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We Have Moved!

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You may have noticed that we did not update much anymore on this site. This is because we are moving to a new url, and was doing a test run on the new url instead.

We felt that the new URL will help reflect Anime Shrine better. If you’re looking for AFA 2014 coverage, as well as anime news in general, do visit our new site at Anime.Shrine.Moe

Thank you

Forty Thousand and Counting

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Forty thousand people.

I think it’s safe to say that that is a pretty good estimate on number of fans of anime, comics and video games here. In fact, it’s even safe to say that Comic Fiesta is a good measuring stick for anyone interested to learn the size and scope of the anime community here in Malaysia.

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Let’s put things in perspective, just to show you what I mean. In 2002, the very first Comic Fiesta was held in the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall. It had about four artist booths and approximately 500 visitors. With every iteration of CF, the crowd grew bigger thus the venues used had to grow bigger as well. Fast forward ten years later, Comic Fiesta 2013 occupied the entire ground floor of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and served a crowd of about 40,000 people.

500 and 40,000 visitors. The crowd grew about by 80 times over the past 11 years. From the statistics kindly provided to us by SAYS Youth Society (formerly known as the Comic Fiesta Organizing Committee), CF has been steadily growing at a rate of about 50% annually.

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It’s an amazing growth, for an non-profit event, powered 100% by unpaid volunteers, scavenging funds from ticket and booth sales as well as various sponsorship deals and packages. For a long time CF remained to be one of the most successful independent, home-made events, cobbled together by nothing more than a group of friends who pooled together their resources and talents.

Like many other passionate ACG fans, I was among those who has served in the CF committee for a while. It has been fun, for the most part. The rest of it is a lot of planning and meeting and ground work. Everything was done to deliver the best experience to the visitors.

A lot of the work behind-the-scenes, however, remains unseen by the fans. The year spent driving to meet clients. The long monthly meetings. The book-keeping. The tedious recruitments. The various agreements and contracts signed. The papercuts, the sleepless nights, the anxiety, the panic attacks. These and so many more, happening in places where you can’t see them.

All that work, and not a single cent goes into their pockets.

The problem is that these volunteers are often students or individuals committed to a full-time day job and CF is a part-time, passion project. Only a few individuals are privileged enough to be able to work on CF full-time. Thus comes the occasional errors, and miscommunications. Which, if you think about it, is forgivable.

Unfortunately, a lot of fans don’t see that. Many of them have a very simplistic view on how CF is run every year. There’s a common idea that resonates with the fans.

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I paid tickets for this event, so I expect it to be flawless.
Any mistakes is simply unprofesional and inexcusable.

Every year, CF is plagued with a variety problems. The biggest problems often involve crowd management. This is largely affected by the size of the hall, the floorplan and layout of the booths, positioning of the stage, and queue management.

Every year, the ticketing counters strive to run as efficiently as possible, to ensure the queue doesn’t stagnate.
Every year, the volunteers try their best to direct the crowd and manage the queue to avoid confusions.
Every year, the committees attempt to recruit as much help and provide as much training as possible to the volunteers.

Even then, the same problems keep repeating themselves, and I would like to say that it’s not entirely the committees fault. Anime Shrine learned that CF received over 300 applications for volunteers (also known as Felynes), but among the 300 applicants, only about 100 of them showed up during CF. This team of 100 young men and women were distributed over 12,000 square meters of exhibition space, to attend to the needs of about 40,000 energetic visitors.

Think about that for a moment. 40,000 visitors, and about 50 committee members, and 100 volunteers. To be able to deliver a flawless event without getting paid a single cent would be like asking for a miracle.

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Needless to say, there’s always room for Comic Fiesta to continue to improve every year. There’s a demand for better facilities, more open slots for artist booths, more interesting VIPs, etc. but every single one of those demands costs money that CF does not necessarily have at its disposal.

Being an independent, volunteer-organized event, Comic Fiesta continues to bootstrap itself and optimise its expenditures and efforts with every passing year. We wish the SAYS and the CF committee all the best and continue to be the symbol of ACG culture in Malaysia in the years to come.

Comic Fiesta 2013, Bigger and Much More Mature

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The 2013 edition of Comic Fiesta came and went, and certainly it did not dissapoint, at least in the eyes of Japanese Culture fans in Malaysia. This two day celebration of Manga, Anime and Cosplay is certainly the largest ever, with over 40 thousand fans in attendance. It’s a nice bump from the 25 thousand visitors last year and firmly stamped Comic Fiesta as THE premiere ACG event in Malaysia. (more…)

[AFA2013] A Brief Conversation with Masami Obari

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Amidst the star-studded line-up at Anime Festival Asia 2013 in Singapore, recently, we caught note of a very special personality who was making a very quiet appearance. Bushiroad was one of the sponsors and participants at AFA2013, and they were holding events to promote Cardfight Vanguard, a series of trading card games.

As a special event, they held an autograph session with Mr. Masami Obari, a relatively unknown talent who was known there as the man who provided the illustrations used in the ending cards for each episode of the Cardfight Vanguard TV anime.

However, Mr. Obari is actually legend among a different group of fans. He has also worked as mecha designer, key animator, and director for some of the most popular super robot anime since 1988! Some of the more popular titles he has worked on includes the Yuusha Series (Brave Fighters), Fatal Fury animated movie, Super Robot Wars OG Inspectors and more recently Gundam Build Fighters.

We were extremely lucky to be able to spend a few minutes with him and got to him to answer some of our questions.

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[AFA2013] 15 Minutes with Gen Urobuchi

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Popular novelist and screenwriter Gen Urobuchi, who has written dozens of visual novels for Nitroplus, as well as writing spin-off novels for various popular titles from other publishers such as Shogakukan and Type-Moon. Recently, he has also served as screenwriter for original TV anime such as Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Psycho Pass.

Anime Shrine had the great pleasure of interviewing Mr. Urobuchi during his guest appearance at AFA2013 under the Psycho Pass special feature and he was kind enough to entertain some questions we had for him.

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[AFA2013] Shingeki no Kyojin – Q&A with Mikasa’s voice actress Ishikawa Yui

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One of the featured anime of Anime Festival Asia 2013 that was recently held in Singapore was Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan). One of the special guests was Ishikawa Yui, the voice actress behind Mikasa Ackerman. Anime Shrine had the unique opportunity to attend an exclusive press-only Q&A session with her.

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[AFA2013] Shingeki no Kyojin – Q&A with the Production Team

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As part of the Shingeki no Kyojin special feature, AFA 2013 also hosted the key individuals behind the production of the Shingeki TV anime. We get down and dirty with the President of WIT Studio (a subsidiary of Production I.G.) George Wada, Araki Tetsuro (Director), Asano Kyoji (Character Designer), and Nakatake Tetsuya (Animation Producer). The gentlemen were kind enough to entertain all sorts of interesting questions from us.


Team Shingeki (from the left): Wada, Araki, Asano, and Nakatake

1. When you were first assigned to direct Shingeki, were you expecting it to be a massive hit?
Director: The original manga by Isayama Hajime was already a big hit then, we did expect a large amount of viewers, but we didn’t expect the number of sales for DVD and Blu-Ray to be so high, so it caught us by surprise. It makes us happy.

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[AFA2013] Sword Art Online Q&A with Producer Shinichiro Kashiwada and Director Tomohiko Ito

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Anime Shrine had a chance to interview the men behind the popular anime Sword Art Online. Present at AFA 2013 as special guests were producer Shinichiro Kashiwada and director Tomohiko Ito. They answered some very interesting questions about SAO while they were there.


Team Sword Art Online: Kashiwada-san (Producer) and Tomohiko-san (Director)

1. With the popularity of SAO, are there any plans for a movie and/or second season?
Director: Producer-san, please answer this!

Producer: We’re still deciding whether or not to go with it. We weren’t even sure if it’s THAT successful but if overall sales looks good, then yes, we might consider it. But don’t take my word for it!
Director: Wow, that’s very optimistic.

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[AFA 2013] Daisuki to Provide Free and Legal Anime Streaming to Anime Fans Worldwide.

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During AFA, we had the pleasure of speaking to Daisuki Inc., represented by the Director of Public Relations, Ms. Eri Maruyama. Daisuki Inc. was participating in AFA 2013 to promote an interesting new way for anime fans outside Japan to watch anime.

Daisuki Inc. PR Director, Ms. Maruyama Eri

Daisuki is an anime streaming website based in Japan. It features anime content in the original Japanese audio paired with subtitles mostly in English, but some titles have subs offered in various other languages such as Chinese, German, and French. Its shareholders include publishing companies such as Aniplex, as well as various anime studios such as Toei and Sunrise. These companies joined hands and together they founded Daisuki.

This means that unlike other anime streaming websites, Daisuki offered legal anime streaming to fans outside Japan, for free. Anime streaming has been around for a long time outside Japan, mostly based in America and Europe, but many of them stream unlicensed anime content, making them susceptible to copyright violations.

“The Japanese companies recently noticed that anime is very popular overseas. Piracy has been going on for years and years. Fans just purely want to watch anime, immediately. So they have been watching fansubs – who have been doing a lot of good work and contributed a lot to that popularity. Problem is, it’s also illegal and doesn’t directly contribute any revenue to the industry,” says Maruyama.

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Anime Festival Asia 2013 – 85,000 visitors, The Biggest So Far!

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We were in Singapore recently to attend Anime Festival Asia (AFA), one of the biggest anime events of 2013!

AFA is the brainchild of Singapore-based events company Sozo Pte. Ltd., and its journey began way back in 2008. In the five years of its growth, AFA, along with its other supporting projects including AFA Channel, J-Live, I ? Anisong as well its Maid and Butlet cafes, have been steadily growing in size and expanding its reach across the Southeast Asian region.

AFA 2013, recently held in Suntec Convention Centre, attracted over 85,000 visitors throughout its 3-day run. The event was spread across two halls – a convention hall, which housed all the exhibits, vendors and sponsors and the stage hall, where all the guest appearances, cosplay competitions and the concerts take place.

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