In 2019, the Manga Barcelona show brought together about 150,000 people that celebrated the 25th anniversary of an event that was born from a trend that could seem fleeting (and was not), with the emergence of Japanese animation series such as ‘Akira’ or ‘Dragon Ball’. Since that October 1995, with just 1,000 visitors and as an appendix to the Saló del Còmic, Manga Barcelona has gradually become a mass phenomenon that goes beyond the fondness for manga drawings or ‘anime’ series and that has consolidated as a showcase of Japanese culture. Unfortunately, the 2020 face-to-face edition had to be suspended, but the ‘online’ version (with some 35,000 registered) was unexpectedly successful and managed to maintain the spirit of the annual event with similar benefits, riding on an artistic expression that is all the rage, especially among young and adolescent audiences, and the recognition of a geographically remote reality, but very present in our daily environment.
The Manga Barcelona of 2021 will return to a certain normality – which we are approaching in every way -, but with the necessary anticovid sanitary measures, such as masks, the control of visitor volumes and flows or the ventilation of the pavilions of the Fira de Barcelona. Between October 29 and November 1, the 27th edition of the meeting will allow the phenomenon ‘otaku’, a generic name of the fan of this type of graphic and animated literature, participate in an extensive program of activities. The pandemic will be noticed, apart from the sanitary security measures, in facts such as that the invited Japanese authors cannot attend in person, but will be connected via ‘streaming’, or that the surface of the room occupies one less pavilion, because this it has been designated as a vaccination point. Elements that remind that the coronavirus has not gone away, but that fortunately no longer paralyzes the cultural and social life of the country.
The effervescence by the world of manga and ‘anime’ has raged even more in the middle of the pandemic, either by the influence of platforms (Netflix or the specialized Crunchyroll) either for the varied entertainment that, in times of confinement, has provided a style that can be accessed from all ages and that not only responds to the most deeply rooted topic among those unaware of the phenomenon, but also offers plot and narrative complexities that attract all kinds of reader. This increased expectation It has been verified with the previous ticket sales, sold out in a few hours. Given this circumstance, and after solving logistical problems, the organizing company, Ficomic (also responsible for Cómic Barcelona, which after two ‘online’ editions, is expected to return to the face-to-face format next year), has announced a new process that will make a remnant of tickets available to the public, also counting – as happened in other years – that the entry and exit flow of visitors allows, in principle, and after purchasing online, access the site the same day.
It is convenient to return to emphasize common sense when it comes to enjoying this unique event that allows us to access another step towards the desired normality. Intensify protective measures in a closed environment and with a large influx of public it is vital, since we must not forget that the virus is still there and it is not exactly a cartoon character.