Yes, we’re international. Back2Gaming (ok maybe just me) was able to attend the recently concluded Anime Festival Asia last November 9-11, 2012 over there at Singapore. Technically, it is a Singapore convention, but it caters to maybe the entire South East and East Asia as attendees came from various places like Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Japan and of course Philippines.
So here’s a rundown of the events I was able to take part in…
Oh boy, the place is huge. And I really mean huge. Singapore Expo had at least 9 halls, each hall being equivalent in size to the floor area of SMX. And just the Festival Area alone (where the booths are) already took 1 hall in itself. As such, man, wow.
Given the fact that there’s a lot of floor area, that meant the place was quite breathable. There was still a lot of people, take note, but having a huge place meant it wasn’t uncomfortable. Plus, there’s a huge area of just open space inside the hall where people can just sit on the floor and lounge, so that’s kinda nice. Also, this meant no attendee got turned away simply because the venue is too full. We all hate when that happens.
As far as I can tell, all merchandise are legit ones. It’s kinda hard to sell bootleg nendoroids when an official booth of Good Smile Company is there. With that said, I’m surprised at the buying prowess of the Singaporeans. A good number of people left with 2 large bags on each hand full of boxes of toys. That should cost a good fortune. Even more, a couple of booths got sold out as early as day 1 (I believe SAO and K booths sold out early).
Speaking of which, yeah, the sponsors are pretty much official ones. So that means the guests are quite well known. Like, say, Flow. Yes, that Flow.
Funny enough, Flow, performers at Anisong, had less security detail in AFA than Alodia has in any RP cons. Heck, even Go Nakanishi, producer of K, had also minimal security. Something’s not quite right there. There’s probably something wrong with how unruly RP fans can be…
On that note, the only guest who roamed around AFA that had substantial security was LiSA. Heck, I even unknowingly passed through the SEA-A group (two girls on my left, two on my right) without anyone roughing me up.
As far as cosplay is concerned, well, I already knew what to expect. Singaporean cosplay, based on my experience of another con last year, is more geared towards threads that armors. Moreover, their cosplay has less disparity that ours. Which means there’s fewer of those “OMGWOW” stuff that you’d occasionally see, and definitely also fewer of those “WTFAREYOUDOING” stuff you’d see here as well. You win some you lose some.
Though there’s a few mecha and armored ones as well. There’s a pretty detailed Saber cosplay based on the Gift figure, who turns out to be the Philippine representative to the singles cosplay competition there. I dunno if she won, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she did.
On the other hand, the stage area is located in a different hall, which probably what Cosplay Mania emulated. The segments they had there were more interesting than what we normally have here, given that they had actual guests who would really have something to share, like the Shinichiro Watanabe, a prolific director for anime shows.
And most importantly, they had chairs! THEY HAD CHAIRS! LOTS OF CHAIRS! It was so comfortable sitting there and listening to the talks, my friend and I were almost late for Anisong!
And yes, lots of space is always good.
Oh boy, this was what made the trip really expensive. But this was also what made the trip really really awesome.
Friday night was a full concert for T.M.Revolution, and boy were they awesome. I can’t imagine how they could perform and scream like that for 1.5 hrs almost non-stop. As you listen through the concert, you can’t help but get caught up in the excitement. Best of all, the audio was superb. Listening to the loud music through the concert was audibly pleasing in that you wouldn’t really notice it was loud, only to find out you’ve gone partially deaf after the concert is done. True story.
Best moment for me? When T.M.Revolution sang Heart of Sword. That’s where my money went.
Saturday night saw bands and lively music take center stage. First up was BABYMETAL. As far as I know, they don’t have any anime OST yet, but probably came as a package deal with Flow. But boy, they were pretty amusing. The fusion of heavy metal and idol voices was quite novel. They were not bad at all.
Second to take the stage was m.o.v.e. who is probably most famous for their songs from Initial D. They had nice rhythm, combining rap and vocals splendidly. I liked how easily they can switch between dance music and smooth sounds. Their charity song was really nice.
The third to perform was fripSide. It’s a shame though that due to some technical issues, the vocals were way too soft especially at the beginning. Especially since they were the artists for Only My Railgun. You should know that.
Fourth was LiSA. Wow. That girl’s pretty spunky. I think she’s the next Aya Hirano (during her peak, not now). She pretty much commanded the crowd. I think Â if she asked the crowd to jump of a building, fans really would. Since she’s an artist who is relatively new, she’s definitely someone to follow.
Last of the day was Flow. They sang only five songs, but five songs of pure awesomeness. Heck they even covered Angel’s Cruel Thesis from Evangelion just as fanservice. Much respect for that. I only wish Flow sang more.
Best moment for me? LiSA’s three song sequence from Fate/Zero, Angel Beats and Sword Art Online, and Flow’s We Are Fighting and how they got the crowd singing and screaming with them.
Sunday night saw idols take the stage. Gone are the bands and instruments, it was just the girls singing and dancing. The first guest was Hachioji-P, who’s really just a DJ opening act who played and mixed a lot of Vocaloid stuff.
The second to perform was SEA-A, Singapore’s own locally developed idol group. They have some original songs featured in Cardfight Vanguard anime, but they’re largely new and not quite there yet. I hope their singing that day was live, cause sometimes I doubt it due to an observed lack of effort at times when singing. Who knows?
The third to perform, and I believe this is really when the concert started, was Minami Kuribayashi, who is a prolific singer. Go google her and you’d see how many anime songs she has. Great vocals.
The fourth was Sphere, a four girl idol group composed of famous voice actresses. How famous? Yui, Mugi from K-ON, Asuna from SAO, Feldt from Gundam 00. Nuff said. My personal observation is as an idol group they’re not that prolific yet, given that they chose to cover some songs that to do their original. They’re more famous as seiyuus I think. But nothing against their performance, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The last to take the stage was May’n. Boy, was she a performer. Once she begins singing, her entire facial expression changes to a godly level of intensity. While most were just doing simple movements and smiling while singing, May’n was in a zone whenever her song starts. It was really awesome.
Best moment for me? Hearing Aki Toyosaki’s voice. I’m almost in love with how soft her voice is. Dunno if that’s the real voice though. I hope so.
Here you go.