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C3 AFA 2019

Hello everyone! The past two weekends have been extremely fulfilling for both anime and comic lovers with events like AFA and SGCC. Fellow blogger Gin and I (kimizomi) have been given the wonderful opportunity to cover AFA 2019 during our visit on 30 Nov, Friday. Our close friend Yin, who is also another fellow blogger, came along as well. 


Gin (left) and kimizomi (right)

Our media wristbands for the day
 
I have been to other conventions like Doujima and Cosfest, but AFA was a first for me and considering that it is a huge event for anime/gaming lovers, I was beyond excited. With that being said, I also gotta prepare myself for the throngs of people inside the convention hall, especially since it’s the first day out of the three full days of the event. 
 

Seeing all these people just makes me want to say: 

ICHIGO AWAY! 

Just kidding, of course not. We’re all here for the same thing, and it’s best to be patient, and treat others with the same amount of decency and respect.
 
So, first order of business, THE BOOTHS! (also known as the Creators Hub) 
The Creators Hub was (unsurprisingly) even more crowded than the main area of the convention hall (it was hard to even take a step through the crowd at some points). Just like any other anime convention, this is the place where fan artists congregate to set up their booths and sell their original art/merchandise. Not all the things were anime-related, though most were. Common things sold included prints and posters in all sizes, stickers, keychains and enamel pins. As expected, there was a lot of Kimetsu no Yaiba and My Hero Academia merch (we also saw A LOT of Nezuko and Toga cosplayers), though timeless classics like Hunter x Hunter and Inuyasha still rightfully found representation. 




Because I lack any semblance of self-discipline, I admit, with much guilt, that I probably spent at least $150 here. But honestly, all art is good art and my self-serving excuse is that I’m doing my part to show my support for all the aspiring artists out there. Just to give you an idea of what $150 can get you, here’s a picture of my loot for the day:


Here's also a picture of kimizomi's loots:


Besides the Creators Hub, there are also many official merchandise stores flown in from Japan, some of them even having Japanese staff members. They sell the typical things you would find in an Animate store in Japan, and they are definitely much pricier than stuff you can find in the Creators Hub. I saw a pair of Tanjiro’s earrings and they cost a whopping $48 - no sane person would willing fork over their money for that. On the other hand, I think one of the best deals were these huge paper bags that contained an assortment of merchandise from a specific anime (e.g. a Haikyuu paper bag would hold a lot of random Haikyuu merch) and this was all for a rather reasonable price of $35 only + they had this for a lot of popular anime! You can squint and try to see them in the picture below:


An official Mary and Yumeko (Kakegurui) figurine originally brought in from Kotobukiya

Official clearance items
 
The best thing is, you don’t have to worry if you get hungry while on your anime rampage because AFA consists of a food section with a selection of Japanese food, ranging from full meals to street eats that you can consume while walking around the convention centre. We personally got some Takoyaki and bubble tea (yes, they had a Tiger Sugar booth there and yes, I could not resist).





An interesting find was a miniature version of the original Swallowtail Butler Cafe, which is actually a cafe in Ikebukuro, Tokyo itself. We didn’t personally go in, but judging from the posters, they most likely flew in their staff to recreate the experience for us thirsty Singaporeans who wish to be wined and dined by young Japanese men. 
 


In addition, there were many cool games and activities to keep convention-goers entertained, such as booths for people to compete against other players in friendly matches.
 
 BNHA game station

Overcooked

There's even a ninja selection exam activity you can participate in!
 
A featured gaming chair
 
Oh, and I (kimzomi) took part in the Bang Dream! accuracy challenge at the Bang! Dream booth. There was a qualifying round from 10AM-1PM, and the person who got the most number of highest score (essentially, most number of perfects) would move on to the final round. The top five finalists would get 1000 stars in the game, and that itself is already a lot. The winner would then walk away with a Roselia leather bag, which was the most enticing prize ever. As such, I decided to enter the qualifying round.

The face of pure concentration
 
Unfortunately, as decent as I thought I did, another person got the highest score, so I couldn’t move on to the final round. However, participants would still get 100 stars in the game so it wasn’t that much of a loss too. It was also a great experience playing a multi-live game with other people, and it reminded me of how the Bang! Dream seiyuus would usually compete with each other during their segments with the game It was definitely something to remember from AFA.

There is also a stage at the centre of the convention, and it is called the Akiba stage. DJs would appear and play anime themes and music most of us fans are familiar with. I heard Love Live! music being played, and an instant wave of nostalgia definitely set in. I heard that the Love Live! seiyuu Arisa Komiya (who voices Kurosawa Dia in Love Live! Sunshine) would be DJ-ing for another day, and that alone is an interesting thought, even though I wouldn’t be able to see it. Besides that, there were also guests invited to emcee on the Akiba stage and some of them even spoke in Japanese.
 
There was even a mini-stage where auditions were held to find the next anime OP singer, where participants would sign up and their queue number would get called before they go on stage and literally sing a Japanese song in front of everybody. Despite how nerve-wracking it must have been, the contestants were actually really good singers and we stood there, mesmerised, watching for a while before going about our day.

As we walked along the convention hall, it was also unsurprising to spot the various cosplays.
 

 
And personally, one of my favourite cosplays because it is the only Hibike Euphonium cosplay that I saw that day. Also, Liz to Aoi Tori is a really fantastic anime movie. Go watch it if you’d like! 

Lastly, there was also a day stage which is another popular reason to visit AFA, as people will get to watch their favourite seiyuus on the live stage—whether be it hosting segments, or singing the anime-related themes. The anime featured on the day stage that day was Nekopara and one of my favourites, Zombieland Saga. As pictures weren’t allowed, we simply sat back and enjoyed the performances. It was certainly a delight to be able to watch the seiyuus on the live stage. 

We spent about half a day in AFA, and it has been nothing short of a fulfilling experience. We definitely see ourselves returning again next year, and hopefully, bring more money to purchase more loots!

 
Written by Gin and kimizomi

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