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Mazecon returns in little over a month from now and the big question in everyone’s mind is – What took so long? “There was definitely some burnout immediately following our last offering in 2017,” replies Mushfik Rahman, a member of the Facebook group’s admin panel since 2016.

“We had achieved a monumental milestone with a turnout exceeding 1,300 attendants. It was the fourth and as of right now, the final instalment of Mazecon, because we needed a break. Unfortunately, by the time we were ready to end the hiatus, the coronavirus pandemic started and the rest, as you know, is history.”

As I was writing a feature on Summer Con, the news of the return of Mazecon reached my years. The info was most pleasing if I’m honest. Yes, it absolutely is and while we are on topic, let us delve into the history of Mazecity and Mazecon itself.

Mazecon 2023

Mazecity The Start Of Anime Enthusiasts’ Revolution

“What got you guys started?” I ask them. “Well, most of us were not there when it all got started,” replies Irtiza Chowdhury with a chuckle, one of the more senior members of the admin panel, having assumed the role in 2013, “but in the early days of the community, Mazecity existed not as a Facebook group, which was created in 09, but rather through discussions across various online forums leading to offline meetups at roadside tea stalls and diners.”

“Was there a specific mission statement when the group was established?” The question was taken by Fardeen Azwad, an admin since 2021, who answered with – “Not really, no, there wasn’t anything particular decided on back then, nor is there now.”

“We do not want to lead the community as much as just provide them with a space to discuss something that they love while going with the flow, letting them express their passion for the medium in their individual ways whether it be through posting reviews or fan arts, given of course everything meets a set of rules dictated by Facebook’s terms and policies.”

Despite so, the group has still suffered numerous setbacks as a result of the social platform’s antics. Maybe it is high time for them to invest in their own app! Certainly, seems to be the ongoing trend of the season. “I think we are beginning to lose count of how many removals we have been hit with,” says Mushfik. “Although, the latest deletion near the end of 2022 was catalytic – a proverbial kick in the ass – to make us go ‘‘Hey, I think we outta do Mazecon V.’’

Mazecon - TE Cover - Deshi Geek
Mazecon – TE Cover – Deshi Geek

Mazecon Returns From The Abyss

“Were there any other talks of Mazecon before then?” “Always in the backburner. Post-COVID, we obviously wanted to be responsible and not organize a ‘‘super spreader.’’ Furthermore, the usual logistical challenges also reared their ugly heads. However, factored in with the aforementioned reason, a partnership with Source? magazine was another push that got us working to make those talks a reality.” “A partnership with Source? – That’s impressive!” I’m compelled to remark.

“And we’ve got a lot more,” he adds. “AE Bangladesh aided us with some of the managerial concerns while Qrio the Curious Shop is helping us with community outreach – they’ve been very supportive, stating how being part of Mazecon 2023 takes them back to their roots as the first event that they set up shop in was Mazecon 2017.’

“For media, Frontpage BD will be covering us and Tickify is handling ticket sales. So overall, this is exactly what we’ve had in mind for Mazecon – we could’ve outsourced the whole thing, but we have always wanted it to be an event for the community by the community and everyone’s coming together for it.”

 “So, in a manner of speaking, could that be the unofficial mission statement of Mazecity?” I suggest. “Yeah, it could be seen like that. We wanted to create a safe space for enthusiasts of the culture so they could come together and enjoy this media with others of similar interests, but we also wanted to make sure we didn’t create an echo chamber.”

“Therefore, strong moderation had to be put in place to guarantee all our members, regardless of how different their viewpoint about the media might be, can voice themselves without getting ganged up on by those who disagree with them. Our goal is to strike a middle ground in the fandom and make it an acceptable safe space for everyone involved. Thus, sacrifices have had to be made when it comes to the sort of content we approve.”

Mazecon Previous Event

Contests And Prizes Of Mazecon

“What’s the general category of contests in Mazecon?” I probe. “Memes,” Prottoy Rahman responds, a moderator turned admin as of 2020. “That has been the case even more so since the lockdowns – attention spans have decreased over time with people confined at home looking for short-term gratification.”

“Prior to then, they had a greater desire to indulge in novel activities such as quizzes, a segment we are trying to revive at the moment but we don’t know what to hope for. MazeArt, the art competition being coordinated by Irtiza, would be another endeavor to encourage more creative content in the group.”

“It’s a competition for art of the illustrative kind,” Irtiza clarifies. “We’ve noticed, excluding memes, that’s the content form with the largest quantity of submissions given the low barrier to entry. Most of our demographic is young, so drawing something they see on the screen or a page is an activity of relative ease compared to penning an essay analyzing concepts and themes via the use of words.”

“You have to consider the effort-to-output ratio: writing is much harder, to be honest, and far less rewarding, because how many are going to read your work afterwards? You’re not getting a lot of reactions and it’s frankly demoralizing. So, although we’ve tried to get the community to produce more literary content through review contests and such, I’m afraid our success has been minimal.”

“Speaking of contests though,” I inquire, “what are the prize pools of those being conducted at Mazecon 2023?” “24k for the art competition,” Irtiza lists, “10k for the low-cost cosplay competition and 70k for the standard cosplay competition and video game tournament.”

Mazecon - PE Gathering - Deshi Geek
Mazecon – PE Gathering – Deshi Geek

Connecting People Through The Passion For Anime

“That’s big money,” I comment. “I can tell you’re putting a lot into Mazecon’s resurrection let’s call it and what I wanna know at this point is why – why do you guys do what you do, going to such lengths for this community and for this media, and what makes you all so ardently zealous about it?”

Fardeen goes first – “Given we’re both writers, perhaps you’ll understand if I explain this with two stories, one from the past and one from the present. Regarding the former, I was in school and there was this day my mom barged into my room asking why the landline bill was so high, interrogating me about whether I had gotten myself a girlfriend and was talking to her all night long.”

“The truth? I was talking to a friend about anime and to connect with someone at such a level over this media, the spiritual bond it was instrumental in forging, don’t you think that’s magical? Even today, and that’s the latter tale, I remember the huge smile on the face of one of my colleagues when I mentioned One Piece recently – it was of the happiness one feels from shared experiences and to know we’ve shared this experience across the boundaries of time and space.”

“I want to share that joy with the world so others can also experience it. On that note, I hope what we are doing expands the culture, increasing anime viewership and manga literacy, and I wanna urge people to support the creators by fighting piracy and consuming ethically from authentic sources such as Fournetsha who has been a massive benefactor of ours in this ambitious pursuit.”

“In my day,” Irtiza goes next, “anime wasn’t as mainstream as it is currently, so meeting someone who’s into the culture was special yet rare. The media’s unique method of storytelling left an impression, but not having anyone to share my thoughts with was frustrating. That’s why I want people to experience such special encounters without the frustrating aspect of their rarity.”

Mazecon - PE Performance - Deshi Geek
Mazecon – PE Performance – Deshi Geek

“The unique method of storytelling, yes,” Prottoy chimes in, “My mind was utterly blown away by it. I used to draw a lot and got intrigued by the visuals initially, but exploring the depths beyond, reading reviews and essays, that’s what made me fall in love for good.”

“For me, it’s the connection,” Mushfik opines, “which gave me a sense of belonging in a new town after moving from Brahmanbaria to Dhaka. Knowing I have a community of people to bond with because of this media regardless of wherever I am was, is and always will be something I cherish.”

“Wow! I…” I was speechless. Hence, I elected my venerable guests to issue the closing on my behalf.

“Grab yourselves a ticket now for automatic entry into our raffle to win surprises at Mazecon in Marriott Convention Center this upcoming 29th of September, 2023,” Prottoy did the honors, “and catch all the updates until then at Deshi Geek!”



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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