My first repeat visit to the “main” AFA since the inaugural one back in 2008. This year also marks a turning point for the event too as it expands to the region, with the addition of AFAMY (event report here) and AFA Indonesia, while the main event moves to a new venue, Singapore Expo, as well.
I really like the new venue over Suntec as it’s really spacious and even the cosplayers and camerafags couldn’t manage to block pathways and fuck shit up compared to the cramped quarters that was Suntec City. Hell, even inside the main event hall, the size of it was big enough that I didn’t feel it was suffocating at all, even if it was packed pretty densely. So score one for that. Still, there wasn’t really much to see inside, as usual it was all made of shopping booths. I would say about 85% of the booths were just purely retail booths. Oh, and color me surprised when they were actually putting in food stalls inside the hall too.
The concerts on the other hand were somewhat of a letdown compared to Malaysia’s. Both days I attended, the sound system was really not up to par much and a lot of technical fuckups happened as well. The really low stage also made it hard to see unless you were at least 180cm. Screens didn’t really help too since you had a high chance of getting blocked by the terribly placed speakers depending on your seat location.
I didn’t attend Day 1 (Friday) concert, which was purely a T.M. Revolution affair. Day 2 (Saturday) kicked off with Babymetal which gave me about 40 minutes to rest my poor feet after the day’s travels. m.o.v.e followed up after them, it was honestly my first time hearing them so I can’t really say how good they were but motsu is always a riot to watch and hear. Next up was fripSide but they got screwed over hard as the mic malfunctioned, cutting out Nanjolno’s vocals for the first three songs until a costume change was made, although the mic still kinda fucked up once in a while for her. Seriously… they dropped the ball hard on the sound system.
After fripSide, LiSA came out to heat things up. While I never really was a big fan of her, but after watching her live performance, I got blown away with how good she was at it. Also her live performance of Ichiban no Takaramono really nailed all dem feels. Just a guitar playing the music and her singing the song with full emotion. I was actually tearing up pretty badly listening to it. That really was one of the best things of the concert that night. Also, the way she really established a rapport with the crowd was extremely good.
FLOW was the last act that night but it was sadly cut short due to time limitations as it was already past midnight. FLOW only managed to perform five songs, including their own rockin’ cover of Cruel Angel Thesis (crowd really exploded on this), before they were unceremoniously cut off. Later, I heard rumours that a police report was actually made about the concert going over time, although I didn’t really see any on the scene. Still, compared to the amazing performance they gave us in Malaysia, it was a huge slap in the face for both the band and the fans going to watch it. Really surprised the organizers didn’t arrange things in a much more proper manner.
The final day’s concert consisted of Hachioji-P opening, followed by Sea✩A which meant I had a good hour’s rest www. Minami Kuribayashi opened the concert nicely but her choice of songs were a bit more focused on her recent stuff while I was hoping more for the older classics she’s done. The highlight of the event, Sphere was next performing Future Stream → Now loading…Sky → Hazy → Moonlight Densetsu → Happy Material → MOON SIGNAL → Non stop road → HIGH POWERED. Yes, they did covers of Moonlight Densetsu and Happy Material, which admittedly was a huge surprise for us all, especially when they said it’s only for Singapore. Closing the day was May’n performing a repertoire of her Macross Frontier hits interspersed with some of her newer work.
All in all, the concerts were okay, but I definitely felt it didn’t top the AFAMY experience. While you could say it was due to the new venue… you could say the same for AFAMY yet they had a really great concert comparatively. Well, hopefully the next iteration of AFA will learn from the experiences this year well as I’m really in this for the concerts. At least pay for a proper sound system and crew!
Didn’t get much loot from the event that wasn’t Madoka Magica-related, mainly due to watching both the movies in the AFA screening. Speaking of the movies…. oh wow, SHAFT really did do a good work with them. The increase of budget leading in to better animation and the new scenes really kept the story from the TV series intact while giving it the “gekijouban” quality really worked well. Definitely wasn’t just a rehash for me. Now I just need to order the blu-rays when they put it up for sale…
My AFA2012 loot.
tl;dr new event venue is spacious, got to watch the Madoka movies, met up with bros all over, Sphere in the flesh, concert performances marred by shitty logistics, turned in to LiSA fan.