Although this year’s Anime Festival Asia did not feature a return of the Mikupa concert series, it still had many things for the VOCALOID fans amongst its attendees — cosplay, merchandise, talk shows and DJ performances. While it would be pretty much impossible to cover everything, here’s a sampling of VOCALOID-related happenings at Anime Festival Asia 2012, which took place this past weekend in Singapore.
As is to be expected for this part of the world, cosplay was in full swing at AFA2012, and obviously such a cosplay heavy-convention wouldn’t be complete without VOCALOID cosplay. The majority of VOCALOID cosplay was still dominated by characters from Crypton, with many Miku cosplays, a good number of Kagamine cosplays and a Luka here and there. However, a non-Crypton character would show up from time to time, including a furtive Yukari here and a SeeU there. Unfortunately, the Yukari ran off before a camera could be readied…
While cosplay forms a huge part of fan culture, especially around here, one important thing about VOCALOID fan culture is the amount of participation in the creation of derivative works. Thus, it was no surprise that VOCALOID fan art also showed up here and there in the Creators Hub, a section of the exhibition hall dedicated to booths run by (mostly local) artists. Although most of the artist booths featured prints of fan-art or art books, HairyAsHell’s booth had something interesting and eye-catching. The booth featured a sculpture of Miku in Wonderland along with prints of the artwork for sale. Yet another artist booth that featured things other than artwork was the one run by VOCALO.ID, whose representatives made the trek from Indonesia to sell their second VOCALOID album as well as other fan works.
Last but not least, the big name guest this year for VOCALOID fans was 8#Prince or Hachioji P. Although his songs were used as theme songs and/or background music for AFA Malaysia and AFA Indonesia, AFA2012 in Singapore was the first AFA venue where he came in person. He held two talk show sessions and two autograph sessions, and he also opened the final night of the Electric Groove ANISONG World Stage concerts.
Sony Music’s booth sold special releases of his major label album, electric love, which for all intents and purposes was identical to his Japanese release, with the exception of labeling and restriction to sales outside of Japan. People who purchased either the album or a special Hachioji P purple towel were eligible to have those items signed later at an autograph session. Unfortunately, only those items were allowed to be signed; CDs bought elsewhere could not be. All of the CDs were sold out by the second day.
LisAni, an anime song magazine (but is more like a media conglomerate that does tons of things related to anime songs), held a series of talk shows with artists who came to AFA2012. Hachioji P had two separate talk shows — thirty minutes each day. On the first day, chief editor Nishihara introduced Hachioji P and his music. Hachioji P also asked the audience what VOCALOID producers they were fond of in addition to him, with replies ranging from the well-known kz, baker, etc. to the more obscure Taishi. The talk show on the second day started with the “electric love” promotional video playing and had some more promotion for the autographable items on sale. During open question and answer, one person asked him where his name came from. He started by saying that VOCALOID producers often receive “P” names (short for producer) on niconico and that he got his Hachioji P name from there as well. It turns out that with his first upload, he said he was from somewhere around Hachioji. And thus, that became his P name, although he didn’t actually live in Hachioji. A girl in the audience asked him what happened to his glasses. Hachioji P said that he actually forgot them by accident, although his vision doesn’t really require him to wear glasses. He also said that he could wear some other glasses during that day’s autograph session. Sometime during the panel, he also mentioned that he’d be playing on unfamiliar equipment for the concert later that night and might need to practice somewhat beforehand. So with that in mind, let’s recap what happened at the concert.
The audience was allowed to start filing into the concert hall shortly after 6:30PM, and Hachioji P’s set started at 7:00PM, causing some people to miss his set due to the actual concert starting time set at 7:30PM. One possible reason for his set starting early was that he had a flight to catch later that night and also the fact that he was sort of added in much later than the other artists performing that night. However, by the time he started his set, there were already a lot of energized and enthusiastic fans ready to get the party started. He opened with the recently released “Weekender Girl” (with a certain red-shirted guy in the front row going nuts) and then proceeded to shuffle through a few of his own tracks, like Baby Maniacs and Sweet Devil. The transitions, etc. weren’t as smooth as his previous appearances in clubs, but this wasn’t a club and the audience wasn’t minding all that much. After a short MC, he then moved into a medley of popular songs, including (in no particular order due to the poor memory of the reporter) “Mosaic Role”, “Senbonzakura”, “FREELY TOMORROW”, “Just Be Friends”, “Matryoshka”, “Rolling Girl” and of course his “electric love”. His set closed out with “Black Rock Shooter” and finally “Tell Your World”. During the chorus of the last song, in addition to doing the usual hand motions DJs do, he also mouthed out the lyrics and drew lines in the air, as if connecting everyone together. And with that, he finished the set and thanked everyone before yielding the stage to the other four acts of the night.