Wednesday, July 25, 2012

MAC hijacks Polaris!

In it's first 2 years, MAC has reached out of hundreds, even thousands of people and brought them closer. The common denominator amongst all these people has been anime. That is how we came to know each other, came to know MAC. But MAC's larger goal is not only to unite all otakus, it is also to take anime and Japanese culture to a larger audience and introduce them to our awesome world. That opportunity came soon after MAC's second Anniversary meet, and in a way, that is where this story began.

 Holding the fort together

An assortment of props

Polaris is the annual fest organised by the BMM department of Wilson College, Mumbai. One of MAC's newest members Darren was involved with the event, and right after the Anniversary meet (which was incidentally his first MAC meet), approached us with a possibility of involving MAC in the event. And we couldn't be more thrilled! For this was also our dream, to take anime and MAC to the masses.
The process, I daresay, was not the smoothest ride ever. As with events of this magnitude, we had no idea for the next few weeks whether Darren would be able to get us this opportunity. But two weeks before the event, he confirmed that MAC would most certainly be participating in Polaris!

Goodies at the stall

 An idle mind is the Joker's workshop

 This was all the impetus we needed. 2 weeks was a very short time to prepare for an event like this, but by then, we were used to the mad running around and the adrenaline rush that came with racing the clock. Members scoured the city for cosplay materials, met up as much as possible and worked through nights to finish cosplay props, and had innumerable phone calls, messages and skype chats to cover each and every aspect of MAC's participation. For we had been given a ripe spot -  an art stall like we had at the Anniversary meet (only this time, we were to make it bigger, better and way more badass), as well as the chance for our band Wasabi Vibes and our awesome cosplayers to perform on stage on one of the 3 days of the fest. The platform was there. We needed to come good on this.

Catching people catching people on camera

 A human amongst anime characters

A lot of people helped out in a lot of ways over the next few days - prop making, costume making, running around, getting printouts, jamming, coordinating with people... barely a couple of weeks after the anniversary meet and the same group of people who had worked their asses off for the meet were again busy trying to make another event happen. But awesomeness should never be underestimated, and the awesome members of MAC put up a show at Polaris that will be remembered for a while to come.

Not the best of days Shin chan had

Jellal's got his task cut out by Soifon

On the first day, a few of us met at 11 at the venue to set up the stall. The contents were laid out, and hilarity ensued as we tried to put up the poster on top of the stall. Having set everything up, I left for office only to come back in the evening to hear excited stories of people walking up to buy stuff and chat with us. Some were solitary otakus who had no idea MAC existed and were ecstatic beyond imagination, and some were normal people who were just curious in the beginning and blown away later by what we had to offer. There were a few cosplayers too, though being a Friday, their number was quite less. In the midst of all this came the panic inducing news of the railway strike on the western line, and a lot of the members left in a hurry. But it didn't matter. All the members who lived in that direction (which was actually the majority) had a lot of trouble getting home, but we were all looking forward to day 2.

 Chibi Aizen

Wait wut?

The second day was the highlight of the event. We had to relocate our stall to a slightly interior (but a much spacious) location. Though initially worried that people might have trouble finding us, all fears proved unfounded. The stall was crowded right from the word go, through the afternoon and all the way till the evening when we finally had to wind up. Exoctic species of MAC members who are rarely seen turned up and emptied their pockets at the stall. Like the first day, there were posters, badges, stickers, paper cube figurines, a death note, more figurines, hand made and printed bookmarks and keychains. It was a glorious sea of colours and anime awesomeness, and visitors couldn't get enough of it. To add to that, it was to be the epic cosplay day for us (since this was our day to go on stage). Along with that, there was also the Wasabi Vibes performance. In the afternoon, members disappeared one by one to the dressing room to get changed, and it was a mad rush to be ready on time. In the meanwhile, the WV members - Ritu, Samantha, Eisha, Kamya and I found ourselves an overlooked corner and practised as much as we could in that limited amount of time. (thankfully, Samantha and Cassius were the only WV members to be cosplaying that day). The time of our performance drew near and we all headed for the soundcheck and found ourselves in a complete cacophony in the dressing room, with strange black and white creatures prowling around making weird faces and speaking what sounded like Hindi and English.

Forever alone lvl: Komamura

 This is how crowded the stall was a lot of the time

The Wasabi Vibes performance was the opener to the day's proceedings. Since we were playing to a mixed audience (who we thought would be less receptive to a completely Japanese setlist), we had decided to spice things up a little. The eclectic collection of songs comprised Bring me to Life, a medley of Shunkan Sentimental and Rolling Star, and polished off by DK Bose. We were all playing acoustic instruments and were a bit edgy as well, but I think the crowd enjoyed what they heard. After the draining ten minute set, we promptly walked off stage to make way for the cosplayers.

 Wasabi Vibes on stage

 Gotei 13 and some more

 Lin Yao at his wacky best

The epic pair of Mayuri and Nemu return

And what a show they put up! Half the audience roared and the other half were stunned into silence. 20 odd cosplayers in the insanest costumes walked the stage and owned it for the next few minutes. Even though I wasn't one of them, I could feel every bit of exhilaration along with the cosplayers.
Once it was over, we made our way back to the MAC stall where we kept on taking photos for the next hour or so (at no point of time was the stall actually empty). The stall stayed open for the longest time on that day, and the cosplayers also stayed till the very end, drawing all sorts of reactions from a more 'normal' crowd.

 When Bleach finally stops making any sense

 Cosplayers, assemble!

By the time the last day arrived a lot of us (read: me) were quite worn out, but the excitement kept us going. Most of the stuff at the stall was sold out by then, but the Naruto and One Piece cosplays (accompanied by le wild shin chan) stole the day, walking around the venue, taking pictures and promoting MAC. It was a much lazier day compared to the last, but we still managed to have a lot of fun. By the time it was time to pack up, very little of the goodies were left (yes there are still some left... we'll update you about them soon), and we were all very tired and deliriously happy at how well Polaris had gone.

Wun Pisu

 Fail Zoro

 Legit Zetsu

 Shin chan and company

Mumbai Anime Club is right now on the brink of making the jump towards something big, and now is a time than no other. The members have proven their mettle time and again to work in crunch situations and still deliver. Their dedication and love for MAC is what makes it so awesome, but more than all that - their stubbornness to get things done is what amazes me the most. We have gained a lot of members over the last few months, and they only make MAC more fun and more epic. Let's hope that MAC gets more such opportunities in the near future.

The end of another epic MAC event

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