The time of the year has come again. I’m not referring to Christmas or Winter Comiket but Anime Festival Asia. In less that 2 weeks the biggest nerd gathering in South East Asia will be upon us.
Are your bodies ready? (They will never be) In order to prepare you at least a little, here’s a totally unbiased(not really) guide from yours truly.
As you can see from this map, this year’s event is HUGE. I suspect this to do with AFA Malaysia and AFA Indonesia’s successes but it seems they have planned this event for a year or more in advance. An event of such scale is akin to a war much like Comiket. Therefore like every good soldier you need to do some force preparation.
- Put on the deodorant
Now AFA is going to be a crowded event. You may think that it is cool in climate controlled Singapore but when the masses come in and the humidity goes up, your sweat will start sticking. This goes doubly true for the bigger sized among us. No offence but you just tend to sweat and smell more. The only solution: put on the D.O and/or antiperspirants. For those intending to partake in high intensity activities such as but not limited to otagei, cheering on your favourite singers or low angle photography, a towel is also advisable
- Dress comfortably
As somebody who emphasizes not signalling you are a nerd out in public I actually approve dressing up in your anime T-shirt on this day. The location is no longer in the middle of the town area of Singapore but the idyllic east side of Singapore. So it’s time to bust out your favourite Saber T-shirts. Their soft cotton will be comfortable and keep you relatively warm. Don’t forget your bag! Yes you may look like an otaku, but you already are one and nobody on the MRT wants to see all the Gunpla and naughty artwork you just bought. So for the love of Miku, bring a backpack.
Shoes are of utmost importance too. I don’t care whether you wear sneakers or loafers but make sure they won’t hurt or cause blisters. Running shoes are acceptable as long as you don’t look like you just booked out of Palau Tekong. Function over form has its limits.
- Be sufficiently hydrated
Sweet drinks will be sold at AFA, considering the map layout but you can bet your socks off it will be exorbitantly expensive. The more luxurious among us can head over to the Maid or Buttler cafe but for the rest of us peons, it is best to bring the best hydrating solution known to man: plain water. You do have your bag with you don’t you? You will regret it when you start pissing solid urea
- Charge your electronic devices
It is the photographer’s nightmare: your thousand dollar DSLR just can’t take photos anymore. Don’t let it happen to you
- Bring a friend, or a few
You will be tackling many booths, events and cosplayers at the same time. Provided you have a time-space tunnel ala Ichigo or some kind of crazy ninjutsu being in a group is a better strategy. You would have learnt this in army if you weren’t some chao geng kia and OOCed out of BMT.Now for some more specific advice.Being a gentleman of good taste there are some booths you should avoid as far as possible:
- King Records
They have been sponsoring many good anime but they are also home to AKB48. Sony Music should also be avoided for this reason as well.
- The Axis of Evil
Right after you enter the convention hall you will be greeted with the worst combination of any sort in a convention: Vanguard, Sword Art Online and Odex. Vanguard and SAO are just silly flavour of the years, populist shit appealing to your 15year olds who think these “cool” trends justify their nerdiness. They don’t.
A treasure trove of a shop but don’t queue up for whatever limited edition items they have, unless you want to spend your day just standing in a queue. Though it appears to be a prime otaku hobby.
- Those Taiwan booths
Less than legal merchandise and goods that look shoddy. I will at least support the local shops hawking their wares.