Anime Festival Asia Singapore (AFA SG) 2023 is dazzling at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre from 24 to 26 November, bringing fans of anime, comics, and games together for an immersive experience, showcasing the latest in Japanese entertainment and pop culture icons. This year’s iteration brings about a vast array of offerings, including three star-studded nights of concerts, exhibitions, and special collaborations.
A major draw this year is the Yu-Gi-Oh! booth. Celebrating the English Edition for Asia release, it features demo sessions, glorious statues on display, and various card packs. Visitors are greeted by Seto Kaiba and his Blue-Eyes White Dragon army. Inside, a treasure trove of decks, booster packs, and collectibles awaits. Interactive experiences, such as a mini-game for custom tokens and Instagram challenges, amplify the excitement. This is more than a booth; it is a tribute to the dueling spirit and a preview of exciting developments for 2024.
Adjacent to the Yu-Gi-Oh! area, Bushiroad Expo Asia 2023 beckons card game aficionados. It features the Bushiroad Championship Series Regional Championship and a Shadowverse: Evolve World Invitational Regional Qualifier. This haven for trading card game (TCG) lovers offers merchandise, demos, coaching sessions, and opportunities to indulge in video games, but those seeking a different experience can look to the Ultraman Card Game as well, found at the dedicated Ultraman booth.
Crunchyroll brings an immersive special Jujutsu Kaisen experience to AFA 2023. Fans are able to step into the anime’s domain, relive iconic scenes, and meet fan-favourite characters such as Satoru Gojo. This interactive exhibit epitomises fan engagement, blending the lines between fiction and reality in this deep dive into a world of sorcery.
For HoYoverse fans, the dedicated space captivates with themed zones for beloved games along the likes of Genshin Impact, Honkai Impact 3rd, Honkai: Star Rail, and the much-anticipated Zenless Zone Zero. Activities range from photo ops to hands-on dice-rolling games to character quizzes, with exclusive merchandise and Pom-Pom mascot appearances adding to the allure. Offering a full-spectrum fan experience, the HoYoVerse booth is a comprehensive showcase of HoYoverse’s beloved titles in celebration of HoYoFEST 2023.
Gaming enthusiasts can also check out the demo booth for Battlebrew Productions’ Cuisineer, a made-in-Singapore special that features both roguelike and simulator elements. For a few minutes, step into the shoes of Pom, a young-adventurer-turned-restaurateur who has to run a diner and gather ingredients through the hard way: by fighting monsters in a dungeon. Adding to its charm is the adorable art style, which blends in extremely well with the game’s accessible nature.
Meanwhile, fans of Jujutsu Kaisen and Chainsaw Man flock to the MAPPA booth for exclusive merchandise and collectibles. This hotspot offers a unique collection of items, turning every visit into a memorable haul for anime enthusiasts. MAPPA fans should also note that the final day will feature special appearances by Japanese voice actor Soma Saito (Haikyuu!!, Blue Lock) and MAPPA’s CEO, Manabu Otsuka, alongside anime directors Yuichiro Hayashi (Attack on Titan: The Final Season) and Mari Okada (Her Blue Sky).
If fan art and merchandise is your preferred poison, this year’s event has plenty of glorious offerings to go around. Ever the crowd favourite, the Artist Alley invites fans from all walks of life to spend on creations by local, regional, and even international talents, including prints, charms, acrylic stands, badges, stickers, tote bags, and more.
AFA 2023’s concert lineup is a celebration of anime music, featuring a mix of well-known and emerging artists. The I Love Anisong concert showcases talents like ASTERISM, Liyuu, May’n, NANO, Survive Said The Prophet, and Tatsuya Kitani, offering a blend of energetic and soulful performances. The following day, the sold-out hololive Meet greets fans with a stellar ensemble including Sakura Miko, Hoshimachi Suisei, and Mori Calliope, among others.
The festival concludes with SACRA MUSIC FEST, headlined by FLOW, ASCA, halca, and spiraspica, with a special appearance by Nami Tamaki. These concerts are performances as much as they are a tribute to the vibrant connection between anime and music, resonating deeply with fans.
Cosplay remains an integral part of the AFA 2023 experience. This year’s festival saw a significant turnout of cosplayers, captivating attendees with their intricate costumes, impressive weapons, and striking character portrayals. The spotlight shone brightly on Honkai: Star Rail cosplays, with stunning representations from Jujutsu Kaisen and Genshin Impact not far behind:
AFA 2023 proves to be an unmissable event, merging beloved franchises with interactive experiences. Fans eagerly await the next edition, already nostalgic for the memories created this year.