SMASH! was founded in 2007 by Katie Huang and Paul Aeria. An accomplished artist in her own right, Katie was looking for an event with a stronger focus on art than most conventions in Australia had at the time. (Paul just had some free time.) Katie and Paul were quickly joined by others and the event expanded into a full-fledged anime and manga convention. The organisers formed SMASH Inc, an incorporated non-profit organisation, to keep running SMASH! after they had moved on and it's SMASH Inc that runs the convention to this day. The convention still has a strong focus on art and creativity and despite almost doubling in size from its original incarnation retains the fun, humour and irreverence it had when it was a couple of people sitting in Hyde Park saying 'We should put on an anime convention.'
The first SMASH! was held at the Roundhouse at the University of New South Wales and attracted an incredible 1,435 people. Which, you know, is pretty good for the first one.
SMASH! built on the success of the first event and brought Hidenobu Kiuchi, the first Japanese seiyū to an Australian anime convention. The location was again the Roundhouse at the University of New South Wales and this time 2,295 people came along.
In its third year, SMASH! expanded into a two-day event. This time 2,709 people crammed into the Roundhouse and helped make 2009 the biggest event we'd run to date.
In its fourth year, SMASH! brushed away a tear and moved to the Sydney Town Hall. It also brought over a stunning five international guests: Yūko Miyamura, Tiffany Grant, Matt Greenfield, Shaun Healey and Mikiko Ponczcek. Despite being just one day, attendance increased to 2,810 (so many in fact, that we had to close ticket sales and turn people away!).
Following up 2010 was always going to be hard but the combination of Shinichi Watanabe, Martin Billany, Hiroki Kikuta, Kenji Ito and the Sydney Convention Centre ensured a stunning success. Attendance in our fifth year was 5,405.
2012 was our best year yet, having the honour to have Shin-ichiro Miki, Sakura Tange and Yūko Miyamura for this year. We also had the biggest attendance in our history, with over 6,000 people attending the convention!
What does the future bring? Well, it's year seven and SMASH! has to follow up on last year's extravaganza. Not that we're sweating it at all. We've totally got this. (That said, if you want to join us we might have a spot for you.)