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Self-Improvement & Hobbies

Anime's big draw

Virtual and real stars will perform at fourth anime festival
The Straits Times - September 28, 2011
By: Nicholas Yong
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Anime's big draw Virtual idol Hatsune Miku appearing as a 3-D hologram will be at the festival. -- PHOTOS: ANIPLEX AND SONY MUSIC ARTISTES. INC

A three-day concert marathon featuring virtual performers, a rising star and a home-grown quartet is among the highlights of the fourth annual Anime Festival Asia to be held here in November.

The organisers say they are expecting the event to draw at least 85,000 visitors this year. Since it was launched in 2008, attendance figures have been growing from 25,000 in its inaugural year to about 71,000 last year.

Performers at the concerts include rising anisong, or anime song, artist LiSA and home-grown anisong girl group Sea*A, whose members were talent spotted at last year's festival where they worked as waitresses at the Moe Moe Kyun Maid Cafe, one of the event's trademark features.

And what would an anime music concert be without a touch of the fantastical? Virtual idol Hatsune Miku will be appearing as a 3-D hologram with vocals based on voice samples from voice actress Saki Fujita.

Festival director Shawn Chin says what sets the event apart from other conventions is its ability to offer an in-depth experience of different facets of anime, from the concert experience to the production process itself.

Indeed, anime producers and voice actresses will be present at the festival along with acclaimed character designers such as Masayoshi Tanaka, who will be giving a talk.

There will also be panel discussions with Japanese pop culture personalities such as award-winning novelist Keiichiro Hirano.

Collectors will head for old favourite Akiba Town to buy an array of exclusive anime and event-branded merchandise, after which they could attend screenings of this year's top anime movies, such as Full Metal Alchemist: The Star Of Milos.

Exhibition guide and cosplay enthusiast Satimah Ahmad Asandi, 31, attended the last two anime festivals and is looking forward to this year's concerts.

'The organisers know which anime titles are popular in Singapore and the region, so most of the singers they are bringing in are related to these anime. They really pay attention to what fans want,' she says.

Ticket prices have gone up slightly from last year. A one-day festival ticket is now $18, up from $15 last year.

Mr Chin explains that this is due to the increased number of acts that organisers are bringing in.

You can also get a one-day pass for the concert marathon for $48, which includes festival access. Tickets to the panel discussions or Cool Japan forum are $85 each.

book it

ANIME FESTIVAL ASIA

Where: Suntec Singapore, Halls 402 to 404

When: Nov 11 to 13

Admission: $8 for a one-day pass, $18 for a one-day festival and stage pass

Info: www.animefestival.asia

 

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