Comic Fiesta is the biggest and most consistent event in the Malaysian ACG (animation, comics & gaming) community. Perhaps, because of that, it doesn’t even feel like the end of the year until another CF has come and gone. The event has been around since 2002 which makes this year its 14th year in operation.
This year, the event was held at PWTC which was far more widespread, if not bigger, than last year’s venue. This could only mean two things: (1) A larger area to check out, and (2) Sore, sore feet.
In fact, the sheer amount of standing, walking and waiting in lines was enough for many to give up attending Day 2 of the event. Not that it stopped Comic Fiesta from pulling in 45,000 visitors, keeping up with last year’s tally.
And it sure as hell didn’t stop us either. Here is a round-up of all the excitement that went on that weekend!
The event kicked off with a roaring start from the RFB Jam Project. The group, formed by Raja Farouk, only recently made its debut in the community with the aim of elevating the quality of ACG music performances at events. With their combination of amazing vocalists, the RFB Octet Orchestra and a set list of popular tracks, their performance was definitely one to look forward to!
Taking up an hour’s slot, they featured most of the same line-up from AniManGaki 2016 including Lin from Raijin, and Bin Yun, as well as some new faces like Putri Lina, the winner of CosMart 2016’s Cosmic Star, and Trine. But the list doesn’t end there; the lead vocalists from Mystical Mirage and 5 Minute Heroes, Kelyn Yeang, Groovers Commercial among many, many others made appearances as well.
Following up on that wake up call, the attendees of the event got their first glimpse to this year’s Special Cosplay Guests – Miu from Vietnam, stayxxxx from Taiwan, Siutao from Hong Kong, and Onnies from Thailand! We’d see more of them later in the event, so this segment was just for introduction’s sake.
Meanwhile, the first panel of the day was going on, featuring special guest Wan Hazmer and his panel, Reclaiming the Throne: Making Final Fantasy More Relevant with FFXV. During this panel, he mentioned a couple of interesting notes about the business division group that leads FFXV within SQUARE ENIX; things about their work culture, how they stay on track to reach their main goals, and others.
One interesting thing was that, during the game development, the game designers and artists of FFVX went for a trip into the wild and held a campfire! Wan Hazmer said the trip was necessary for the team in order to capture the feel of being in the forest, hill hiking, going through caves and more, of which you can find all these elements within the game. You think their job is just to sit in the office and look at their PC all the time? Think again!
After a short break, the event progressed into their annual Cosplay Competition 60-Secs of X. As usual, the format was 1-minute free play and free posing for each contestant to present themselves, either through skits, dances, or just posing.
This was immediately followed up by the Culture Japan slot, where Danny Choo returned to Comic Fiesta once again to share the progress on his smart doll, Mirai Suenaga. He shared with the crowd a few interesting opportunities they’ve gotten in the past year, including Mirai’s fashion show debut in Penang, their collaboration with Isetan, and most excitingly, their progress in making a smart doll of Lelouch from Code Geass!
As always, he also shared his experience getting to where he is now. This time, responding to a fan letter from a dejected artist. To sum it up, he said this: “Giving up on your passion is not an option. If you give up, you’re throwing all the effort you put into it until now.”
In a similar thread, Wan Hazmer took to the stage next for the Final Fantasy XV slot. While last year focused on teasers from the game, this year he shared more stories and details from the creation process including some concept art! He also shared his personal experience moving to Japan and beginning to work at Square Enix.
At the same time, the Cosplayers’ Panel with Miu, stayxxxx, Siutao, and Onnies was happening. We call this a panel but it might as well be called “chit-chat with the Cosplayers” because all of us were relaxed and the questions given were often replied with funny stories about the cosplayer.
This especially applied to Siutao and Onnies, who I personally felt were the most cheerful and fun among the four cosplayers. Throughout this panel, we learned a bit more about these famous cosplayers and their opinions on various topics related to the ACG community.
For the second last performance of the day, we were treated to a show by Luna Lorrain and Johan Yusof; a duet between a violinist and a vocalist. They performed several popular tracks, including the theme to Mahou Koukou no Rettousei and an insert track for Yuri!!! On ICE.
This was followed by a performance by the Little Foxes from Comic Fiesta’s very own maid and butler cafe, La Petite Fox. The Little Foxes group was made up of La Petite Fox staff, including seasoned performers M Moments and Decade Dreamers.
To end Day 1 of Comic Fiesta on a high note, they blasted the stage yet again with NIGHT JAM! This time around, they fueled up the night with amazing performances by Mystical Mirage, Nandemo Ii, Raijin, and special guest performers from Japan, fhana!
Trust me, Night Jam was like rollercoaster ride. While the three bands pumped out rock songs like Unravel (Tokyo Ghoul), Raise Your Flag (Gundam: IBO) and more, fhana brought in their pop and electronic songs to keep the crowd alive and energetic. Those who were there to experience it would surely agree – it was a night to remember.
After a long first day, Comic Fiesta was determined to keep the flame running ’til the end of the event; starting off with another set of blood pumping performances! First up was 5 Minute Heroes, an anime rock band formed in 2013. And true to their roots in rock, they performed iconic openings from Naruto, Ruruoni Kenshin, and Digimon that had the crowd jumping to their feet.
Right after that was Oceans of Fire, an “instrumental progressive rock quartet”. Having an instrumental band perform is always a different experience, but we were in such a treat with this one! Their set list was entirely composed of original tracks inspired by Japanese animation and games, so it wasn’t uncommon that we’d catch the occasional strands of the Doraemon theme song in there.
My favourite part, however, has to be the solos for every member. It was clear then that it wasn’t just one member, but every member was incredibly good at what they did.
The next segment of the event was a game with all the Special Guest Cosplayers – Miu, stayxxxx, Siutao, and Onnies. The game was called Behind The Mask, and it was a quiz show style game for fans to test how much they knew about their favourite cosplayers! Those who guessed correctly would get a heart and, if they guessed wrongly, a prawn. (Don’t ask.)
Next up was the launch of Beetle Comic App, which is a multilingual comic platform that provides comic content that are translated into various languages, including Mandarin, English, Korean, Vietnamese, German, Thai, Indonesian, etc. They even flew in the author (Cowman 牛仔) and the artist (Dicky Yau 伦裕国) of the longest-running Hong Kong comic series – TeddyBoy (古惑仔)!
After that segment was the much anticipated Cosplay Invitational, sponsored by Air Asia X. As with every year, the contestants were chosen from winners of AniManGaki, Cosmart, and Comic Fiesta Mini’s respective cosplay competitions, as well as through online nomination.
As a result, there were 8 groups of contestants – Team Siren and Silence, Team Manboobs, Team Shinpi Monogatari, Team Kuma Bear, Team Mamak, Team Fruits, Team Rafflesia, and Team GG Twins. This year’s competition was judged by Jerry, Rei, and Ayase from Malaysia, and Reika from Japan.
Following that was the Invitational Crossover, Comic Fiesta’s collaboration with Fancy Frontier in Taiwan. Complex was this year’s invited guest group. Known for their theatre style performances and dances, they took to the stage with a Touken Ranbu cosplay performance.
K-ble Jungle was up next for their debut performance in Malaysia! This energetic duo is the literal definition of the East meets the West, with Eriko from Japan on vocals and DJ Shiru from Italy. Their pop/rock style of music reminded me of Garnidelia and they certainly showed that potential.
Following those burning performances, we got to witness hardcore gamers duke it out with nothing but their wits, burning passion and of course… their controllers in the Ulimate Marvel VS Capcom Grand Finals. Much like Street Fighter, UMVC is a player VS player fighting game. Each player chooses a team of 3 characters to engage in combat and knock out their opponents.
Speak of the devil, the UMVC finals was immediately followed by the Street Fighter Finals. Compared to UMVC, the audience got to witness a much slower game, but it was just as exciting as the previous final if not more exciting with multiple upsets and epic comebacks from both players. The game could have went either way and that made it so much more enjoyable to watch.
As they say, all good things must come to an end. After all the fun and games, we approached the end of the event as well as the prize giving ceremony. Prizes were given to all of the contestants who won competitions, including the much anticipated results for the Cosplay Invitational.
The Best Saikang (read: stage assistant) was awarded to Team Mamak. Crowd Choice Award was given to Team Siren and Silence. 2nd runner up went to Team Manboobs, runner up went to Team Kuma Bear, and finally the crowned champion of the competition were none other than Team GG Twins.
You thought Comic Fiesta 2016 was just going to end with a prize giving ceremony? NO! It’s not Comic Fiesta unless they end the event with a bang! This time around, they brought Kradness & DJ’TEKINA//SOMETHING (Yuyoyuppe) to perform during the final jam of Comic Fiesta 2016 to send all of us Up, Up & Away!!