MLP character selling set's with all the yarn and patterns included. Aoife Convery was selling a lot of MLP inspired crochet garments  Creepy River selling some questionable figures looking figures and a large variety of pins for every character from the series you could think of. The Goodie Wagon sold plushies, custom designed headphones, clothing and even cosplay outfits!

The amount of fantastic art available to buy or commission was phenomenal - I would just have to write a separate article dedicated to that.

Find more images here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.690906550963796.1073741843.554115554642897&type=3&uploaded=65

Mareplay's merchandise including great tshirts, figures and comics.

Mareplay's merchandise including great tshirts, figures and comics.




Buck 2014 - Brony Weekend by Aisha Anime

Buck emblem and banner

Buck emblem and banner

After many years of speculation I received a nudge from a friend in regards to the My Little Pony craze turning into a huge following. I then was able to interview one of the founders and the PR representations on my anime podcast back then Anime UK Show (now Otaku Nation UK) and 2014 was the year I went.

BUCK is an international convention for the brony fandom, held in the United Kingdom since 2012 in Manchester Centrale, with an attendance of over 1,200! I am not a a brony and I have been 'ohhhh' and 'whaaaat?' at quite a bit before going to the event. I enjoy anime/games/manga/events so why is this any different? Three days of partying at the price of £45 a day or £80 for the weekend or more for the extras including limited edtion t shirt, poster and even the chance to dine with your pony heros !

mass effect pony version

My advice for any new con goers to Buck:

  1. Don't drive! Parking was extortionate and their were diversions due to Pride being on.
  2. Take train
  3. Free Wi-fi add people or message people while your there as a few people had signs and their were too many people to get lost in.
  4. Bring money, lots of rare merchandise was sold, handmade plushies snapped up on the friday night!
  5. Be nice, people were so friendly it was easy to make friends. If your shy sign up to the Fluttershy club to meet new people.
  6. Drink lots of water if your running around in fur suits !!!
Fluttershy club, come introduce yourself and make friends

Fluttershy club, come introduce yourself and make friends

It was fantastic to see the various cosplay's which ranged from fur suits to human versions, I even learnt a new word 'discord'. A lot of people dressed up as fan versions I myself went for a casual Fluttershy and met so many more in various styles I have to mention the Belly dancing Fluttershy and British gentleman versions caught my eye ! 

The one workshop I was recommended to go to by Pony enthusiast was ‘The Model Pony’ run by FrozenPyro a famous Sculptor / Modelmaker in the community who did a hands-on workshop where you can create a pony!

FrozenPyro gives my group some tips

FrozenPyro gives my group some tips

Working traditional materials such as clay and paint also regularly featured on Equestria Daily Artisan Craft compilations he brought a total of 20 skeletons to share amongst over a 100 attendees, he was surprised so many people turned up.

He showed us step by step with a camera for the people at the back to see him transform a lump of plasticine into an adorable pony. From a starting armature, through simple sculpting techniques to a finished figure; some people without skeletons had a stab at making chibi ponies that looked very adorable next to some well copied ones. We had popular characters to OC’s and discords.

clay ponies

The Cosplay masquerade sponsored by Anime League was a treat – we got to see a wide range of pony cosplays including full body suits from adults and children to detailed fan variations and even some non pony entries. Boris Johnson did a great skit ending on smashing his face into cake. A great Fluttershy entry reading poetry ending up to Twilight Sparkle’s study notes. Also had a Rainbow Dash sing an original song that morning whilst playing the guitar.

Group Skit on stage

Group Skit on stage

If your attention falls to other activities Anime League also provided a massive games room with lots of games to choose from with Halo, Street Fighter and more. Also their unlocked DDR machine which included Pony Mixes especially programmed for Buck so there was something for everyone to join.

Hope I've helped lift the curtain on Bronies and Buck and this encourages people to try different cons and please look out for my second article dedicated to top 5 stalls at BUCK 2014 and check out my photo album whixch I am adding more photos to gradually as I took over 300 photos. *Aisha Anime*

Buck 2014 Photos

Pony group