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Chronicle Of Manga Barcelona, Friday: “I Am The Contagion Of The Class”

At 6.58 in the morning there was already a small group of 10 ‘otakus’, the earliest risers , waiting at the entrances of the 27th edition of Manga Barcelona. There were still a couple of hours to go before the doors were opened after two years without being present due to the covid and there was a longing for the living room, a longing for a festive meeting, for a massive event , even if it was with a mask and constant hand washing.

Flowing entrance at 9 am by fans and unconditional fans of comics and Japanese culture, who soon stormed the different spaces, especially the ‘merchandising’ sales area, but also the book stands. It was not yet 11 o’clock and Pedro and Angelo, arrived from Llançà, were living their first Manga Barcelona, ​​unfolding on one of the tables arranged to rest a whopping 14 newly purchased sleeves each, as well as a couple of dolls .

After taking a photo of the loot, they keep it in backpacks. With them loaded to the top, they say, now they will sit down to decide where to follow the journey of the day.

The two of them are, it might be said, in plain clothes. But there is no Manga Barcelona without ‘ cosplayers ‘, the pandemic has not changed it: a colorful parade of costumes and elaborate outfits. There they are, very soon, Dara and Aida taking pictures in front of a large Pokémon ceiling , and Dara is dressed as Pikachu , with her electric yellow lighting up Pavilion 5. “We like the atmosphere of the room, the socializing with friends, the party, preparing the costume, buying sleeves … “, he enumerates.

‘Boom’
Friday morning is usually always the weakest, but in a pandemic nothing is like before. Without crowds, with a lot of space to walk through and get lost, but with a constant flow and tingling of visitors that at lunchtime was already a crowd (not in vain it must be remembered that the tickets were sold out within a few hours of getting to the sale), Manga Barcelona started up, that was the main thing, many of them said: the return of the party, of feeling part of a community that shares the same tastes and that is experiencing a ‘boom’, a sweet moment without precedents in Spain, both in terms of readers and sales, as well as published titles.

It was after 11 o’clock when the inauguration of the room was officially celebrated on one of the stages with the traditional breaking of the sake barrel (like someone who cuts the ribbon or hits the bottle to launch a boat, explains the festival’s gastronomic master of ceremonies, Roger Ortuño) and the subsequent toast.To this he put himself together with the director of the show, Meritxell Puig; the director of Ficomic, Patrici Tixis, and the consul of Japan (premiering at Manga Barcelona, ​​he took over in July 2020 and he already wanted, he confesses, to live in a salon that had been told so much to him), Sato Yasushi.

Each one with a resounding wooden mallet and dressed in a Japanese jacket, broke the barrel and then served small glasses of sake among the public and “‘Kanpai!'” (Japanese style chinchín): a collective toast to the return to the presence. This Saturday, from authorities, it will be possible to see the Minister of Culture, Miquel Iceta, in the morning, and in the afternoon the President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonés.

In one of the chairs waiting for the sake is Montserrat, 22 years old. “I have been coming since I was 13. I really wanted to go back and I have the pass for the four days.

On Sunday I will come with my little sisters in disguise. I have transmitted my passion for manga to them,” he says after the mask, black, like his clothes and The two bat wings like Batman that he wears on his head, but no: “They are from Akira, from the ‘Devilman’ series . I like him because he is psychological horror. He is a somewhat bad character, who transforms into a demon but he does not he wants to. I like the human part of him. ” After the toast, he escapes to a workshop to learn to write Japanese.

Genuine ‘cosplayers’
Peering between the stands are Judith and two friends. Both are called Àlex and they are genuine ‘cosplayers’, who await contests like water in May. One emulates Kirito, from the ‘Sao’ series , another one from Kizaru, from ‘One Piece’. They are between 26 and 31 years old and as kids, they say, they got hooked on anime, then jumping to manga. She, on the other hand, went straight to the comics.

Supercharacterized is also Noa, from Road Kamelot, from the series ‘D.Gray-man’,concrete. “I like it because she is a bit crazy and has character,” she says with her friend Paula, who assures that she has grown up with the salon – it began when it was still being held in La Farga de L’Hospitalet-. Both with “a lot of desire to return to enjoy this environment, to meet people with interests common to yours, to ‘cosplay’, to look for exclusive ‘merchandising’ that you can only find here …”.

The ‘contagion’ of the class
Meanwhile, in another pavilion the demonstrations of students and cartoonists trained at the Escola Joso begin. There is Marian Company, author of ‘The history of manga in manga’. And outside, in the Plaza del Univers, already about to go for a snack is Lucas, 10 years old, next to his mother who, sitting on the ground, guards his loot: six bags of sleeves and dolls. He wears an Itachi coat. He started watching anime in 2019 on the advice of a friend. “And I have been the coronavirus, in class I have infected them all and now everyone likes manga and anime,” he says proudly. The new generations.

10 essential news for Manga Barcelona
The awards
While at 12:38, from its social networks, Manga Barcelona announced that some tickets had been released (which meant that there were those who had already left the venue and that those vacancies had generated available tickets) the Auditorium was premiered in this edition with the delivery of the festival awards:

Sleeve:

Best Shojo: ‘Banana fish’, by Akimi Yoshida (Panini Comics)

Best shonen: ‘Chainsan man’, by Tatsumi Fujimoto (Norma)

Best Josei: ‘Madoka’s Secret’, by Kingyobachi Deme (Kodai)

Best sheinen: ‘Maximum Berserk’, by Kentaro Miura (Panini Comics)

Best manga by a Spanish author: ‘Urara’, by Ron and Kurohaine

Best BL: ‘Akamatsu and Seven. Macarras in love ‘, by Hiromasa Okujima and Shoowa (Tomodomo)

Best yuri: ‘Goodbye my rose garden’, by Dr. Pepperco (Arechi)

Best kodomo: ‘One piece party’, by Ei Andou (Comic Planet)

Best light novel: ‘Diary of a mangaka’, by Inio Asano (Milky Way Editions)

Best fanzine: ‘Transition 3’, by Ariko and other Anime authors :

Best theatrical release of an anime film: ‘Promare’

Best anime series on platforms: ‘Attack on Titan’

Best Anime Movie on TV: ‘Evangelium 3.0 + 1.0: Thrice upon a time’

Best physical anime film: ‘Digimon adventur: Last evolution kizuna’

Best physical anime series: ‘My hero academia’

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