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AnimeCon Chattogram 2023 is just around the corner and it is named ‘Sakura’ just like the Dhaka edition. The Sakura of Dhaka wilted amid the scorching heat waves as it became one of the worst AnimeCon events ever. However, the organizers are determined not to make the same mistakes in Chattogram. So, will we see radiant Sakura blossoms in AnimeCon Chattogram?! Well, only time will tell.

Mismanagement, overcrowding, dissatisfaction – the recurring cast of complaints levelled against AnimeCon events in Dhaka after seemingly every offering from the brand to the community since Tokyo Skyline set the trend in 2021. However, Tokyo Skyline also witnessed the genesis of another phenomenon and no, I am not talking about it being my first-ever convention again!

“We had been noticing that the number of submissions for the art and review contests we were conducting at the time saw those from Chattogram surpass those from Dhaka by a wide margin,” relates Oly Shahriar Hasan co-organizer of AnimeCon Chattogram, “and their home cosplay competitions showed considerable activity. We needed to capitalize on the hype.”

“When exactly was the decision made?” I probe. A chuckle precedes his reply, “Well, it was during a memorable occasion for you. Personally, that day is very memorable for me too because of my failure to provide an enjoyable experience to our audience. We wondered if taking the game to a new playing field would bring about some welcome change.” Hence the decision to hold AnimeCon Chattogram to revitalize the brand in a positive way!

AnimeCon Chattogram – A Breath of Fresh Air!

“It was definitely something that was much needed back then,” remarks Oly Shahriar with delight, “both for us, the organizers, and the people attending our events: their faces were happier, their excitement was infectious and we all returned to Dhaka recharged and fulfilled after AnimeCon Chattogram 2022!”

AnimeCon Chattogram 2022

“Did your wallets reflect the sentiments?” Oly Shahriar guffaws at the question, shaking his head. “No, no, but I don’t see that as a negative because profits were not our main goal for the experiment. You have to excuse my poor memory but I think I might have already mentioned this to you before about the public perceiving business as bad which is simply not true. Business is business – it is a means to an end and the end I am trying to achieve is establishing a healthy platform for our community.”

“Controlled, steady growth is a sign of good health,” he expounds, “and right now we are attempting to grow our reach until every member of the pop culture community across Bangladesh has a place to call their own – AnimeCon Chattogram is a step forward towards accomplishing that.”

“Thus, I am not prioritizing profits at the moment because when you start building a house, your initial aim is to lay down the foundation.” Oly continues, “Of course, soon enough, I hope to beautify this home for our community, to equip it with the finest available amenities. Then, money becomes a larger point of focus as such accommodations would require bigger and bigger sums to be afforded and sustained.”

AnimeCon Chattogram 2023 – Same, But Different?!

“The venue of AnimeCon Chattogram 2023 is around thirty thousand square feet in area which is twice the size of the hall that we booked for Tokyo Skyline,” details Oly Shahriar. “Is it where the event was held last year as well?” I inquire. “Yes,” he answers, “GEC Convention Center, located at the Port City’s Aman Bazar in Fatahabad.”

“And what can the attendants expect there?” “Well, the theme of AnimeCon Chattogram will mirror the event in Dhaka this year just as it did in 2022. Then, it was Mirai which was the inauguration of the first ever Bangladeshi pop culture brand mascot, Mirai. Our current theme is Sakura and I believe something upsetting was said about that by a visitor to our co-founder Wakil.”

“It was warranted,” chimes in Wakil Ahmed Shabi. “I am open to valid criticism and that is precisely what the statement was, although conveyed in quite a derisive manner, I must add. Nonetheless, I understand he was equally as upset as I was after listening to his words or maybe more so. People are spending their hard-earned money to come to these events and then they are faced with suffocation from overheating and poor ventilation. Who would not be upset?”

“The climate certainly did not ease matters,” Oly Shahriar comments, “and we are very thankful it has made a switch for the better now with these regular monsoon showers. Humidity is high but temperatures are low. The midsummer heat waves have finally subsided and the weather has been relatively comfortable. Furthermore, the greater spaciousness of the venue is likely to prevent any of the major issues we encountered in Dhaka, so we are fairly optimistic about AnimeCon Chattogram and our audience should be too. We are bringing them our best!”

“Absolutely!” Wakil Ahmed nods in approval. “We have the customary mainstays – cosplay, karaoke, goldfish scooping and the Naruto Ninja Storm fighting game tournament. Oly has been in touch with our promotional partners who are lending tremendous support to ensure its success.”

AnimeCon Chattogram Attractions
AnimeCon Chattogram Attractions

Sakura Of Hope And Success?!

“Star Cineplex for example,” Oly Shahriar informs, “who sponsored raffle draws issuing free tickets at our previous events will be advertising AnimeCon Chattogram via a two-day campaign. It is a positive development for our community as the effort signifies an increasing overlap between our key demographics, meaning we can look ahead to more anime movie showings at their theaters in the future.”

“So,” I broach, “could live AnimeCon watch parties be someday in store for us?” “Why not?” Wakil Ahmed shrugs, entertaining the prospect. “We are constantly brainstorming to figure out more engaging experiences for the community and the idea is promising. A potential framework for the infrastructure is already present. We just need to cultivate it and the process for that has been collaterally underway. Suffice to say, vast possibilities are at hand.”

Yet, the nagging doubt in everyone’s mind, including mine, remains: how probable is the realization of these possibilities in the grander scheme?

“If I did not think I can make it happen within the next five years, I would not be talking about them,” declares Oly Shahriar. “I am aware of my failures, especially the most recent ones: they have been woefully discouraging, yes, but they have also fueled me to intensify my endeavors. I am inspired by our community and it is my genuine desire to exhibit the deep pool of talent we have among us    upon the highest stage of them all.”

With that, I conclude this feature of the upcoming AnimeCon Chattogram 2023, to be held on the 4th of August. Let us all wish this one will make the Sakura of hope and success bloom. On another note, do check out my recent feature on Ahnaf Sami!



Just another cluster of stardust tracing footprints upon the sand in the hourglass, a vain reach to grasp eternity. “We’re all stories in the end… Stories are where memories go when they’re forgotten.” — Doctor Who

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