Monday, November 30, 2015

Anime Festival Asia (AFA) 2015

Anime Festival Asia 2015 (AFA15) was a blast! I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. It was going to be hard to top last year's mega edition but organisers SOZO I felt did just that. Occupying the entire fourth level once again and also the concourse level, this year's event featured close to 200 booths and had numerous activities and events, some of which were new elements such as the comedy segment. There was something for everyone. 

The queues were really long each day. Judging by the turnout, I have a feeling the attendance will surpass or at least match the 90,000 figure from last year. There was a separate queue for AFA World members which was significantly shorter than the main queue. AFA World is an app which you can download onto your mobile device. I suggest keeping tabs on it and also on the AFA Facebook page for future announcements. Who knows maybe next year you can join the shorter queue as well. 

Fans rushed in once the doors were opened. Many wanting the opportunity to meet their favourite artistes. You had to buy some merchandise to get tickets to do so. 

My interests you probably know are of a different kind. There was a couple of things I wanted from the Good Smile Company (GSC) booth. I was eyeing a Nendoroid Mako Two Star Fight Club version and also the Culture Festival and Japanese Life play sets. Alas it was not to be. They sold out within the first hour. They did restock certain items each day. But you had to be really early to stand a chance. 

Some new items were displayed at the GSC booth. There was Saitama (below left)  from One Punch Man. I know I definitely want a figure of him but I'm thinking a Nendoroid for me is not appropriate for the character. I'm holding out for a figma. We also got a look at a prototype of Yagen Toushirou from Touken Ranbu Online. You can see more of the displays in the gallery. The link bottom of the page. 

The Bandai Booth featured a mixture of Bandai and Banpresto products on display. The section I enjoyed viewing most was that of the custom Bearguys. They are just so cute. Though there are a couple of them which are pretty fierce.  

The Manga Dimension figures from Banpresto were interesting. They were released just this year and it was my first time viewing them. These figures have a unique style of shading to them. If you take a picture and enlarge they will appear as if they were 2D, just like in a manga! A figure of Naruto is upcoming and he will be released in the summer of 2016! 

Also from Banpresto is the One Piece Jeans Freak collection. Nami is the second figure in the line and she will be released in January next year.

The Culture Japan booth showcased their line-up of Smart Dolls. I have to say they have a certain appeal to them. Their clothes are stylish and they also feature pretty good articulation. I just noticed Danny Choo is in the pic below. I should have asked him for a photo.  

The first male figure, Eiji Seiun (below second from right) will be released on 24 December which is his birthday. 

The above Smart Dolls are just the start. In development are Smart Doll Plus which will be robotic versions and of a larger scale. I won't go into detail here but you can find out more on Danny Choo's page. It's an interesting read. 

Also on display at the booth was the Atom 3D Printer which is used to make the shell of the Smart Doll Plus. It's bigger than most other 3D printers I have seen. Watching it at work was mesmerising.

Moving on to other areas now. AFA15 featured thirteen cosplay guests. Several of them graced the event for the first time and they include Tomia, Sansin, Otogi Nekomu and Liui Aquino. Access to them was much easier this year. Not only did they appear at the mini stage, there was also a Cosplay All Star Showcase held at the main stage as well. Taking photos of them at the main stage was easier compared to the mini stage where it often got packed. I hope their main stage appearance continue to remain a feature of future editions of AFA. In addition to the Cosplay All Star, they had individual appearances and you could also take a photo with them at the Canon Photo booths. 

Click images to enlarge. 

The AFA Regional Cosplay Championship saw five teams from Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand competing. The team from Indonesia took the top prize for their Devil May Cry performance. The team from Thailand was second and the Philippines was third. 

In the singles competition the blue armored character with the sword (centre in the pic below) won out of 18 contestants. The name escapes me at the moment. 

The comedy segment by Yoshimoto Entertainment was a new aspect on the event. The comedians who performed included Seiji Chihara, Tomonori Jinnai, and Tutorial. I caught their first act on Friday and enjoyed it so much I watched them again the following two days. The performers and acts varied from day to day. I loved the food juggling and balloon bit Moriyasu Banban Bigaro. Kamiya did an awesome mime type act. The anime balloon props by Cabbage Kakuninchuu were fun. I'm envious of those in the audience who got them, especially that Attack on Titan Maneuver Gear.

The Empty Stage is an act where the performers have not prepared anything. The audience give them a title or setting and they act it out. They did two types, one was called Half-Life, and the other was a commercial type. In Half-Life after they will act out a hilarious scene based on what the audience wanted. They will then reduce the time by half each time till one second. It was great fun to watch! In Commercial, they acted out a commercial for an item suggested by the audience. They would then do it with a different emotion or movie genre. I cannot say enough how hilarious it was! You have to really hand it to these guys. They were so expressive. The way they jumped and fell to play dead was impressive. It looked painful to do though. 

Gekidan Animeza would close the segment. In it we see a Japanese tourist looking to visit attractions and eat in Singapore meet several anime characters. The results were hilariously! I didn't expect that Titan which came out at the end part. Super awesome!

I had a great time at AFA15. In addition to the above I also watched several other performances and the One Punch Man showcase. I enjoyed them all. I liked the new elements and guests. It helps keep things fresh. I look forward to the event again next year.

Thanks for viewing!

No comments: