Another anime convention in Singapore? You betcha.
|Hello guys! Guess who’s been delaying 129371203 posts? ;___; Guess who’s also really guilty? Since Monday I’ve been living the life of a hikkikomori playing RO2’s closed beta (which just ended yesterday), so I’ve been missing out on a lot of anime. I’ll get the other posts up soon too, so for now please enjoy the coverage of this year’s EOY festival.|
I’ve really only ever been to one anime convention – and that’s AFA – since 2009, and in my AFA’12 coverage I was talking about expanding that range and trying out other cons… and so I did! EOY simply stands for Events of the Year, and ever since it’s transitioned to a new management in 2009, it’s been getting bigger and better. This year it was held on 9th December at the Marina Barrage, and yes, admission was free! Having the festival in an open-doors environment definitely does have its perks. There were many funky places for cosplayers to pose for photos, as well as many resting spots for visitors to take a break, because honestly, walking around for 4 hours can be really tiring. The only downside, perhaps, is that that place has absolutely no air-conditioning and not a lot of shade, and the weather was uncomfortably warm (…as usual) that day.
This time round, Kyokai applied for 2 media passes for a friend and I, which were supposed to give us “exclusive privileges” via Media Walkthrough that they planned. It was supposed to allow media partners to get good snapshots and insights on some of their featured activities/cosplayers, but with no crowd control and a rushed-through process, not a lot of engagement happened with most of the media partners. It was their first time organizing such a thing and they profusely apologized for how it turned out, so I hope to see improvements next year. On the bright side, media passes gave us the opportunity to conduct some interviews, but I’ll be talking about those later on.
EOY’s floor map! (click for larger image)
MMORPG Elements: EOY Quest
What’s special about this convention though, is that with the theme of “Not Just a Cosplay Event” this year, they’ve incorporated an interesting feature into their programme – some real-life MMORPG action. The story goes like this:
“EOY 2012 Cosplay Festival is held against a backdrop of an original folk story, set in a small town called EOY. EOY is a peaceful but lively town, with a buzzing market place that houses many talented folks who love to perform, dance, sing, and create art.
But mysterious evil forces plan to destroy the peace and take over the town. They have declared war on the town folks and are making their advances.
Yume, a brave young girl has rallied the town folks to defend their homeland. But more bravehearts are needed to keep the evil forces at bay. The showdown starts 9th December at the Marina Barrage, where champions and heroes are invited to gather and battle it out with the forces of evil.” – EOY website.
To participate in the MMORPG, all players had to register an EOY Quest Portal account and use their mobile phones on the actual day to scan individual QR codes assigned to mobs printed on posters and pasted on walls. The rule was that you can only defeat a monster if your level is equal to or higher than the mob, so you might have to find other ways to level up by doing other quests, which may involve requesting QR codes from booths on the festival grounds. Mobs also drop random goodies that may be redeemed at the EOY quest booth, and players who defeat the final boss and reach high levels get attractive prizes.
It’s a really novel idea, isn’t it? The only disappointing part was that there are no real battles between you and the mob – you just scan, and you automatically defeat it and level up – it’s an end without a fulfilling process. Of course, taking into account the limits of today’s technology and all, fully-detailed battles may be too much to ask for, but perhaps a more turn-based approach could’ve been taken. Still, credits to them for thinking up such an intriguing idea!
Again, merchandise is one part of anime conventions that cannot be missed. EOY had a reasonably large number of booths selling badges, prints, files and other such novelties to fulfill your otaku temptations. Of course, merchandise from popular recent shows like [K] and Chu2koi, as well as mainstream anime like Hitman Reborn! and Bleach were duly accounted for. Many walked away with a bunch of shiny badges and beautiful art pieces to add to their collection, so EOY’s definitely got that part nailed down.
For all you K-On!! fangirls/boys out there xD
As for displays, the Mirai Car made its appearance once again at EOY, and was strangely joined by many other motorcycles with anime girls printed on them. Seriously, what is with anime conventions and vehicles recently? I always see them being displayed, but never ever on the road. It’s like people are just making these cars/motorcycles and keeping them in deep dark places only to see the light once or twice a year during conventions xD Confess your secrets, vehicle fanatics!
Another trend also has to be ball-jointed dolls – remember the whole parade of dolls displayed at AFA? This time at EOY, we have an entire maid café made up of dolls instead. I really admire the patience and effort put into doing their makeup, costumes as well as making their miniature food.
This girl covered YUI’s It’s Happy Line!
They also featured a small stage, where many performances were held. Albeit a little too small, I should think, it was well-placed as visitors could actually enjoy listening to the beautiful (…most of the time) voices or watching the intricately-choreographed dances while browsing through the merchandise. When performances weren’t ongoing, music was being played! Being a Vocaloid fangirl, I was really pleasantly surprised at how many utaite covers there were – when I heard Wotamin’s Route Sphere and Soraru’s Aimai Elegy I literally grabbed my friend and started squealing. Crazy vocaloid fangirl will be crazy.
Bang! Mami shot through your heart ♥
I was really impressed by the quality of cosplay at EOY, as well as the abundance of cosplayers of recent shows in EOY! Photo-taking was going on literally everywhere, and the more popular fandoms this time round were Vocaloid, Chu2koi and [K].
Of course, Kyuubey never gets old!
We asked a few cosplayers about their experiences, and they shared with us that some challenges were the exposure to different kinds of people – everyone reacts differently, and the sad thing is that people don’t give much attention to fandoms that aren’t popular enough. Of course, their brightest moments as cosplayers is when people like their cosplay and appreciate them for it – those compliments, I’m sure, is what people need to be more willing to give.
More cosplay [Click for More] Show ▼
Tim’s the only guy in this picture HAHAHA
We were very lucky to get a chance to conduct an informal interview with one of the producers of EOY, Tim Wong, and he really enlightened us about the ups and downs of organizing this convention in particular. First, a quick word about the producer himself: He’s actually organized EOY out of pure passion, and already has a full-time job outside of this as a business owner of an online website, and also as a teacher teaching entrepreneurship at secondary schools. A few memorable anime titles, for him were Full Metal Panic! and Chobits, which got him interested in Lolita fashion.
On to EOY, it was actually going to be held for the last time in 2008. Having thoroughly enjoyed the festival, out of pure curiosity, he asked the producers at that time if he could take over and plan the festival for upcoming years instead and to his surprise, they said yes and that began his EOY journey! The cool thing about EOY is that the entire organizing team is voluntary – they’re not doing this under a payroll, and are actually forking out their own time and money to contribute to the making of this festival. And that’s what I think is really admirable – the passion that they have for the animanga fandom, and what they’re willing to put in in order to spread the love around to more people. Call it a sense of otaku pride, but I’m really honored and happy that there are people out there with such dedication! After all, for all of us here, animanga has been an important part of our lives, has it not? xD
But with a voluntary organizing team also comes several challenges: Tim shared with us that one of the biggest, was leading a team full of different kinds of people. There are two types of people: creative and operational. The creative have lots of ideas and prefer emailing, whereas operational need direct contact through calls and such, and the big problem was how to link these two groups together in terms of communication and understanding. As they are also not on payroll, motivating each other to meet deadlines was also a challenge. I’m sure Kyokai can identify with this xD – at Metanorn, we’re all in a way “voluntary” and doing it entirely out of passion, and we’re all actually pretty different. But we come together in terms of a common passion for animanga and writing, and how cool is that!
From now onwards, they’re actually planning to expand EOY to a bigger venue. This year brought the largest turnout they’ve had since they took over, and he’s looking forward to planning to bring EOY to greater heights in terms of both quantity and quality! As for other events, they’re aiming to organize more concerts for various Japanese artistes (which ones are to-be-confirmed) in the coming year. I wish them all the best because I definitely would like to cover the next year’s event too!
Overall, EOY was a new and interesting experience. Of course, comparing it to AFA it’s much smaller in terms of scale and variety, but that’s completely understandable because their organizing team is doing this out of passion and not for profit. That’s something I really appreciate and admire them for. The thing distinguishing EOY from other more established conventions like AFA, is that it gives you the leisure of walking around slowly in a homey, comfortable environment. In AFA everything was mostly a mad rush with ridiculous queues and angsty people pushing their way through the crowd. I strangely didn’t purchase anything this time around (MIRACLE!! I am usually a big spendthrift), but it was mostly because I wanted to focus on the experiences rather the merchandise again. xD I met up with fellow anibloggers and twitter friends Iso (Nabe!!), Sleepy~kun (Vocalmimi) and Valen (AOIA) for a while and in general enjoyed myself. What about EOY’13? Yeah I’ll be going, and I can summon up enough courage, not only as an aniblogger, but also as a performer on that stage. Just hope that I don’t get tonsillitis again like I did this year.
Ending this post with obligatory peace signs as per tradition xD