Looking Back: Anime Festival Asia 2012 at Singapore EXPO

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OK, so since this year I decided not to go to AFA (for financial reasons–gotta save), I’m in a reminiscing mood.  And since I actually had started writing something about it (but never finished it in 2012 lol), I guess it’s time to post something.  So below is my account of my first-ever trip to the Anime Festival Asia held in Singapore.

——–

Ok, so how do I begin?  This trip had a lot of firsts.  Of course it was my first trip to AFA.  It was my first international trip alone. (Thank God I got through the biggest hurdle of all:  Philippine immigration).  It was also my first time to go to an anime live concert!  Hurray!!

Day 1, Saturday

Well, Saturday was sort of Day 1 for me because I didn’t bother to attend the TM Revolution concert.  He has good songs but I’m not really fond of them.  So on my first day, I went with my friends to explore the festival booths.  I didn’t buy a lot (only 1 CD).  Having prowled Akihabara for several weekends, I had learned the wisdom behind not buying too much stuff.

You may call it a very big flaw on the part of my planning, but indeed I had no particular objective going through the time before the concert.  And it was only that day that I found out that May’n would be appearing at the HoriPro booth.  I decided that I’d go to her Sunday appearance but my friends convinced me I should do it that day.  And it was a good thing that I listened to them.  I bought May’n’s If You album.  I actually wanted Heat, but it was already sold out!  (Eventually all May’n music CDs sold out.)  In retrospect If You was still a good buy.  I lined up and finally got to shake hands with May’n! Yippppeeeeeee!!  Unfortunately my camera’s battery decided to take a vacation for the rest of the day and I don’t have my own picture of me on the mini-stage with May’n.  😦

Another thing was that I forgot about the stage events.  So I missed out on whatever it was that was happening on stage Saturday.  Now on to the concert.

i love anisong concert:  JUMP stage

  • Babymetal

When I first knew about their pop+metal concept, I thought it was hideous.  However my friend seemed to like it, and I grudgingly give them points for their efforts, especially in dancing.  They were very genki.  But I’m still not into their music.

  • fripside

My first impression was bad because her voice got drowned out and there was probably a problem with the audio.  Add to that I didn’t know a lot of what she sang, except for the songs from Railgun.  Of course when she sang the Railgun songs I went with the crowd and cheered while waving my glowstick.

  • m.o.v.e.

When I first learned of the line-ups for the concerts, I had checked out most of those I didn’t know that much before.  Babymetal and fripside weren’t impressive, but m.o.v.e. had songs that I immediately liked.  They were Romancing Train and nobody reason.  And due to the nature of their music, I got into it easily and really enjoyed the atmosphere of a live concert.  I think I gained enough incentive to check out their future works.

  • LisA

She was good and very energetic. Though it really helped that I had watched both Sword Art Online and Fate/Zero.  I especially liked the part where she engaged the audience to join with her by teaching us some moves to perform.

  • Flow

They opened with a Code Geass song, and immediately I felt at home.  And when they performed that Eureka 7 song, I was ‘fulfilled’ lol.  88 dollars was money well spent.  Although I admit that I was quite clueless when they sang the Naruto OP, because that OP never seemed to stick with me.  Everybody else was singing and clueless me was amused because I didn’t know the lyrics.  Earlier I sang along with the Eureka song but this time I just stood there smiling.

But after…

I had not considered what would happen after the concert.  Since the concert ended past 12 AM, there were no  more trains.  I had not considered the trip after the concert, and it was funny and not funny at the same time.  Of course the solution was always a taxi.  But still.

Day 2, Sunday

I needed some time to recover from Saturday night.  My hands and feet were aching from all that waving and walking.  We went to the venue only after lunch.  We went to look at the booths for a while but since there was nothing really worth buying we decided to seek out the cosplayers to photograph them.  A lot of them were concentrated in an area in the hall, but the background left much to be desired.  After we got bored of shooting we decided to go the stage.  Danny Choo had already started giving his talk and blabbing about Mirai and his moekanji etc.  I’m not that impressed by his products but he is a good speaker.  After his talk it was supposed to be the Regional Cosplay Competition but for some reason they started late.  I got bored and got out for a while just in time to take a pic of May’n on her meet and greet:

May'n meet and greet

May’n meet and greet

After I got bored watching the May’n meet and greet I returned to the stage for the RCC.  I’m not really into cosplay but I commend the Filipino team for that awesome video.  Also a funny thing I remembered was that a lot of disappointed groaning was heard when one of the judges spoke for the first time.  Apparently the guys were thinking that the ‘girl’ judge cosplaying in red was really a girl.  😛

i love anisong concert:  DIAMOND stage

Even when I was still studying the lineups for the concerts I always knew that the Sunday lineup (except for May’n) was not that interesting for me.  But since I wanted to hear May’n perform live I didn’t have much of a choice.  It seems that a lot of people also decided that Sunday’s lineup was weak because there were less people than the Saturday concert.

  • SeaA

Meh.

  • Minami Kuribayashi

I only knew her Mai-Hime song, though she was a better watch than SeaA.  She spun around when requested by the crowd, and was generally nice.  Unfortunately I couldn’t get into her other songs.

  • Sphere

By this time my friend was probably bored.  (If you’re reading this, sorry!)  I was wondering whether sitting through all of these artists I really didn’t care about was worth it.  I am not a Sphere fan, though I did like Hazy for that onsen show.

  • May’n

Yes!  The May’n event!  But!!!!! Unfortunately the guys in front of me were quite tall so I could hardly see May’n’s head.  I could hardly see the screens either.  I was very envious of the ones in the Basic seating front (or 2nd?) row, as I am sure they had a better view than I had.  And they paid less!!  I’m not sure I got my money’s worth (unlike the previous night), but I really did get to hear May’n’s voice live.  And it really is a different feeling than just listening to her recordings.  Below is her setlist:

1. Northern Cross
2. Giant Step
3. Infinity #7
4. Aozora
5. Moshimo kimi ga negau nara
6. Lion
7. Brain Diver
8. Chase the world

After that she said goodbye, but the crowd stayed for a long while.  People in the front were chanting “Mou ikkai!” and I also joined in.  After a while (probably a few minutes), there was an announcement officially ending the concert, because a lot of people still stayed!  Of course I was disappointed that there was no encore–with the tall guys already gone home my view had improved a little.

Day 3, Monday

My friends were at work, and I didn’t feel like going anywhere so I spent most of the day reading a novel.  Some might view that a waste of time but it was my 3rd time in Singapore and I’d gone to a lot of tourist spots that interested me.  Of course in retrospect maybe I should have gone to visit a museum instead but alas that never entered my mind.  Maybe next time.

Over-all it was a good experience for me though the Sunday concert was not as enjoyable as the Saturday concert.  Because I am vertically challenged, the seating arrangement at the Sunday concert wasn’t very good for me.  I don’t like buying a lot of stuff, so I do go for the experience of the live concert and if I can’t see much of the performance it would be disappointing.  I was lucky in the Saturday concert because I had a good view and the people in front of me weren’t that tall.  The Saturday concert had a good lineup and with my handshake and autograph session with May’n it made up for the Sunday debacle.

I hope that next year there will be a better lineup so that I’d have a very good reason to go.  Although I can afford going again, the preparation is a hassle (not to mention the never-ending scare of going through Philippine immigration).  My real preference is that I should see a real May’n concert, but going to Japan is quite expensive and much more hassle because of visa requirements.  I guess I’ll just have to make do with viewing May’n’s concert videos instead.  🙂

——–

So now, looking at the 2013 line-up, it isn’t as good as last year’s.  I’m a little relieved that I’m sitting out on this year’s AFA.  Though I’m also not sure if I’m going next year–it strongly depends on the artist line-up.  (If May’n does a solo concert I’m sure to be green with envy and totally itching to go!)  Still this year I’m feeling bummed that I didn’t get to do any travel.  I hope AFA 2014 gets a better lineup (and better viewing seats hahaha).  That’s it for today, ja!  🙂

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