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AFA-thermath 2012

AFA at EXPO?! Wah. So far.

Turns out, it wasn’t too bad a choice. More space is good and nothing will tear the fans from a good AFA. There were plenty of fellow doujin-kas, plenty of customers and plenty of sales. There was even some variety of booths and some interesting ones too! We heard stories about things that happened at the concert but since we didn’t go for any of them, we are perfectly happy with this AFA. The only sore point was the absolute lack of Chuu2koi cosplayers. Where is the love for delusionally cute girls?

So rather than tell you everything about AFA, let’s talk about the lessons from the event (and Culture Japan Night 2012. Since that is practically AFA Day 4)

The offering at the CDS booth is rather different this time compared to last year. The blockbuster product of the year, Online Log, was left for the Surface booth to manage. Instead, we offered smaller trinkets instead. SAO badges and straps. And on the more middle tier of things, WaHa, Haimerejzero and JUN worked together to push some Chuunibyou products in the form of sketchbook, tapestry and mug. The Black Label girls had an adjacent booth to place their Kuroko no Basket and Magi products. It was very, very different from our booth in 2011 when we got blockbuster products and cosplay.

Did it work out? Yes, it did.

Woah. Woah. Woah. Are you sure you are not queuing for the official SAO stuffs?

Way better than we had ever expected.

See the queue? From where I was then, I could not see the end. Sure, it’s no where near that of the SAO official booth but hey, we’re doujin~ It was not the first time that we managed to get a queue (that honor goes to ACME) but this was even longer than what we have experienced. People are queuing up for badges and straps. They want all those small stuffs. After one night of crafting all those blind packets for the SAO straps, we stared as people after people paid to do the lucky dip for badges or just grab those packs of straps in three. They cheered when they drew out the limited edition Yui badge or cursed when they drew out a Lisbeth badge. The fans even came out in hunting groups with friends analyzing the chances and possibility of getting the other limited edition badges. Others hover around the booth waiting to trade that extra Asuna strap for maybe Shinon.

Lisbeth needs more <3

It was fascinating. Kinda. It really gives an interesting perspective of how CDS can operate as a doujin circle. Down here, we generally consider ourselves to do high quality, slightly upper tier doujin products such as full-blown, blockbuster illustration books (Neighbours’ Club Diary) or interesting, experimental and fun stuffs (Starry Night and Superscenic 2). Online Log would fall into the first category while Yami Note falls into the later.

This opens a whole new category of doujin products which we never really consider.

One: It seems a little low end compared to our usual works. Plenty of other groups doing it anyway, we thought.

Two: It doesn’t seem to give as much value to the buyer as we personally perceive. Not much lasting value, we thought.

It is to GreenTeaNeko’s credit that he wanted to do this and produce something small such as badges. To the rest of us, most of the time, it just seemed like… badges, I supposed. And to his credit, his investment paid off. The snaking queue is a testament of his achievement; something that even Xeph had not managed to do by himself.

That is always very satisfying.

All these said, I believe that our fans can expect to see a lot more badges at the CDS booth in the future.

So what does this said? What about our usual Modus Operandi?

I highly doubt you will see an immense shift in it. Sure, we’ll do more badges since people seem to like and want it. Nothing will stop GreenTeaNeko’s warpath to conquer the SAO badges market and surely, the ones who benefit from it will be the fans. However, those blockbusters or fun, experimental mangas. Those will continue to be in the makings.

How else can we lure Kyubey to the booth?

Remember that I once mentioned about a particular fan of CDS who like our stuffs specifically for the stories? He preordered Starry Night and he bought #To catch a tiger. We met again this AFA when he asked if we did any new manga. I had to disappoint him but commented that Yami Note was our attempt to write a fictional non-fiction. He seemed interested enough and bought it. Hopefully by the end of the book, we got ourselves another Chuu2koi fan. And I am heartened that there are fans out there who are seeking out mangas, fan-made mangas.

Culture Japan Night 2012 was another case-of-point. We were invited by Danny Choo to set up a small booth to showcase the doujin side of the community. Cool. And we did. We managed to bring down a ‘history’ of books that we have created. From the very first Superscenic up to the most recent entries of Superscenic 2 and Yami Note. Certain blockbuster books were left out because I just don’t have a copy of it. Then everyone was invited to browse and ask us to find out more about doujins.

CJ Night Singapore 2012

Apparently the center guy is famous. Who is he?

Photo courtesy of the one and only Danny Choo

It was immensely fun for us to meet up with fans and to talk casually without bothering with sales. There were fans who came down and after browsing certain books, decided that they wanted some of these doujin books. Such as the Puella Magi artbook or the #To catch a Tiger doujin. There were also people who remembered Starry Night, calling it epic and wishing that they bought it back when it was still available. As the writer of that doujin, it was a happy moment.

So no. There is no way that CDS will ever forsake our blockbusters or mangas or those silly, experimental products. Those are just too much fun to do and makes for lovely interaction and value. Even as I type now, the next ideas of what we want to do is already bubbling and the CDS artists are getting ready to start those drawing engines again.

CJ Night Singapore 2012

Meet and Greet with fans and other aspiring artists. Keep working hard!

Once again, Danny Choo

Look out for it!

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