Till this day I still have no idea what AFA-kun the mascot is supposed to be…
|Honestly I don’t know how I’m still writing this post, seeing as to how I just got back from AFA’s third and final day. I’ve survived through 12 hours of walking in high freaking heels (#badlifedecisions) on Saturday and another 6 hours earlier today. My eyes/feet/back/neck are practically crying out in agony, but really like to cover this year’s AFA to the best that I can – that is, before I start forgetting important things. See how much I love you guys? c; It’s been a long time since I co-covered AFA’11 last year, which also happens to be my very first post on Metanorn! (as a guest writer though xD) This time I’ll be covering the festival grounds and cosplay, while a guest writer will be covering the main stage activities as well as the Anisong concert. Well now, presenting to you, AFA’12!|
Note: Open spoilers for more pictures! I assure you they won’t disappoint c:
Anime Festival Asia is undoubtedly the most widely-publicized anime convention in Singapore, and all that effort certainly didn’t go to waste. The crowd that appeared on Saturday morning was absolutely insane as people had started queuing up as early at 6am. When the doors opened at 9am, I didn’t even have to walk over to the entrance. Literally pushed and squeezed all the way to the front, I smiled apologetically at the poor AFA staff trying to keep track of entrance tickets – there’s no way of stopping a stampede of crazed otakus.
I say “crowd”, but really it was more of a mob of hot, sweaty and excited otakus.
This year I went on both Sat (F+S) and Sun (F) – Festival and Festival+Main Stage tickets were priced at $8 and $20 respectively, but the increase in ticket prices didn’t seem to deter people from coming. I would say that AFA has hit its highest attendance yet, seeing as to how they’ve widely expanded their scope of Japanese culture – you name it: anime, J-pop, Vocaloid music, Japanese fashion… they have it all.
(click for larger image)
Buy ALL the cushies!
Of course, the first thing that most people rush to do in an anime convention is to GRAB STUFF AND BUY EVERYTHAAANG! This year’s AFA definitely had a much more products and goods, but I would say that the range of anime series featured was rather limited in my opinion. Sure, the big 3 (Bleach, Naruto and One Piece) were definitely well-accounted for, but merchandise for newer anime, excluding the super-popular ones, was much harder to find. The most popular booth? Hands down the SAO booth. The ridiculous queue spanned more than ten times the size of the actual shop, and they actually sold out for two days in the first 8 hours or so. Everyone loves them some SAO. To name a few of the more popular ones, there was a [K] booth, MUSE (reborn!, madoka, OP, fairytail stuff) and Proware (mostly eechi stuff). Artiste merchandise (LiSA, FLOW, SCANDAL etc) was also really popular and could be found at places like the Sony Music booth/Horipro booth.
The Creators Hub this year was not to be missed either, with 46 different booths selling fan-made goods! There were lots of adorable goodies, especially for some titles such as Kuroko no Basuke, Hetalia, Vocaloid and SAO. Yup, there was also quite a sizable amount of BL stuff – which explains the surprising abundance of KnB/Hetalia. There were prints, keychains, badges, artbooks and doujin (which is awesome because last year’s afa had no doujin :c) as well as more of the quirky stuff like oppai mousepads.
Moar goodies: Show ▼
Homura presents: the Superamazing Time-travelling Car!
This year there was lots of funky stuff. Last year’s Mirai car had a good polishing and was also joined by a fellow Madoka car! Apart from the usual figurines (a good load more of them too), there were also displays of original costumes worn by various artistes and photos of stars.
Moar displays: Show ▼
Hachioji-P! And miku’s butt in the background.
There were a TON of special appearances by awesome artistes as autograph sessions, talkshows, interviews and performances going on this time round, and that really made the entrance fee all the more worth it. I had fun running around and deciding which ones to attend. In particular, I attended LiSA’s and Hachioji-P’s talkshows and really enjoyed myself as I was sitting literally like 5-10 feet away from them, and we all know how dokidoki-inducing getting to see our idols up close can be. *w* Also, I went for LiSA’s autograph session and passed her a (love) letter and spoke to her and ;____; ALL THE FEELS.
Moe Moe Kyun Maid Cafe, now with a high-school theme 8)
Food: AFA actually had a food street this year, with vendors selling curry udon, yakitori, takoyaki, pastries and various other Japanese snacks. They also had awesome free bubble tea @ Wacom as well as free coffee @ Nescafe, which was a good treat indeed! As usual, the maid/butler cafes returned with their super overpriced $20 cake&coffee sets. I suppose it’s personal preference whether you’re willing to spend that kind of money to enjoy looking at hot girls/guys. xD
Karaoke Ma’star: Karaoke for anime songs made its return this year in the form of an iOS app! Holding a mic and singing anime songs in front of a crowd of people staring at you (more like judging you) may be scary, but many otaku weren’t afraid to showcase their beautiful (*coughs* or not so beautiful) voices.
Fashion: In its mission to introduce more aspects of Japanese culture, AFA organized a MARBLE collection fashion show featuring Harajuku, Shibuya and Akihabara as well as many famous models. Of course, it was pay to attend ($28 normal/$88 VIP) but you could also try on the wigs from the Priscilla booth which are really of stunning quality.
Kaname cosplaying as the hottest Fushimi (K) ever (✿ ♥‿♥)
As expected, Vocaloid and [K] had a whole ton of cosplayers. Weirdly, I only chanced upon 1 Asuna and 2/3 Kiritos throughout my time there – I had expected a lot more SAO cosplayers with the recent hype and all. The [K] cosplay competition and the individual cosplay championships though, presented many fantastic cosplayers from all over the world up on stage as well as various celebrity cosplayers that really brought things to a whole new level.
Moar cosplay: Show ▼
My haul! Very simply, LiSA’s album and autograph as well as an adorable Kirito badge :3
Unlike previous years, my motive this year in AFA was to enjoy the experience. In the past I went mainly for the goodies/otaku stuff, which usually just resulted in an empty wallet and also a very frustrated/angsty state of mind because of all the queues. This year’s AFA gave me lots of firsts: first time meeting LiSA/Hachioji, first time getting an artiste’s autograph, first time singing karaoke in front of a bunch of strangers – and I think in the long run, that’s what counts. People go to anime conventions for different things but in the end the best thing I would say, is meeting fellow otaku who share the same interests! I met up with a fellow aniblogger (Iso) and online twitter friends (Rakkyo & Cybersteel) this year and talked with random people while lining up in queues/waiting for events to start, and even got the chance to practice my Japanese while speaking to LiSA and a random Japanese girl who struck up a conversation with me. This is probably a first for me, as in previous cons I’ve never willingly tried to meet people who I’ve only ever spoken to online. It’s a pretty fun experience, and I’m really looking forward to my next con. I think I’m going to try attending other cons in Singapore now, like the upcoming EOY as well as next year’s SOY/CosFest, so you can look forward to more coverage from me 8D As for AFA’13? I’ll see you there!
Peace out! ( ´ ▽ ` )ﾉ