Home > Fangirlism, Japanese Culture, Real Life > Anime Festival Asia 2008 (AFA 08)

Anime Festival Asia 2008 (AFA 08)

After reading
this, do I really need to write a lengthy article on my AFA 08 experience? Especially since it has already been over a week since the event happened. 😄 Instead, I have decided to write a short review of the event as a whole, and keep the rest of this post more about the stuff I picked up and the crazy antics that occurred.

The Surprising-

  • I would have to say that the publicity and the whole rara leading up to the actual event was quite impressive. There’s a facebook page, the offical website looks exciting with the flashing graphics and whatnots and they even roped in famous local bloggers like DarkMirage in their publicity campaign.
  • The christening of a new annual event that Anime fans can participate in. There is a serious lack of opportunities for Anime fans to gather, meet new people and take a step away from the dangerous path of becoming a Hikikomori.
  • Having interview sessions with professionals from the Anime scene was a good idea to give fans an idea of the industry they are very much in love with.
  • Special guests & concerts! ICHIROU MIZUKI (Aniki) and MAY’N. It’s rare to have Japanese singers in Singapore performing. And having two prominent performers like Aniki and May’n was definitely a treat.
  • Shopping! I spent a 3 digit figure on anime merchandise and fanart stuff. My wallet will suffer from the loss (which was made worse with the Kinokuniya 20% sale happenin the same week) but my heart will sing with joy at the lovely stuff I got. More details later on in the post.

The Disappointing*-

(*Some nasty opinions might be made. Read at your own risk. I reserve the rights to speak my mind. )
  • Lack of a confirmed schedule. As much as I fancy the website, it lacked an schedule for the stage performances, or some rough guidelines to the exhibits. And this left a lot to the imagination, which was much more vivid than the actual event.
  • The queue for ticketing was a quite a bitch. There was little done to organize the various queues. I was, fortunately, queuing with a huge group of friends so we managed to get the tickets fast (we put people in all possible queues). Here’s suggestion, as proposed by JJ: Make boards with the queue titles like “Queue here for Pre-registered tickets!”, stick them onto poles, and get the last person in line to hold them up. Sort of like the signs they have at Natsu Matsuri. That way you save on manpower and make the crowd responsible if the queue screws up. =D
  • I finished walking through the whole event in 3 hrs, and that included an hour at the KKnM booth where I had to queue for merchandise. There was little substance in certain exhibits like the “Experience Zones” and the “SHONEN JUMP 40TH ANNIVERSARY WORLD TOUR”. I have seen an original Shonen Jump exhibition when I was in Japan (at Odaiba in 2006, I think), and it was definitely more impressive than the sparse boards with little on them at AFA.
  • Poor quality video files used to promote Anime on gorgeous HD LCD screens. -_- Why bother playing them in the first place ?!
  • With much spare space around the exhibition hall, I wonder why they didn’t put up more graffiti boards. Instead, they chose to cram up the doodle area with the artists showcase. Quite a turnoff to attempt drawing on the majong paper when you are surrounded by onlookers who are actively comparing your rough sketches to the awesome stuff by IFS.
  • Akiba Town was a decent spread of merchandise. That is, if you are male and into buying figurines. Or a kid into Pretty Cure and Tamagotchi. Nothing much for the fujioshi. =/ I didn’t have my hopes up, but it would have been nice to have some more female-centric merchandise. I wish there was selling of original anime DVDs (*cough*notXedo*cough*), anime music cds or drama cds etc. We had the stuff from KKnM and La Tendo, but the stuff sold could have been easily bought from the shop on a normal day. Plus, the fanboys I was with were complaining about how they could not buy the populars figurines that were on display, like the new Mad Factory stuff. They were all ready to dole out the cash, but it was all see and no touch with those displays.
  • To me, a successful and respectable cosplay is to achieve atleast a 70% physical/material resemblance to the character or try to stay true to the character’s personality. Putting on a costume doesn’t instantly make you a cosplayer (to me), without any effort to remain in character will just make you someone in a monkey suit. And unfortunately, there were really some terrible examples of cosplay that were evident at AFA. Don’t they know that every time a fangirl sees her favourite characters cosplayed badly, a kitten gets killed?
  • The sound system was quite crappy. May’n was awesome, but her performance was hampered by a half baked sound system. And the choice of ambient music was really weird. It’s an event targeted at Anime fans and they play Rihanna?

Okay. I think I should stop whining now.

Onto the merchandise~!

Day 1

I bought a Sadaharu (the giant puppy from Gintama) Cospa T-shirt but it is in the wash, so no pictures. =/

1-khr-cup

Hibari-dono~! *swoons* Lol. I got this Katekyo Hitman Reborn! cup which multiple characters instead of the individual ones, because I couldn’t decide who to bring home. =D

2-khr-cup-details

I just wish TYL!Lambo was included. =

3-khr-fanart-badges

More KHR stuff, this time cute chibi fanart. From… an established fanart circle in Singapore… and for the life of me, I can’t remember their name. I have been buying their stuff for a long time. =D They always have pretty badges. I didn’t buy the complete KHR set because they didn’t have Lambo or Reborn. -pouts- So I just took the Yamamoto X Tsuna X Gokudera threesome and the Dino X Hibari pairing.

4-lelouch-a3-metallic-print

This photograph I took doesn’t do Lelouch any justice. It’s a gorgeous A3 print with Metallic finishing! I had to curb my urge to plaster it to the wall next to my bed so I can fall asleep while looking lovingly at the pure hotness of Lelouch in casual clothes… *nosebleeds*

6-natsume-yuujincho-handphone-strap-nyanko-sensei

NYANKO SENSEI. I have been lusting after Nyanko-sensei merchandise since the anime came out.

7-natsume-yuujincho-charm-nyanko-sensei

An a Charm~! Now I need to visit some shrine and soak it in some holy water. =D

Day 2- Sidetrack

Well, there was also Bookfest organised by POPULAR bookstore. And being an avid reader of Taiwan novels, I had to visit the fair. To my surprise, I found it more interesting than AFA in terms of Fujioshi-ness. =D

8-translated-korean-novel

These are the covers of some of the novels I bought. I really do judge books by their covers and these covers are really pretty! All the bishonens~! *drools*
9-translated-korean-novel

10-korean

They also come with freebies!

11-korean1

Which each book at SG$7+ after discount, it was definitely a worthwhile buy, especially with all the lovely freebies included with each book.

Back to AFA-
Since it walking around the whole exhibition hall got boring after two hours, for Day 2 of AFA, we decided to do some crazy things. Like waving around real Japanese Leeks. It was more in the spirit of fun, at how Leeks are the unsung heroes in Japanese Anime. 80% of the time when there is a supermarket/kitchen/food-related scene, there is always a Leek lurking. The Leek became even more popular thanks to Hastune Miku of Vocaloid, and her rabid following.

doramon

We decided to have fun with leeks.


gundam1

I am surprised we survived our attempts to pose the Leek with famous characters. I have more pictures, but they are over at my Facebook page.

balloons

And while we waited for the May’n concert to start (which as a 2hr wait in this crowd O_O”), we got hold of some balloons, puffed them up and let them bounce around the crowd. Note the red circle, that is someone’s cosplay weapon which successfully murdered one of the balloons. It was quite cool how the balloons floated around, aided by the crowd. And every time a balloon burst, there was a collective mourn for its demise. =D The timing was great too, since the last of the balloons died just in time for the concert to start.

That pretty much sums the whole event for me. Despite my complains, it was a fun weekend, hanging out with friends and doing exciting/crazy things. I do anticipate next year’s AFA as this year was just a start of something that has potential to be an iconic anime convention in Southeast Asia.


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