Good day, fellows!
This is, well, more than a month overdue but let me at least state the experience of my first time going to the Anime Festival Asia. AFA 2012 happened last 09th-11th November at Singapore Expo. It was a fun-packed event with several things to love.
What I love – !
(1) Most of all, the event itself is the very thing to love. There were several events out there dedicated to anime and stuff, but AFA is just too big of an event to miss. What is there not to love about this event with the photo opportunities, several booths filled with anime or Japanese stuff, games and interactive things, maid and butler cafes, Japanese food, Japanese artists found on the very event and the concert, and other things to be surprised about? Oh, I guess I can name one – the crowded place making it pretty difficult to move freely.
(2) Cosplay! I am not a fan of cosplay nor do I wear outfits that were imitated from anime characters. Let me say that they are eye candies to me. People doing cosplays satisfy my visual faculty. Furthermore, aren’t they just amazing? If they make their own clothes, accessories and other paraphernalia and make-up, then they must be certified artisans. I just fancy cosplayers to be like that – creative artisans. There might be some like that but I don’t think most of them were. Want more cosplay facts? Scroll down.
(3) Takoyaki. I became a fan of takoyaki ever since last year – 2011. My taste vary, though. I know of two Takoyaki brands in Singapore – TakoPachi and WowTako. They certainly taste differently. I’d say that TakoPachi is more savory and authentic while WowTako appeals to the general public with a bit sweeter flavor. That was my opinion.
There was a takoyaki store in one of the food booths in the AFA exhibition. The store is serving freshly made takoyakis. However, the queue was long and I have to wait for about 30 minutes to be able to buy at least one pack. I ordered 2 packs for myself since I was hungry and to satisfy myself from the long wait. It was worth it! I don’t know what an authentic takoyaki tastes like but I think it was kinda close. It was different from WowTako which I used to always buy, and a bit similar to TakoPachi which I am starting to like now.
Well, honestly, and with all truth, I am not exactly into cosplay but I do admire the cosplayers. Actually, I am starting to like it! Cosplays are eye candies especially if it’s very similar to the original.They provide visual satisfaction to me. I didn’t get to properly talk to someone from the event as to their reason for Cosplaying, which is too bad. But by observing them while I am randomly taking photos, I think there was a pattern in their behavior.
1. Ask for their permission before taking their photos. At first, I thought that once a camera was faced to the cosplayers they will automatically strike a pose for you. I prove myself wrong in this event, though. Unless they were posing for some photographers, then they wouldn’t even bother posing for you unless you asked them to. And just taking their photos without their permission and posting it on some websites will make you a ‘Stalker’, wouldn’t it?
2. Don’t forget to thank them. Well, this was just a rather personal thing on my part. However, thanking them for doing you a favor – which is stirking a pose for ouy – will make them feel appreciated. Cosplay is not an easy feat and it’s a costly hobby. Showing them some gratitude is just an act of respect and admiration.
3. Preparation takes a long time. As I just said, Cosplay is not an easy feat. The preparation for the outfits alone will take so much time, specially when they’re made by the cosplayer. Moreover, there are the accessories to be made as well. If, the outfit and accessories were bought by the cosplayer from specialty stores, there is still the make-up and hair to be done. They also still have to travel from home to the event venue. Most cosplayers are bringing small luggage bags with them tothe event venue and they will prepare everything in the restrooms. Bottom line, cosplay as a hobby is such a hassle.
4. Come in the afternoon. I realized this when I went to the AFA 2012 event. Since preparation takes too much time, cosplayers usually come in the afternoon and not on the very opening of the event. There are some who a re punctual and they would wander around the event hall throughout the day. However, some dedicated cosplayers come in the afternoon with full outfit, which is most of the time, better than the earlier ones.
5. They come in group. Since most cosplayers bring luggage bags with them, they would usually come with someone so that person can bring the bag for him/her. It wouldn’t be so much comfortable walking around the venue bring a big bag while on your cosplay right? And, this is just a guess, but some people are coming to cosplay events in cosplay to promote some specialty stores. Other would come to the event to recruit cosplayers for some business. If you’re pretty much confident to the level of your cosplay, then wander in an area where people can easily spot you, and be prepared to have someone give you a business card. 🙂
6. More or less, cosplayers knew each other. During the event, with, like, a third of the people were in their cosplay, I noticed a member of a group greeting another member from another group. I come to a conclusion that people who attend cosplay events are usually the same people hence they get to know each other. What else, if they are cosplaying for the same theme with different characters, might as well, group together to attract more attention, right?
Well, these are mostly based on my opinions but maybe some of them are truth? Who knows,since I don’t have a cosplayer friend.
What else to see – !
Basically, the event was divided in three parts. Festival, Mainstage and Electric Groove (concert), and tickets are prices accordingly.
Festival. This is actually the exhibition hall with several booths to cater to various interests. I would say that this is the most busy part since Festival tickets are cheaper as compared to Festival and Stage tickets. This is also the most interesting part and the life of the event, since I didn’t go for the concert.
Besides cosplayers wandering throughout the event venue, there were also several other stuff to see and be excited about in the exhibition hall alone. Booths, games, Japanese artists and celebrity cosplayers and food! I’ll try to go one by one, as far as I remember.
Canon has this big booth for photo opportunities. They prepared back drops to be used for the photos of whoever wanted to participate. They also set up a mini-stage for some artists to give a talk, to promote themselves, etc. Most of the time though, the booth was only like a gathering place were the guests can sit on the floor.
Animax has a photo-booth entitled for the anime “K”. I’ve never watched the anime so I’m not sure if it’s good or not, but I can say that the graphics are excellent.
Other booths are dedicated to Japanese companies for their artists to promote their CD’s and make an appearance. Well, I didn’t spend anymore money besides for Takoyaki, so I didn’t get the chance for the meet-and-greet sessions. There were Lisa, Flow, SEA-A, and other artists that I don’t remember. Mostly are the artists that will be performing for the concert.
There’s also maid and butler cafes. The theme this year is ‘school’. Last year, I believe, was fairy tale or something like that. I didn’t get the chance to eat there as well although it’s one of the things I went to the event for. As for the reason why, I basically don’t want to spend minutes, or even hours, of my time only to queue! Moe Moe Kyun Maid Cafe has mostly guys for guests while Atelier Butler Cafe has mostly girls. Well, makes sense though.
Behind the food booths is a big space which is perhaps reserved for the cosplayers to gather and place their stuffs there. It could be a haven for photographer hunting for nice models. Outside the event hall, although it’s very hot, is the same. A lot of cosplayers are loitering around. Well, they have the greenery in some parts and the perfect natural lighting. Even, I satisfied myself with some of the photos I captured.
There is also a booth for the ball-jointed dolls (BJD) to be displayed. That booth was one of the amazing things there. I rack full of doll though they were only available for display. They’re clothes vary as well – wedding dresses, Japanese traditional clothes, anime-inspired outfits, punk, casual, school uniform, and even fighter outfits.
Some booths are selling anime collectibles like swords, hats, costumes and etc. Some are just exhibition of anime stuff like the ships from One Piece, and robots from other anime’s. I am, indeed, not into mechas so, sorry.
Mainstage. Since I get the Festival and Stage ticket I have access to go to the mainstage where most of the artists will be showing up. I only get to see Kaname (on his cosplay) and SEA-A girls. I was busy hunting for certain cosplay characters which I managed to find. I didn’t spend too much time hanging around the mainstage which is a waste of money on my part.
Concert. So the concert was the priciest but the most thing to look forward to for me. I didn’t go although I wanted to. I went there on the 10th, which is Saturday, and I love the artists line up. I went back home early to watch the free online streaming of the event. They didn’t aired the artists I wanted to watch the most though, too bad.
Bottom line, the event was worth it, at least for me. I wanted to take photos of cosplays and wanted to see the event for real, so I had my share of fun.