Anime Festival Asia 2010
Fri, 2010-12-03 17:45 — admin
Japan Invades Singapore
The sounds were near deafening, the colours, blindingly bright. It was a war of activity at the Anime Festival Asia 2010 - which managed to capture the hearts of Singaporean youths and one particular Malaysian.
Story and Photos by ARIS ZARIL
The spotlight was on Singapore as the 10th installment of Anime Festival Asia (AFAX) took place at the recently. Back in Singapore for its third year, the event has earned a reputation of being among the best Japanese anime conventions in the region. It's not for everyone, but crucial to some. Attending for the first time, I was lucky enough to be amongst the estimated 70,000 to experience this Japanese pop culture extravaganza.
Among the main highlights was the Southeast Asian debut of top Japanese idol group AKB48 and the 'I Love Anisong Concert' in the Concert Hall. The latter included class performances by Japanese artistes May'n, JAM Project, SCANDAL and even popular virtual idol Hatsune Miku, which fans happily purchased tickets at S$118 (RM283).
The Stage Hall saw an exclusive movie premiere of The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi and Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer, which have yet to receive screening outside Japan. The stage also saw special appearances by Milky Holmes, performers of the 'I Love Anisong Concert', celebrity cosplayers Kaname, Aira, Alodia Gosiengfiao, celebrated otaku expert Danny Choo and even a live dubbing session by renowned anime voice actress Hanazawa Kana. Yours truly even lined up for half a mile to meet and greet Aira, who's really lovely in person.
It was also undeniable that one of the major draws of the convention was the cosplay crowd in the Festival Hall. Anime fans from various countries came together to showcase their creativity in replicating their favourite characters, many of which were excellent. Characters spotted included among others, those from To aru Kagaku no Railgun, Black Rock Shooter, Trinity Blood, The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, God Eater, Final Fantasy XIII and the Vocaloid Series. Even the Power Rangers and Mario Brothers made appearances.
Another attraction was a PVC figure showcase by Good Smile Company, which included yet-to-be released goodies and rare items. Famed anime/game merchandise manufacturer COSPA also had a booth, with many of its apparels being exclusives to AFAX. They also presented Kadokawa World Tour and items which were only available overseas.
There were also dozens of booths selling items, fans strutting off doujinshi (fan works) and others showcasing anime paraphernalia. There were even a few 'itashas' (anime-decorated vehicles) on display and a booth where you could witness cosplayers getting rendered in 3D live. The entire hall was abuzz and filled with visitors and enthusiasts of all ages. And I haven't even mentioned the rest of the attractions!
Anime Festival Asia 2010 definitely lived up to my expectations - exceeding it even. I certainly found it an unforgettable event, and would definitely love to attend again next year. It would be really interesting however, to see how Malaysia's own Comic Fiesta, entering its 9th incarnation, fares in comparison later this month.