Monday, November 14, 2011

BEST. WEEKEND. EVER.

My first Anime Festival Asia and I am high.

Three weeks ago I was at somewhere stupid wasting my morning, when Bryan came up to me and bugged me to go AFA. I went back and looked at the schedule (and pricing) and was debating it for a few days. I should go back in time and tell my past self to go for it, no regrets.

I wanted to check out the Miku concert, but tickets were sold out by the time I made my decision, so I forsook it. I heard it was not as awesome as a real Japanese one though, so I don't think I missed out that much.

Saturday at arrived early to redeem my tickets. It was quite exciting first stepping through the entrance to the hall. I wasn't very interested in the merchandise since they were mostly figurines, which I don't go for, so I wandered around with a few of my friends, watching them steam over the characters they love. There were a lot of good artists at the indie corridor, and I purchased a nice matte poster of Kyoko-chan. I was considering getting the full set of Magia posters, but they didn't have Madoka and the Homura one wasn't very to my taste.

There were many cosplayers at the festival. Some were good, and many were brilliant. I wouldn't mind cosplaying in the future; it's fun to pretend to be someone else, but I will go over the edge and remain completely in character. That would be awesome. I can't go through all the cosplayers I saw over the last few days, but there were a few good ones I remember (that I recognised): Madoka, Mami, this girl in the centre of the second floor with the huge red dress, the awesome hair girl from Index who just took off her hair, cute vocaloid girl, Black Rock Shooter, the random rage comic memes.

Boey dragged me to watch LiSA's artist appearance in the morning, where she sang the opening of Fate/Zero. I was also there to catch the live dubbing of Magia by Homura's seiyu, Chiwa Saitou. Danny Choo is awesome in that he went to live his dream in Japan. He's also quite funny. However, he doesn't know how to host properly. He keeps pointing out all the mistakes, which is very pointless and quite unprofessional. He doesn't even turn it into a joke, which is what should be done. But I have found out I arbitrarily LOVE Mirai Suenaga because she's so ORANGE! Gotta give credit to him for that, if nothing else.

Saturday's concert was awesome. I didn't know many of the artists, but I thought the music was quite nice. For all the criticism Sea-Star-A seems to get, I don't think they're horrible; their songs are quite happy and catchy, and one of their songs did get chosen to be this year's AFA theme song. Ichiro Mizuki/Aniki was from a generation before mine, so while good, not very emotionally attached. Also, his blowing-in-the-wind scarf was hilarious. I didn't really like Flow; they were too loud, and they came on after LiSA.

I shall now dedicate two paragraphs to LiSA and her performance.

LiSA was easily the best performance of the night. She was really energetic and looked like she really enjoyed the music and performing. She's adorable. It didn't hurt that I knew a few of her songs from Angel Beats!. I loved her whiplash-hand action thing. She stole my heart when she cried after Ichiban no Takaramono. She put her heart and soul into that song until it became too much to hold in and it exploded out of her. I'd admire any singer who can do that, and LiSA was it.

Boey Yang was (probably) the happiest person alive in the concert hall that night. He is a huge fan of LiSA, and wants me to tell the world (or whoever reads this blog) how much he loves her. You should have seen him explode when he recognised all her songs from Angel Beats! and the Fate/Zero opening. I have never seen another person quite so happy. I mentioned to Jonas that it's a nice feeling to see Boey happy, because he's never happy: he's always complaining or emoing about something or other.

I noticed that many of the artists thanked us for supporting Japan after the tsunami disaster earlier. It made me feel a bit bad that I didn't really do anything to help Japan back then. I shall do more in the future.

So I was exhaused after jumping around for LiSA and my arms were dead. Unfortunately the concert ended at 11:30pm and it was a mad rush to the MRT station to catch the last train. Split an ice milo with Jonas (sweet elixir of life, after three hours of dehydrating concert) and managed to catch the last train, AND a bus back home. So awesome.

Sunday was more of the same, but this time following Bryan Ong around, who refuses to take photos of everything and didn't even want to look around. So I ended up wandering around the same stalls of figurines I didn't want to buy. I found out that the booth which I bought my Kyoko poster from was now selling Madoka, so I was wondering if I should get the complete Magia set, but I found out they were out of Mami, so I just got Sayaka instead. Jonas got a signed Anisong poster from one of the artists in a lucky draw.

Managed to bump into Xi Min who found out his neighbour (who is a girl) was cosplaying there as well, and around our age. START OF A BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIP XI MIN. She looks like a loli though. Speaking of which, Xi Min used me as a human blocker to shoot a photo of a really small girl cosplaying as some loli character. Like a true pedobear. Sigh. And speaking of which, there was some guy in a pedobear costume going around in the afternoon, and many photos were being taken of him and little kids. And then, he met with another pedobear cosplayer, and they acted like they knew each other and embraced like old friends. Best cosplay meeting ever. I was hoping the Homura cosplayers would go around shooting all the Kyubeis, but I never it happening. I was also hoping the Ash and Misty cosplayers would bump into the Bug Catcher, and he would shout, "Hey! You looked at me funny! Let's battle!" But nothing happened.

Also went to check out the AKB48 artist appearance. One of the girls (there were only two) was quite pretty but didn't seem very honest; the other was not as pretty but more honest, I felt. I always thought they were a Korean group until yesterday, when I found out they were actually Japanese. Oh there was this really funny part when one of them said something-something-otaku-something-something, and the translator was like, "...and all the... uh... anime-fans...", which I found hilarious.

I also checked out the cosplay competition in the afternoon, and the Philippines one was clearly the best of the lot, with a light-up display that no one expected, and a dramatic twist ending. The Lightning was not bad, and the Singapore girls dressed up as guys (with really low-cut top and revealing abs which were not real), which I thought was a bit weird. I never really understand crossplay, especially guys dressing up as girls, which is not appealing at all. But oh well, whatever floats your boat.

We were approached in the middle of area next to the caf├ęs by some showgirls working for Canon who wanted to give us free photos, to advertise the portable photo printer. As there were five of us, we had to stand around awkwardly while the photos were being printed. Boey and Jonas asked them some questions, and they said that they weren't into anime, and were just working for Canon, so they were probably quite lost as to the whole atmosphere of the convention. There were also a few girls advertising Kit-Kat and Milo and giving out free samples, and they were affectionately known as Kit-Kat-chan and Milo-chan by my more otaku compatriots.

Before the concert on Sunday we didn't bother to queue with hordes of people, so we walked around a bit more and discovered the graffiti wall, which had a lot of awesome art and a lot of hilarious stuff tacked to it, because it wasn't an officially-designated spot, just a large area where there weren't any posters or anything. There were some funny Kyubei recruitment posters, and a whole wall dedicated to Singapore's Bronies, but my personal favourite was the poster which read "OCCUPY AFA: WE ARE THE NYAN NYAN PERCENT (who were denied a drawing space) *pic of nyan-cat* WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE ARE". I thought that was hilarious, and whoever did that, I totally salute you for your awesome pop culture references.

Sunday's concert was okay; I didn't know a single song except the Magia ending theme by Kalafina. I kinda liked Kalafina; they have this edgy refined goth-opera style which I didn't dislike, and one of them had the awesome half-cornrow hairstyle which is probably my favourite hairstyle for a girl. The Stein's Gate singer (whose name I cannot remember now) was not bad, but I didn't know the songs. I thought Milky Holmes was like Sea-Star-A, in that they were cute, with happy songs, but I cannot say I really liked them that much. Angela was nice, with a lot of stage presence and audience interaction, and there was a special Nico Nico Douga live stream in the middle of their performance too. May'n was good, I think I shall start listening to her songs. It's hard to believe she's only in her early twenties. I also realised that Day 2 performers had a lot more English than Day 1, which was quite surprising. I'm sure that all the screams from the audience is totally oblivious to every line of Japanese they say.

So that was my two days of anime festival, which totally rocked, and we ended with a group shot of all the GEPs into anime, which was a nice finishing touch to the whole weekend.

WE ARE THE NYAN-TY NYAN PERCENT,
The Edna Man