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AFA15: Full Circle in Anime Festival Asia

It’s that time of the year again…  But I wasn't fully prepared for it. So many responsibilities to attend to in such a constricted amount of time and to think it will be my last year attending AFA before I begin my compulsory service to the nation (It can be interpreted in two ways, so choose the safer choice).

Hello guys! Zwei here with my coverage of AFA 2015 probably one of the best one I’ve attended (My personal opinion...) even though I had so much going on (I definitely have too much going on so it took a while to edit the pictures in the midst of my Final Year Project). If you guys are wondering what is with the “Full Circle” in the title, it is to describe how AFA, the crowd and me has change or stayed constant over the years that I’ve attended. So yeah, you could say it is some sort of a reflection thing after 5 years of experience. I only went for the first and last day as I had exams, preparing for test shoot and helping some of my course mates with theirs but enough of that boring stuff. Let’s get on with it!

I arrive at around 1 for the first day, as I was at Botanic Gardens helping out on a test shoot. The crowd was okay. It was still manageable but nevertheless I still despise queues but I also like them to a certain extent as they maintain order. I bought the exhibition ticket only as there wasn’t much that I was looking forward to for the stage schedule. I wanted to go for the Cosplay All Star showcase but I wasn’t able to make it on time. Slightly disappointed. Come to think of it, for the last 4 years, I’ve been going on about going there earlier so that the queue and crowd and so on. Haha… I started to not really mind going early. Don’t get me wrong. I would love to go early just for the sake of it but I guess it applies mostly to those of you who are after the limited edition items or booths like ODEX, which was very popular where the queue seems to never subside.

Okay, the first thing I did when I reach there was to map out the whole event in my head. Yes, an important step that you must begin on your event journey or “war”. It’s best to survey the battleground and understand which booth is at where as it could save you a lot of time in getting around the halls in the least crowded routes. It’s like going to the other side of Singapore where you can choose which expressway you would like to go by. Having the map on you is handy but it is best if you have in your head. Take note of the various events happening in the hall such as at the mini stage or even autographs chances, as those routes leading to it will most definitely be crowded. Unless you’re carrying light, going through the crowd is not advisable. Items may be lost, tears shed, unhappiness between attendees will arise. (Why did it suddenly change to a guide..?)

As I had planned on what items I want to buy with the list I stored in my phone, I headed to my first booth, which is the Coscom booth where Ely and Tomia cosplay photobooks are. And yes, I indeed bought both of their photobook. 

It definitely is my prize items for the whole event as I’ve always admired their cosplays especially Ely. I really fell in love with her Yuyuko Saigyouji cosplay. 

It’s just so beautiful. So beautiful that I made it my wallpaper for my phone and my computer. Well, former… For Tomia, I really like her Hestia and Nui Harime cosplay. Her smile fits them so well.

Shortly after my purchase, I went to Danny Choo’s booth and bought a pair of shirts. 

Kind of a tradition for me to buy at least one shirt for any event… Well except for Cosfest as I am there more for the cosplay. On display at the booth were an array of smart dolls, which I took a chance to warm up myself using my camera. 

I really can't wait to see the Chitose Smart Doll. Oh, there was also a 3D printer at the booth but I have no idea what it was printing.

I then made it back slowly to the Coscom booth and began lining up for the Ely autograph chance. 

I was restless waiting in the queue as I couldn’t wait to meet her. We waited quite long but when she finally arrive, everyone was excited. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get her autograph as time ran out. There was some problem with the line with either some people cut the queue or a few people had too many things to autograph which hold up the line. Obviously, people lining up were furious with it. One brave soul actually went to the Coscom exhibitor to tell and explain to them the situation and he even help to organize the queue for other events happening in the hall.

But at least I got to meet Tomia and got her autograph! 

Yay! I was so worried that time will run out again before I have the chance to get her autograph but I left the booth quite contented. It was kind of weird to hear her say my name since I am too used to being called by my nickname in school.

I then walk to the AFA booth for my next agenda, which is to check out the Hatsune Miku stuff. 

I bought a tapestry of Magical Mirai 2015 but I can’t put it up on display yet so it’ll go to the store along with the rest of my anime stuff, picking up dust.

Following that I went to explore other booths that were set up, which I had planned to visit like Muse, Kadokawa, Latendo etc. As most of my time was spent on queuing for autograph, I didn’t go out to search for cosplayers as I used to for events. Ah… I might have reverted to how I was originally, being awkward and scared to approach cosplayers. Why do I reset for every event?

Though I didn't take pictures of cosplayers for the day, I went around to snap photos of figurines.

I ended the day with my last item that I bought from the Miku and Honeyworks booth, a Miku shirt. I really miss Miku… I really want to attend her concert again…

I didn’t go for day 2 as I had to cram for my exam the next day. I definitely wasn’t in the mood for it but I need to do what must be done. I heard Max was going for the second day and it was a Saturday so there were more people to be expected to attend the event.

Alas, the third day arrived. As soon as I finished my exam, I cab there (my money…) and put on my battle gear before heading in. Oh, what’s this…? A VIP ticket for Sunday!? And what!? An autographed poster of nano!? 

HECK YEAH! I couldn’t believe it when nano was announced to be part of I Love Anisong Reboot. I had to buy the VIP ticket. I didn't really care about my exams as I had this floating around on my mind. As soon as I arrive, I head to the autograph booth and waited in queue. And guess who I saw helping out with the queue? Anyway, it was a pity that nano couldn’t be the one to hand out the poster (for obvious reasons) but I was still pleased with what I got.

I then straight away head to the Coscom booth for my second and last chance to get Ely’s autograph. I actually felt a bit disheartened when I saw how long the line was. I couldn’t help but felt that I might not be able to get her autograph. But she arrived earlier than the appointed time and I got her autograph in the end. 

Ah… It was such a happy day despite having just finished an exam that I am scared that I couldn’t pass.

After that accomplishment, I began my hunt for cosplayers.

I got to admit. I didn’t take as much as how I used to in such events. Is it because I had no friends to accompany me? It really reminds me of how it was for me those years back when I attend AFA alone. What a sad fellow. I’ve changed over the years. I feel like I’ve become kinder and more vulnerable now. Well, my awkwardness didn’t change. I’m not complimenting myself, don’t get me wrong. It’s a self reflection as to how I was five or six years ago when I first attended AFA. Back then I would say bring as much money as possible but now I feel that buy only what you really want and learn to spend moderately. It might be because I need to use money for my final year project. Or seeing my cousins or grandparents needing money to support themselves woke me up that I shouldn’t spend money blindly. My negativity came out again. Let’s change topic.

The concert was certainly the icing to the cake. First up was nano. I was so happy to see her on stage. She sang “No Pain, No Game”, “Now or Never”, SAVIOR OF SONG”, “Rock on”, “Bull’s Eye” and I think there were a few more but I can’t remember. Probably overwhelmed by the experience of attending her concert. She’s definitely the best part of the concert... to me that is as I am a huge fan of hers.

Following that was GARNiDELiA. I can’t remember what she sang but I think I heard “Grilletto”, “Ambiguous” and “Mirai” (Correct me if I am wrong). She also sang “Daze” from Mekaku City Actors as well as “SPiCa”.

After them were Mika Kobayashi and Tetsuro Shimaguchi. If I am not wrong (my memory fails me), I think she sang “Before My Body is Dry” from Kill la Kill, “Bauklötze” from SNK, “Bios” from Guilty Crown” and a few more. The performance with the katana by Tetsuro Shiamguchi was quite captivating. I can’t help but watch in silence as he swung the katana in accordance with the song that was sang by Mika Kobayashi.

Next was Lia! OMG! It was so emotional listening to her. Everyone wave their lightsticks to her singing. You just want to close your eyes and immerse youself in it but at the same time you want to keep them open to see her sing. I have a vague memory of what she sang but I remember “Tori no Uta” from AIR, “Toki wo Kizamu Uta” from Clannad (the feels), “Light Colors” also from Clannad (I think she sang this), “My Soul, Your Beats!” from AngelBeats! and “Bravely You” from Charlotte. I just want to bring her home in a little music box.

And to end it off was May’n. After a 3 month hiatus due to polyps on her vocal chords, she returned to AFA with full force. I only remember three songs that she sang which are “ViViD” from Blood Lad, "Yoake no Logos" and “Yamaidare darlin’” from Aquarion Logos. It was definitely a great end to the event with everyone in high spirits (though I secretly wish for an encore even though it was so late…)

AFA this year was truly enjoyable while a quite number of you guys would beg to differ. I will admit the atmosphere this year is different than last and previous years. It feels ever so slightly less energetic or it might just be me. The cosplayers too feel ever so slightly less engaging (It might just be me...) I guess… but there were definitely more people cosplaying this year than last year, which is good. Does it feel that way to those who attended? Either way, this will be my last AFA before my two years of National Service. I hope to be able to go for at least one more thing before it begins. With that, bye-bye.

Mata ne~

Written by Zwei


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