South East Asia’s biggest and most prestigious Japanese Pop Culture event – C3 Anime Festival Asia (C3AFA) – celebrated its 10-year anniversary with an exclusive line-up of activities, notably its very first Celebrity Red Carpet Event held exclusively in Singapore! Held from Friday, 30 November till Sunday, 2 December 2018, local and overseas fans of Japanese popular culture immersed themselves in a weekend of heart-pumping, non-stop premium content and entertainment across two levels of Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.
In addition to the anime showcases merchandise booths and stage activities, C3AFA Singapore included special guests from Japan, guest cosplayers and a stellar line-up for the ‘I Love Anisong’ concerts. The convention also hosted the World Cosplay Summit Singapore Preliminaries, in which the winning duo would go on to represent Singapore in the Grand Finals taking place in Japan, Nagoya from 27 July to 4 Aug 2019.
The event’s special guests included voice actors (seiyuu) such as Minami Tanaka (Mary Saotome from Kakegurui XX), Haruka Terui (Sarah from Gundam Build Divers) and Atsushi Abe (Toma Kamijo from A Certain Magical Index III). International celebrity cosplayers including Baozi & Hana (China), Hakken (Malaysia) and KANAME☆ (Japan) – cosplay Ambassador for Anime Festival Asia.
Unsurprisingly, C3AFA attracted scores of cosplayers, creators, collectors and fans – both local and international. Merchandise booths were lined with people from the moment the doors opened to ticket holders and the activities lined-up all day throughout the weekend at the Akiba Stage did not disappoint as a crowd gradually formed at the front of the stage, dancing to the beats played by some of the guest DJs.
Meanwhile, the Day Stage presented featured content, as well as special showcases. The main highlight out of them all was the Asian premiere of the first episode of the highly-anticipated Mob Psycho 100 II, ahead of its official debut in January 2019.
The Creators Hub at C3AFA included both local and international independent artists who have set up booths selling their self-designed merchandise – original artworks and fan-art.
However, the Creators Hub could have been made to stand out more as the section seemed to be isolated from the rest and its dull, white exterior only made it less welcoming.
Thankfully, these independent creators have loyal fans that still flocked over to the Creators Hub to show support for these independent talents. The crowd was testament to the success of the Creators Hub and hopefully it will get an expansion next year.
No anime event is complete without cosplayers – many attendees flaunted their characters both inside and outside the event grounds.
Celebrity Red Carpet Event
A first in AFA history, C3AFA organized a dazzling star-studded red carpet event in front of Suntec Singapore on 2 December and was also broadcasted online. Here are some of the guests who graced the red carpet event:
World Cosplay Summit Preliminary Teams
The founder of World Cosplay Summit was joined by the four competing teams who will later battle it out for a spot at the Grand Finals.
I Love Anisong Artistes
Ayasa was the opening act for the I Love Anisong Concerts. She is a professional violinist, but has become well-known in the anime scene for performing covers for various anime songs, whereby the vocals are replaced by her violin play.
angela is a 15-year-old unit formed by vocalist Atsuko and guitarist/arrangement, KATSU. One lucky fan even got to hug and take a picture with KATSU during the red carpet walk.
GARNiDELiA is a 2-person unit made up of female vocalist MARiA and composer toku. The duo also recently performed a one-man show at Zepp@BIGBOX Singapore on Saturday, 13 April 2019.
Born and raised in New York, America, nano is a bilingual singer that can freely swap languages between Japanese and English. She was posting covers of English songs on Youtube before her official debut two years later in 2012.
Baozi and Hana have amassed huge fan followings in China and have begun to expand their fan base overseas across the globe. They have also started their own cosmetic line, Flower Knows.
Hakken is a frequent guest cosplayer at many conventions in South East Asia and China. His cosplay as White Blood Cell from the anime, Cells at Work, boasted over 16,000 shares on Facebook alone and thousands of reposts on Weibo and Twitter.
KANAME☆ is currently active as an official cosplayer for various Japanese anime and games. As a prominent male cosplayer from Japan, he is active overseas as well – KANAME☆ has been invited to many events in other countries for fan meetings, live performances, to be a judge at numerous competitions, and more. He is also the cosplay Ambassador for Anime Festival Asia.
If you missed out on C3AFA and Anisong last year, Singapore’s largest anime convention will be back this year from Friday, 29 November to Sunday, 1 December 2019. For more information, visit https://animefestival.asia
Photos by Darren Chiong of the DANAMIC team.