04 December 2011

AFA 2011 Report [Day 1: MikuPa in Singapore]

by 17:40
It's been almost a full month since the Anime Festival Asia 2011 took place in Suntec City Convention and Exhibition Halls, Singapore yet here I am, still having that fanboy festival fever. As my first and probably last visit to AFA, it was THE single greatest festival/convention I could have hoped to experience in my life (at this point). For the next few days, I'll be actively posting my reports after the break with a photo-by-photo chronicle of my trip to Singapore, so read on if you'd like to know my part of the adventure.

For various reasons, AFA 2011 was and is, my very last chance to visit as next year is a little tough to attend due to overseas education. But even so, I wasn't that hyped to go at first as I didn't have anyone to go with, tho a senior of mine did express some interest in going again this year.

That was until they announced "MikuPa Live Party in Singapore".
And the rest was history.

Everything fell into place shortly, such as booking our accommodation with flight tickets and before we knew it, my senior and I we're on the plane (which almost left without us) bound for Singapore.

For the un-informed, AFA 2011 was held over 3 days, (actually 3 nights and 2 days), with each night holding a "I ♥ Anisong Concert" that had different artistes, while the main festival only starts on the 12th (Sat) to the 13th (Sun). MikuPa was held on Friday night, which we left home on that very morning.

Arrived at dawn an hour later on Friday morning, 11.11.2011, with the rest of Singapore very much still asleep. Took the very efficient MRT from Changi Airport straight to the station nearest to our hostel. Unfortunately, we could only check-in around 2pm, and it was 10pm when we arrived at the reception desk. To kill time, we decided to wander Chinatown and have lunch until then.

Our hostel was located in Clarke Quay, with a great nightlife that's full of bars, beers and booze right by the Singapore River that cuts through the city. The nearby shopping complexes and plazas made the area that more bustling by the time we ventured to the first few by mid-day.

Stopped by Kinokuniya, a Japanese bookstore, in one of the complexes and killed lots of time there by reading what wasn't zip-packed. Found a few magazines which we really wanted, like Comptiq and NyanType but they were ridiculously over-priced and could have gotten them cheaper back home at our Kinokuniya Malaysia.

Wandered around a bit more and had some pepper-ish "Bah Kut Teh" (Meat Bone Tea) for lunch before heading back to the hostel to check-in. After settling our stuff, my senior/good friend stressed the importance of arriving 4 hours early at the concert hall, so we made our way as fast as the MRT allowed us, which was quite speedy actually.

Upon arriving at Suntec City, there was already an unofficial line being formed near the double doorway to the concert hall and it was only 2.30pm-ish, while the doors only started to open at 6pm.
And now the hardest part of our trip began: waiting.

While waiting for the double doors to open in 4 hours time, a few things happened, such as meeting friends of my senior whom are also very passionate VocaFans while meeting even many more like minded individuals. It was great meeting you guys, and most of them were (surprise, surprise!) fellow Malaysians, whom swam across the straits to get here too, no matter what!

A couple of hours later, the official MikuPa merchandise that's present at every MikuPa was being setup. Usually, producer albums and CDs would be sold as well, but none of that was seen on sale. Instead, there  were a finite quantity of apparel and other wearable goodies which is fine all the same.

When those merchandises were brought out, the atmosphere changed immediately. You could feel the tension radiating from everyone's eyes, as their piercing stare at the booth was somehow quickening the setting up process.

We all silently knew the current situation: Too many predators, too few prey.
And hunt was on.

Incredibly, when they laid out the queue barriers, it opened right in front of me! As one of the first few customers, I made sure to get some exclusive goodies for my friend and myself. An exclusive Singapore MikuPa T-shirt and clear files with beautiful covers. As I looked back after purchasing them, the line had already stretched across the whole floor. Goodluck guys.

Hurried back to our camping spot as more bouncers and security detail was massing at the double doors. We all knew it was soon time to enter. Awwwwww yeah, its starting!

After a delay that felt like an eternity, with my backbone getting stiff and feet feeling numb from 4 hours of camping, the doors finally opened and we hurried (ran actually) to the front to ensure a good viewing angle.

Thanks to my mom's gene or formulated diet from young, I was tall enough to view the stage pretty well even with a few heads bobbing in front of me. For those who couldn't, there were 4 projectors with live feed from cameras placed at different parts of the hall to ensure fair viewing for all.

This was the view I had to the stage. The chairs were for VIPs (people who could afford more), which I WILL get the next time I go to any MikuPa concert in the future. The stage was very similar to the one in 2010, with the usual projection screen and stage lighting at different angles while the musician's equipment were surrounding the screen.

In the middle of the hall was the stage technicians operating area and recording camera, which was the view that NicoNicoDouga users had while they live-streamed the whole concert online.

After more waiting, thanks to the VIPs shuffling their asses ever so slowly to their chairs (lol), accompanied by a few other delays, the concert hall was finally plunged into darkness. It had begun.

Now, as someone whose watched every MikuPa with such envy, hoping to one day be part of the crowd while waving the light sticks, my feelings at that point were surpassing euphoric levels. The difference of actually being there and watching it back home, is oh-so very different compared to the regular video broadcasts that the rest of us might be used too. Then the piano started.

When they hit the first few notes of "Hajimete no Koi ga Owaru Toki" by supercell, the crowd went nuts, and I mean chunky-large-granule-sized-nuts. Me included.

For the first half of the concert, I was silent. Very silent. Not that I didn't know the songs being played, but it was for a different reason. Was caught up with a few things that was occurring simultaneously within my tiny skull. On one side, a small processor was working fulltime to record everything my stereospoic vision could capture in full HD, while the other side was busy shifting the grey matter about in my brain to make space for this event, where a goddess has descended among mortals and blessed us with her tunes, to be carved and etched forever in my memories for as long as I shall live.

Most of the time, I couldn't really see well, since some fluid was forming and obscuring my vision of the stage. Thankfully, the songs picked up and hits such as "Rolling Girl", "Rasetsu to Mukuro" and "The Intense Singing of Hatsune Miku" were being played, as I dried up my vision.

The lovely Megurine Luka too made her appearance, with "Double Lariat" and samfree's "Luka Luka Night Fever" to continue on a funky high note.

Then Miku came out with her Yukata module, and sung "Watashi no Jikan" just before doing the addictive "Poppipo" song that caused everyone to go high and every song after that. The atmosphere was infectious and lively with everyone singing to the rhythm of the songs.

Supercell's "Kocchimuite Baby" and "Yellow" played shortly afterwards, before "Colour X Melody" featuring both Miku and Rin came on stage. Double vocaloids on stage is double win for everyone!

Next was Kagamine Rin's solo and I lost it when we reached "Kokoro". Manly tears were shed like a real man whose heart was touched so deeply by countless emotions running through him.

Fortunately, Kagamine Len saved me from losing anymore fluid with his appearance and perky "Migikata no Chou", which I love oh-so very much. I swear, there was one point during that song Ren had a raep face on but that's probably just me.

The heartfelt "Fire Flower" came after that and you could clearly see (or hear) it was a tune everyone loved and could easily sing too, even if you didn't know it. At this point, my friends and I had lost our voices as we tried our very best to sing every song over the superior sound system that rocked the hall hard that night.

I know I've skipped mentioning a few awesome songs so as to not bore you with my lame commentary of my emotions but the full playlist of MikuPa in Singapore can be played, viewed and watched at MikuBook, accompanied with the original PV videos for your entertainment.

Rin appeared for one last time to sing "Iroha Uta", a very popular song that caused the hall to erupt into a frenzy, especially my newly met friend, whom went bonkers in front of me. In many ways, this concert was already awesome and over 9000 as it wasn't a quick medley of tunes (like in Tokyo'11) but full length of the songs being played to soothe our heart all night long. That alone I was very grateful for.

"Time Machine" and "ARiA" was soon played with, what was thought to be, a mess up of the band member's introduction, but actually wasn't the case when I viewed the live stream back home, with "Miku Miku ni Shite Ageru" played as the final note of the concert. As usual at every MikuPa, we had to do a encore chant (it was 4 minutes of continuous chanting!) to summon her return for, not one but, a double encore!

"Uta ni Katachi wa nai Keredo" calmed everyone for the first encore, right before ending the night with the last but epic song that started it all, "Melt" by supercell. Will never forget that tune that rang through out the hall and sometimes in my dreams;

"Ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra x3
Ra-ra-raaaa-RA!"

The crowd (well I don't think I have to express anymore than I have too) was long gone at this point, as we shouted, jumped, screamed and sang along till the very final tune.

As I mentioned before to my friends, nothing and I mean nothing in your life, will ever beat the feeling of experiencing the concert first-hand with the sound system messing up your hearing and balance senses, or being blinded with more colours that the rainbows of the 7 continents could ever throw at us, compared to watching it online, on NND, or a recorded live-stream of the concert.

tl;dr IT WAS MAGICAL.

Before leaving the hall together as people shuffled towards the doorway, with our backs aching badly and very stiff from 7 hours of total standing time, part-deaf, part-visually impaired with no voice and famished from 7 hours of self-starvation and a later discovered broken shoe of mine, I quietly asked our group, "Would you do it all again?"

And the look they gave me was all I needed as a reply.

"Hell yes."

-End of Day 1-

Continued to ["Day 2: The Masses Amassed] (Coming soon!)

6 comments:

Yourtime said...

whoa read all looks like you said, it was magical >: D

the chair were really all for vip? wtf.. many vip XD

Alwin said...

A friend of mine who couldnt go for the concert, due to much spending on TCGs posted online once. There really isnt a point in going to Mikupa concert since the person on stage isnt real. She cant hear you nor feel you. Unhappy about his comment, as he used to watch Miku's 39th thanks giving concert and so badly wanted to meet Miku. It seemed that he lost the love for Miku. On the other hand, i was lucky to be sponsored to view in the VIP section and i was one of the earliest to settle down (so it isnt my fault that we all waited haha). When the concert started, i had to admit i wasnt as hardcore a fan to know every song. Infact im only familiar with the much more popular songs like Rolling girl, Melt, etc. But the feeling was none other than just the best feeling of my life. I have watched the concerts online too but to be there it self was different. I proved by friend wrong, and i am sure he wouldnt be able to understand and would regret what he said if he was there personally. Reading through your blog have reminded me of the concert. I cant help by cry everytime i am conscious of my self cheering along with all the other fans i am with. I still cry when ever i recall the concert, it was only a short 2 hours of my life, yet so much emotions. I am glad to know of many other like minded people and hell yea, i will still attend more Mikupa concerts!!

Yoshii-kun said...

@Alwin I think someone needs a *hug* and a *brofist*.

And damn jelly you were in VIP _| ̄|○

BlackSun88 said...

so you are malaysian too ha! i was there for all 3 days too, and I had asked my friends that attended the miku concert "what is your biggest regret this time?" their answer? "not buying the VIP ticket" my answer exactly >< so regret now, i totally agree that being immersed in an atmosphere where the sound system is blasting your favourite song throughout every cell of you is an unforgettable experience :D

Anonymous said...

darn it now u have to bring me back the good memories =w=
And hell yeah we are doing it if Miku come again!

Eng Thia Leng said...

Yup he had a rapeface on then XD I was in VIP seats but I ran to my seat, wasted 20% of my phone battery playing games while waiting for the other VIPs to move their lazy asses to their seats. I couldn't believe it when I was at mikupa- it was a dream come true TTuTT

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