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Guest reporter Jeremy Assous looks forward to AFA09.

Anime Festival Asia comes to Singapore

Jeremy Assous >> TOC Lifestyle

Last thursday, industry leaders in the promotion of Japanese pop culture gathered to express the reasons behind their support of Anime Festival Asia 2009 (AFA09) as well as the prospects for the future of the Japanese entertainment ‘ecosystem’ AFA09 will take place at Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre (Halls 403 and 404) from 21st to 22nd November 2009.

Since the golden age of Japan’s rise in the 1980s, the Japanese economy has been fighting a 20-year long recession and the current global economic crisis has not helped in this direction. Furthermore, the entertainment industry worldwide seems to have been suffering from loopholes in copyright laws and its enforcement in the internet.

However, the internet has aided the popularity explosion of Japanese animation, further strengthening of links among anime, toy making and gaming industries, as well as international anime expos in Tokyo, Los Angeles and Paris. In retrospect, the internet has enabled the Japanese anime industry to gain access to the wider global market.

AFA09 aims to bring Japanese pop culture to Southeast Asia, acknowledging the existence of numerous anime fans in the region with events such as cosplay competitions and anime-inspired concert. Each leader present had different concerns to tackle but all took a similar positive outlook on the future of the Japanese entertainment industry.

Among the industry leaders present was Gregory Ho, the General Manager of Animax Asia. He was first concerned with the financial impact of the fall in number of Anime shows broadcasted on TV in view of the rise of internet as a popular medium for anime.

On a more positive note, he mentioned the ‘renaissance’ of Japanese pop culture as it reached more homes across the globe and explained how the current fright of the rise in internet and the lack of effective copyright policy was as temporary as it was when TV broadcasting appeared in the 1960s.

Wong Kah Fai, Deputy General Manager of Bandai Media, sees AFA09 as an opportunity to demonstrate the improvements made in the toy-making industry over the last 30 years. According to Wong, the toy-making industry is well-positioned to meet the demands of the growing toy market. In particular, more sophisticated joint technology and refined toy design has allowed the toy-making industry to adapt to the growing age-range of the consumer profile.

Growing concern for quality control and better toy production task allocation across the globe has further strengthened the competence of the industry. He also added that Bandai’s partnership with the anime and the gaming industry have strengthened more than ever, linking Bandai-created toys such as Tamagotchi to anime characters.

All in all, it seems as though AFA09 is a platform not just for entertainment and culture but also positive thinking in these hard times. After all, was it not with a positive moral built from song like “I Found a Million Dollars in Your Smile” that everyday workers and entrepreneurs had greater incentive to re-vitalize the US Economy during the great depression?


From left to right: Gregory Ho (GM Animax Asia); Wong Kah Fai, (deputy-GM Bandai Media);
Takehiro Matsui (Sanyo).

Read also: Check out the Kawaii maids of AFA09 at Danny Choo's.