It’s almost impossible to talk about Portugal’s sci-fi/f events without eventually mentioning IberAnime. It’s one of our two giants in the fandom/Japanese culture/geek panorama, along with Comic Con. A two-day event that happens twice a year – once in Lisbon, once in Oporto – and it’s been going strong for nine years, since March 2010.
Iberanime is one of those events that mutated throughout the years: it started off as mostly centered around anime, manga and Japanese culture, but it soon spread into other aspects of geek culture itself. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when those changes occurred – but as of now, Iberanime is a monolith of geekyness, sci-fi, fantasy, Japanese culture, fandom, indie art, gaming, roleplaying, YouTubers, cosplay…
It may seem a lot – but isn’t it what most big geek/fandom events are nowadays? A showcase of this bizarre, miscellaneous culture we’re all a part of?
It’s an event of discovery: where someone who’s just now delving into Japanese culture can go, do some fun stuff, and in the process find some artists they like. Or discover that they’re also into gaming, an interesting-sounding TV show or a book that sounds intriguing.
This year’s Iberanime Lisboa was no different: there’s so much to talk about, some things might slip my mind. But the virtue’s in trying, so let’s give it a shot:
Iberanime Lisboa 2019 took place at FIL – Feira Internacional de Lisboa on the 18th and 19th of May. The venue was sectioned, as it’s customary, between a professional stores zone, an artists alley, a gaming zone and a Japanese culture area.
It also had four main stages with continuous activities and shows: from cosplay contests – like the Cosplay World Masters Grand Final – to JoJo posing and noodle-eating competitions, Japanese artists like Hironobu Kageyama and Para Para Dance intermissions. There never truly was a moment without something to see.
In the gaming zone, a plethora of big names were were present: Omen with a dedicated gaming area with their PCs available, Nintendo with their stage featuring hosts Daniel Guerreiro and Rui Aguiar, Playstation with their VR system, Xbox, and the Nostagica space, filled with retro game stations.
Speaking of gaming, let’s also talk about board games and RPG, because they sure stood out in this edition of IberAnime: there was a dedicated space for tabletop RPGs and board games always full to the brim with people to play, and on the 18th the RFM Stage hosted a live Dungeons&Dragons campaign.
But the fun wasn’t confined to stages or stands: cosplayers roamed the venue, people dressed up in whatever they wanted were out and about. People bonded over sporting merch of their favorite charachters, or started chatting because they overheard the name of a series. The atmosphere was of complete, unabashed geekyness; which is, of course, what everyone expects from a geek event.
That being said: to the person I saw strolling by with a Barack Obama body pillow, whoever you are, I’ll never forget you.