Fans of Japanese popular culture had more to cheer about this year thanks to the various manga, anime, games and cosplay content over the July 9 and 10 weekend. Leading Entertainment Company, Bushiroad Inc, in partnership with ASATSU-DK INC., SOTSU CO., LTD. and Amuse Entertainment Singapore Pte Ltd, hosted the re-positioned C3 CharaExpo2016 at the Singapore Expo Hall 7.
From a card game centric event last year to one which featured an expanded line-up of stars that combines Bushiroad’s strong pool of talent with the stars of New Japan Pro-Wrestling as well as the talents behind Gundam, Atelier Escha & Logy and Super Robot Wars OG: The Inspector and musical talents under Amuse Entertainment just to name a few, this year’s CharaExpo felt more content driven with a stronger emphasis on content.
Other big names includes Canon who was not only present with a booth showcasing their latest line of photo printers and a chance to try out their latest cameras to the Namco Bandai Entertainment booth which showcased highly anticipated games such as Sword Art Online and Super Robot Wars: Original Generation.
Even as the event originated as a card game centric one to something more content driven this year, the large area for card game fans still was a notable feature of this year’s C3 Chara Expo where fans gathered to have a round or two with friends and fellow fans.
Another welcome sight this year includes the various toys that visitors can admire and snap photos away at. From popular Japanese characters figurines to Gundams from series old and new, there is no lack of things to admire for the toy fans at the event. Fans also had a field day with the various limited edition merchandise offered by various booths at CharaExpo this year.
Cosplayers were also present to add to the sights of the event as characters from both eastern and western popular culture were present. From the Monster Hunter series to the latest game from Blizzard, Overwatch, fans were happily taking photos and selfies with these cosplayers. Of cos the local photographers were present as well with their big lens and mobile studios that populate the outside of the event hall.
One segment that is always something the team looks forward to is the presence of the New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) wrestlers. With a full size ring and setup that would delight any wrestling fan down to removable corner covers, it was money worth it to spend that $10 to catch over an hour of high energy, high octane, and adrenaline rushing action in the squared circle.
This year also sees Ryo Horikawa, the Seiyu (Voice Actor) Dragon Ball Z’s Vegeta in action as the the special-guest English ring announcer for both days. You got to give it to the guy for introducing the wrestlers for each match, probably giving the ones at wrestlemaina a good run for their money. Of course being from the Japanese popular culture world at a Japanese popular culture event probably gave it a few more winning points.
New Japan Pro-Wreslting has definitely gained a good following since last year’s debut and from the looks of things, bringing NJPW in at the end of the year for Wrestling World, a full wrestling event is going to promising for both the fans and the organisers.
Overall even though the size of C3 CharaExpo 2016 feels similar to last year’s outing, the quality of the content felt improved with recognisable names like Milk Homes and Love Live! Even while the premium performances are smaller compared to other popular culture events, the performers are by no means small with both Suzuko Mimori and Emi Nitta performing a full concert each night hosted by Amuse Entertainment Singapore Pte Ltd.
Comparing C3 CharaExpo 2016 and last year’s outing, there has definitely been improvements to the content selection as how an “Expo” should be and I look forward to seeing how next year’s CharaExpo will be.
Photos by Alex Tan and Ken Koh
By Kenneth Wong
© POPCulture Online 2016