Here in Malaysia, there is a time when hordes of strange people flock to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center (or KLCC for short). If you take the train there, you will see people armed with hipster shirts (that they would never otherwise wear), cameras and wristband tickets. Besides these little hints, there is nothing to tell them apart from the weekend crowd heading into the heart of the city. And if you decide to follow, you will see more and more similar people board the train. Eventually, you will also spot people with impossible multicolored hair and oddly familiar props. If you still can’t satisfy your curiosity, then you will come across an imposing building just outside the city’s landmark twin towers. Asking a woman who seems to belong to a neon-blue twintail hair cult, you will understand why all these people are here. Finally, in revelation, you will whisper: “Brace yourself, Comic Fiesta 2012 is here…” Yes, it’s that time of year again, the time when various Malaysians can let their inner otaku out and geek out in the company of fellow geeks. I, Yippy, for the sake of you all, have braved the maddening crowds and lousy food to write in this report. It’s a huge report, so ready yourself for some reading and ogling (yes, there are…some pictures). So, without further ado, let’s start!
Messing around at home with breakfast, I missed a train and arrived later than I had planned. As expected, the concentration of otaku increased as I neared the convention center itself. Already, at the train station, I saw quite a few cosplayers and many obvious otaku. At the shopping mall near the convention center, it was clear to other folks that some event was going on. I mean, you wouldn’t normally see a white-wigged guy dressed in white hakama duds on a weekend in KLCC. XD Anyway, the entrance to the hall was packed when I got there. A HUGE line stretching a few hundred meters was already in place and growing still! Luckily, I had pre-ordered tickets and walked in with not much hassle. Can’t imagine how slow the line must have been though… Inside the “reception” hall, I was given a goodie bag. Inside, a booklet event guide and…not much else. There were some small snacks in the bags last year, but I digress. Next, I went through a snaking corridor and finally arrived at the Malaysian Mecca for otaku-Comic Fiesta proper. The actual hall was divided into three areas; one area was for exhibitors, another was for the art market (a.k.a. doujin booth area) and the last was for the stage.
Basically the sponsors’ area. I saw quite a few booths selling and promoting stuff like:
- Otaku goods, both genuine and bootleg; Good Smile Company, Culture Japan and Bushiroad were among the companies selling genuine goods.
- Games such as Super Star Live and World of Tanks.
- Tech products like drawing tablets.
- Comics and design artbooks.
All in all a well-rounded selection, but I was only really interested in the genuine otaku goods. Aiming for a Madoka Figma, I went first to the Good Smile booth to see if they had it in stock. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. According to a staff member, some figures sold out within the first hour of the convention. Shocking, isn’t it? Thus, I went away defeated. Danny Choo’s Culture Japan booth was UNSTOPPABLE when it came to pulling the crowd in. I suspect it had something to do with his hot Moekana cards or limited edition Mirai Suenaga Touch n’ Go cards (local prepaid cards). In any case, the latter cards sold out by the time I left the event.
Creative Art Market
A HUGE area set aside for local artists to display and sell their works. From small trinkets like badges to huge fanart A2 posters, there were plenty of types of merchandise. Unfortunately, not all of them were noteworthy but their overall quality has improved since last year’s event. I’ll detail my loot later at the end of the post. Here’s what I remember seeing:
- YAOI, YAOI EVERYWHERE.
- Huge slice of the merc going to SAO (there were even teleportation “crystals” with SAO characters in them).
- Meme-based merc (always a cherished staple at Comic Fiesta).
- A few doujins (MOAR RECENT SHOWS PLS).
- Cutesy and not so cutesy accessories for both the living and the lifeless (dolls).
- Fanart cards/posters/commissions; there were original works too.
There were a lot of events going on at the main stage, but I just tuned in to listen to the songs and popped by once in a while. As always, the longtime MCs were a riot to listen to and watch. Their lively banter and chatter never gets old. As for what exactly went on, I’m afraid I can’t tell you much since I didn’t stick around there for long. Here’s a summary of what went down on Day One:
- Performances by musicians (don’t ask me what songs, I totally forgot already).
- Group cosplay competition.
- Talk by Danny Choo on ambitions/dreams (a favourite topic for him) and Culture Japan.
- Appearance and interview of redjuice (Guilty Crown art designer).
- Moar performances.
- SF4AE Fighting Game Tournament Finals (there was a place in the hall where you could actually play against others, but I didn’t manage to try it out)
If there was an event I regretted missing, it was redjuices’ talk. You had to register beforehand and it was prioritized for people involved in the arts and design, but I could’ve went there easily if I tried harder. Not only could I have listened to a famous artist speak, I could’ve shared some of it with you all as well. Bah, at least I had fun with the…
If I had to summarise this amazing part of my Comic Fiesta experience, I’d say it’s like Pokemon mashed with The Amazing Race. CF Sidequests are an optional part of CF that requires you to complete objectives in order to obtain cards from Game Masters. There are 69 cards in total ; if you collect all of them and have the most points in the end, you get a LIFETIME FREE PASS to Comic Fiesta. Initially, I’d planned to skip the sidequests like my last two times in CF. I didn’t have a lot of fun playing their first version back in ’09, so I expected it to be much of the same. Still, I asked about it anyway and signed up. After completing my first quest, the second followed, only to be succeeded by a third and so on. I just had this urge to get all those cards! Besides that, the fellow sidequesters I met and befriended only spurred me on to continue. Cosplayers with quest objectives/items on them could also get more shutters trained on them too. It was a win-win situation! Now, looking back, I can declare that every ACG convention in the world should have a sidequest game. =) There was a little problem though; I ran around for the first day not knowing that a CF lifetime pass even existed! XD Not that it matters, since the entire thing was just so much fun! Here are some of the quests you could choose (card name in front, challenge at the back):
- 20th Century Boys: Show a picture of a guitar (a camera/smartphone is a must)
- Saikano: Find a BFG (Big F****** Gun)
- Bokurano: Find 15 DIFFERENT chairs.
- Madoka Magica: Complete a minigame at a booth. (some of the challenges are totally unrelated to the cards)
- Everywhere: Take a picture with the “everywhere” meme pose and something common in CF.
- Oppa Gangnam Style: Don’t ask. It was fun, but don’t ask…
- Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Have a conversation with every sentence ending with an exclamation mark!
- Sword Art Online: Find pictures that have something to do with “sword”, “art” and “online”.
Unfortunately, thanks to the sidequests, I missed many events. Still, if I could rewind time, I’d probably still go on the sidequests. They were just that fun!
After tiring myself out, I left Comic Fiesta at about 5:30 pm and headed home.
Not learning my lesson, I turned up late again to the event. Well, at least I made it there earlier than Day One. As walked in, I noticed the line was much thinner-nothing unexpected. Inside the halls, the waves of people were largely absent as well. Unlike yesterday when you had to squeeze your way through gawkers, cosplayers and inconsiderate photographers (like *ahem* me), you could walk freely around the hall. Sadly, this freedom was short-lived and by the end of the lunch break, it was back to Day One crowd levels again. On this last day, I spent (surprise, surprise) a lot of time at the sidequests again. In fact, I headed straight for the counter when I entered to get my quests. So, I can’t give you a detailed account of what went on other than some brief notes. The exhibitors and art market didn’t really change much on the second day, but I got to meet and chat a little with the artists in the market nonetheless. One booth had losses and moderate revenue, but they said they were doing okay. Gotta remember to support them more when I return next year.
There weren’t that many interesting events on the stage for Day Two, but here you go:
- Performances by local(?) artists; heard a few familiar songs/tunes but can’t say for sure.
- Solo Cosplay Competition; heard some grating voices and overacting, but I heard cheers from the crowd anyway.
- Bless4 meet and greet; sang really well in harmony together.
- UMvC3 Fighting Game Finals
- Counterstrike Finals; Malaysia vs Philippines, apparently.
Thanks to my growling stomach, I didn’t stay for the dance-off and ending of CF. I left at about 7:30pm.
It’s next to impossible to write down everything I feel about CF, so I’ll be simplifying them under “pros” and “cons”. But first, a short loot report.
Overall, I bought less stuff at this year’s CF. In short, I bought some badges, a pair of keychains and a Madoka Nendoroid. There was a MadoMagi set of badges with the 5 main characters, but I bought only three. Now, looking back, I’m really regretting not buying the other two. Remember guys, if you’re buying a quality trinket that is part of a set, you might as well get the entire set… (T_T)
Excellent Crowd Control (for the Outdoors, at least)
This year’s CF was in stark contrast to last year’s. Although held at the same venue, CF 2011 was a disaster in terms of crowd control. Visitors were flooding the place faster than the staff could keep up. To make things worse, there was an apparent breakdown in communication between convention hall security and the CF staff. Tempers flared, last-minute plans were put into action immediately and the entire hall was closed off temporarily. Thankfully, after some tweaks, everything was back to normal by day two. So, did CF2012 learn from the ’11 fiasco? I can definitely say “yes”. Although a bit chaotic because of the usual culprits, the staff managed to deal with the problems swiftly. However, that’s the situation outside the hall. Inside, it was the opposite. I just wish that some of the outdoor staff could have been posted inside at junctions to move traffic along. Also, more exits could’ve helped lighten the crowd. Other than that, crowd control was excellent.
Good Mix of Events and Booths
For the average otaku, this year’s CF was quite attractive because of its event lineup. From special guests to cosplay competitions to performances, the events were impressive this year. Also, rather than just bringing in random performers and unknown (but talented) guests, CF brought in the big guns-redjuice and Danny Choo. Those two must’ve brought in a huge proportion of the 25,000 visitors to CF. I may not have attended their events, but I’m very glad that they took the time to come down here. The exhibitor booths were quite varied too. You had booths selling cheap bootlegs to booths selling genuine merchandise and even artbooks! I’m a bit skeptical of letting the bootleg companies in though, since that would hurt the image of CF. Ah well, as long as they don’t chase away the genuine booths, I don’t really mind. The Art Market was quite big and had many different artists and styles, but I was sorely disappointed at the lack of fanart from recent series. There were the big hits like SAO and Chuunibyou, but what of Hyouka, Fate/Zero and Sakamichi no Apollon? CF’s art market has always been filled with popular recent series, but I’d like to see more variety in the future (a.k.a. shows that I like) XD. But wait, wasn’t I supposed to talk about pros instead of cons? Oh dear…
Registration for Events
This is more a pet peeve than a real problem, but this really limited the number of events I could attend. If I could’ve entered for a few moments and left like with the stage events, I might’ve been able to see more and write more. Alas, with limited seats, I can see why they would use this system. Ah well, maybe next year.
Usually, CF booklets will have event details in them with all the relevant dates, times and venues. However, this year’s booklet was very disappointing in terms of proper coverage. Although the “Highlights” page did cover a few big events, I was surprised that it didn’t even mention:
- Redjuice and Danny Choo being there; they were noted at the “schedule” section, but why weren’t they highlighted?
- The sidequests and LARP quests; a fun distraction that was sadly overlooked by many.
- The marathon screening of Toradora, Skip Beat, Kamisama Hajimemashite and Tonari no Kaibutsu.
Granted, there may have been limited space in the booklet itself, but these are still significant events and activities. They should have been there in the first place. Anyway, here are some of the scenes around CF 2012; hover on each picture to read the captions, click to enlarge them.
Well, that wraps up my coverage of Comic Fiesta 2012. I wasn’t really looking forward to this year’s CF, but thanks to the variety of booths, talented guests and of course, fun activities like the Sidequest, this year’s CF was the best ACG convention I have ever attended. I’m definitely looking forward to next year for my fandom and cosplayer fix. Oh shi-, did I forget to mention the cosplayers? (=_=”)
I cosplayed as Steins;Gate’s Okabe Rintarou for the second time this year. I didn’t wear the costume on the way there out of sheer embarrassment, but I did at the event proper. And sorry, no photos (for now)-the powerful CERN Organization lurks everywhere. XD Anyway, the cosplay mix for CF 2012 was quite diverse. There were anonymous cosplays: maids, soldiers and lolitas. On the other hand, there were also a ton of cosplays of anime/manga characters. Off the top of my head, I remember seeing Nisemonogatari, Chuunibyou, Madoka Magica, SAO, Guilty Crown, Fate Series, Inu x Boku and One Piece cosplayers throughout the event. Sadly, because I was busy with the sidequest and forgot about writing a coverage piece later, I didn’t take all that many photos. =( Still, I did manage to take a few. So without further ado, I leave you to browse through my meager collection of cosplay photos taken throughout Comic Fiesta 2012. As with before, hover to read my thoughts on them and click to enlarge.
If there’s anything you want to know about Comic Fiesta 2012, don’t hesitate to ask, I’ll try my best to answer. For now, have a nice day/night. I’ll be lying collapsed on my bed if you need me-this post took three continuous days! (>0<)
BONUS: For further reading, please check out Metanorn’s coverage of CF 2012. Besides coverage of the event proper (stage access and panels), they have interviews with Redjuice and Danny Choo. Plus, there’s the word “exclusive” in them! =D