30
Nov
08

AFA08 Report Part 4

This part covers the cosplayers that turned up at AFA as well as the Cosplay Mania event.

Click here to return to our coverage contents page.

Cosplayers

At any anime related event, it is inevitable that cosplayers will make an appearance. For AFA this was further encouraged by the incentive that cosplayers could enter the event free. However, as this was not a pure cosplay event like Cosfest or EOY, it is unsurprising the overall quality and quantity of the cosplay at AFa does not match up with these events, especially considering how close the upcoming EOY is, and that some cosplayers may be reserving their A-game for that.Nevertheless, it does not mean that AFA has nothing to offer cosplay wise. There is still a pretty good variety of anime being represented. How one judges a cosplay effort is entirely subjective (as recent Anime blog Dorama has so highlighted) I’ll just leave a few of the crappy pictures I took and let you make your own decision. Insetad I’ll just highlight some of the trends and more interesting sights of the event.

resizzecos1

There were no huge swarms of Naruto/Bleach cosplayers that have so dominated the cosplay events of the previous years that they have become too commonplace, not to say there weren’t any. It seems that lately, more interest is being shifted towards their other Shounen Jump contemporaries such as Soul Eater and D.Gray Man. Similarly over the past year or two, Code Geass has firmly replaced Gundam Seed as the “popular Sunrise Anime” of choice among cosplayers.

resizzecos3

Considering the popular shows of the year and the guest line-up for AFA, it comes as no surprise that the most popular anime to be cosplayed was Macross Frontier. Most of them came down in teams, and seeing so many Ranka, Sheryl and Alto clones, it is hard to keep track of how many of them were there. One team that, to me, stood out was a cross generational Macross team featuring Mylene Jenius from Macross 7 and Sharon Apple from Macross Plus in addition to a Sheryl/Ranka pair. There was also a rather…unique… Ranka carrot version cosplayer who I commend for his (I think) ingenuity.

afaday1-105resize

The most standout cosplay was probably the Gundam Exia cosplayer, who previously appeared at this year’s Cosfest, attracting huge droves wherever he went. He even posed alongside his styrofoam double set up at the Bandai booth, but it was clear with his high level of detail and light up features, he was the superior Gundam. In another case, either reflecting on how bad the recession isor just a case of memetic emulation, there was a cardboard box “Gundam” cosplayer in attendance as well.

resizzecos2

To me, the gems of cosplay events are those who cosplay characters from less common Anime series,and there were a fair deal of them at AFA. It is great to see characters from shows like Revolutionary Girl Utena, Darker than Black, Kino no Tabi, Trigun and Galaxy Angels amid those from the usual like Haruhi, Ouran and Vampire Knight. For me, the most memorable of these was a Hoihoi-san cosplayer, who came fully decked out in a mascot style costume to achieve the chibi proportions of the character, complete with a small arsenal of weapons to complement the costume. Impressive work there! It also seems the chaarcter mascots from the Vocaloid series of software (especially the famous Hatsune Miku) are becoming more popular with cosplayers, with no less than two teams turning up at the event. As usual, there were those who went with Tokusatsu stuff like Ultraman and Kamen Rider.

So in all, while not as impressive as other events, I felt that as part of an event focusing on quite a few aspects of anime subculture, it served as a good introduction to those casual fans who have not been exposed to the cosplay scene,  and for others, the cosplay at AFA was different enough to be slightly interesting for those who have had previous experience.

Cosplay Mania

On the second day of AFA, the cosplay competition Cosplay Mania was held by the Singapore’s Cosplay Club, the organisers of Cosfest. 9 teams of cosplayers went up on stage to show off their costumes and give a few short performnces. Series represented included, Code Geass, Kingdom Hearts, Trinity Blood, Final Fantasy, Ultraman, Hitman Reborn and even Vocaloids. The winners were chosen by a panel of judges from the Cosplay club, and special guest judge, Aniki himself, Ichiro Mizuki (who gave a mini-concert before the results was announced and wasd th primary reason I came early so as to get a good upfront view of.). I have a few pictures but no videos themsleves. If you wish to watch the performance yourself, a quick search on youtube would yield some results.

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I will be honest in saying that the cosplay event itself , witht the exception of a few memorable moments,  was not very impressive, especially if I go by other similar events.  First off, the event did not start well, and for reasons not disclosed was delayed. As such, those who were anticipating the event had to wait around for more than half an hour before it began and it also affected events scheduled after Cosplay Mania.

Now for the performances themselves, I wouldn’t call them terrible for the most part, just completely run of the mill in the “ho-hum, I’ve seen it before” kind of way. Several tried for the Musical route, incorporating songs into their routine. These items would have left a better impression if not for the fact that so many teams tried this approach. Kudos however, to the Kingdom Hearts team that actually sang the songs (rather weill I may add) onstage rather than lipsynch to exisitng songs.

Those who went with skits benfitted froim the similairty between the musical groups and could stand out more. One thing I noticed for this event is the move towards using more prerecorded dialogue in skits rather than depending on the microphone, whther through using clips from the anime or their own scripted voicework (which I find more impressive).  This is a good move on thier part, as many a time have I seen a cosplay skit ruined by the microphone technical problems, or it being just downright obstructive to the performance. Of course this presents a few problems, such as the need to convincingly lipsynch and the loss of spontaniety. However, these problems mainly come into play for skits that require some audience participation, like the Vocaloid team, with their blatant and admitted shilling out for some of the vendors at AFA.

The skits that I find drew the most attention were those that involved extended action sequences, in particular, the Hitman Reborn and the Ultraman skit. Of the two, the Hitman Reborn skit had much more intense choreagraphy and was more convincingly brutal, but the Ultraman skit endured itself to the Audience more thanks to a few nice touches. The inclusion of small cardboard houses on stage during the skit for the monster (and the Ultraman too when he’s not too careful) to trample upon was pretty inspired. The Monster itself turned out to be more cute and cuddly than fearsome, which probably won him the best individual cosplayer award for the event.

Individual Award WinnerIndividual Award Winner

Another team that drew alot of response, though not through their skit itself was a Code Geass team, with one of the team members cosplaying as the Vincent Knightmare frame mecha from the show. All eyes were upon him as he, in his huge bulky costume, had a titanic struggle ascending up the stairs to the stage, at the same time trying to keep his increasingly damaged costume together with duct tape. While his actual performance was not as eventful, it was his determination and inflappable spirit (his V for victory sign after his battle with stairs and falling parts) that won over Aniki, and he was thus awarded the Ichiro Mizuki special award (though he refused to repeat the ordeal up the stairs during the prized giving ceremony to receive Aniki’s specially prepared gifts)

Ichiro Mizuki Special Award WinnerIchiro Mizuki Special Award Winner

Like most cosplay comeptitions, the judging criterion for the winner involves not just how good or faithful their costumes are, but how well their performance manages to capture the spirit of the anime/characters they are playing, at the same time keeping it interesting to watch. In keeping with this, I felt the winning team, yet another Code Geass one, was deserving of the award. Not only was their self scripted skit definitely reminiscent of the high school hijinks portions of the show, but the psuedo “magic” trick employed in their skit also gave it a unique twist.

Overall WinnerOverall Winners

Despite it all I still commend all the cosplayers who participated for having the guts to participate in such events, no matter the grade of their performance. Striking character poses in front of cameramen is one thing, but it is a much bigger ball game to actually act your character on stage in front of a much bigger crowd. After all, Cosplayers will tell you it is not enough to just dress up as their favourite characters, but becoming the character in actions and mannerisms is also a fundamental part of cosplay, and the performers, for the most part were keeping in the spirit of that.

Overall, not counting Aniki’s special performance in the middle, I thought cosplay mania felt like yet another unimpactful cosplay competition in a sea of so many other similar competitions in this small country of Singapore. I know AFA is trying to hit all bases in Anime subculture by including Cosplay Mania, but with so many other bigger and better cosplay competitions through the year, I’m wondering whether holding it borders on redundancy. Then again, it is a good opportunity to expose incoming Japanese guests like Aniki to the local cosplay scene rather than just the cream of the crop he meets at the World cosplay summit. Hearing his thoughts on the activity and learning from them, I think, would help raise the standards of cosplay here in Singapore.

Next, the penultimate part of the AFA coverage, the Guest singers of AFA! Stay tuned.

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1 Response to “AFA08 Report Part 4”


  1. September 5, 2010 at 5:41 am

    love robots in normal, esp japanese gundam. Gundam is really a piece of arts, why do they look so detail. Japanese are sure wonderful.


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