It has been a year since I had come back to Singapore. So much has happened within that year, but none of that seemed to matter anymore as I stepped off the plane. Already, I could feel the familiar blistering heat and humidity fill my lungs. The events of the year slowly melted away like ice cream in the hot sun I was feeling. All the familiar sights and sounds of Singapore hit me in the face like the hot breeze. It felt like I had never left.
Indeed. It was raining. Just as it had when I arrived last year. But unlike the bone-chilling miserable rain in Vancouver, Singapore’s rain was comforting, like stepping into a warm shower. It was good to be back.
I was jet-lagged. The flight didn’t do well for me. It was mid afternoon, and already I was ready to go to sleep. I didn’t have an appetite for food, but knew I had to eat anyway. My first meal in Singapore was of course, my favorite – roasted chicken rice. Roast chicken (at least the asian style) doesn’t exist in Vancouver. We have roast duck, and Hainanese chicken, but no roast chicken. It was a savory delight for me as I slowly ate. After socializing a bit, I had collapsed on the bed and fallen asleep while more family members poured into the house to welcome my wife. Not too long after, it was the next morning. I think the flight had tired me out too much. I could feel an itch in my throat like I was catching something.
They say the grass always seems greener on the other side. I think for the most part, it is. And I was about to participate in what I would consider a healthy green patch of grass: AFA X.
Proof that I was there.
It was thanks to Zh3us again that I gained entry into AFA X. The thing is, the timing of my flight with AFA wasn’t planned. It was purely coincidental, or perhaps it was destiny. I wasn’t even aware that AFA X was happening this early. My wife had booked the air tickets a few months back, and even she had no idea when AFA was.
I was a bit surprised when Zh3us said to meet him early in the morning at Suntec. I had thought we would meet up some time after lunch or something. I had no idea what was planned. I was still too jet-lagged to figure it out.
The reason we arrived early.
It was the first time I’d ever arrived at a convention so early in the morning. I’m glad I did. Already, a show was starting. They were running The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi. Since I had never seen the movie, I was more than happy and excited to watch.
Unfortunately, it had made several references to the 2nd season, which I had not had time to watch, so during those short segments, I didn’t know what was going on.
But it was still a fairly standalone movie.I was still tired. I had to concentrate pretty hard to read the subtitles. Zh3us was coughing beside me. Apparently, he caught something a while ago. He was coughing pretty hard too. He offered me a Fisherman’s Friend which I took without hesitation. Ironic how the movie started off with everyone at school falling incredibly sick.
Zh3us also brought some dolls with him. Honestly, this was the first time I had ever held an anime doll in my hands. They’re heavier than I thought they’d be.
After the show ended, I quickly turned around to see just how crowded the place was. This was day 2 already. I missed day 1 since I was still on the plane at that time. I was surprised to see this many people up and about so early just to attend AFA. Dedicated fans.
After the show, we went to lunch at Suntec’s food court. Of course, I had roasted chicken rice. Coming right off the plane, I still wasn’t fully adjusted to the culture shock I was experiencing. While standing around waiting to meet Zh3us, I was feeling out of place since most of the people I saw there were cosplaying, and I was just some ordinary dude… asian, but foreign. Someone brought Tooko Amano. Since I owned her as well, it was somewhat relieving to see a “familiar face”.
I was a little bit weirded out when Zh3us pulled out a dollfie. The rest of the crew seemed unfazed. Already, last year I was a little weirded out when the crew pulled out some nendoroids during lunch to take photos. I mean, it’s a very different experience to see photographs of nendoroids near food vs actually being there watching them being taken.
This year, my reaction was compounded, because of my current state of mind. Sitting at this food court with my comrades, out come these dolls that they nonchalantly begin photographing, posing, and playing with, while surrounded by all these other onlookers. I could sense some of them staring jiiiiiii~ I didn’t know what to feel.
I decided to just go with it, not be judgmental, or self-conscious, and enjoy myself. And enjoy myself I did. It was an amusing experience.
I spent some time watching Kodomut fixing Nanoha’s hair. It was about time I finally met him too.
When I first saw him he asked me “Do you know who I am?”
I shook my head briefly. “He’s the guy you asked about when you SMS me.” Zh3us replied.
“Did you like my Black Rock Shooter photoshop?” I asked Kodomut. He nodded and smiled with a thumbs up. It was great to finally meet him after he blew us off to wash his nendoroids last time. j/k for reals.
After sitting around and chatting for a while, we decided to head back to the show. More people had gathered, as if there wasn’t enough people already. Like last year, there were cosplayers everywhere. My feelings of not belonging slowly subsided as I began taking pictures of these cosplayers, and was surrounded by my comrades.
Nobody looked familiar to me. But how could there be, with so many people around. Even if there were familiar faces, they might not have been wearing the same costumes anyway. In a way, everyone was faceless, but not.
An impressive line of cosplayers carrying large weapons went up the escalator. That’s when it finally sank in I was at AFA X!
In almost a frenzy, I was excited to go in, and take pictures of every cosplayer I saw, and take in the familiar sights and sounds that had left me a year ago. I felt great, I felt at home.
Visiting the GSC booth and seeing some of my favorite nendoroids pleased me. While I didn’t bring my DSLR, my little compact camera was sufficient for the task. (I’m not making a photo book after all!)
Seeing a couple of my preorder nendoroids on display made me pretty excited too! Initially, I had no idea why Haruhi was wearing such a different outfit, after seeing the movie, I now know, and have a better appreciation for her. She looks much better than her version1 nendoroid counterpart!
I’ve started to become a fan of nendoroid petits. I wasn’t much for them before, but I’ve come to think that they’re very cute. Sometimes cuter than full sized nendoroids. Interesting that this was how I felt about regular nendoroids before… GSC, you really know the psychology of attracting consumers!
I had originally passed on BRS Nendoroid, but after seeing her in person, I regretted not purchasing her. Fortunately, according to my comrades, she was in abundant supply, especially at the show. I didn’t end up buying her though.
Wandering the show floor, I stumbled on this sight. It was a sign that Danny was around somewhere, I’m sure. Last year, I didn’t get a chance to meet him because I was pretty sick after the first day of AFA. I did manage to take a blurry picture of him on Day 1 as he was making his escape. (and Alodia too! Two birds in one shot!)
We wandered around some more and found ourselves back outside to take pictures with the cosplayers. Many of my readers will have no idea who the above character is. I could not resist taking a picture of her (I left my comrades as they continued moving forward, just to take this picture). A jar of cookies for those who know who she is.
When I caught up with my comrades, I snuck a picture with this cutie. Any guesses on who she is cosplaying as? One of my comrades got really excited when I showed him this picture. “Whoah! Where is she?!” I pointed to the escalator. She was making her way up. You could see her sexy figure with that sexy school uniform. “Yow! Gotta go!” and away he went. I don’t know whether or not he managed to get a picture with/of her though.
One of our very own cosplayers. Lots of people started taking pictures as soon as we started. Awesome job! 😀
A pretty well done cosplay of Cloud, with a very small sword.
Very well done Sailor Moon cosplayers. I noticed that group cosplayers look the most spectacular.
After some wandering, our group split up for a bit. Some of us ended up in the other hall. It was an empty hall, with no lights on, but lots of cosplayers simply wandering around, and getting their make-up fixed… or something.
Hanging out with my comrades in this dark warehouse-like hall felt surreal and strange. You could see from one end of the hall to the other, with all these people scattered around, especially along the edges of the hall. Some sitting, some looked like they were sleeping.
It was like a break-time area or something, but not really, since some pictures were also being taken. It almost felt like a separate, lonely convention in and of itself. They turned the lights on after a while.
She didn’t disappear after all!
Cookies for those who know who this character is. I do. That’s why I took a picture of her.
More cookies if you know who the above is (exactly).
I found this Ryu to be well played. While he’s not as well built as Ryu, he fits the role pretty good.
The day moved on, and like last year, I had not been able to capture a pic of a Konata cosplayer. “I just want one picture, and I’ll be satisfied!” I had caught sight of one last year, but she was on her way out, so I couldn’t take a picture of her.
This year, I was fortunate to see one socializing with her friends. While it probably wasn’t very nice of me to interrupt her and ask her for a picture, I was somewhat desperate. With a bit of hesitation, she agreed, and of course, after I had taken my picture a few others started approaching her. Gomenasai! >_<;
As soon as I walked away from Konata, I found this beauty standing in the corner, looking like she’s either waiting to meet up with someone, or waiting for someone to take a picture of her. Awesome costume. I really liked it!
Cookies to the non-gamer who knows who she is.
The day was rolling to a close. I decided to do one last run in the expo, and caught sight of the Collateral Damage Studios booth. I introduced myself to KC, who was the studio manager/project coordinator. After some somewhat formal exchanges, and after realizing who I was, KC motioned someone who was sitting at the booth to come over.
“Hey, c’mon over. It’s Radiant Dreamer. Your idol.” I was a little embarrassed to hear that, yet very flattered. I did not know I was idolized!
The person I was introduced to was Jun AKA “i-pup“. I was very surprised, and also very happy to meet one of my readers. We had a great conversation for a little bit, and was happy to learn that he had joined the CDS team.
“Wow! Congratulations! I actually didn’t know you drew!” I said, shaking his hand. He turned to the table, and pulled out a beautiful shot glass.
“Would you like to have this free gift?”
Without hesitation, I said “I would love it.” I didn’t know at the time that Jun was the one that did the artwork for it. “This looks so cute! Black Rock Shooter! I get it!”
Jun began talking about the process of how the BRS shot glass came to be, with initial drafts looking more tsundere than moe. After some conversation, it was time to go and check out the scene some more.
The show was winding down, and some of the merchants were already trying to peddle their wares for discount. I found an East Indian merchant selling BRS Nendoroids and Figmas. $55 for BRS Nendoroid? “How’s $45?” no deal. “Show’s ending. If you want a buyer, you got one right now.” no deal. I walked around for another half hour or so, and when I returned, the two BRS nendoroids he had were gone. Either they were sold, or he put them away. Regardless, no BRS Nendoroid for me.
Back outside, I saw Ryu posing with Dan. I just HAD to get a shot. Dan is my IDOL!
Yosha!!! Ora ora! Doshita doshita!!! Yoyuusu!!
This Dan looked like he’d been out all day, and appeared a little worse for wear.
There were A LOT of Miku cosplayers this year. Last year, I only saw a few. This one even dyed her eye brows!
A view from the other side of the convention hall. You’ll recall Kodomut did some shots here with Nanoha.
It was fun watching him strip Nanoha down and made her more revealing. I think he kept those shots for himself… Kodomut was adamant that he wasn’t going to get one of these for himself, but the way I saw him play with Nanoha makes me think otherwise.
“Are you attending CGM Night?” several colleagues asked. I was too out of it to think. Not only that, I haven’t been on the scene often enough to even know. But I didn’t really ask.
“Maybe… when is it?”
“A gathering of some sort, with some discussion and stuff. Danny Choo’s arranging it.”
That was interesting to hear. I didn’t know what CGM Night was. Probably because I never really cared to pay attention. I still don’t know what it stands for… Comrade Gathering Meetup?
“Ah. Cool. I might show up… depending on how I feel.” I said. Ex14 looked a little disappointed.
The guide pamphlet for AFA X. I’m a little sad that I missed most of this, but at the same time, it’s not exactly cheap tickets.
“You didn’t buy anything?” Kodomut asked.
“Hmmm… last year I did come out with a lot of stuff… but not this year.” I said thoughtfully. And then I remembered. “Oh wait, I did buy this!” I reached into my sling bag and pulled out a CD.
I had met the artist at his booth, and was pretty happy to meet him. I had never heard any of his music before, but figured that it was probably good.
“Zaneeds…” Kodomut looked at the CD briefly, and then pretended to silently tuck it into his jacket pocket. We laughed.
“Ex14 told me Zaneeds is pretty good.” I said. Indeed one of the reasons why I bought his CD at that moment was because EX14 said he was good. Also, I figured an indie composer may someday need some artwork. I would love to work with someone like him, and got an opportunity to chat and exchange business cards with him.
It started getting late. Zh3us had gone to watch the concert, so the rest of us packed up our things and headed out to dinner. You could say this was the first official dinner I had after landing in Singapore. Glad that it was with my comrades.
Surprisingly, there’s no Carl’s Jr. in Canada… at least not yet. Wikipedia claims they’re trying to expand into Canada. Not that it really matters to me right now – their main burger tastes almost exactly the same as a Whopper from Burger King.
A pic with the comrades. The person giving you a big “fuck you” is none other than Kodomut. Look at the way he precariously dangles his dslr on the top of that napkin dispenser! The dude’s got attitude!
After dinner, we split and went our separate ways. Ex14 went with me to the MRT. We chatted on the train for a bit, and it seemed we shared a lot of interests, especially in gaming. Before we split, he asked me again:
“You going to CGM?”
“I don’t think I will be… I think I caught something… my sore throat is getting worse…”
“That’s too bad…”
The day drew to a close. I had spent 12+ hours of my first day in Singapore well, but I paid for it dearly when I felt my throat get worse. I’m sure it was a combination of the exhaustive few days and catching something from Zh3us. In the end, the day was worth it. Little did I know, much more excitement was about to take place the following day.