Recapping Movie Jabber Expo 2022 – A Review by Sam Kombo

December 19, 202211 min read

A recap of the Movie Jabber Expo 2022 by Cold Take Geeks’ Sam Kombo. This recap is republished here with permission from Cold Take Geeks and the author.

Movie Jabbeer Expo 2022 (or MJX for the cool kids) came through on the 3rd of December 2022 to bring the curtains down on a brilliant year for comic conventions in Nairobi. MJX was a one-day affair packed with fun activities, close competitions and more merch than you can shake a stick at, or should I say wand?

What We Loved

MJX started off with what would’ve definitely been a curve ball for the organisers. The Nairobi County Government clampdown on nightclubs neighbouring residential areas didn’t seem like it would affect a comic convention during the day. But, the location of the event venue on the outdoors rooftop of the Junction Mall was forced to change to one of the indoor parking halls two days before the convention to reduce any noise pollution. The fact that the organisers managed to comply with the regulations, while still providing an experience that attendees would enjoy is commendable.

The convention itself went smoothly. The doors opened on time, and while some tables were still being set up, there was already plenty to do for any early attendees.

The selection of vendors was as robust as expected. Lots of tables selling merch of all kinds from pins, keychains, and jewellery like IsekawaiiNairobi Otaku ShopAnime House Merchandise and Shinigami Threads; to food vendors like Big Dayum Heroes; and an amazing collection of indie comic book sellers from Shadow WalkersBetween the LinesJonteComicsagePeda ComicsDrelix Media and Maktaba Studios.

The presence of food vendors was a big plus, as it allowed attendees to stick around the venue much longer. The food selection was also amazing as there was even a stand selling Japanese food!

The music was an absolute high point of the convention. Hallyu KE – a branch from Movie Jabber targeting the K-pop fanbase in Kenya – had a whole section of the program dedicated to groups or individuals performing choreography for their favourite K-pop groups. From BTS to Blackpink; the fans sang their hearts out, and the performers brought their A-game.

There was also a brief music set by the band uranium92 , which was exciting, energetic and a brilliant use of the platform.

The music section then concluded with Ennaira performing ‘Power’ (which you can find on SpotifyBoomplay, and Apple Music), the MJX theme song. 

The idea of having an expo theme song is a super cool way to keep guys engaged and is very much in the spirit of the type of media highlighted at the con. While the song was released in the run-up to the convention, it would’ve been amazing  for it to have been woven into its branding and identity, as Power is an absolutely awesome track.

Gaming also featured heavily at MJX. Movie Jabber arcade held a competitive Mortal Kombat 11 tournament, but they also had open play for Demon Slayer; Hinokami Chronicles.

Signup for the MK11 tournament was completed in the days prior to the convention, and the tournament was mainly played out in the earlier hours. Organisation was tight and there was more than enough space for everyone interested to get a view of the match-ups as they played out.

First place went to Xcalibur Mitch, netting him a Kshs 5,000 voucher from Shuffle PCs, a pair of premium KZ earphones, as well as a Nairobi Otaku Shop gift hamper. Kevin Maina in second got a Kshs 3,000 voucher, a pair of KZ earphones, and a Nairobi Otaku Shop gift hamper. Mike Kandie in third got a Kshs 2,000 Shuffle PCs voucher and a Nairobi Otaku Shop gift hamper. Finally for the awards, Joe Muraya in 4th and Joseph Mutinda in 5th both got Nairobi Otaku Shop gift hampers.

Logitech had a stand at MJX; their gaming-centric PC peripherals were front and center on their display, but once again the G29 steering wheel was the showstopper, with two rigs set up for attendees to play Gran Turismo 7.

Game Changer also came through with their Nintendo Switch display, and a copy of Just Dance  to get the people going!

The Cosplay competition is always the showstopper to a good convention, and MJX did not disappoint. 

Competitive cosplay at MJX is split into three categories, a ‘General’ category, targeted at newer cosplayers (though we did get a couple of veterans), a ‘Team’ category where the fans decide on the winner, and a ‘Cosplay Runway’ with a theme, stricter rules, and most importantly, a bigger prize pot.The convention had a Marvel vs DC theme, which cosplayers for the Cosplay runway had to abide by. 

All the cosplayers, in all categories, brought their A-game, but at the end of the day there can only be one winner (and two runners-up per category).

The General category was won by Beatrice Chepkwony’ as Ms. Marvel and she walked away with Ksh.15,000. Alvin Mutua in second place walked away with Ksh.10,000 as Starlord T’challa from Marvel’s What If? Sharon Wawira walked away with Ksh.5000 in third place as Megumi from the anime Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku Wo! (Konosuba).

The Team category was won by JermaineAndrew and William cosplaying as The Z Fighters; Goku, Broly and Vegeta, respectively, from Dragon Ball. They each won Ksh.2000 worth of Safaricom airtime.

The Cosplay Runway was won by Wayne Mutai as The Phoenix Wolverine. He walked away with Ksh.30,000. Fahmy Umar won Ksh.20,000 in second place as Kid Flash, and Mutendei Nabutete won Ksh.10,000 in third place as Black Adam.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

There was also a screening of  One Piece Film Red, where some attendees managed to get an opportunity to watch the movie at the Century Cinemax screens at the Junction Mall.

What Could Be Better

The sound system was disappointing. The speakers at the main stage were doing double duty as the public announcement system. Unfortunately, this meant that no matter how loud announcements were, they frequently could not be heard from the other side of the hall. It wasn’t any better for those within earshot of the speakers, though, as the system sounded muddy. This also affected audience members taking video on their phones, especially during the choreography section. Anyone who tried would’ve gotten videos that would be unwatchable due to the sound peaking out any in-built microphone.

The sound was also a disappointment during uranium92’s set, as the volume levels of the instruments were either too high or too low, and for the start of their set it was almost difficult to hear anything over the keyboard.

The schedule for the convention was also not fully marketed before the event. While a program did exist and was shared prior to the convention, it was primarily on the Instagram and Twitter pages of MJX and their affiliates. This led to a situation where the sequence of events on the day could end up feeling a little random to attendees who weren’t in the know, complicated by the aforementioned inaudible announcements. Posters or signs throughout the hall featuring the schedule would’ve eased this concern.

One major, but also frequently overlooked complaint is accessibility. While the venue could be accessed using the elevator, seating at the venue itself was rather limited. Attendees who could not stay on their feet for long stretches of time  were mostly restricted to the main stage. This is a significant, but also unfortunately frequent oversight for events. On the bright side, it can be resolved with more seating spread out through the rest of the venue.

All in all, we feel that Movie Jabber Expo did a great job, and ended this season of conventions on a high.

Were you there? What did you think about it? Tell us everything in the comments below or on Cold Take Geeks’ socials!

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