Highlights Of The Biggest Anime Festival Of The Year: Anime Festival Asia 2023!
Join TAN FANG YI as she attends the biggest anime festival of the year in Singapore and tells you what her favourite parts of AFA 2023 were!
Tan Fang Yi
The UrbanWire Editor
Hype Issue #58
January 10, 2023
Jujutsu Kaisen, Genshin Impact, and Cardfight!! Vanguard. I’m sure that if you’re an avid anime fan or a part of the anime community, these names will ring a bell. But if you’re not, Jujutsu Kaisen is a popular anime television series, Genshin Impact is a computer game, and Cardfight!! Vanguard is an iconic trading card game. During Anime Festival Asia 2023 (AFA 2023), all three were out in force, with an immersive theatre exhibit, live card stations, and life-sized props that were perfect for photo taking.
An immersive theatre by Crunchyroll to show sneak peeks of the anime series, Jujutsu Kaisen. Check out The UrbanWire video to see how it looks!
Cardfight!! Vanguard stations at the Bushiroad Expo, a section for all games under the company Bushiroad, where players tested their skills! Photo by Tan Fang Yi.
Life-sized props were displayed at the Genshin Impact booth for people to take photos with! Photo by Tan Fang Yi.
AFA 2023 was held at Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre, from Nov 24 to Nov 26, 2023. As I walked towards the venue, I could already see anime enthusiasts cosplaying as their favourite characters such as Nezuko Kamado from Demon Slayer, Ken Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul, and more. Some cosplayers even took their cosplay to the next level by dressing up as the meme version of their favourite characters such as Anya from Spy X Family – a supposingly cute and innocent girl, in a masculine, buff version.
“Buff Anya”, a meme version of the cute girl from the anime series, Spy x Family. Photo by Tan Fang Yi.
I even met cosplayers cosplaying as non-anime characters such as Freddy from Five Nights at Freddy’s, a popular horror game. Meeting other fans who cosplayed characters of their own creation made me realise that cosplaying is a fun hobby that isn’t limited to anime characters. The community is a wholesome one that allows you to express creative freedom!
Your favourite anime characters might be two-dimensional and you might not be able to meet them in real life, but you can still meet their creators and the actors that voice them. The festival featured special talk show segments at The Day Stage, which was an area hosted by a variety of international guests, such as the directors and voice actors of popular anime series, to talk about the production process and their experiences.
I was able to listen to Kengo Kawanshi, the voice actor of Muichiro in the popular anime, Demon Slayer. Did you know Kawanshi actually played two roles in the series? He explained the process of handling the changes between characters. Also, it was an honour to hear directors and producers from the famous MAPPA studio – a production company famous for popular shows such as, Attack on Titan and Jujutsu Kaisen. The producers talked about everything, from the ideation to the creation processes of the shows, and gave us a short teaser on upcoming anime series such as Bucchigiri?!, which promises a gangster underworld theme. To MAPPA studio fans, you can look forward to this Yankī, a slang describing gangster youths in Japan, genre anime which is coming out on Jan 13, 2024!
Kengo Kawanishi, the voice actor of Muichiro in Demon Slayer, was among the many international guest speakers for AFA 2023. Photo taken from @animefestasia.
In addition, there was a section where there were live performances and a Cosplay Singles Contest for cosplayers to showcase their costumes, called the Akiba Stage. At first glance, I thought that the two-dimensional anime characters had come to life due to how detailed and realistic the cosplayers’ costumes looked. Additionally, there were special showcases and regional talents such as Ultraman Card Game The Live and AIJOU.
Special showcase performance by Jpop idol group, Forbidden Equation 禁断の方程式 on the Akiba Stage! Photo by Tan Fang Yi.
Back to the main event hall, many popular cosplay influencers such as Ruru Sama and Amelia Khor ran their own booths at the Cosplayers Hub, where fans had the opportunity to have a meet and greet session with their idols. Some cosplayers such as Ruru Sama even offered unique fan services such as the opportunity to get slapped by her. They were also able to purchase these cosplayers’ merchandise.
Ruru Sama (on the left), a famous cosplayer, known for her unique services such as a “fan slapping” service, having a meet and greet at her booth! Amelia Khor (on the right), a popular cosplayer who is also a gamer and performer, posing for her fans. Photo by Tan Fang Yi.
In conclusion, AFA 2023 was a haven for anime lovers and a must-go event! Not only were people able to cosplay as their favourite characters, but they were also able to meet others with the same interests and immerse themselves in the wide array of life-sized props and displays!
As a non-anime lover who is new to the scene, it was very insightful as the festival was a good opportunity for me to learn more about anime culture, such as the different types of anime genres and games. Additionally, it was great that I was able to see and appreciate the effort put into cosplaying. Most importantly though, it was a privilege to have met so many amazing people from the community!
I can’t wait to see what’s to come for AFA 2024! More details on AFA 2024 will be released soon, so head over to their website at animefestival.asia or their Instagram @animefestivalasia for the latest updates, stay tuned!