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AnimeCon Dhaka 2023 is the recurring anime event of the hugely popular AnimeCon franchise. Amid heat waves and sunlit showers, AnimeCon is back again with another instalment of their grand event this summer as AnimeCon Dhaka 2023: Sakura and it will be a return in more ways than one. Firstly, rumors are abuzz of Mr Ariful Haque being present again as the stage director.

Secondly, it will be taking place once more at Tokyo Square Garden in the very same hall that witnessed AnimeCon: Tokyo Skyline. So, will AnimeCon Dhaka 2023 also be facing similar issues to the aforementioned convention?

AnimeCon Dhaka 2023

AnimeCon – A Series of Learning Experiences

“I believe we have learned our lessons from it,” says Oly Shahriar Hasan, founder of AnimeCon. “There were gaps in security that we will have a tight check on. Furthermore, ticket numbers are of limited availability as was the case with AnimeCon: Yuki Matsuri in December 2022.” When asked if Yuki Matsuri itself was part of the learning experience, he answered, “Definitely. It is an ongoing learning curve in this line of business and AnimeCon: Yuki Matsuri was no different. Although the crowd response was positive, the event was still a major financial loss.”

Indeed, it was Deshi Geek that broke the unfortunate news to the public, but what has been done this time to address the shortcoming was my next question to the founder. “Originally, it was our intention to book the bigger hall for the purposes of crowd control. However, ticket sales had also been restricted for the same reason. Thus, what we got was a smaller than average turnout in a venue capable of accommodating three times more even after being totally sold out.”

Wow! Okay, that must have been quite the sight to behold. So, what is happening now? Will we be getting three times the usual number of tickets on sale? “No,” replies Mr Oly Shahriar, “it is not feasible for us to handle a crowd that size at the moment. This is where the matter of security plays its role. We cannot lose sight of safety and quality in search of higher profit margins. Profits are themselves another means of acquiring better resources to guarantee our audiences a fun time.”

AnimeCon Dhaka 2023 - Goldfish Scooping
AnimeCon Dhaka 2023 – Goldfish Scooping

A Fun Time at AnimeCon: Sakura

And how might the audience have it at this instalment of AnimeCon Dhaka 2023? “Well, there will always be the standard attractions – cosplay, karaoke and dance performances, merchandise stalls, the fighting games tournament and goldfish scooping,” Oly Shahriar runs us through the list before dropping the bomb to Deshi Geek, “alongside some new interactive games.” Whoa! Alright, we are listening.

“Currently,” he continues, “registration is open for Guess the Pokémon which is an MCQ-based game we are conducting in collaboration with AniMahou referencing the Who’s That Pokémon? The segment that would precede an ad-break in the days of the Pokémon anime.” A direct strike to the nostalgia nerve of many weebs worldwide! But wait, there’s more!

“Way of the Wind is another game audiences can take part in on-location. Participants will be blindfolded and tasked with the challenge of correctly hitting a rung bell using a bokken. Winners will receive a plethora of exquisite prizes.”

“Let’s not forget the wishing well,” adds co-founder Wakil Ahmed Shabi to the conversation. “Then what now?” I am compelled to do a double take. “It has always been my dream to bring this to one of our events for a long while,” he tells me. “The idea derives from European folklore. Wells were seen as miraculous sites housing deities because of their association with water, the source of life. That’s why people would often make wishes at them.” Mr Wakil Ahmed made one too, I suppose, to have his own at AnimeCon: Sakura.

“I am really glad we were finally able to manage the arrangements for it,” he says. “The audience can make their wish and drop a coin into the well which will all be collected and donated to a charity. So, we may also be able to fulfil the wishes of the many underprivileged for a more prosperous life.”

AnimeCon Dhaka 2023 - Guess The Pokemon
AnimeCon Dhaka 2023 – Guess The Pokemon

The Past, the Present and the Future of AnimeCon

Waki Ahmed Shabi has stood by Oly Shahriar’s side from the beginning of their venture in 2016, combining his passion for business with his love for manga and anime to establish AnimeCon. “I am grateful to be working with him,” expresses Oly Shahriar. “I remember watching Samurai X airing on BTV as a kid, growing up a fan of the culture but not having the space to meet others such as myself. Together, we wanted to change that.”

“AnimeCon is not just a commercial venture for me,” he further elaborates. “It is a venture to build a community, not just in Dhaka or Chattogram as we have been able to reach thus far, but beyond the borders of Bangladesh. Last year, when Ariful Haque took the seat of event director, he announced his vision to elevate the platform. It is a vision we all share here at AnimeCon and we are soon hoping to reach international levels.”

In terms of how much of his personal vision Oly Shahriar believes he has achieved until now, he states “About 30% if we were to get mathematical with it. During Tokyo Skyline, we were able to formulate a relationship with the Japanese Embassy. This year, JETRO will be the main event partner of AnimeCon Dhaka 2023.

Culturally, we are the first to feature goldfish scooping and karaoke at our events. By next year or so, we want to feature a J-Pop band or two as well as cosplayers from abroad.” Sic parvis magna. Ambitions are vast and the peak is daunting, but their words and actions prove they are certainly willing to persevere and endure the climb. What started as something I can bet was written off by most as a naïve endeavor of two college friends has turned into a phenomenon of state-wide proportions.

Nonetheless, this is merely the tip of the iceberg that we are scratching the surface of and you, dear reader, are part of the journey. So please, come join us, won’t you? Because Deshi Geek is proud to bring you – as its media partner – AnimeCon: Sakura! See you in June. Book your tickets today.



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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