• eddie
  • eddie
  • Xeph
  • Mycstea
  • Jeremiah
  • Waha
  • kwok

AFA X: Invasion of the invaders

As I said in an earlier post, AFA meant a lot of things for different people. You will either like it a lot or you might find it disappointing. Some will find faults while others will just gush about how wonderful EVERYTHING is. You should probably read everything before coming to an opinion. AFA X isn’t perfect even if the organizers deserves credit for pulling it off. Now, we shall not dwell upon these serious stuffs since that’s probably not what you are really here for, deshou?

For us at CDS, AFA X was fun. Truly, truly, sincerely fun. And perhaps, for us, that is what matters most.

It is hard for me to exactly quantify the success of Extravaganza. It has been a project that involves so much stakeholders and had taken up one whole year of effort. The people involved in it come and go as interest in it wax and wane according to the university exams schedule. I must admit that I, myself, was somewhat disinterested in it when I was still trying to study for my university grades. Finally, with just months to go for Extravaganza, it was crunch time and things started moving slowly as the core organizers started to rally together and make things happen.

The rush to set up. Laptop to help us identify the works. The satisfaction of admiring what we have done.

Then, there was the mad rush the day before to get everything up and ready for the big day itself. In the end, what you saw at AFA X was the result.

The crowd is still not too crowded. Yet.

Snapping pictures. But ain’t all the links already included?

The results speak for themselves. In the end, some nice works will inevitably slip through the gaps and I had to personally called some of those whose artworks are wonderful but just barely failed to make the mark to give them a chance to exhibit for Kaleidoscope instead. Plenty of camera flashes as people took pictures of their favorite artwork with cameras or phones. Aspiring artists squatting and making themselves comfortable in front of the graffiti panels and doodling away. The prize giving ceremony and the mad rush in and out of the hall to lead the participants into the convention hall. And at the end of it all, the collective efforts of NUS CAS, NTU VAS and us in taking down the artworks. We  pulled it off yet again.

It was tiring and financially draining but Extravaganza and Kaleidoscope will be something that CDS is dedicated to doing just so to showcase and promote the kind of works that us, local and regional artists can do for our audience. You could say we’re believers in giving back to the community that has graciously supported us over the years. We would like to thank Jose, director of Calypso Agency, Imaginary Friends Studios, Studio HIVE, the Liquid City artists and all the contributors and supporters for making Kaleidoscope! yet another eye-feast for everyone.

Admiring the works of Studio HIVE

Oodles and oodles of doodles

Talking about satisfaction and happiness, this Extravaganza witnessed our youngest ever participant. This plucky little girl took on the open category for Ink! traditional medium despite being only 11. She did not win but to reward her, we, as the organizers, decided to give her a simple reward to encourage her to continue to practice and improve on her art.  It was a cutely-designed sketchbook that we thought suited a young girl in a rather stereotypical, otaku way. To make the gift special, I asked WaHa to draw something in it. It was a nice picture that I wished I had enough sense to take a picture of then. Edit: Photo of artwork get!

The artwork itself!

Later, I presented it to a friend of hers, since our young contestant was out of town. The friend was not very impressed when I gave her the notebook but she politely thanked us. Then I told her to open it up. The look on her face when she found the special drawing within. It was a look of delight, amazement and thrill when she discovered the little surprise we had included within. The humble sketchbook is now a treasure and hopefully, a wonderful token of encouragement to our 11 year old participant when she receives it. I hope the friend doesn’t rip off the first page to keep for herself…

And on another note, Haimerejzero once again failed to defeat his eternal rival. Due to the sheer number of high quality entries, he was unable to get the top three position and had to settle for honorary mention. His rival got second instead. There was much emo-ing on his part which solved itself eventually when he attended the Hanazawa Q&A session. That is another story to be told in a few moment’s time. probably never.

Our humble, less-overcrowded-than-usual table. Now with fanservice.

Such dedication in getting a photo of our stuffs.

Playing Pokemon Black when you are supposed to be working?!

Sketching when you are supp- Oh. You are just practicing the sketch for our Extravaganza loli. That’s fine. Go ahead.

What about the CDS booth? We had on sale, everything that we promised on that other post and more. The Black Rock Shooter glass was on sale and so was Voice over Flowers, the Kana Hanazawa set. The preview of Starry*Night was available and the final product was up for pre-orders. When the Black Label twins arrived, they brought along their “Ciel in Wonderland” bookmark sets. And finally, I brought down the entire archives of our previously printed books for browsing and purchase. Sales was relatively brisk and during the lull period, we can afford to start fooling around.

The tentacles spread!

How many people saw and giggled at the “Invaded table” besides the CDS booth? When we realized that the booth beside us is going to stay empty for the entire AFA X, we started taking over the space with our bags and used it like a resting area of sorts. The “notice of invasion” by Ika Musume on the table marked our expansion of territory. Mini Ika Musume hats were printed and we made it a point to spread it over AFA such as the booth on the other side (Pcmaniac and gang hailing from the North) and the graffiti board. Anyone interested in our mini hats could buy one with the specific instructions to spread the invasion to the other side of the hall. How many squids survive the Normandy of hats? I will never know.

By day two, we increased the scale of our hatty invasion. We created a life-size Ika Musume head. Only 2 was made, just for this one day of AFA X.

It was like a religion mass brainwashing. Ika musume would have been so proud

Much fanservice was then provided at the CDS booth when our artists gamely donned the pope hat-liked Ika Musume hat at the booth. The life-size Ika Musume hat was never for sale despite some inquiries from others. Unfortunately, tragedy struck. Someone managed to make away with our wonderful hat from under our noses. With only one out of two Ika Musume hats left, the last hat was placed under tight security and a search party was sent out to find our missing hat. The AFA organizers was also helpful enough to make an SOS announcement for us through the PA system.

All to no avail. Till now, our poor hat is still missing in action. If anyone sees our dear hat in the hands of a non-CDS member, send some tentacles after that dastardly thief.

If not, the tentacles will get you.

Another highlight of AFA X was the Kana Hanazawa Q&A session. As predicted, a couple of artists (including Haimerejzero) disappeared from the booth during that period to go to the stage area. When they returned, they brought back a most interesting story. Earlier, we had given the AFA organizers a couple of sets of our Voice over Flowers prints as a token of appreciation. While we had roughly knew what the organizers had intended for it, the news still came as a surprise.

As Haimerejzero narrated, Danny Choo showed everyone his print of Nadeko and then Hanazawa-san autographed it and gave it away. Yes, our artworks were autographed by Hanazawa-san and given away to random members of the audience. According to Haimerejzero, he felt a stab of jealousy when he saw someone walked away with his Nadeko with the prized Hanazawa autograph. We feel his pain. All the artists involved in the project did. After all, we didn’t get any autographs ourselves. So to the five lucky strangers out there, you better treasure that autograph or we will send tentacles after you too!

Danny Choo got a complimentary set too. Without any autographs, of course.

All in all, we had a pretty good time at AFA X. We had fun, we had hijinks, we met interesting characters such as Dan from Radiantdreamer.net and Dave Guivant and we got to sell our love and efforts in the forms of our doujin product to the public. We are mostly out of stock for the Voices Over Flowers prints and there will be no further reprints. We are totally out of stock for the Black Rock Shooter glasses and we won’t be making more of them. However, if there is enough demand, we will make other versions of the glass. Maybe a Dead Master version or a Sakuya version. We might also make more mini Ika Musume hats for EOY to do a little invasion there as well. It was a satisfying AFA X for CDS as a whole. When the day comes to an end, one by one, the artists made their way into the concert hall to treat themselves to the awesomeness of JAM Project and Aniki and the beautiful music of angela, SCANDAL and May’n. It was a most appropriate way of ending a day of ‘work’ in the hall and beginning the night with the main concern of AFA.

Having fun with Dead Master

So if the organizers take into notice of the various criticisms about AFA and work on improving on these aspects, CDS would gladly return to AFA and we will bring with us even more things to attract other people to AFA and to enhance the AFA experience for all visitors. And we will, with the rest of the stakeholders (cosplayers, photographers, artists, consumers, bloggers, animators, distributors, publishers), come together in celebration of all aspects of the Japanese animation subculture.

I admire her ability to withstand the cold. I know I was shivering badly due to the combination of air conditioner and rain.

Oh, and like in Cosfest and future events, cosplay what you buy! Get a discount while having your photo appear here!

6 Responses to “AFA X: Invasion of the invaders”

    Hi Komicer. Thanks for the mention. I enjoyed reading your post and being offered the chance to see the event from your perspective. It must had been tough work organizing the booth. But I can only imagine the joy of the artists having their work photographed by admirers.

    This time, I visited AFAX purely out of interest, as opposed to professional reasons, so my impressions are purely from a public’s perspective. I understand that it may come across as harsh, but my intentions are hardly malicious as those reading carefully would realize.

    Hopefully AFA’s management takes into account feedback from different sources. Reflecting upon both the positive (reasons why people enjoyed the event) and negative (shortcomings) are important. Because at the end of the day, the intention of everyone who has provided feedback is the same, a better event next year. :)

      Thanks supermerlion. Everyone has its complaints but just because complains exist doesn’t mean that the complainers themselves did not enjoy themselves. Similarly, just because someone enjoyed themselves a lot doesn’t mean that they are not entitled to a grievance or two. In hopes of a better AFA (assuming there will be one), the organizers will have to take into account all feedbacks.

    Hi Komicer!

    Thanks for the photo! I really love the BRS glass (:
    I was really surprised when you guys came to look for me and told me that cosplayers had a discount too!

    Will look out for you guys in future events!

Leave a Reply