An Anime Pilgrimage

This Christmas break, some of you may wish to go travelling. For anime fans, the natural place to go would be Japan, but it is winter now and Singaporeans like me don’t take too well to the freezing cold. Where would it be warm and yet offer a pleasant foreign anime experience? Why, Malaysia, of course. Well, if you had gone there over the weekend, that is.

On the 22nd and 23rd of December was the Comic Fiesta, an annual anime convention in Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur. It is a lot smaller than Anime Fest Asia and doesn’t have much to boast about. Danny Choo was there this year, as was Redjuice, who is part of the creative team for the anime Guilty Crown and is also CD jacket designer for Supercell (in case you haven’t made the connection, Supercell sang tons of songs for Guilty Crown too). Stage events include a cosplay competition as usual and a Bushiroad booth. Bushiroad is the company behind Cardfight!! Vanguard, which is a card game that looks even more amateur than Duel Masters, which has already received complaints for being daft (though I still like it of course). Vanguard looks set to be the anime and card game to take over preteens and adolescents of this generation.

The Comic Fiesta also had a variety of games, be it stage games or computer games. It’s probably the place to spend a few hours or a day in, though not more than that I would think. It is a very small and homely event, with not very much merchandise to look forward to either. However, it might have been a great opportunity to meet anime fans from all around Malaysia, perhaps. That is the charm of such small-scale anime conventions. In the bigger conventions, there are too many people and too many things to do for people to catch up and talk, but in stuff like Comic Fiesta, there is plenty of time to get together with new like-minded friends in a nearby cafe at the Convention Centre. And of course checking out the cosplayers and snapping lots of snapshots is a must.

However, to someone like me who is interested in neither cosplay photography nor new friends, I would much prefer the larger conventions, where there are features of anime I know and love, important people to meet and of course concerts to listen to my favourite anime songs live. That is undeniably the best part of AFA, the Anisong concert. Without the concert, I probably would not have gone to AFA so enthusiastically. Alas, I wonder what the concert line-up will be like next year, and whether I will be able to attend it again. Such a pity they don’t sell concert footage CDs anywhere.

Most people simply look out for exclusive merchandise to buy during conventions. There are swords that cannot be found anywhere else save for that store at the top floor of Plaza Singapura, treasures owned and sold by otakus (who have limited edition cosplay materials and other fan supplies), fan art by top-notch companies. Why, these make for great Christmas gifts too, to the anime-inclined friends and family that we have. I do have all sorts of great gift ideas for Christmas, don’t I?

Merry Christmas!

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