Geek out at fantastic conventions that celebrate comics, gaming, movies, anime and other geek-worthy pursuits.
Gamestart Asia started in 2014 with an impressive debut that drew rave reviews from the media and gamers alike, living up to its promise to “bring the wonder and fun of an international-standard gaming convention to Singapore and Southeast Asia.” The inaugural Gamestart Asia saw over 12,000 gamers from 13 countries converge to feast on the geek-gastic game previews, tournaments, producer presentations, retro gaming and cosplay exhibits—culminating in one amazing event that lived up to all the hype. All signs so far seem to indicate they will outdo themselves this year. Confirmed exhibitors for Gamestart Asia 2015 include Bandai Namco Entertainment, PlayStation, Ubisoft, Blizzard Entertainment and the Taipei Game Show. Gamers can also look forward to some competitive gaming action such as the Capcom Pro Tour Asia, FIFA 16 Champion’s Cup and StarCraft II Legacy of the Void Anniversary Tournament Grand Finals.
This year saw the eighth installment of Singapore’s biggest annual pop culture event happening at the Marina Bay Sands over one epic weekend in September. The Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention or ‘SGTCC’ for short, prides itself on juicy offerings from the worlds of toys, games, comics, anime, manga, and collectibles—all the things the consummate geek can relate to. Highlights of the recently concluded SGTCC 2015 saw tens of thousands of geeks drool over exclusive Marvel and Start Wars collectibles from Hot Toys; go behind-the-scenes of the movie and game industries with acclaimed Japanese voice actor, Tomokazu Sugita and game designer, Mori Toshimichi; and entertained by a special segment of music and dance by You Yanase and Rie Yunohara.
Malaysia’s leading animation, comics and games convention has been organized by a dedicated team of volunteers for a number of years. It’s the first and biggest non-profit convention in its category. Every year, it hosts the largest amateur creative art market in Malaysia where budding artists can showcase and sell their self-published comics, illustrations, posters and more. It’s also an event where the cosplay community flocks to in droves to showcase their craft and also to partake in Comic Fiesta’s solo and group cosplay competitions. From humble beginnings (starting at a venue that could accommodate only 150 people in 2002), the Comic Fiesta of today is one of the biggest events in the region, with a wide range of activities that includes doujin sales, industry talks, stage games, live art demos and portfolio reviews.
Indonesia Comic Con (ICC) caters to Indonesians with a keen interest in everything pop culture from both East and West—from comics, anime, toys, collectibles, games, TV, film and entertainment. This is very much similar to its Singaporean cousin, the SGTCC. Indeed, both are in the portfolio of ReedPOP—an event management company behind some of the biggest comic cons in the world, such as the New York Comic Con, PAX Australia and the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. Special guests for ICC 2015 include popular cosplayers Olivie, Pinky Lu Xun, Miyabi, Luffy and Nicole Marie Jean; best-selling American comic book writer and artist, David Mack (of Kabuki and Daredevil fame); and co-founder and creative director of Tokidoki, Simone Legno. There will also be a special appearance by Secret Walls—dubbed the world’s premier live art event—that will attract and astound with its live illustration battles.
The newest convention on this list is AsiaPOP Comicon that just concluded its first outing back in September at the World Trade Center in Metro Manila. Even the most hardcore fans were blown away with the experience: big names such as Marvel, DC and Disney taking up floor space alongside Hollywood celebrities, cosplayers, lots and lots of toys, comic books and board games, panel sessions with professional comic book writers and artists and a whole lot more—all of this combining to make it one of the biggest comic cons in the whole of Asia. There was even an exclusive preview of ‘Captain America: Civil War’—the first in the Asia-Pacific region—alongside special celebrity appearances by Paul Bettany (who played Vision in Avengers 3), Nathalie Emmanuel (who plays Missandei in the critically-acclaimed HBO series, Game of Thrones) and Colton Haynes (best known for his portrayal of Roy Harper in CW’s Arrow series).
Animal Festival Asia is—as you would expect—a showcase of everything anime and Japanese pop culture at its finest. It’s been held in Singapore every November since 2008 and has since expanded to several other countries in the region, including Thailand for the first time this year and Indonesia since 2012. The upcoming Anime Festival Asia Singapore (AFASG) 2015 is bringing in popular Japanese artists and cosplayers such as bless4, HoneyWorks, Mika Kobayashi, May’n, ZAQ, nano, Ely, Sansin, Tomia, YingTze, Siutao and more. The artists are performing at AFASG 2015’s ‘I Love Anisong Reboot’ concert throughout the three-day event. The second day’s concert is a P’s LIVE concert that features exclusively Pony Canyon voice actors, actresses and artists: Ayana Taketatsu, Maaya Uchida, Suzuko Mimori, Michi, Shiori Mikami, Yumiri Hanamori and Yurika Endo. This is the first time that Pony Canyon has held a P’s LIVE concert outside of Japan and should definitely not be missed by any anime fan in Southeast Asia.
Billing itself as the “very first international comic con in Jakarta featuring Hollywood studios, TV networks, comics, toys, games and much more,” Jakarta Comic Con aims to give those working in the industry a platform to engage with fans. The biggest draw this year was arguably a special appearance by Kelly Hu. Other notable highlights include HBO’s Game of Thrones booth, FOX’s Walking Dead booth and the United International Pictures (UIP) booth that offered sneak peeks of upcoming blockbusters. There were also shows, competitions, panel discussions and lots more—everything we’ve all come to expect at a comic con.
The second Bangkok Comic Con joined forces with the first-ever Anime Festival Asia Thailand this year over a four-day long weekend back in May at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre. Major international film and TV studios were present—alongside artists, producers, actors, directors, animators, artists, and writers to exchange opinions and ideas with fans—in line with BCC’s vision to elevate the Thai entertainment industry. One of the most popular attractions was the Iron Throne of Westeros that made an appearance for the second year running at the Game of Thrones exhibit. Tons of booths selling collectibles and comic merchandise, performances, and competitions made BCC a major hit with fans of both Western and Japanese pop culture.
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