The biggest Japanese Popular Culture returns to end off an exciting event year. Sporting a new name, C3 Anime Festival Asia Singapore 2017 (C3AFASG17), the event promises even more content compared to previous years thanks to the collaboration with Japan’s Sotsu Co., Ltd, organiser of C3 events. Kenneth Wong heads down to Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre over the weekend to experience what C3AFASG17 has in stored for visitors.
Upon reaching the event venue, the familiar layout of level 3 being used for the ticketing counter and for photographers to setup their mobile studios (with gear that would put many professionals to shame) was an expected sight. This familiar layout style could be said of the same inside the actual event hall as a huge Gundam greeted me. Yup, I have entered Japanese Popular Culture heaven.
From my experience last year, this year’s layout style feels the same. Yet somehow the content has been upgraded and that is always a good thing. C3AFASG17 sees the introduction of technology content that ranges from Sony Playstation VR titles for the living room to Sacra Music’s cool looking touch enabled table that uses QR code to play music videos from popular artist. While I didn’t dare ask how much the table would cost, I am wondering if this would start replacing jukeboxes.
Of course, if you have lots of spare change, there is always this android doll from the Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend series to be brought home at a cool $25,000 with free delivery.
This year’s AFA also see big Japanese content providers setup shop with rather interesting and innovative booths. From NHK World with the popular Dōmo-kun to Avex Asia and their troupe of Pikachus. Yes, a total of 4 Pikachus were dancing on the Super Akiba Stage which drew the young and young at heart but physically older beings like me. I mean how can anyone resist such cute yellow things dancing on stage right?
Talking about the Super Akiba Stage, this year’s seemed to have gotten an upgrade with better lighting that mirrors the bigger concert stage that I am used to. Proudly sponsored by Canon again, the area also sees photo booths for visitors to take photos with props or queue up to take a photo with their cosplay idols. Free photo printing is also provided and entry level hobbyist photographers can also try out Canon lens at the level 3 booth. After all, the “higher level” ones are sporting L lenses and the latest Full Frame cameras which I decided to leave at home for a smaller lighter Sony mirrorless setup.
Which thankfully the Cosplayers at this year’s C3AFASG17 didn’t seem to mind and posed for my camera. In fact you can see them posing for just about any kind of camera, be it a simple handphone to a compact and of course the big professional cameras that can easily a few month’s salary. Yes, it is only at events that you can see the market shares of camera brands in Singapore. Cosplayers are always a welcome sight at popular events in Singapore as they not only add to the liveliness of the event but sometimes add that little extra excitement as well. This event is one of those where long queues from the community lined up to help a fellow cosplayer propose to his now fiancée. Congrats, and yes, that one was happening proposal!
Side note to everyone, balloons can be an issue at Suntec based on the exchange I heard with the organisers so please don’t risk it.
The Creator’s Hub is a welcome sight again with local artist showcasing their work ranging from popular anime series to original creations. Heavy weights in the circle like Daiyaku selling their Omamori Amulets for Technology, Studies and Transport issues to Rachta Lin doing her live commission works. The place also feels more spacious this year so that’s another welcome upgrade.
Another upgrade this year was that the food alley does transaction in cash. Yes the good old Singapore legal tender that we use in our daily lives. No more coupons where you always have to calculate to ensure you do not end up overbuying and wasting money. From Karaage to Ramen and my new favourite Yakiniku from Renga-Ya, one does not simply go hungry here especially with Monster Curry also having a booth unless you didn’t bring enough cash.
This year’s edition also saw the meet and greet sessions for fans to meet their favourite guest in town for C3AFASG17. Something that I felt was another upgrade for this year’s event. Rather than just on stage for a session, fans now get to spend a good 30mins and more and a chance to get a personalised autograph right in front of them plus the selfie.
Overall C3 Anime Festival Asia Singapore 2017 has been a pleasant surprise that the organisers didn’t just rest on their laurels for being the biggest Japanese popular culture event in Singapore. Clearly the collaboration was a step in the right direction and hopefully we will get to see even more upgrades next year!
© POPCulture Online 2017