With high anticipation especially after the early sneak preview, many questions have been on Japanese Pop Culture fans around the region as they await news of the event that has captured the hearts and minds of many. And on a Monday afternoon in a cosy cafe, answers to these questions as well as some surprises that will definitely whet the appetites of many as the date draws near.
Anime Festival Asia 2011
Expecting to draw at least 85,000 visitors in its fourth year running is the highly successful Japanese Pop Culture event, the Anime Festival Asia 2011. Visitors to this year’s event can look forward to seeing the latest and most popular content in an integrated approach to present the various dimensions of today’s top anime and J-Pop genre.
Not forgetting the business front, Anime Festival Asia (AFA) 2011 will also see a list of high-profile speakers from the various industries attending. These industry players will be sharing their experiences with businesses that are keen to collaborate or explore the Japanese content.
I Love Anisong – Rock Your Soul!!!
One of the main highlights to look out for each year is the I Love Anisong concert and this year fans are in for a real treat. Held in a concert marathon format, fans can enjoy 3 nights worth of power-packed entertainment from top tier anisong artists.
One highlight to look out for would be the Asian premiere of a 3D concert of popular virtual idol, Hatsune Miku. Although just a computer music software that enables users to create synthesized vocals into songs, Miku has now become quite an icon over the years and now her fans can experience her in an concert in a 3D experience on the 11th.
But if a singing computer software is not your cup of tea, fret not as popular anisong artist(s) such as May’n, FLOW, Kalafina and Ichirou Mizuki will be performing for the next two days of I Love Anisong. And if that’s not enough anisong goodness, rising anisong artist LiSA will be down to perform too plus Milku Holmes, Kanako Itou + Shikura Chiyomaru and our very own home grown Sea☆A.
Cool Japan Forum
The Cool Japan Forum returns with speakers and panelists from Japan’s entertainment industries. In addition to renowned novelist Hirano Keiichirō, confirmed speakers include President of Bushiroad Inc Mr Takaaki Kidani, legendary character designer Mr Haruhiko Mikimoto, Sony Music Artists’ Senior Vice-President Sampei Yamaguchi. Topics will focus on the areas of music, novels, anime and digital content.
Tickets for the forum are priced at S$85 per delegate. Ticketing details will be available on the official Anime Festival website.
The gundam universe has been one of the most loved mecha animes spanning many series in the original UC timeline plus many alternate timelines such as the recent Gundam 00 series. And after being treated to the screening of the Gundam 00 movie “A Wakening of the Trailblazer” last year, fans this year can now look forward to the same day screening of episode 4 in the Gundam Unicorn series.
But that is not all, other popular anime movies such as Full Metal Alchemist: The Star of Milos, Sora no Otoshimono: A Clockwork Angeloid and Naruto: Shippuden – The Blood Prison will be screened at the AFA11 Anime Theatre.
Featured Anime on the Main Stage
One of the most anticipated anime this year, Fate/Zero is the prequel to the popular visual novel turned anime Fate/Stay night and will have its premiere this october. Come this AFA11, producer Atsuhiro Iwakami will share insights into the creation of this anime. But that is not all as LiSA, who is behind the anime’s opening theme will be performing it live on stage.
Character designer Masayoshi Tanaka and producer Shunsuke Saitou for the anime Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi ha mada shiranai and Puella Magi Madoka Magica’s producer Atsuhiro Iwakami will be on stage as well to share their insights into the creation of both animes respectively.
Plus as a special treat for all Puella Magi Madoka Magica fans, Homura Akemi’s seiyu (voice actress) Chiwa Saitou will be doing an exclusive live dubbing session on stage as well.
No stranger to the sunny island of Singapore is internationally renowned cosplayer KANAME who will be back for this year’s Anime Festival Asia 2011. Known for his amazing cosplays such as Cloud from Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, Ichigo of Bleach and Portgas D.Ace of One Piece, KANAME will be having a phototaking session plus gracing the Regional Cosplay Championship as one of its distinguished judge.
Another familiar face back for this year’s Anime Festival Asia is well-known Japanese Pop Culture blogger Danny Choo. He will be the official host for many of AFA 2011’s main stage segments plus a special CULTURE JAPAN Season 2 presentation as well.
Something for Everyone in AFA
As any visitor to previous year’s Anime Festival Asia knows, the event area is huge with many things to look out for that most visitors come back even on the 2nd day. And even with so many things that has been covered here in this preview, there are still many more things being finalised by the hardworking team behind this year’s AFA11.
The maid and butler cafe will also be back for those curious to know what it’s like plus not forgetting the ever popular Akiba Town which will be returning with an even wider selection of toys and merchandise. Collectors will also be happy as exclusive anime and event branded merchandise designed just for the festival, as well as concert-related merchandise, will also be sold. So do remember to bring your wallets!
And for the Cosplay enthusiast, The Regional Cosplay Championship will be back again this year. Except to see the same high standard cosplay from the contestants as the top team from each country will be selected locally before competing here. They will perform and be judged by a panel of distinguished guests from Japan and around the region, which includes internationally renowned cosplayer KANAME.
Bringing the Best and More – Anime Festival Asia
It is never easy to continue to meet the expectations of fans and after last year, expectations have definitely grown to even higher levels. While there were many mixed feelings and questions after the AFA11 sneak preview held earlier, most of it would have been answered and fans put at ease after this new set of announcements at the recent press conference.
The AFA 2011 team looks ever committed with rising anisong artist LiSA even making her way down just for the press conference for interviews with the Media. Add in the 3D concert experience that that will please Vocaloid fans out there, plus popular anisong group Kalafina coming down and the staple anime features, visitors can look forward to an exciting Japanese Pop Culture Experience.
AFA 2011 will be held at Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre Halls 402 to 404. Tickets for the festival start from $8 onwards for a basic one-day pass to the festival grounds, and will be available online as well as at the festival grounds in October. For more information on the festival and ticketing details, do check out the official AFA2011 website(www.animefestival.asia) and AFA2011 Facebook Page(www.facebook.com/animefestivalasia).
By Kenneth Wong
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