Anime Festival Asia 08 Day 1

Ok, that was fun. I just spent the whole day down at Suntec City where Anime Festival Asia(AFA) 08 is being held. Sorry, but I don’t have any pictures, but I’ll try to get some from the other bloggers.

At 8.30am, I met up with the other bloggers at City Hall. The event didn’t start until around 10am or so, but they had media passes and could go in early. (Maybe next year I’ll go do that too, after I get this place into better shape.)

By the time we reached the event hall, the place was already packed. Apparently, the queues for tickets are incredibly long. It took me a 20 minute wait just to get a ticket, and I was even pre-registered. The poor non-registered visitors had to wait in line for hours…

Anyway, the doors opened at 10am and and the opening ceremony was held with all the delegates and guests of honour. Then things start to get busy…

Immediatly as the event started, there were long queues at two booths, the Takashimaya booth and the KKNM booth. Both stores were releasing new items today. (In Taka’s case, it was a limited edition trans-am Gundam Exia). Long queues indeed. Someone should have a photo to show just how long… The one at kknm simply refused to go away, right from opening to closing of the store O_O

Most of the booths seemed to have pretty brisk business. Including the arcade area. Which I just don’t get. It’s one thing to hold an arcade gaming competition, but another altogether to set up shop in there WHEN THE ENTRANCE FEE IS 4-5 SGD.

The art shows were nice enough. There are two art competitions with prize ceremonies being held at AFA. Graphite, by NUS Anime Club, and Mangaka. Today’s prize ceremony was for Graphite, and tomorrow’s will be for Mangaka. Nice art, worth a look if you find them at the corner…

Ok, on the stage, they were having some photo events and stuff. Tamagotchi, 5 second man, power rangers, even… Oh the screening of MS Igloo was nice. They played it using the english dub, but the dubbing is really really good… It’s hard to believe it was done locally. (Yes, it’s a Singaporean dub, believe it or not.) There was also a preview for the movie coming out soon, “The Sky Crawlers”. It looks, good, I’ll probably catch it in cinemas when it’s out. The Gundam designer made an appearance too, but I didn’t catch much of him because I was leading some friends from school around.

Overall, the whole affair was well done, and things proceded in an orderly manner. I give the organisers kudos for that, this being the first time an anime convention of this magnitude is being held here after all. And the number of special guests they managed to attract in are marvelous. Just May’n alone would have been a coup, but having half a dozen or so is really nice, especially since this is “backward” SEA…

On the downside, the content, while pretty full, wasn’t very attractive to anime veterans like us animebloggers. Studio 4C is good, sure, but it doesn’t have the same bulging portfolio full of blockbuster works as other studios like Sunrise or KyoAni. On the merchandising front, there wasn’t much to buy either. The exclusive limited edition Gunpla was a good idea, but there were too few off them. Other than that, most of the shops didn’t have a AFA exclusive release. KKnM’s release was a exclusive release mainly on account of it arriving from Japan on the same date as AFA.

Ok, I suppose that’s a simple round up of AFA day 1. I’ll be going the whole day again tomorrow, so stay tuned for more updates.

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