The Anime Festival Asia, the time when you can openly admit your love of all things Japanese and not get weird looks for it, is back. From today until Sunday 27 November gets your Weeaboo fix at the Suntec Convention Centre. From as little as S$13 for just exhibitions, all the way up to S$88 for the concerts, there is a lot to see this year. So what can you expect to see? Here is a roundup of the sights, sounds and smells of AFA Singapore 2016.
Everybody seems to love a good katana. Many animes, regardless of their setting, has some sort of sword somewhere in the show. As such, you couldn’t go five metres at AFA without stumbling across a stall with swords. Some were obvious replicas from variety show (One Piece, Gintama), but others were just standard Japanese swords. If you are willing to part with more money, you can even get a special fibreglass blade that bends without breaking. In the main, though, it was all standard wooden blades. Not bad, just not really any different. Although, it did mean that there wasn’t too much of a queue anywhere for the swords.
Although the main focus of the festival is the celebration of Anime culture, there was a corner dedicated towards gaming. MSI was there, showing off their high-end gaming capabilities, as well as a new line of SSDs. The main reason to head to this corner, however, is to have a go on their HTC Vive setup, allowing you to play around in a variety of games. Keep in mind that the queue will be very long, though, so get comfortable.
A fun little side attraction here is Wargaming.Net’s setup, giving you the chance to play World of Tanks or World of Warships. There isn’t anything special added to the game, but it’s the marketing is special. Having a bunch of anime schoolgirls gathered around playing such an accurate battle simulator made me smile. So if you’re in the mood of some strategy gaming, give this a look. Or just use it as an excuse to see even more artwork.
Models and art
Collectables are a mainstay of any convention, and AFA is no different. No matter what kind of collectable you’re in the mood for, chances are you will be able to find it here. Gundam, One Piece, Frame Arms Girls, Sword Art Online and more all have official merchandise and models available for purchase at their booths. Have a look at the floor plan to find your favourite properties.
If you are more in the mood for art, either official or fan made, there is plenty of that as well. I saw a vendor with some fantastic graphics of properties ranging from Overwatch to Studio Ghibli films. Otherwise, there are posters, t-shirts and much more dotted around the exhibition floor which you need to explore to find the best really.
Vendors and fun stuff
Odex, the Singapore-based distribution company, had a massive booth set up at AFA this year. While the primary purpose is to sell merchandise, it was also where you could pre-order tickets to see the latest Yu-Gi-Oh film dropping next week 1 December. Likewise Sword Art Online has a large booth dedicated to allowing fans a chance to explore the world of SOA.
Most vendors kept to a certain standard of inventory, such as prints and models, but there were several body pillow cases on display. Many of which bordered on the line between tasteful and uncomfortable, but this is just personal taste speaking. Even the more official vendors had some in stock.
As a final bonus, there were some silly booths to spice up the options. WakuWaku, for example, is holding a competition to perform along the infamous internet song PPAP for a chance to meet the infamous Kosaka Daimou when he joins AFA on Sunday. Likewise, Sony had a TV with an interactive Anime girlfriend who could tell you the weather or give you moral support if you said you were lonely. It’s the little things that make these events so much fun.
Of course, a convention would be nothing without a bit of action happening on the main stage. AFA does not disappoint in this regard. Everything from music performances to Cosplay showcases happens throughout the day, and at night this is where the animusic concerts happen. Have a look here to see if the lineup interests you at all.
Colours, Cartoons and Cosplay: Opening Day At AFA Singapore