First , some history of mine where I talk about my anime convention experience.

Singapore do have lots of smaller fan made conventions such as Cosfest and EOY which I never attend  because their main attractions are cosplay,  which to be frank, is something I kinda dislike about the anime community. However 2008 came and we finally got our first official anime convention. AFA 2008 is actually the best event since its inception because they are just starting up and so they try a lot of things out without catering to any crowd of people. During the event, the thing I liked the most is that we have a panel room where we actually hosts Japanese industry guests like Koji Morimoto, Eiko Tanika and Kunio Okawara.

Too bad, I was pretty ignorance back then and missed up the chances of attending most of their panels to hear wonderful stories about their works. I do however luckily attended Eiko Tanika’s panel and managed to listen to interesting anecdotes about Studio 4°C and animation studio in general. That one panel that is so educational and interesting, it pretty much became the freshest and biggest event I remember for AFA08. I can still remember the things Eiko Tanika said even if it’s 2 years ago when I know nothing about anime and that should sum up exactly how much of an impression it left me with . To be frank, even May’N’s concert doesn’t leave such a vivid mark in my mind.

I also attended another panel of Imaginary Friends which isn’t as interesting as Studio 4°C one but it did leave quite an impression for me where I felt like listening to more of such experience. With that, the thing I really anticipate for subsequent AFA is actually the panels and interview of industry guest.

There is also a live screening of Genius Party Beyond apparently but I failed to attend it because I didn’t know they are screening it.

Then AFA09 came. I just started IWICSYI and if you read the pre 2010 post, it isn’t hard to conclude that I am someone who don’t know what the hell I am talking about. I am still in the stage where I am not exposed to enough ideas and opinions about anime to formulate my own stand so I just went on and attended AFA09 he experience while taking everything at face value. It’s after the recent announcement of AFA10 that I notice that the seed has been planted since AFA09 and now the convention will most likely spiral into something that I don’t particularly like.

First thing first, during AFA09, the panel room was removed and the only worthwhile Japanese guest is actually Mamoru Hosada. With that, it means that there are no more industry insider panels, no more aspiring experience sharing from individual and lesser interviews and talks that I look forward to the most in an anime convention. There are no live screening of special anime too.

Another disturbing trend is that there are a huge amount of focus on cosplay and otakuish trends like moe seiyuu and maid cafe. 3/4 of our guests are made up of seiyuu, cosplayer and moe related guest like Danny Choo. There are also lots of booth with moe merchandising .Sure, there are still studio booths like Production IG and such but they are just some pathetic exhibition with no host attending to it. Worse still, no attendees even go near there. I know that because my friends and I camped near there to read manga because other areas are too fucking crowded to even walk. I also pretty much stand there for hours, looking and having nostalgia trip when I watch the interesting trailers of Production IG’s work being shown. I came to know of the existence of this crazy Mamoru Oshii project called Tachiguishi Retsuden where Shouji Kawamori and Kenji Kawai starred in due to the trailers.

Moe areas/booth and events like the Maid Cafe, K-on live dubbing and cosplay skids are well received though. People have made it clear that they are willing to fork up triple of the entrance fee to attend them. These moe related events garner a lot of hype even before the convention starts.Sure, Mamoru Hosada’s talk did garner quite a crowd in the end but it is definitely not as heated as the K-on live dubbing or the cosplay skids . Not to mention,  I never heard of anyone getting excited about Mamoru Hosada before and after the event . It’s also pretty clear that K-on is pretty much the big thing here and from the things people do and like, it isn’t hard to notice that fans here are geared towards the moe fandom.

Then the final blow came when people are getting real high with the elaborated youtube video of Hatsune Miku . I should have notice something weird from that but it never crosses my mind that I am looking at something that I will hate in later part of my life.

So now the seed has been planted. It’s clear and obvious now that people want moe and cosplay. Large amount of people also couldn’t care much about animators since they are willing to fork up more money for AFA09 than in AFA08 even when there is a lack of industry insiders. People hyped up moe stuff, affiliated blogs that promotes AFA are mostly moe oriented. People are buying more dolls and figurines than dvds. People talk more about K-on and moe series than they talk about Aoi Bungaku. So in the end, what’s the result? A total event all relating to moe and cosplay.

Look at the fucking guest lists! There are no more animators coming down. All of them are frigging moe seiyuu and cosplayers. The concert wasn’t too bad but the only thing that has a hint of manliness is JAM project. Not to mention, not only do you have a Maid Cafe, you also have a fucking Butler cafe now. What has the world come down to? What the fuck is this shit? Why are they catering to the moe crowd now? Why the fuck are they leaning so towards cosplay? How the hell can they not bring anime insiders to educate about the process of making anime? Why are there no more panels for people to share their experience and discuss interesting anime topics?!

There is one thing that they did right though and that’s live programming of special anime that no one has seen yet. Too bad, it’s Gundam OO movie and The Disappearance of Haurhi Suzumiya. Out of the vast amount of stuff such as King of Thorn, Colourful, Redline, Mardock Scramble, Uchuu Show e Youkoso , Karigurashi no Arrietty , Lopus=Garous and such, they just have to fucking screen Haruhi and Gundam OO.

I hate to say this but it is obvious that the state of the anime community here has definitely became moe oriented. People are buying merchandises like moe dolls and figurine than dvds with actual contents. People are more interested with the latest niche moe trend and series than the next landmark series to hit the mainstream. People are more interesting with the glamorous side of seiyuu and singers than the real production staff behind it. People are getting into anime now with K-on rather than Eden of the East.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that Gundam was pretty huge here as well and it constitutes another half of the anime community  other than moe and cosplay, all thanks to the vast amount of toys it has. Most of the fans are in for the gunpla and character design than the actual show itself though.

Of course, the guest and event lists aren’t finalised yet but I don’t believe that there will be any major change when it is only 19 days away from the event.

It’s funny that I am the minority now because I don’t watch much niche moe show.