Manga Festival in Singapore 2013 - Through the Lens of QB-sensei (with Serene tailing behind secretly)

Ever since the emergence of modern manga in post-war Japan, manga has provided a solid foundation to the Japanese anime industry. From Sazae-san to Death Note, inspiring various sports personalities (Captain Tsubasa being an inspiration to several footballers such as Hidetoshi Nakata, Alexis Sanchez and Zinedine Zidane) and providing a steady cycle of artistic medium that keeps the anime and manga industry self-sufficient. Such was the cultural impact of manga worldwide; and it was no surprise that this artistic medium was the showcase of Manga Festival in Singapore, held as part of CoFesta 2012 and the only one of its affiliated events held outside Japan.


COVERING THIS EVENT, WITH MY EVER-FAITHFUL COMPANION TAGGING ALONG.

Organised by the Manga Department of CoFesta 2012 and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Manga Festival in Singapore was held from 15th-17th February, culminating in the autograph session on the 16th at BOOKS Kinokuniya Singapore's Main Store at Takashimaya Shopping Centre and an exhibition of manga collections and e-manga at the Arts House, Old Parliament Building from the 16th to the 17th. Seeing this as a good opportunity to hone my skills in DSLR photography, I decided to cover the event at Kinokuniya with my newly-acquired DSLR. For more pictures of Manga Festival in Singapore 2013, do check out my Facebook page for my photography exploits, Geniuth Photography.

Starting with the autograph session on the 16th of February at Kinokuniya, the event kicked off with a manga talk by Mr. Lim Cheng Tju, teacher and comic critic, and three Singaporean students, discussing the trials and tribulations of the local comic industry, from the shortcomings of the mainstream circles to the focus of the comics community of Singapore in general. Other guests of the autograph session include Mr Yaro Abe, manga artist for Shinya Shokudou, Mr Masayuki Ishikawa, manga artist for Moyashimon: Tales of Agriculture, and Mr Mine Yoshizaki, manga artist for Keroro Gunsou (Sgt. Frog) - in which the latter two's autograph sessions will be covered in detail by Serene.

Serene here! Hello everyone! :)

It was a pretty eventful day when we went down to check out the event at Kinokuniya. Even though my direction sense is usually pretty bad, I could easily find my way - because I spotted the crowd that was forming at Kino! I didn't expect such a huge turnout, but I guess that's how much manga actually affects the crowd in Singapore.


THE CROWD WHEN WE FIRST ARRIVED. OWO

Both Mr Masayuki Ishikawa, manga artist for Moyashimon: Tales of Agriculture, and Mr Mine Yoshizaki, manga artist for Keroro Gunsou (Sgt. Frog), were extremely well-received at their autograph sessions! Many Singaporeans actually know about both manga pretty well and could recognize the mangakas themselves when they walked past the autograph queue.


SPEAKING OF QUEUES, THIS IS JUST 1/4 OF THE ACTUAL QUEUE

Anyways, even though I don't really follow both these manga closely, I do know that these manga are well-received because of the adorable drawings, the excellent plot, and impressive character development and design. In fact, the manga were so popular (and easily to fall in love with) that anime television series adaptations were made. That allowed both series to get even more attention and popularity!


THESE ARE THE MICRO-ORGANISMS FROM MOYASHIMON! AREN'T THEY CUTE?XD

For some reason, when Mr Mine Yoshizaki's autograph session was in the midst, security decided to remove the chairs in front of his desk so more people could have more space to take pictures. It was a good and bad decision - it's nice for fans to be able to catch sight of their favourite mangakas, but removing the chairs just means a situation as depicted in the image below.


POOR MR YOSHIZAKI! HE's SURROUNDED BY WALLS OF PEOPLE!D:

His autograph session actually dragged on longer than expected as well. I was wondering why it was taking so long until I realised a very heartwarming point - Mr Yoshizaki was drawing whatever each and every fan requested! That takes time, and even though it holds up the queue, I love how he tries to meet the wants of his supportive fans. That shows that he really loves and appreciates them!


HERE'S A SNAPPED SHOT OF MR. YOSHIZAKI DRAWING SOMETHING PERSONALISED FOR HIS FAN. HOW SWEET!:)

That's about it for the autograph sessions in first half of the day. Right now I'll pass the baton back to QB-sensei to talk about the events that took place in the evening!


TADAAAAH! IT'S QB-SENSEI!

Thank you, Serene! Anyway, looking at the crowd building up at Kinokuniya by 5 in the afternoon, no one can deny the anticipation of the audience for the main event - a special speech and autograph session featuring Mr. Hiroyuki Itoh, president of Crypton Future Media (the company behind Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin and Len, Megurine Luka, Kaito and Meiko), and Mr. Danny Choo, producer of Culture Japan.


TI MEAN, JUST LOOK AT THE CROWD AROUND ME, AND THE MAIN EVENT HAS NOT EVEN STARTED YET!

The special speech was actually about the history of Crypton Future Media and the cultural impact of their Vocaloid characters, in particular Hatsune Miku... before a technical glitch put a grinding halt to the presentation. Danny Choo decided that, while Mr Itoh fixes his presentation glitches, he would get someone to sing a Hatsune Miku song... and guess which brave soul stepped up to sing? (WARNING: Contains botched lyrics and occasional mumbling. Credit to Nakitty Channel for the recording.)


LOOK AT THEIR REACTION TO THE OVERWHELMING RESPONSE OF THEIR SESSION.

Overall, the autograph sessions were a great way to get close to one's favourite manga artist, from Keroro Gunsou to Moyashimon, plus Danny Choo and Mr Itoh. Of course, I just had to soak up the experience by having Mr Itoh sign my friend and fellow J-addict Ryodo's Project Diva Arcade card, and Danny to sign my Moekana card box.


UNFORTUNATELY, I MIGHT HAVE LOST THE MIKU STICKERBOOK...

Overall, despite the small hiccups, it was an exciting event that was a lot of fun - and getting my stuff autographed didn't hurt either!

For more pictures, including the shots I took of the exhibition at the Arts House, head on down to my Facebook page at Geniuth Photography!

- QB-sensei (and Serene :D!)

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