Anime Festival Asia 2010 in Singapore
Well, as I promised before, here’s a little look into the main event of my 3 day visit to Singapore – Anime Festival Asia 2010 (also known as AFAX).
The event took place between November 13 and 14 at the Singapore Suntac International Convention Center. Like most of these anime festivities around the world, the meeting is designed for OTAKUs and anime fans.
Unlike the events in Taiwan, AFAX has the backing of Dentsu – one of Japan’s biggest advertising agencies. With this kind of support, it is not hard to imagine what kinds of resources could be drawn. From Canon to Sega to Animax to Max Factory, there are more than enough exhibitors from Japan to make to festival look like something – and to make the comic expo in Taiwan look like a random hawker’s market.
In the exhibitor’s area, there are gadgets ranging from standing mopeds to 3D photography for cosplayers. Of course, if you’re looking for PVC models, there’s many Singaporean toy shops selling their wares – including discounts on selections of outdated products (though some people will want these items for collection purpose).
At the SEGA booth, there’s a long line of people lining up to play Miku music game (though other than the fact it features the Vocal-roids and their songs, it’s just another rehash of Beat Mania). Max Factory has several of their new PVC and Figma on display, and Bandai have their Tamashii shop limited items and theme displays as well.
On the main stage (you need an upgraded ticket to get into this area), there’s the random events including regional cosplay championship, Movie premiere (Gundam 00 movie and Suzumia Haruka movie), and guest appearances by celebrities.
One of my main objectives was Kana Hanazawa, the up-and-coming voice actress for Angel in “Angel Beat” (among many other things). Unfortunately, no photography allowed, so there’s no record of her doing the live dubbing. On a side note, my friend who has no interest in seiyu somehow end up with her autograph… talking about blind luck!
Now, the real “meat” of AFAX is the concert. These events (roughly two 3-hour-long concerts) spotlights top names from the anime music field, including JAM project, Mizuki Ichiro (“Aniki”), Angela, May’n, Scandal, and Hatsune Miku the Vocalroid.
Now, while the JAM project held several concerts in Taipei already, it’s quite worth the time to see JAM with their former leader Mizuki. Unfortunately, they only did two songs, so that wasn’t much a show there. On the other hand, Mizuki has a long inventory of songs – however, most of the listeners have little idea of where the majority of these songs came from (with the exception of the loyal Japanese expats).
The best part of the trip was actually Angela’s performance. They played a long list of Sokyu no Fafner songs, really driving the crowd nuts with their lively act. For the encore, they actually performed the main theme with the “towel” dance.
So I guess those were the highlights of this year’s AFAX. Coming to think of it, I’ve actually been to the event twice – this is the third year they held the event. Compared to the festival in its infancy, I think AFAX has grown at a surprising speed. While there could be only so many exhibitors from Japan, the number of local participants has seen rapid growth. This is especially obvious in the numbers of cosplayers at the show. This year, the third floor lobby was packed with people in costumes from various animations and manga. According to my friend, there are even people who came with two different sets of costumes – one for each day.
If the organizers can keep up this pace, I would not be surprised if this event became THE anime show in Southeast Asia. It’ll just give me more excuse to visit Singapore and see my friend, and giving me something to do while I’m there.
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