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Anime Festival Asia 2009 [Discuss Convention, not Singapore]

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Joined: 24 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:55 am Reply with quote
The other Talkback thread on the Anime Festival Asia 2009 focused solely on discussing about Singapore as a country and does not talk about the AFA'09 as a convention.

This thread was made with the intention to discuss AFA'09 as a convention and not about Singapore.

Justin Sevakis wrote:
Kids from all across Singapore filled the place, which was mobbed both days. The con itself utilized only two large ballrooms of the Suntec Convention Center right in the heart of the city. How in the world do they fit 45,000 attendees into two little rooms?

Which is a problem. It was rather overcrowded and it became very difficult to move around at certain periods. This overcrowding also spilled over to open space at the level below (level 3), where the cosplayers were at (because of the extreme lack of space at at level 4), and it was difficult to move around at level 3 as well.

Justin Sevakis wrote:
Sort of like New York Anime Fest, attendees mostly live locally, and go home at the end of the day. Most of them don't stay the entire time; some are in and out in just a few hours, others spend one or two days.
I spotted quite a large number of people from overseas such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Japan itself. Those Japanese I spotted were cosplaying.

Justin Sevakis wrote:
Meanwhile, the show floor is the trade show/exhibition area, with toys for purchase. The floor is dominated by a huge booth from Bandai (selling mostly toys); other exhibitors included UCC, who was selling Evangelion-branded canned coffee, and Animax, the South Asian all-anime cable channel and the sole functional anime content business left in the region.

The good thing about the toys sold at the convention was that shops were putting up discounts during the convention and I also managed to find some older releases I missed from some of the shops.
The bad thing was that there was a severe lack of booths by the other manufacturers (Goodsmile Company, Yujin).

Justin Sevakis wrote:
Two things are scarce on the show floor: DVDs and yaoi.

I don't know why the other Singaporean DVD publishers weren't there (Blue Max, Poh Kim) even though Odex was at the AFA09 selling anime merchandise (like ecchi pillow cases) and toys, and their billboards (with their Odex logo plastered all over) were all over the place. The wall that divided the convention room and the concert room was made up of Odex billboards.

I guess the other Singaporean DVD publishers just don't have enough connections with the big bosses of the AFA while Odex apparently has though connections despite what they did.

The interesting thing was that Odex wasn't there as ODEX. Rather, Odex masqueraded itself as the Takashimaya Anime Center (the name found in the floor plan in the brochure, booth D06). The only thing Takashimaya about Odex's booth are the price tags. The rest are all Odex wares, especially the ecchi pillow covers the ecchi guys like to buy. Surprisingly, Odex was actually doing very well, with crowds of people in their booth and actually buying their stuff.

My question is, Why does Odex need to hide behind the brand of Takashimaya? Do they have something to hide?
Why does Odex need to mislead buyers into thinking that it is Takashimaya and not Odex?

My guess is that Odex has shifted from producing low quality VCDs to producing low quality ecchi pillow covers and sub-licensing figures made by Bandai in an attempt to stay low from the radar of the anime community in hopes of people forgetting their misdeeds in 2007.

I'm basing this guess on Odex's course of action during the AFA09 and on the sudden influx of "Licensed by Odex" figures (the labels were pasted on the boxes) that I have spotted recently in some shops like Otaku House at Plaza Singapura.

"Licensed by Odex" probably means imported by Odex, but Odex just likes to use the word "Licensed" instead of "import" or "sub-licensed" ever since the Odex Saga (in which Odex claimed to be the licensee and have the right to sue for a couple hundred titles although it was the exclusive licensee for only Gundam Seed and was the sub-licensee any other title it made VCDs of).

Justin Sevakis wrote:
The DVD bit is quite a story. For those who weren't paying attention a couple of years ago, their local boutique VCD/DVD publisher Odex decided to take an RIAA-like approach to piracy and start tracking down end customers and suing them for downloading. Their approach to this was similarly problematic; one suit was filed against a 9-year-old, the head of Odex was seen on IRC being a jerk about the matter, and the mainstream press pretty much ate them for lunch. Most fans were not enthused by the company to begin with (and often complained about their sloppy work), but the legal case was seen as a huge betrayal. Protests were organized, Odex was held up as an example of legal power gone completely out of control, the penalties being sought completely out of whack with the crimes supposedly committed. Finally, Odex gave up on the DVD business and now exists solely as a licensing conduit for Animax.
I would like to correct and clarify some of the points made by Justin Sevakis.

1. The head of Odex, Stephen Sing, was seen on a forum mentioning "Me too busy sueing people" [sic] and "Hahahahah! I double-6-ed so many downloaders serve them right!", not on the irc.

2. Odex had no legal power whatsoever, although Odex did try to look like it had legal-government-backing with the AVPAS it set up (read wikipedia for more information on it).
The methods that Odex employed were not exactly legal as well as it borderlines on illegality and may very well be illegal.
Odex was a sub-licensee for almost every single title it released on VCD (exclusive licensee for Gundam Seed only), so it had no right to sue for any of those titles. Only the Japanese companies or exclusive licensees can do that.

Yet, Odex claimed it had the right to sue and threatened those who did not accede to their demands of payment with letters from lawyers. Using this, Odex misled (or it can be said scammed) downloaders into giving Odex $5000 per person and in return for promises of legal immunity that was not Odex's to give/keep in the first place. In addition, Odex claimed the $5000 was for damages at first, then changed the claim to claim that it was "to pay for the cost of tracking them down using BayTSP" later.

3. There is a difference between Odex and RIAA. The money RIAA takes, goes to RIAA and then the recording companies. About the money Odex took from downloaders, who knows where it went even though Odex claimed it would have an external auditor and let the public know about the whereabouts of the money when Singaporeans rallied and argued that Odex was fleecing people for money.

Justin Sevakis wrote:
Ah yes, the cosplay. As one might expect of a more buttoned-up Asian culture, there is significantly less cosplay at AFA than at most American cons, but what is here is quite vibrant. The fans I saw that cosplayed really went all the way -- there were no lazy "oversized white shirt + jeans + eyeliner = L" sort of cosplay here. It also helps that Singapore has a much higher population of skinny Asian teenagers, who can therefore do much more faithful impressions of animated skinny Asian teenagers.
Based on background of the photo taken by Justin Sevakis, it was nighttime in that picture. Many of the cosplayers may have already left. It's because I felt that there were quite a number of cosplayers in the convention, maybe Justin just happened to miss them.

I believe that many of the good cosplayers are cosplayers from overseas. Some may be Singaporeans but definitely not all, because from what I know, Singaporeans still have a long way to go in improving their cosplays.

I hope people reading this don't take it as an offense but I believe that many Asians, who portray the character they cosplay well (especially on body shape), are considered slim and in shape instead of skinny. On the other hand, many of the teens at American conventions may have been enjoying too much unhealthy food due to the prosperity in America and ended up unhealthy. (I felt this way after reading someone write that Obama is out of touch with the American people because his waistline is not as bountiful as some others and instead has a slim and fit figure from exercising.)
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Joined: 24 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 1:01 pm Reply with quote
I'll give some of my own opinions on some of the other highlights or issues with regards to the event that Justin Sevakis did not touch on.

I'm a figure collector, as can be seen from my nickname, so I sorely felt that there was a lack of Official big name manufacturers such as Yujin & Tomy, GoodSmileCompany and MaxFactory making their appearance at the AFA09. It would have been great if they could have booths not only displaying their merchandise, but also have tips advising collectors on how they can differentiate between the original and bootleg versions of their figures.

I also sorely felt that there was a lack of exclusive merchandise to cater to a wider range of anime fans. Not every anime fan is a Gundam-crazed, Masked Rider crazed or moe-crazed fanboy you know. It would have been nice if older releases of some figures or figure series can be released as Festival Exclusives so that collectors like us who did not manage to get them, can try our luck during the festival!! Very Happy
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