Dive into the heart of anime and gaming culture as the fourth quarter of 2023 unveils a stellar lineup of conventions across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. From electrifying showcases in Japan to vibrant gatherings in Singapore, fans, enthusiasts and gamers will have ample opportunities to immerse in their favourite fandoms.
Whether you’re an ardent gamer, an anime aficionado, or simply enamoured by Japanese culture, this year promises a journey through iconic events. Here’s a curated list of the top 12 APAC conventions to check out, so ready your gear, mark your calendars, and step into a world of fantasy and fun.
Where: Chiba, Japan
When: 21 to 24 September 2023
Tokyo Game Show (TGS) is Japan’s premier video game trade show, set in the iconic Makuhari Messe in Chiba. Celebrating the industry’s biggest names like Bandai Namco, Nintendo, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Capcom, and Square Enix, it’s a hub for both established giants and rising indie developers. From 21 to 24 September 2023, TGS will fully embrace its theme, ‘Games in motion, the world in revolution’, with over 2,000 booths attracting an anticipated 200,000 visitors.
While the first two days are reserved for business insiders, the subsequent days are open to an eager public, who can experience upcoming games, trailers, and engaging exhibits, with the backdrop of dynamic screens and the hum of innovative gameplays. Alongside the games, attendees can marvel at cosplayers and enjoy diverse attractions, making TGS a must-visit for global gamers.
When: 29 September to 1 October 2023
World X Fest 2023 Japan Edition at Clarke Quay Central is the grand finale of the Singapore River Festival, offering a vibrant mix of Japanese culture from 29 September to 1 October 2023. Visitors can revel in a blend of anime expos, anisong live performances by J-Pop artists like SARAH and Yayoi Daimon, and diverse yatai food stalls reminiscent of Japan’s summer festivals.
Guests can also engage in various festival games, some hosted by cosplayers, witness local artists display their creations, and even compete in Tora-Q’s mascot cosplay competition for exciting prizes including a 10-day trip to Japan.
Where: Makati, Philippines
When: 30 September to 1 October 2023
Known as the Philippines’ premier Anime and Cosplay Convention, Cosplay Mania offers enthusiasts the best in anime, cosplay, games, J-music, and more. Taking place on 30 September and 1 October 2023 at the SMX Convention Center Manila, this two-day event will feature an impressive lineup of both budding and seasoned cosplayers.
Attendees can anticipate an extensive array of exhibits backed by international and local sponsors. Additionally, Cosplay Mania has announced an exciting roster of musical guests for the event, including JUNNA, Daoko, Nano, and idol duo BPM15Q.
Where: Melbourne, Australia
When: 6 to 8 October 2023
PAX Australia stands as Down Under’s leading gaming festival, showcasing the heart of the country’s gaming culture. Spanning three days from 6 to 8 October 2023 at the Melbourne Exhibition & Convention Centre, attendees can immerse themselves in a vast expo hall filled with top publishers, independent studios, and unreleased game demos. Beyond the digital, fans can indulge in table-top games, partake in riveting panels, engage in Q&As, and even enjoy musical concerts.
As a convergence point for gamers of every kind, PAX Australia offers a unique opportunity to bond over shared passions, explore new game titles, and appreciate the evolution of this beloved event in the gaming calendar.
When: 19 to 22 October 2023
The renowned satellite event of the world’s largest computer and video games festival, Gamescom Asia, returns to Singapore from 19 to 22 October 2023. Held at the Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre, it serves as a pivotal platform for Southeast Asian game developers to foster global partnerships and broaden their reach.
Industry professionals can benefit from in-depth conferences, talks, and networking sessions, while gaming enthusiasts can delve into an expansive Entertainment Zone featuring game demos, stage activities, and cosplay events. In addition to on-site experiences, global fans can access online shows, PRIMETIME and STUDIO, on 19 and 22 October.
Where: Bangkok, Thailand
When: 20 to 22 October 2023
A product of a partnership between Show No Limit and Online Station, Thailand Game Show 2023 is set to deliver an unparalleled gaming event in Southeast Asia. Collaborating with Wonder Festival, the world’s leading toy and pop culture exhibition from Japan, the show promises an expansive cultural experience. Hosted at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, attendees can anticipate displays from international game publishers, limited edition collectables, and gaming gear from top brands.
Scheduled from 20 to 22 October 2023, the event spans four halls, with Wonder Festival Bangkok 2023 in Halls 1 and 2, and Thailand Game Show 2023 in Halls 3 and 4. The fusion of gaming, toys, and pop culture ensures a diverse and captivating experience for all attendees.
Where: Busan, Korea
When: 16 to 19 November 2023
South Korea’s largest gaming convention, G-STAR is an annual event presented by the Korea Association of Game Industry and Busan IT Promotion Agency. Relocated to the port city of Busan in 2009, the trade show gathers game enthusiasts, developers, and industry pros for a four-day exhibition from 16 to 19 November 2023.
Supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, G-STAR 2023 will be accessible both online and offline, offering a comprehensive experience for attendees. With applications fully booked, this year’s event promises to be a major hub for all things related to video gaming.
When: 24 to 26 November 2023
Anime Festival Asia (AFA) stands as the pinnacle event for anime enthusiasts, set to unfold from 24 to 26 November 2023 at Suntec Convention Centre, Singapore. Spanning three immersive days, attendees can dive into a vast exhibition showcasing anime, cosplay, and gaming merchandise, while also engaging in a plethora of activities. This includes captivating stage performances, interactive meets and greets, concerts, and more. Each year, AFA offers a vibrant blend of content, and this edition promises an exhibition hall, creators and cosplay hub, the Day Stage, and the Akiba Stage, where concerts feature international talents.
Although there’s still no word on specific guests for this year, AFA has historically welcomed notable Japanese anisong artists like FLOW, EGOIST, and Aimer. A memorable moment from the previous festival was the ‘Watame Night Fever!!’, a special performance by V-tuber Watame from Hololive, presented in her 3D avatar.
When: 9 to 10 December 2023
Happening on 9 and 10 December 2023, Singapore Comic Con (SGCC) is Southeast Asia’s premier celebration of both Western and Asian pop culture. Formerly known as the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC), it encapsulates everything from comics, anime, and movies to gaming and cosplay.
Hosted at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, the event spans five halls, offering fans an eclectic mix of guests, exhibitors like MightyJaxx and Bandai Namco, and exclusive merchandise. This year sees the return of table-top gaming, welcoming both seasoned players and newcomers. Additionally, the W.I.P Programme Gallery will feature insightful talks from industry professionals, providing a haven for budding creators.
Where: Chiba, Japan
When: 17 to 18 December 2023
Jump Festa 2024, slated for 16 and 17 December 2023, is an annual extravaganza hosted by Shueisha to celebrate their latest manga and anime adaptations. Held at the Makuhari Messe Convention Center in Chiba, Japan, this year’s event features a robust lineup of 37 titles, including new entries like Oshi no Ko and My Love Story with Yamada-kun at Lv999. Fans can anticipate direct interactions with the community, including Q&A sessions and appearances from notable voice actors and directors.
The event will also offer immersive booths for photos with life-sized characters, game demos, and limited-edition merchandise. With stages dedicated to popular series like One Piece, Jujutsu Kaisen, and Demon Slayer, the event promises a treasure trove of announcements and an unforgettable experience for manga and anime aficionados.
Where: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
When: 23 to 24 December 2023
Founded in 2002, Comic Fiesta remains one of Southeast Asia’s most popular animation, comics, and games (ACG) conventions. Held annually in December, this event garners the attention of tens of thousands, including comic artists, illustrators, cosplayers, and ACG enthusiasts. With its mission to propagate ACG culture and boost the regional creative industry, Comic Fiesta has consistently delivered memorable experiences for its attendees.
This year’s convention, CF2023, is set to unfold on 23 and 24 December 2023 at KLCC in Kuala Lumpur. Attendees can anticipate details on programmes, guests, and activities soon. Last year, prominent VTubers from Hololive graced the event, highlighting its expansive reach and influence.
Where: Tokyo, Japan
When: 30 to 31 December 2023
Established in the 1970s, the Comic Market, popularly known as Comiket, offers a platform for manga enthusiasts to exchange and sell self-published comic books, called doujinshi. Originating from the challenges new authors faced in showcasing their work, a manga review club named Meikyu kickstarted the first event, attracting 700 attendees across 32 manga fan groups.
Today, Comiket draws half a million visitors and features 30,000 ‘circles’ or groups, cementing its place as a vital gathering for manga enthusiasts nationwide. Furthermore, attendees dressed in cosplay are a significant attraction, although photographing them requires prior permission. While admission is free and the doujinshi section is open from 10am to 4pm, those looking to participate in cosplay must pay a registration fee for access to changing rooms.
As the curtains close on 2023, fans across the APAC region will have a treasure trove of memories from these epic conventions. Whether you’re snapping selfies in your meticulously crafted cosplay or rubbing elbows with industry giants, these events offer something for everyone.