Monday, November 12, 2012

Anime Festival Asia 2012

So AFA Singapore's fifth anniversary and my third year at AFA.

I originally wanted to write a blow-by-blow account, but I'm too tired so I think I'll write my overall impressions of the main events.

Movie. A large part of this AFA was spent watching the Puella Magi Madoka Magica movie, which was excellent. The animation was great, though I'm probably not veteran enough to see if it was better than the original. It was nice to relive the entire retelling of the story, and of course, make new links with my preordained knowledge of future events. The only gripe I have is the Claris opening theme thrown midway through the second movie. It didn't seem to serve any purpose to the plot at all, and seemed to be included only to make the movie longer. But overall, the story was brilliant, and I am super-hyped for the third movie next year.

Merchandise. I spent more at this AFA than the others, I think, but I'm quite happy with my purchases. I got some really nice art and a bunch of Mirai stuff which makes my heart beat orange so it's okay. I also noticed that coming back from Akihabara, AFA merchandise looks very... spartan. It just compare - the size, the scope, the quality, the price; I think I was spurred to look at every single booth here because I knew that I would never be able to do the same in Tokyo.

Cosplay. There were some really good cosplayers at this year's event. (I say that every year.) I think the organisers chose Expo for this year's event partially because there is so much more open space for cosplayers to set up and do their thing; they really crowd out the place at Suntec. Naturally, there were a lot of costumes I could not recognise, but I realise I do recognise a lot more then when I first came. There was an incredibly cute Guilty Crown cosplayer. Oh, and I met one of my OM girls, and she was cosplaying as something I didn't know; that was a surprise.

Concert. It's been barely six months since my LiSA concert in Tokyo, but I was really excited for the Saturday Anisong concert. I both admire and feel sorry for Babymetal's members; I don't know if they know that what they're doing is not metal at all, but I do admire them for sticking through it and giving it their all. I found m.o.v.e. to be particularly entertaining, the guy especially (he was hilarious), and I'll be checking out some of their songs in the future. I think I should have listened to more fripSide before the concert, but I danced out during the Railgun songs I knew; pity about the mic problems though. Yoshino Nanjō is really pretty, and she was the only artiste of the night to have a costume change! LiSA was explosively awesome, and I now remember the WiLD CANDY chorus dance moves I learnt from her Japan concert. LiSA always has so much energy, it's electrifying. I am not too familiar with FLOW, and I was really tired out by the time they took the stage, but I rocked out to the songs I recognised. I was sitting next to this Malay couple and the guy apologised for bumping into me during the m.o.v.e. segment, and commented that he had waited nine years for them to come to Singapore. So along the course of the concert we struck up a conversation, and I think I asked a couple of awkward questions (naturally), but they were really nice and promised to add us on Facebook.

Company. I only mention this because of its unprecedence: Xi Min invited Austin to come for the Sunday festival for a "cultural experience". I was pretty sure Austin wouldn't be terribly interested, but he followed us around and kept asking Xi Min stuff. I tried to explain a couple of concepts to him, like Japanese anthropomorphism and the idea of "moe", but I don't think I did them justice. I think a lot of cultural things need to be experienced to be appreciated; you can tell a person exactly what a hot spring is supposed to look, smell and feel, but ultimately it's in diving in (not literally) that you really understand. I also thought that Austin might have been expecting a more detailed and structured approach, similar to how they do it on travel shows on television, but this is pure conjecture on my part.

Miscellaneous. There was a point in time today when I left the Madoka movie and wandered into the hall, only to find myself at the back of a crowd at the LiSA meet-and-greet session. I couldn't really hear anything the translator was saying, but I could see her, and that's all that matters, right? Anyway, it was nearing the end, and when she was done she wasn't led through the back way, but out through the crowd, and as luck would have had it, she left at the exact opposite side of where I was standing. Graaah.

Musings. During the concert I had an idea about a lightstick battle; just having a standing army in the darkness break open their lightsticks in unison as the camera panned across them. It captured my imagination, such that during some of the songs I didn't recognise, my mind kept coming back to ways to use lightsticks as weapons, even though I tried to keep my attention on the music and the epileptic strobes. I wonder if this is caused by my continuously multitasking with music when I do work, which might subconsciously influence my brain to think of other things when music is on. Also, during the concert, I was suddenly seized by a desire to be one of them, one of the artistes on stage; not for the fame or fortune, but for the sheer exhilaration of performing and getting people hyped up with you, so now "Be part of a band performance" is now totally on my bucket list.

All in all, AFA 2012 was a blast, but I'm really too tired to think straight anymore.

The Edna Man