Well, its been several days since the Anime Festival Asia 2009 has ended. Many people have posted their various experiences and encounters at the event. Now it’s my turn. What took me so long you say? Well I’ve had a few commitments impede my progress such as completely reworking the image hosting for the site. Instead of my blog using the standard image hosting that wordpress provides (which is slow, sluggish and inconvenient), I now use photobucket which makes uploading images and posting them on the site a lot easier as well as the images happen to load significantly faster. I also have been working on the site’s gallery and videos section which have been significantly updated with images from the AFA 2009 event, feel free to check them out. Now without any further delay I shall report my findings at this years Anime Festival Asia!
For those that thought arriving early to avoid the hassle of the crowds was that simple, well you were wrong. The 4th level of the Suntec City building was full by 10am (which was the opening time). Thank god I had pre-ordered my tickets and didn’t have to stand in line for one as the queue for tickets was endless. Cosplayers could be seen standing around amongst the crowds.
The crowds on the second day were much lesser compared to the first day. Good thing for me, less people to accidentally bump into.
Danny Choo / Tokyo Figure Show
When the gates finally opened. I went straight to the Danny Choo/ Tokyo Figure Show booth, where I was surprised to find Danny Choo himself to be standing by himself (for the rest of the day people would be crowding around him). I managed to take a quick picture of him, swap name cards and shake his hand. That itself had already made my day. Later on in the day I managed to get him to sign my copy of The Otaku Encyclopedia by Patrick W. Galbraith. Another joyful moment.
The booth itself was amazing as it contained many discontinued figurines of all sorts which I never have been able to lay my hands on. This was a chance for me to see them up close. It also gave me a sneak preview of things to come such as the Black Rock Shooter figure that everyone has their eye on, plus the limited edition Mirai Figma which hopefully will be released soon. The ita-bike made by Kodomut was fantastic. I’ll only show a few pictures here as the rest can be viewed in the gallery.
For those of you who wondered the festival grounds might have noticed the various cosplayers showing off their costumes. I was able to take a few shots throughout the event. A few of my personal favourites are listed below. Once again there are many more pictures in the gallery.
Bandai / Gundam
For those take came, I doubt you would have missed the Bandai and Gundam exhibition that was close to the entrance. Some of them were seen earlier in the month at the BAKUC Exhibition in Orchard Road. Many of the ones seen earlier were placed on display here at the AFA. Looking them up close again allowed me to see the hard work and effort put into these masterpieces. Looking at them makes me feel like purchasing a gunpla kit and start building one. Perhaps I’ll leave that for another day.
One of the exhibitions that I feel was underrated and less touched on was the artists corner where it displayed all the talented works of aspiring artists. Some artworks simply blew me away as the detail and colours were astounding. We truly have some talent people in Singapore. If only I could draw as half as good as them, I’d be happy already.
I personally found myself favouring the Saber picture as my she is one of my favourite characters. The picture shows her elegance and beauty in her normal combat attire as well as capturing an emotionless face that could be hiding sorrow and sadness of her past. Another favourite from me would be the Naruto Hearts picture which is a cross series parody of the Naruto and Kingdom Hearts series. Interesting combination that could work in the future. I found it interesting to see artworks from the Warhammer 40,000 series on display, but to me I was glad to see other genres of works there. I personally used to collect, assemble and battle with the model figures a long time ago. Anyway the two pictures below used a different style of painting which successfully captured the chaotic nature of the Marines locked into battle with the xenos.
I found the last two pictures to be very creative and amusing. It seems we have some members of Anonymous lurking around heh. I wonder who drew that Harley Danny Choo picture? Nonetheless it was very amusing. Excellent work.
Moe Moe Kyun Cafe
The day 1 queue was so long I couldn’t even find where the queue ended. It would have been nice if me and my mates had gone inside but once again the queues were too long and I figured it would have been expensive to purchase food inside. I had run out of money by the time the queues had shortened. The queues on the second day were significantly shorter as there was less people at the festival. From the outside it seemed like a good place and sit down though,
Kareshi Kanojyo no Mise (KKnM)
The KKnM stalls was one of the earlier booths I visited at day 1. I figured all the good stuff would be gone at the end of the day, I decided to have a peek to see what exclusives I could bag. With a touch of luck, I was about to bring home a Figma Saber Lily as well as a Good Smile Company 1/8 Saber. The stall was packed all the way from morning to late afternoon. All the good stuff was gone by afternoon. I had managed to catch a glimpse of a Figma Product 01 Konata in a Haruhi Cosplay (for $150) early morning, however I was beaten to it by someone else. Lucky guy, oh well easy come easy go.
There were other figurine stalls also like RoboRobo and La Tendo but were just as full. Each shop had their own different set prices plus exclusives. I saw a discontinued Fate from the Nanoha series going for $500 and above. Jeez I wonder who would buy that.
A small front was setup for these guys. They had their weapons on display. Cool looking weapons, movable and life-like. Pistol chambers would move if fired, foldable handgrips and so on. Of course all their weapons were replicas. Lots of their advertisements were people in an army uniform carrying their weapons, many of them could be seen around the place.
Yup, even Cospa is setting up shop in Singapore now. About 1 week before the AFA, they already had started up their website which can be found here. They had all sorts of anime t-shirts, towels, mugs and other accessories. They even had a Jan-Ken-Pon (scissors paper rock) competition give away. The finalist would play against Danny Choo. I was somewhere behind the crowd at that point of time. The lucky guy eventually won a Black Mirai T-shirt. Congrats!
Credit goes to Mike Abundo for the video.
Besides clothing, they had HUGE Litter Buster’s towels at a whopping $150. Tempting but insanely expensive even for me. Adorable designs though.
Did I mention they had a wall scroll for the upcoming Nanoha movie? Well if not here’s the poster for it.
Too bad I ran out of funds to purchase one. Oh well I can still pick one up at the store or hopefully Sunshine Plaza.
An upcoming anime movie, Summer Wars, had their own booth. I decided to snoop around to see what I could found up this anime. Apparently it was created by Madhouse who also created Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) which is one of my favourite anime movies of all time. Much hype of this movie is to be expected as the studio itself has earned a name for themselves. through their previous masterpieces. As I saw the preview, the artwork and animation seems extremely details and beautiful (like its previous movie), I’ll definitely be watching this movie when it is released. Hopefully I will have time to do a review on the movie when it comes out later on in the year.
Collateral Damage Studios
Mainly the K-ON and Ayanami Rei artwork caught my eye as I walked past it. I few things I managed to spot was a familiar piece of artwork I saw on figure.fm about 1 week before the AFA. I asked if the artist was there, however he was busy looking around the place. Damn I wanted to ask him for his name card. I saw a massive Mio Akiyama wall scroll which I wouldn’t have mind getting, but once again I was out of funds. Their website can be found here.
As expected, they had their own store which was fairly huge compared to the rest. They were selling all kinds of thing, dakimakuras/body pillows, pillow cases, mugs, bags, wall scrolls, pretty much anything with an anime design on it. The place was a bit price but I still managed to pick up a Shakugan no Shana wall scroll for a good $40. Not bad considering the size. The place was packed like a can of tuna from morning to god knows when. Regardless there were people inside throughout the whole day. Something that caught my eyes was the Domo kun plushies they had out front. I couldn’t resist to take a picture as well as giving it a great big hug. Oh just so you know the biggest size of Domo kun costed $300. Big Domo costs big bucks.
Storm Lion Booth
They were advertising for a new movie coming out soon. Didn’t have time to look around there though. I saw a fantastic artist who used photoshop and a drawing tablet to draw a masterpiece throughout the whole day. He just ignored everyone and kept drawing. Absolutely amazing.
Animax Live Dubbing
Near the back of the exhibition was the Animax area which were promoting special deals for Starhub Cable television. Not bad deals but the contract for cable television is too long since I’ll only be here for a few more months. What was unique about the place was the live recording studio they had at the back. You could input your own voice as one of the main characters in the anime of your choice. Quite embarrassing however humourous for those watching like me. I was too shy to give it a try for myself.
Cosplay Weapons Stall
A small stall was setup by a bunch of mainland Chinese guys which sold weapons (mainly swords) from various anime. What I spotted was Uchiha Sasuke’s sword, Saber Alter and normal Saber, some sort of Final Fantasy sword which I think sold out fast, wooden bokkens, various swords from Bleach and many other Katanas. Each were about $40 and were mainly made of wood. Not bad but I’d prefer to make my own. If I had to buy one it would probably be the normal Saber or Saber Alter sword. Quite tempting to buy one though.
I’m not a Dolfie person but when I came across the stall, I was shock to see how elegant and beautiful these things were when I saw them up close. They truly are a masterpiece. I didn’t bother asking for the price as I already knew it was out of my range. Extremely beautiful dolls.
Weiss Schwarz Booth
Had a quick peek into their booths. They had all kinds of starter decks to choose from. I would have picked up a Fate/Stay Night starter deck but they didn’t have it in stock. The Nanoha deck was also quite tempting. Hopefully when it is released in the retail shops, I’ll be able to pick one up. Seems easy enough to learn. Anyway there were people playing the card game throughout the whole day. There was even a competition from what I was told.
Region Cosplay Championships
Since it was my first time being apart of an audience for a cosplay competition I had assumed the crowds wouldn’t have been so big. I was completely wrong when I had to make my way through the amount of people gathering for the on stage event. Due to the large crowds, awkward position and constant obstruction of view by the media and AFA crew, I was unable to get decent shots the whole time.
Anyway the finalists and anime skit chosen were:
ST Revolutions (Singapore) – Unknown Anime
00 Emotions (Singapore) – Gundam 00
Sekai no Gumi (Malaysia) – Code Geass
Endless Illusion (Indonesia) – Lineage II
Houshin Enqi (Thailand) – Unknown Anime
Witchblade (Philippines) – Witchblade
The skits for each team can be seen below (credit goes to Hexlord for taking these wonderful videos and Zh3us for finding them for his blog!):
Each contestant won a participating prize as well as a big hug from Kaname who was cosplaying as Kamina from Gurren Lagenn. The hug between the Gundam and Kaname was priceless.
Personally, I thought 00 Emotions and Endless Illusions had the best costumes and assume they took the longest to create. The Gundam costume doesn’t need any words to describe their costume. One look will explain everything. The costumes made for the Lineage II skit was simply beautiful especially under the stage lights where the armour and weapons truly shine (literally) with brilliance.
With the skit and their performance Sekai no Gumi have points from me for almost complete originality St Revolutions did provide a very emotional scene with outstanding acting.
Nonetheless congrats to 00 Emotions and their Gundam 00 skit for an excellent performance as well as taking home the Grand Prize for Go Singapore!
Moe Moe Kyun Girls Karoke Performance
On the second day of the festival the Moe Moe Kyun girls did a karoke session. Enjoyable to watch. Video captured below is done by other than yours truly.
Joysound Karoke Booth
Located near the Animax area, near the back of the hall was a karoke machine where people could chose and sing their favourite Japanese songs (not just anime openings and closings). Lots of people gathered waiting for others to try the machine. As for me, I’m generally a crap singer, plus I don’t know fluent Japanese. The more of a reason for me to completely avoid touching the microphone. Anyway a few people were courageous enough and delivered a wonderful performance whether their singing was good or bad. Either way I think they had fun, because I know I enjoyed watching them sing (or attempt to). A few of the singers can be viewed below, sorry for the crap sound quality.
Now here comes the highlight for the second day of the AFA. The K-ON stage live dubbing took place a few minutes after the karoke performance by the Moe Moe Kyun maids. I promised myself I’d get a seat just for this so I took the effort to come extra early. I managed to grab a seat near the front which I was content with. They decided to prohibit video and photography taking for the remaining of the onstage events so I was unable to take any photos or videos. I saw a few people get their gear confiscated eek.
For those who are unfamiliar with K-ON, you can find out all you need to know here.
Before the girls came onto the stage, Reiko (one of the MC’s) asked Danny Choo (being the other MC) was asked “What do you like about K-ON?”. He responded with pretty much what 99% of the audience was thinking which was “That they are beautiful little girls” or something along the lines of that. Majority of the people there had a chuckle including myself as we understood what he meant.
As the girls were introduced on stage, a familiar opening song and video played as they came out one by one. Right on cue as their individual characters were displayed on-screen they walked onto the stage. I think I partially lost my hearing due to the crowd cheering.The crowd roars as each of the seiyu’s come on to the stage. They introduce themselves to the audience in English (which wasn’t too shabby).It seems that Mio’s seiyu didn’t show which was a downer however it was still good that the rest had made it to the festival. From what I could recollect, the group of girls were a happy, energetic and lively bunch.
After introducing themselves they proceeded with the live dubbing. They did 3 scenes in total each one being as humorous and well performed as the previous.
Thanks to SP LifeArts for saving me the trouble of going through each episode to find the specific scenes as well as the accurate pictures for each scene.
1st Scene – Episode 9:
Azusa still being new to the club as well as the K-ON scene, comes back to the club house to find the rest of the girls slacking. Yui successfully tempts her weakness, which happens to be cake.
2nd Scene – Episode 11:
Yui’s guitar (Gitah as Yui has named it) is being sent for a maintenance at their local instrument store. What Yui doesn’t realize is that this is not free, however the shopkeeper see Mugi and weavers off the fee since her family owns the store.
3rd Scene – Episode 13:
The 4 girls as seen walking home in the snow as they discuss where to hold their next club training session.
Overall, it was a wonderful performance I was amazed at how they recited their own lines with utmost precision and timing to the corresponding episode. They did it while enjoy themselves as well as pulling funny faces and poses. It was truly brilliant.
Their Question & Answer session followed shortly after where Danny Choo would pick questions (submitted by fans on the AFA website).
Question 1: How similar are you to your character you voice in K-ON?
Aki Toyosaki (Yui): She is air-headed and prone to daydreaming
Satomi Satō (Ritsu): Before she became a seiyu she mention that she was a shy and quiet girl. When she took the role of Ritsu she became more lively and energetic due to her character’s personality. Similiar to Ritsu she encourages her fellow friends and teammate.
Minako Kotobuki (Mugi): She enjoys bringing gifts of sweet things like cake for her friends and teammate to eat.
Ayana Taketatsu (Azusa): She is not as serious as her character but she does enjoy eating sweet things. Thanks to her role, she now likes taiyaki.
Question 2: What are the challenges you face when voicing your character?
Aki Toyosaki (Yui): Since Yui has a high-pitched voice, she tries to prevent straining her voice.
Satomi Satō (Ritsu): Ritsu is known for a tomboyish nature, she triess to balance her voice in sounding like a boy as well as being harsh for certain scenes.
Minako Kotobuki (Mugi): Mugi has a natural slow and peaceful speaking voice so when voicing her, she has to slow down when talking.
Ayana Taketatsu (Azusa): She often scolds her seniors, however she herself is still a junior in school, so she has to balance between how harsh she sounds.
Question 3: What is your favourite line from K-ON?
Aki Toyosaki (Yui): “Un-tan Un-tan Un-tan”. Basically she made this sound.
Satomi Satō (Ritsu): “Ano toki no yakusoku wa… uso datta no ka!?” – That promise we made…. was it all a lie!?
Minako Kotobuki (Mugi): “Mo-ichido Moe” seen here in the first few seconds. Amusing video.
Ayana Taketatsu (Azusa): “Nya” (Meow) When she puts on the Nekomimi cat ears seen here.
Question 4: What are the similarities of your own schooling life to your characters school life in K-ON?
Aki Toyosaki (Yui): Her clubs during her school days involved gathering and having fun rather than training or normal activities itself.
Satomi Satō (Ritsu): She had a childhood friend, also if her friend befriended someone else or gave her less attention she would become jealous.
Minako Kotobuki (Mugi): If one of her friend in her group are sick, she is the one saying this can or cannot be done with that person.
Ayana Taketatsu (Azusa): She was a member of the ‘going home’ club during her school life, similar to K-ON as the group of girls walk home together.
Question 5: If you were not a seiyu (voice actress), what would you be?
Aki Toyosaki (Yui): Someone who uses their voice like a singer.
Satomi Satō (Ritsu): Yet again, someone who uses their voice, a storyteller at the library or pet shop owner or childcare worker. She would probably keep changing jobs.
Minako Kotobuki (Mugi): Her dream was to use her voice and become a seiyu, but if she didn’t it would have been something creative like a stylist or make-up artist.
Ayana Taketatsu (Azusa): Someone that catches the bad guys, like a detective. Something like Detective Conan as she read the manga.
It was shortly after they announced that 4 lucky people would be walking away with signed boards of each of the seiyu’s autographs. 4 seats were called out. I-28, H-16, M-35, A-18 however no one was sitting there so C-31 was called again. When ‘H’ in H-16 was called I think I felt my heart stop beating for a few seconds. Sadly it was seat 16 in my row as I was sitting in seat 20. Close but no cigar.
After the Q & A, which proved to be very amusing as well as insightful, it ended off well with the seiyu’s saying their final words as they were all happy to be in Singapore and will be looking forward to coming back. They said their goodbyes and waved to the audience as they left the stage. Overall I found it to be very entertaining as I was very lucky to be there. I shall cherish this moment for the rest of my life.
I wish I knew Japanese so I could have done a better job of translation. I hopefully learn Japanese in the future.
Kaname Cosplay Panel Session – The Basics of Cosplay
The panel session was split into several parts consisting of introduction, character selection, costume selection, sewing and posing. He mainly gave his own tips and know-how on the topics at hand. His own personal life was included in some of the discussion, stuff like what he does when he is not cosplaying, what he does in his spare time, when did he start cosplaying and so on.
Overall, I had a fantastic time I had really enjoyed myself and di majority of the things I had wanted to do. There’s really much else to say other than I’ll be looking forward to next years Anime Festival Asia. There are still similar events remaining this year such as the Comic Fiesta in Sunway Pyramid, Malaysia (on the 19 to 20 December) as well as the End of Year 2009 (on the 26th December).
Now without further a due, I shall depart with none other than Danny Choo and his Tokyo Stormtrooper dance in Singapore to conclude this report. Enjoy.