Now in its fourth year running, the event known as Anime Festival Asia has definitely come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2008. With an ever growing number of visitors each year, it is no surprise to see it ranked as one of the best anime related event in this side of the planet. Kenneth Wong fills us in with a summary report.
From as early as 8 in the morning, a huge crowd can be seen waiting for the festival doors to open outside hall 404. One reason being the many special items that are on sale at the many booths in the festival halls. From special edition I Love Anisong tee shirts to anime related goodies brought in by specialised retailers.
Of course the event is more than just limited edition merchandise on sale as it has also become a celebration of the Japanese Popular Culture that deals with everything anime. And what better way than a same day screening of the highly anticipated episode 4 of the Gundam Unicorn series.
A specially dedicated Anime Theatre was also present to showcase movies like Naruto Movie 8: Blood Prison, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, Sora no Otoshimono: A Clockwork Angeloid, Detective Conan: Quarter of Silence and Ryujin Mabuyer.
The Anime Festival Asia event is also known to draw huge number of cosplayers both local and from around the region with this year’s AFA11 is no different. By early afternoon, various characters from anime, game and managa series can be seen walking around the whole of SUNTEC thanks to these cosplayers.
Not forgetting the Regional Cosplay Championship presented by Canon which saw 5 regional teams showcase their performances on stage to the trill of the huge crowd present. The event saw established Japanese cosplayers KANAME☆ and USGAI plus seasoned cosplayer Richfield on the judging panel was a real treat for everyone there.
Another involvement by Canon was the special area set up to allow visitors to take photos with anime themed backgrounds. Props such as wigs and even replica weapons were available to help visitors fit into the backdrop with the fortunate ones even got a chance to pose with cosplayers who happen to be there as well. While small prints were free, larger ones cost a token sum which in turn went to helping the country of Thailand which was hit by floods recent. Definitely a pat on the back for Canon!
A very special treat for visitors to this year’s Anime Festival Asia 2011 is the Nico Nico Douga booth in the festival halls. Meaning “Smile Videos” in Japanese, the booth and its staff definitely brought lots of smiles to viewers of this video sharing website as many portions of the whole event was streamed for everyone on the web to see.