Saturday, November 28, 2015

Why You Definitely Need To Go to AFA 2015 This Weekend! You Won't Regret It!

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How did your first day of Anime Festival Asia go? Large crowds and snaking queues were the most common sights of the day as fans scrambled to get their hands on exclusive merchandise and autographs in the eighth edition of the annual Japanese pop culture convention. XDantheManX Online checked out what went down on the opening day and what you can expect over the next two days.

Japanese pop culture enthusiasts form snaking queues awaiting the start of AFA 2015


DIVERSE MIX OF EXHIBITORS

 Pony Canyon cementing itself as the crowd favourite for this AFA

This year's AFA sees many familiar exhibitors returning, such as Good Smile Company, Culture Japan, Bushiroad, Aniplex, Sony Music Entertainment and Banpresto.

 Figure collectors thronging Good Smile Company's booth

 Heavy human traffic at the AFA Shop

Banpresto's Ichiban Kuji booth swarming with visitors

 Visitors vying for a chance to get their portrait drawn manga-style at the NHK World booth

Alongside them are many companies here for the first time such as the likes of multimedia giant Kadokawa, record label Pony Canyon and all-Japanese programming cable television channel Wakuwaku Japan which was launched in July.

 Wakuwaku Japan goes traditional with its booth

Kadokawa booth before the storm

 Kadokawa booth after the storm

Smaller companies such as Saitama anime studio Harappa LLC, rock band UVERworld, exhibiting their merchandise and Neo Vient, garnering publicity for the Machi Asobi event in Japan (albeit without a promotional tour package) also made their debut at Southeast Asia's largest anime convention this year.

Visitors learning marketing with the Urawa no Usagi-chan Business Kit

Band merchandise on sale at the UVERworld booth


FOOD STREET TO SATE YOUR HUNGER

"Come and try our ramen! It's very delicious!"

In addition to the wide range of exhibitors, AFA's Food Street returned this year, with a diverse mix of dining establishments to cater to the nutritional needs and varied palates of convention visitors.

Hokkaido Croquettes were a hot seller at Teppei Syokudo's booth

Mountains of goodness

Restaurant Ramen Keisuke was one of the largest crowd-pullers with their signature Tonkotsu Ramen, along with Teppei Syokudo (more well-known for their Kaisendon) with their $2 Hokkaido Croquette and Monster Curry with their under-$10 curry rice sets.

We haven't tried Ramen Matsuri's Mazesoba before but their Sakura Chicken Ramen sure is delicious!

Other exhibitors included Hokkaido p√Ętisserie Snaffle's with their melt-in-your-mouth catchcakes (mini cheesecakes), Ramen Matsuri with their unique mazesoba (Japanese dry noodles) and Wattention Plaza with a booth selling imported ice-cream from Japan and onigiris (rice balls).

Monster Curry a hit with the locals


PONY CANYON LIVE A HUGE SUCCESS

Pony Canyon's artistes taking to the stage for the first time at AFA 2015

AFA was not short on captivating live performances this year, as a diverse line-up of artistes took to the stage, gathering massive crowds around the Canon Mini Stage in the exhibition hall for most of the day.

 MICHI on stage!

The day kicked into high gear with Pony Canyon artistes MICHI, Yumiri Hanamori and Yurika Endo's live showcase in the morning.

Yumiri and Yurika sharing an embrace

MICHI roused the audience with her debut single, "Cry for the Truth", the opening to anime Rokka no Yuusha, followed by the adorable Yumiri Hanomori getting the crowd on fire with her solo rendition of the opening to anime Rolling Girls, "Hito ni Yasashiku" before the charming Yurika Endo topped off the segment with "Monochrome Overdrive", her first single for anime Z/X Ignition.

Yumiri Hanomori gets the audience on fire with her distinctively cute vocals

Yurika Endo commanding the crowd with her performance

Ecstasy in the air as ecstatic performers meet an ecstatic crowd

The live showcase was followed by an autograph session which saw many beaming fans getting to meet the three young artistes on stage.

 Pony Canyon artistes meeting the fans on stage


SINGAPORE'S IDOL RESURGENCE CONTINUES

Not one, but two idol groups will be coming to AFA this weekend and both will be holding live performances at the Canon mini stage and meet-and-greet sessions.


Niji no Conquisitador performing on stage


Riding on Singapore's current idol fever, up-and-rising idol group Niji no Conquisitador gave a riveting performance of four songs from their repertoire, "Yarrukyanai! 2015", "Pixiv Ondo", "THE☆Uchouten Summer!!" and "Triangle Dreamer" at the Canon mini stage on the first day.

All smiles with the audience


After the mini showcase, the girls, dressed in their eye-catching festival-inspired costumes, took to the AFA Shop for an autograph session which was open to all convention attendees. Catch their performance at the Canon mini stage again at 11am on Saturday and Sunday.

Idol group Stand-Up! Hearts performing on stage

Not to be missed, idol group Stand-Up! Hearts (soon to be renamed "Iketeru Hearts" with their major debut next Feb) also had their maiden performance in Singapore on the same stage.

Stand-Up! Hearts performing to an overwhelming crowd at the Canon Mini Stage (Source)

When not performing, they will be at the CHEERZ booth where you may take plenty of photos with them for keepsakes. Even if you may not be an idol fan, surely you must like cute girls, don't you? Well, you know where to be at!

Elated fans taking a photo with idols Stand-Up! Hearts at the CHEERZ booth

The girls will be performing atop the same raised platform (the Canon mini stage) again at 4.30pm on Saturday and 1.30pm on Sunday. Don't miss them!

17:30 close! Be at the CHEERZ booth by then!


SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

With plenty of exciting activities for everyone, Singapore is set to be swept by a wave of Japanese pop culture fever this weekend! Be there or... just be there! AFA is definitely the place to be at!


Have a great AFA weekend! Like XDantheManX Online's Facebook page for the latest updates on Japanese pop culture events in Singapore and our post-AFA coverage and interviews!