Anime Festival Asia 2009 is one of the largest — if not the largest, Japanese pop culture convention in the South East Asian region. It has attracted attendees from as far away as Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok, and Manila. AFA 09 highlights include the 1st Regional Cosplay Competition and the I Love Anisong series of concerts.
As the Official Philippine Affiliate and as part of the MTV Asia Blog Crew, I’ve had the unique privilege of not just covering the main convention floor, but also attending exclusive interviews with I Love Anisong artistes MAY’N, Nakagawa Shouko, and Fukuyama Yoshiki (for a complete rundown of the performer interviews, please visit the MTV Asia Blog ). If you guys are ready, let’s zip along to Day 1 of Anime Festival Asia 09.
The first thing that grabs your attention when you enter the con is the massive booth set up by BANDAI. The booth features — what else? — Gunpla models, tokusatsu action figures, and novelty toys aimed at kids and kids-at-heart. Next to it is an equally massive Animax Asia activity area featuring a fully-functioning dubbing studio and submitted art work in their fan art display.
In the entire dealers’ floor, two booths dominated in terms of queue waiting times: Kareshi Kanojo no Mise and COSPA South East Asia. This is not a reflection of the booths disorganization — far from it actually! It was just the sheer number of patrons looking to get in on their extensive merchandise and attractive promos. KKNM was running a no-losers lucky pick promo, while COSPA offered anime goods and apparel straight from Japan.
Day 1 also featured the Grand Finals of the 1st Regional Cosplay Competition. As I mentioned in a previous entry, the event was won by Team Singapore 00 Emotion, which grabbed both top awards for Costume Craftsmanship and the Grand Prize. To get there they had to go through a gauntlet of exceptional cosplay pairs from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Japanese celebrity cosplayer Kaname acted as Head Judge for the event, and the awarding of prizes was graced by the presence of Nakagawa Shouko and Mizuki Ichiro. The winners received a Brother sewing machine, a pair of round-trip airline tickets to Tokyo, Japan, and a set of Harajuku Lovers perfumes.
Last but not least was Day 1 of the I Love Anisong concert series, featuring Nakagawa Shouko, Hatsune Miku, and Mizuki Ichiro. I Love Anisong is Shokotan’s fourth overseas concert so far, and she brought a special brand of moe to her onstage performance. Several lucky fans also received autographs from her with every purchase of her singles and albums.
Mikumiku’s performance was just a quick three-song set — slightly plagued by technical difficulties, and is a bit of a letdown compared to her huge 3D holographic performances in Japan. Finally, Aniki brought the house down with another rousing performance of super robot theme songs. The event finale was a duet between the concert’s two flesh and blood superstars.
AFA 09 was held on the 21st and the 22nd of November 2009 at Singapore’s Suntec City Convention Center. It was organized jointly by I-Promo Events & Marketing, SOZO and Dentsu Singapore, and is proudly sponsored by Bandai. Animax Asia is the official regional media partner.
Thank you very much to AFA 09, Sozo, and Red Dawn for the support. Special thanks to Maurice of SOZO for providing additional photos for this event report.