The Middle East Film & Comic Con (MEFCC) was an absolute thrilling experience for me. I missed it last year so I can’t compare it to how the 1st convention was. Being into this craze for years, imagine my happiness that the anime and manga genre is finally being recognized in the Middle East.
I’ve been an avid fan since the early nineties. While girls talked about makeup and the latest designers, I was playing videogames and ordering anime and manga online. I recall how difficult it was to find titles, to browse freely, and find Emirati fans like myself so we can discuss our findings and share the fun.
Today, I get ecstatic when I look around me. At the mall, there are bookstores that carry latest manga titles, stores that carry merchandise, and video stores that are selling shows. It excites me to be part of this. It’s still different than any other country as this fandom has just emerged in the last few of years (maybe around 10 years). We’re still way behind in defining the craze.
Back to MEFCC now, let me begin by discussing the crazy drive to get there and the long hour drive to actually get to the premise. My advice is, you either get a good friend to drop you to it or get a cab. It was so not worth waiting in the car for a long period of time and missing out on spending that time at the convention.
Finally as I got there, I began seeing the crazy fandom. First, I witnessed Kratos (God of War) making his way through the crowd to get to the entrance. Then you could see mini Spiderman, Batman, Mario, and Luigi jumping all over the place (so cute!).
As soon as you entered the ground floor hallway, you could see merchandise all over the place. Again, I remembered the days where I would do anything to get my hands on any type of merchandise that has my favorite character on it. At MEFCC, you could get anything.
Making my way to the first floor, it was time to check out the talents. There were a couple of Mangaka (manga artists) friends that I was on the lookout for. I wanted to meet them personally as I was their fan since the beginning. It’s amazing to be with someone from the beginning and watch them progress throughout the years.
As I looked for my friends, I was astounded by what was in front of me. There were rows and rows of talent (and mostly Emirati’s). Cartoon sketches, portraits, mangas, and abstracts were displayed everywhere. Merchandise of specific local artists were being sold (funky ones). I found calendars, plushies (stuffed toys), pillows, notebooks, posters, pens, etc. The creativity kept getting more innovative and crazier as I made my way through the crowd.
For a minute, I thought to myself, am I really in Dubai? Where was this craziness ten years ago when I was searching for it? I finally found my friends and bought my specially signed copy of their manga’s and I’m proud to say that they were both in Arabic.
I could go on for pages about how much fun I had but I’m at a word limit here. I haven’t even covered the videogames section but I’ll leave that for another place and time. I’m definitely not missing next year’s convention.
Any of you been there? What did you like best? Do share with us.
Fatma (Fay), Emirati girl, with an experience in Corporate Communications and CSR. She is passionate about anything that is traditional and Emirati. In her free time she loves to watch Japanese anime, read manga, and play videogames. Spas are not the only thing that relaxes her, but cooking as well.
Fay’s columns observe work-life experiences and balance. A lot of her articles are based on first-hand personal experiences and issues she has seen or been part of. She loves to observe her surroundings, and watch how people handle different situations they’ve been put in.Also, she is trying to balance the art of staying positive at work and helping her peers understand that not everything should be a problem. With her writings she hopes to make a difference and make people more observant of the little problems in life, or work that hasn’t escalated to a catastrophe. It’s the little things that matters.