😻The hyper magical anime night club event will be hosting their finale show! To coincide with this meowgical event Beserk is giving away a free double-pass!😻
We've been working with the awesome Neko Nation crew since it started 8 years ago. We're sad kittens that this will be the final time we get to sponsor such an adorable event - but it's going to be a blast!
See below for info on how to enter to win and for an exclusive interview with the organisers!
Neko Nation is Australia’s premier party dedicated to cosplayers, anime fans, gamers, fans of Japanese music, culture and fashion, this is the place to be! Featuring amazing DJs specialising in music from anime, video games, pop culture, Japanese artists and K-Pop.
Amazing cosplay, LED, special effect, burlesque, drag and dance performances. We’ve got places for you to chill out, take photos, play video games and even get a drink from the bar. Plus we’ve got our famous catgirls and catboys serving free sushi!
When:Saturday 18 May 2019 (opening 7:00pm)
Where:Manning Bar (Level 2, Manning House, Manning Rd, University of Sydney NSW) https://www.manningbar.com
Type of pass: 1 x double pass only (transport/accommodation not included)
Age restrictions: Winner & their guest must be over 18 and hold a valid (unexpired) ID.
HOW TO ENTER: Email us with your full name as it appears on your ID, and you'll go into the draw!
For more information about Neko Nation click HERE.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NEKO NATION ORGANISERS
SANDY & CRAIG
(photo: AD photographics)
What initially inspired you to be drawn to the anime/cosplay subculture?
Craig: I first discovered anime around 20 years ago growing up with Cheez TV in the 90’s. Every weekday morning before school had Pokemon, Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon playing on TV as the big animes that I first really go into. I loved what I saw and found a whole new world of other animes that were less suited to an early morning kids timeslot such as Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell and Akira. As for getting into the cosplay side of things, it wasn’t really until late in the 00’s that anime and pop culture conventions started becoming a thing. I visited my first one in 2006 and not only had a blast being around other anime fans but also being exposed to the amazing cosplays and the effort people put into them. It was one thing to see the amazing results of what people had worked on but hearing about a lot of the creativity, time, effort and dedication to cosplay was truly something else which blew my mind.
Sandy: Oof! This is a great question! I, like most people grew up watching Cheez TV and the like starting with Pokemon, DBZ etc in the morning before school. I think for me growing up from that, is that anime allows me to delve into another life outside the real world. Cosplay is also a huge part of that! I am generally quite shy and anxious but when I am helping run a Neko event, that disappears and on the night being in cosplay allows me to break my shell and get things done! Plus its A LOT of fun! There is nothing better than having your own magical girl sequence in the hotel, bathroom or for me even the green room before i go on stage to DJ lol. It really makes you feel empowered and wonderful. It has brought into my life a lot of amazing people and culture. I would highly recommend giving it a go meow :)
What was the motivation for devising Neko Nation and how long did it take to become a reality?
Craig:In the years leading up to Neko Nation, I had seen a large boom in the growth of conventions, cosplay events and I honestly presumed that this would lead to someone putting on an anime/cosplay club event. Not only was there no-one doing it in Perth but in Australia. In 2010, there was the successful launch of Mana Bar, a gaming bar in Brisbane, anime and cosplay clubs taking place in other parts of the world so, with the rise in popularity I thought if no one else was going to do it, I’ll give it a shot. In 2010, I was studying at university at the time and after I finished my exams, I dedicated my Summer holidays on making this event a reality. For myself, I felt I had little to lose, especially doing it on a small scale as a one off as a university holidays side project for a few months. I took inspiration from a number of similar events in Australia and around the world, conventions, alternative events and in particular events such as Outbreed, Tokyo Electro Invasion and Mogra. Essentially bringing a lot of anime elements into a club environment such as encouraging cosplay, having anime visuals and having catgirls serve sushi. First show was a success and many more have taken place since our first Perth show in February 2011!
Sandy: This is Craig's area as he was the one who did the thing :P I came in later heehee!
How do you deal with cosplay/catgirl haters?
Craig:Thankfully these days, we don’t have to deal with it as much but when we started it did prove to be difficult. Cosplay is starting to be taken a lot more seriously these days, especially with the rise and popularity of pop culture events and numerous pop culture franchises hitting the mainstream (Marvel, DC, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, etc.). That said, it’s still not something that people fully understand, it still does get looked down upon for being “childish”, “playing dress ups”. The reality is that it’s a hobby people enjoy, it’s an opportunity to express yourself, a way to escape the everyday grind of the working week, its people being awesome, creative and having fun.
Sandy: PEOPLE HATE CATGIRLS? hahaha! In all seriousness though, I have zero tolerance for anyone who makes someone feel uncomfortable or unnecessarily hated on. I am the person who will walk up to someone if I feel they need an out and do a big "Hi! OMG I HAVEN'T SEEN YOU IN AGES" and rescue them. To me, everyone is beautiful and cosplay (and catgirls/catboys!) are for EVERYONE! <3 Everyone should feel comfortable in their own skin and do what they want. We have this same aspect at Neko where if someone is feeling icky about something they can come talk to our staff and we can deal with the situation by talking to the other party or in the very worst case scenario having them removed from our event. Luckily our guests are super lovely and we haven't really had to remove anyone frequently. Remember people: cosplay is NOT consent!=^_^=
How do you select your service catgirls and catboys?
Craig:I will let Sandy answer that one as I am not really involved in selections to be honest.
Sandy:For me when i selected them, it would depend on their application. I want to see someone show me their purrsonality and show me who they are through answers. The ones I like the most are ones who write paragraphs because they are so into what they are talking about! It makes it so much fun to read and you get to know a lot about them. I also like when people are different from the norm and just give answers that make me stop and go OMG! I WOULD NEVER THINK OF THAT!!! I love a challenge. So to me its more about purrsonality and I go from there! I am more willing to select someone who gives me more than a one liner because it doesn't show me who you are. Especially when we were getting upward of 70+ applications for ONE show, you need to make yourself stand out.
How do you select your wicked DJs?
Craig:I think the biggest thing is finding DJs who understand and know how to connect with our crowd. The best DJs at Neko realise that Neko Nation is an event like no other, what works at other events won’t work here, our crowd aren’t the kind who go to many other bars or nightclubs. They want stuff that’s familiar and reminds them of all their favourite animes and video games, they want DJ’s who dress up, they want DJs who look like they’re having fun and into it. We’re not exactly looking for these untouchable magical DJ gods, rather someone who appeals greatly to the crowd as more than just the music that they play.
Sandy: I don't, that's Craig's job hahaha!
How do you feel about this being the finale NN event?
Sandy: I am all kinds of emotions right now! I am in the middle of creating my last DJ set for it, talking to all the staff and doing all the things a manager would do and sometimes before I do things I have to stop and breathe for a second! I was dreading this question because I didn't want to answer it haha! But no, I have been there since day one when it all started in Perth 2011 as a customer, worked hard to a manager role and even learnt to DJ just for Neko! It's been a very liberating and amazing experience. While I am very very sad it is ending, I wont ever forget what Neko has done for me!
What's next for Neko Nation? What can we expect in the future to replace it?
Craig:This will be the end for Neko Nation once this event is finished. I’m not sure if I’ll be 100% done with the anime/cosplay scene and events but I guess I’ll see what happens in the next few years. As for what will replace Neko Nation, I don’t see a replacement as such but I do see it’s highly likely we will start seeing events taking plenty of inspiration from Neko Nation around Australia. In the past few years there has been the growth of anime convention after parties, the rise of idol culture thanks to animes such as Love Live, a rise in the number of gaming events and bars. When I first started, I had no evidence or similar events that proved that an event like this could work, I didn’t know where the anime or cosplay scene that would be interested in this event was and even then, trying to convince them to take a risk on trying a new untested concept and event. Whoever starts the next Neko will have the advantage of knowing that there is a scene for this and this is an event that people love and are definitely interested in. I have no doubt we will see similar events pop up in the near future.
Sandy:For us, It will be taking some time out and getting back into real life. Seeing events, going places and even travelling. We also aim to help other events that have helped us along the way or even sponsors! Currently I will be volunteering at SMASH! (I applied like a normal person for once lol!) which i am SUPER looking forward to because i have no idea what i will be doing yet and that excites me! WOOOO! With regards to any events to replace Neko... I don't think there would be a direct replacement BUT I think there are a lot of events coming in now that harness some of the Neko spirit. Events such as Neo Tokyo, Yokai Beatz, Drop Zone and Rocket Science all have their own aspects and they are the ones to look out for in the future! I am really excited to see where those events go and will be there dancing it out and supporting them as much as I can!
Craig:*Sighs* Do i have to put one? *flails at keyboard*... Deathnote, Made in abyss, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt are ones that come to mind. OH! Love live and Your name too! Some absolutely amazing animes! Of course I watch a lot more but it would take 2 hours for everyone to read through!
Sandy:Just one? *sighs and ponders*... I need more than one answer lol so i will do my faves for you. Panty & Stocking with garterbelt is my all time fave. Hellsing OVA, Kemeno friends and Umaru! They're all super cute (with the exception of Hellsing) and are great to watch on a hard day. Highly recommend! And let's not forget the magic that is Love live! Cute idol waifus changing the world (or school rather lol).
Favourite K-pop/J-pop group right now?
Craig:Teddyloid and Blackpink are my faves! I can't wait to see Teddy again and we are heading out to the Blackpink concert when they come over :)
Sandy: Asking the Kpop/JPOP dj this lol... ummmm... OK! this one is a lot easier than the last one mainly because no matter who comes along my answer has always been the same lol. Fave KPOP group is VIXX.They aren't as well known but they have amazing concepts and RAVI! OOF! Fave JPOP artist is my one and only waifu Kyary Paymyu Pamyu who needs no introduction. A mix of cute and obscure with a dash of magical girl! What more would you want in a JPOP idol?
One must go: Playstation or Nintendo? And why?
Craig:ummm.. one must go? *gasps* I am going to say Playstation because Nintendo Switch is portable! I'm sorry! It was close though.
Sandy:Oh gees! Nintendo! I grew up on Playstation since PS1 came out and I am sorry but I just like a lot more of the games on Playstation like Tekken and Bayonetta. To me Nintendo needs a bit more range. In saying that I do appreciate the Nintendo Switch atm.
If you had to eat one type of sushi roll for the rest of your life what would it be?
Craig:Aburi Salmon! (for those who don't know, its a super amazing torched & partially grilled salmon they can add cheese to!)
Sandy: Definitely Chicken karaage roll with celery, carrot and dipped in Kewpie! *drools!* I am allergic to shellfish and my choice is the one and only that i will always keep an eye out for!
(photo: Winston Smith)