Record 150k flock to Barcelona Manga Fair
Director of the four-day event assures they “exceeded expectations”
Barcelona’s own fair dedicated to all things manga, anime, and Japanese pop culture – the Manga Fair – closed its doors on Sunday with record attendance.
Last year, the ‘Saló del Manga,’ as it’s known in Catalan, hit an broke 145,000 attendees, and this 24th edition surpassed its own record, with over 150,000 ticket-holders. This, all while lasting one day less than the 2017 event, which was also held at the Fira de Montjuïc venue in Barcelona and put on by FICOMIC.
Fair organizers “very happy”
“We exceeded expectations,” celebrated the Manga Fair director Meritxell Puig; indeed, for the first time in the history of the event, it sold out presale tickets before opening day on November 1.
The fair director also highlighted the “success” of the participation-based events, and also said that the event has “room to continue growing.” In all, Puig expressed her and her colleagues are “very happy.”
More exhibitors than before
This year’s high attendance is in part due to its timing, since the Manga Fair’s first day fell on the All Saint’s Day national holiday on a Thursday, after which many people throughout Europe, Spain, and Catalonia got an extra day off for a four-day weekend.
The 2018 edition of the Manga Fair was held in the same 75,000-meter squared space than before, but with 9% more exhibitors (at 222) and with more activities than ever.
A space for kids, tradition, and art
One of the novelties this year was the Manga Kids space, dedicated to introducing little ones to the art form, or even sporting events, a nod to the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Japanese culture beyond the specific manga illustration was also featured at the Japan Experience space, providing an intersection between the traditional and the modern.
The exhibit to see this year was ‘Language, Objects, and Beasts,’ examining the blurred lines between animals and humans in manga, graphic novels, and beyond, with 130 original works as well as video and audio installations; it was brought outside Japan for the first time thanks to the Japan Media Arts Festival.
What next year holds
“We want for more and more people to learn about us and for them to be able to do more activities,” explained Puig regards upcoming plans for the fairs to come. Next year will be the event’s 25th anniversary, and the director advanced that some of the activities from this year will make an appearance again.
Next year’s timing is sure to be interesting as well: the Barcelona Manga Fair will run from October 31 to November 3, and Puig already knows that it will be “a big party.”