Singapore Level Getting Higher

I've always been of the opinion that Singapore is really the world's next best place to be in for Otaku goods, conventions, and culture. Some might think the USA's level is pretty high due to the sold-out Miku Concert in Los Angeles, but no, that is actually a sign that the level is kinda weak. Think about it. 200 x 106 people in the whole country only filled one concert hall, and didn't generate enough demand for anymore, neither did it open the way for any other concerts.

On to Singapore (population of 5 x 106, 40 times lesser), AFA is here for the 5th year running. We've seen MAJOR artists like Aniki, Angela, May'n, LiSA, fripSide, Flow, Kalafina, JAM Project, Sphere, m.o.v.e., TM Revolution who all performed at least once at AFA concerts. We even had a Hatsune Miku concert, which has only been done outside Japan in two locations: USA, and Singapore. (Singapore manages to attract such a concert even though it's so much smaller compared to the US.) We even have fans from Japan who come to Singapore to watch the concert (met a few last year), and looks like there's a growing number. This year, they raised the crowd call energy, and I bet that this will rub off the audience to make next year's better still. Outside AFA concerts, we've had L'Arc-En-Ciel and May'n doing their solo concerts.

For AFA itself, we've also attracted producers of shows down, seiyuus for live dubbing, and even official merchandise all the way from Japan. The official SAO goods, stocked for both days, sold out within 1. The queue was est 1,000 people long. And even the Pok�mon Centre exclusive to Japan only (7 centres of which I visited 4 so far) came to bring their goods down TWICE this year. (Once in Ngee Ann City, if any of you didn't realise, and of course, second during AFA)

We've had Danny Choo, the largest promoter of Japan pop culture in the world, coming to host AFA for all the years it's been running, and he always seems slightly more enthusiastic about Singapore than other countries that he has been to (not including Japan itself of course). This is probably a personal opinion... but following his facebook page, it kinda gives such an impression.

This is just AFA. We've been holding Cosfest for 12 years running, and it has gotten increasingly popular. Cosfest is not just a normal cosplay event. It's actually a competition for those who wish to represent Singapore in the World Summit Cosplay Competition. As more and more people get into cosplay, the overall level of the community just rises like crazy. Our cosplay scene is pretty good too, with many people doing their own cosplay shoots very regularly (i.e. a partnership between cosplayers and photographers which involves private shoots on different locations). There are other cosplay events throughout the year as well, like End-Of-Year (EOY), International Cosplay Day (ICD), The Games eXpo (TGX), Singapore Toys Games and Comic Convention (STGCC), and more, which brings me to the next thing:

STGCC. It's been mostly a western thing, but over the years, more and more eastern elements have come in to it. So much so that now, it's practically 50-50, and the special guests we've invited down to STGCC are also from the "eastern faction". Seems like everything is going that way wherever it can.

Apart from that, being in Singapore gives you access to many Otaku goods and merchandise that is otherwise unavailable anywhere else in the world. I don't mean international shipping. It doesn't count. In Singapore, you could walk into several shops to buy these stuff, or reserve online, and then collect them. Our retailers even have orders from overseas as far as Europe and South America. Why buy from us instead of Japan directly? Don't know, but they definitely recognise that we are one heck of a good source for these items.

So far, each convention I've gone to for the past two years has gotten bigger from the previous ones, and I've also heard that they're bigger, so it's not just an individual opinion. The events also tend to receive some recognition in the press every now and then, and overall awareness is rising. All I can say is, this looks like a pretty bright future ahead.

00:34 11 Nov 2012