There are no pictures. There will be no pictures, mainly because I didn't feel like pointing the webcam at anyone and I'm not going to install the Nokia PC Suite after what it did to my computer the last time.
The last few hours (well, from two to four in the afternoon, to be more accurate) I was at the National Library's third floor, hammering away at my NaNoWriMo. I actually managed to finish my goal for the day (if only barely) of three thousand words, and so I wandered in the general direction of Suntec Convention Centre (via City Hall MRT) for Round Two of AFA.
There's a lot of people here, mostly for other stuff happening in the building. It's usually a fair guess that if they're in their teens to twenties, they're here for AFA, and if not, they're here for either the Investment Seminar or something to do with lots of kids.
Having entered the convention hall, I proceeded with all haste towards the booth of Kareshi Kanojo no Mise, which was apparently popular enough to require a queue that starts some distance from the booth itself (presumably so as not to block the passages), allowing nought but a few fortunates to start browsing the booth at any one time.
This is because I am determined to enjoy myself today, so TJ Han cannot accuse me of being a soulless monstrosity determined to consume and annihilate every ounce of joy left in this cold, dark universe.
Surprisingly enough, the queue moved… well, not with haste, as such, but with more swiftness than I expected. Am now at the head of the queue.
Am now S$65 poorer.
Okay, this seems like a good place to rest.
Currently sitting at the intersection of the gashapon machine and the Gaia Online booth. This is party to rest my legs, but mostly because I figured this would be a good spot to wait for a couple of friends I shall be meeting for the very first time, at least in Real Life. We organized the meeting no earlier than the previous night, so I'm a little nervous about the whole thing.
Met Estavali, friend number one. He led me to the booth for Collateral Damage Studios, my best hope of getting Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha-related swag…
… or at least, if they hadn't sold out.
I suppose I'll just have to wait until some figure company releases figurines for Subaru and Teana. I honestly think that they're the best character pair in the entire series to date: their dynamic is just awesome.
Met up with Shouryuu.
We're walking around trying to think of something to do. I'm tempted to just babble on about the one thing I know we have in common (other than being in Singapore and the AFA waiting for May'n's concert), which is Nanoha-verse Original Character fanfic.
Passing by the Art Wall (actually several partitions set up to be multiple walls where artwork has been posted), I view more Collateral Damage Studios work, which, if they had been for sale, I would have bought. Their Little Busters Rin Natsume picture is especially cute.
May'n feels that this is a very personal concert. It is a very personal feeling that this concert should be personal.
Therefore, "only those who are here deserve to see her sing."
So spake the announcer(ess). In other words, no recording devices except for official ones.
Reactions from Estavali and Shouryuu boil down to: TOUGH LUCK NOOBS.
Local band Quis takes the stage, and suddenly I literally cannot hear myself speak.
The opening song is, according to Shou, "Rewrite" from Full Metal Alchemist, which I didn't watch due to the depressing nature of GOOD GODS SOMEONE TURN THE VOLUME DOWN
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL CUTE FUZZY AND UNDENIABLY DEAF TINNITUS BUNNIES
The song "Stay Away" from A Very Familiar Anime That Escapes My Mind involves, theoretically, the audience clapping along.
I believe the appropriate reaction is "lol, apathetic Singaporeans".
One problem with being in a place with MEGA SUBWOOFERS is that I can't tell if my phone is actually ringing. I have to keep bringing it out to check, since I can't tell whether it's the phone or the sound that's making my pants vibrate.
I'vw looked into the big guant spotlights for tpo lomg and now I cannot srre antyhing.
Thanks to my position, when I turned around, I am confronted by the sight of a Photoshop window on a giant screen displaying GIANT ANIME BOOBS.
I have the Best Timing EVER.
May'n is not out yet. As the concert is meant to start at 19:15, this is unsurprising. I don't really have anything else to blog about other than the May'n concert (or merchandising of various moe-blob anime), so Impz will just have to be disappointed.
In compensation, balloons have been distributed. The crowd (and it really is a crowd) have taken to bouncing them in the air.
Balloon popped. Cheers are heard.
Another balloon popped.
May'n not out yet.
Further balloon pops.
It's like a countdown or something.
MC out! Well, two of them, one male and one female. They're giving the life history of May'n right now. Both are effectively at least bilingual in Japanese and English, with English as the dominant language based on their pronunciations.
And May'n appears. The crowd goes wild, and several recording devices rapidly rise into the air.
So much for a personal concert.
Backup dancers, two women, have materialized out of nowhere, prancing on stage. I cannot vouch for their quality, for I can only see the tops of their heads (ie their cowboy hats) from here.
"What 'bout my star" appears to be a crowd favourite.
To be honest, I only know about this song because Kurogane and others seem to like it a lot. It's not bad, in my opinion, but since I've not watched Macross Frontier before, I don't have the necessary background to truly grok it.
Speaking of Kuro, I think I'll try SMSing him now.
May'n attempts to address the crowd in… okayish English. Actually, quite good English, if a little off on the grammar. The crowd reacts predictably well.
Those who decided to activate their lightsticks early are probably realizing at this point that lightsticks do not last very long.
May'n addresses the crowd in Japanese. I'm not sure how many people understand, but the gist of it is that she's incredibly happy to be here (at least, so she says), and she's surprised at the number of people who turned up ("many, many people"). Standard "let's enjoy this together" stuff.
A slow song. Hands are raised and waving, along with lightsticks, cellphones, and cosplay props.
In case anyone reads this when they get home, I'm the guy standing next to the Comic Studio Booth typing into his mini-laptop Eee. I'm wearing a Megatokyo "3viL m1nioN" black T-shirt, and since people don't seem to expect it when they first meet me, I'm about half a head taller than the average Asian, which is probably causing the people behind me trying to record the concert fits.
Personal concert, dudes.
I'm surprised my Eee's battery has lasted this long.
I think the songs actually from Macross Frontier are the ones which garner the larger crowd reaction. One of the slower songs gets cheers, but not as enthusiastic as the more obvious Macross Frontier ones.
A group to my left, including an elevated Marisa Kirisame cosplayer (which is the only way I can see her) is particularly enthusiastic.
May'n communicates in English once again, this time pretty well, grammar and all. Last song coming up.
She tries to get the crowd to chant her name. I think she's a little nonplussed by the differences in pronunciation: the crowd goes "May'n", one syllable, while she expected "Ma-y-n", three syllables.
Shouryuu opines that we're in the Apathetic Section of the crowd. I have to agree: the people around me appear as impassive as granite. Cold, unfeeling, expressionless stone statues.
Stone statues holding camcorders and cellphones.
The Apathetic, Bootleg Section, then.
Marisa-chan is really enjoying this.
Looks like it's all over. Well, apart from the autographs and handshakes for the VIPs, which don't exactly concern me.
As the convention hall clears out, Marisa-chan and friends are doing some sort of dance. Estavali guesses it to be the Hare Hare Yukai, but as I have memorized the thing, I can safely say that it is not. Neither is it the Motteke Sailor Fuku, which I have also memorized.
I am a sad, lonely man with nothing better to do with my time.
I didn't manage to fit it into the Delayed Liveblogging Mode Thingie, but the range of merchandise today is weighted a lot more towards the moe side of the anime spectrum. My swag, costing S$65 or so, consists of three items: one Da Capo II cloth poster of Nanaka Shirakawa, one slightly-larger-than-A4 poster from Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, and one semi-clear A3 poster of the Lucky Star girls in swimsuits, which I will have a difficult time explaining to visitors.
I was also sorely tempted by the figurines on sale, yea, even though they cost a further S$60 at minimum. I still don't have any space to put them, so I didn't get any. (Really. Any flat surface is either unsuitable for figurine display, like, yanno, the floor, or has been used to store books.)
The second day, at least when I actually got there, was rather more fun for me, mainly because at least I got to ogle at figurines of cute anime girls. The mecha stuff was toned back a bit, letting the moe in. I imagine that those who are interested in neither will not be as happy.
Overall, would I say that AFA 08 was a success? It depends on what AFA was intended to be. If it's meant to be a place where industry people can set up booths and sell merchandise to fans, as well as display new and upcoming merch, then yes, I think they've accomplished that.
If it's meant to be a more holistic appraisal and celebration of anime fandom, though, then I think they'll need a lot more things happening. It's kind of weird to see a large portion (taken in total) of the convention hall walled off for no given reason, especially since the walls are not all-encompassing, and people can wander back there anyway. I kept expecting that there would be some sort of talk or exhibition held in those spaces, but apparently not.
I'm sure suggestions for more events will pour in from nigh-infinite sources, so I shall just mention my hopefuls: blogging seminar, and gaming seminar (not just for competitive games).
If fans are to be given a larger say, then expand the Artists' Alley. Or at least give them more space.
Did I enjoy it? Once I realized that there was no point in staying for the full festival, then yes, I did. AFA was best taken in small doses, since it's possible to see everything official in the course of an hour or less, and then buy what you want and exit. For a random person like me, sans media pass, sans media responsibilities, and just being a fan, there really wasn't a lot to do or see that would take up a whole day, or even half a day. Walking around with an Eee PC blogging my thoughts as they occurred kind of highlighted that; a large portion of the time, I was pretty much just amusing myself.
Possibly if I get my camera repaired (or, more likely, buy a new one), I will find new life in gatherings of fans, and the specific subset of cosplayers. Until then, random snide remarks in my head are about the best I can do.