Animax Carnival Malaysia 2016by Rafael Antonio Pineda,
Animax Carnival is an anime event run by Sony subsidiary anime channel Animax Asia in multiple Southeast Asian countries, including Taiwan, Malaysia, and the Philippines. This year's Animax Carnival event in Malaysia took place on March 26-27 at the Sunway Pyramid Convention Center, and garnered over 30,000 visitors over the course of two days.
The events center on both the carnival-based themed events, as well as the musical performances. The themed games this year include a One-Punch Man-themed punch machine where players can test their strength, and an elaborate mystery setup themed after The File of Young Kindaichi R. Other games included a basketball game and a shateki shooting game. Animax was also promoting its Oo-kun mascot, and there was a game where people had to find the character among a bunch of lookalikes.
Animax actually runs a number of animated shorts featuring Oo-kun as interstitials on the channel, and they're usually themed after a currently-airing anime on the channel. Animax Carnival Malaysia had a booth where attendees could vote on prop and plot elements used in the next Oo-kun short, as well as look at production art for the mascot, including the different stages of design for the characters.
GARNiDELiA performed first at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, an early hour for any live performance. That didn't seem to bother GARNiDELiA or the audience though, as not only did the duo perform with enthusiasm, the audience turned out in droves to see them.
The duo opened with a remade version of "Aria," one their earlier songs, before proceeding to "Grilletto," and "Lamb." from their Linkage Ring album. GARNiDELiA's music has always lent itself to live performances, as you can't help but just move to their beat. So the performance not only had the now-requisite cyalume sticks, but the whole crowd jumping up and down and dancing. In a post-show interview, Maria said that while they didn't really think about live performances when they were starting out, now they sometimes make songs structured specifically to enhance the experience for the audience when performing it live. Judging by the audience at the time, they certainly succeeded.
Their next song, "Spica -ReACT-" is another remake of an early song, while "Mirai" is their newest song, which fans of Gunslinger Stratos the Animation will certainly recognize. They sang a GARNiDELiA style techno cover of fan-favorite "Cruel Angel's Thesis" before proceeding to "Ambiguous," the Kill la Kill theme song that landed them their major debut, and Blazing the opening theme to Gundam Reconguista in G.
GARNiDELiA just released their BiRTHiA album last year, which remakes a lot of their songs they made prior to their major debut in 2014. In the interview, Toku explained that they had wanted more people to experience their early songs, and they themselves wanted to see what the songs would sound like if they tweaked them today. When asked what their creative inspirations were, Toku answered that Maria herself was his own inspiration for creating songs that he wanted her to sing, and Maria answered that her greatest inspiration is the response of the fans. They concluded by stating that they both wanted to make more music that would help and support everyone.
angela performed the next day at the same time, with a similarly unabated crowd. This is the duo's second performance in Malaysia. They performed in Malaysia during Animax Carnival in 2014, and repeatedly expressed to the fans how glad they were they could return.
The duo appeared on stage to the crowd's repeated chanting of "angela!" and opened with "Exist," the opening theme for the recent Fafner Exodus, one of many theme songs they've provided for the long-running franchise (and it won't be the last Fafner song in their setlist). After finishing the song, they introduced themselves jokingly as fellow anisong group fripSide, and atsuko launching into her rendition of the first verse of "only my railgun" from A Certain Scientific Railgun before KATSU had to stop her. atsuko continued with the gags though, correcting herself by saying they were actually "angelamaster Cinderella Girls" and again singing the first verse of The [email protected] Cinderella Girls theme song "Onegai! Cinderella," before segueing into the chorus of Love Live's famous "Snow Halation." I think I speak for the fans when I say I would have loved to hear a complete angela cover of these songs.
For a lot of people in Southeast Asia, and in particular, people who watched Sony's AXN channel back in the day, they would have encountered angela from the beginning of their career, where they sang the opening theme song to Shin Hakkenden. For most people, though, the duo will be more recognizable for "Asu e no Brilliant Road," the opener to the 2003 Stellvia anime, which they perfromed as their next song. atsuko even provided instructions to the crowd on some hand movements they can do along with her for the song's chorus.
atsuko and KATSU introduced the next songs by standing at attention to the crowd and ordering the crowd to salute. Of course, the very military-themed openers for Knights of Sidonia were coming up next, starting with "Sidonia," a song that is best described as a techno-national anthem, followed by "Kishi Kōshinkyoku," a marching song-themed track (no surprise, as the name literally means "Marching Song of the Knights"). Since the latter song had no guitar parts, KATSU elected to bring out a large bass drum he could bang on for the percussion-driven song, while atsuko twirled a signal baton. When interviewed the day before their performance, KATSU stated that he really wanted to show the audience his percussion skills, even though he truly enjoys playing the piano, and has more confidence with his guitar skills. Watching their performance for "Kishi Kōshinkyoku," it's clear why he wanted to make a big deal of it.
When asked why they chose to make themes to Knights of Sidonia military-themed, the duo answered that, besides matching the military theme of the story, it is also a form of helping people through song. KATSU noted that the musical structure and composition of national anthems and marching songs by themselves have a way of inspiring something inside people, regardless if the lyrics are actually talking about a real country or military. So by making these songs, they'd like to think it is inspiring people to take action for what they believe in.
KATSU was back on guitars for the next song, "Kings," from K: Return of Kings from fall 2015, before ending with Fafner theme songs "DEAD OR ALIVE" and Shangri-La. A call for encore put them back on stage though, and like GARNiDELiA the day before, the pair chose to perform a cover of "Cruel Angel's Thesis," before finally bowing out.
While the schedule did not allow us to see yanaginagi's performance, we had the opportunity to interview her a day before her performance.
What was it like voicing a character in the anime and games of Norn 9 as your first voice acting experience?
- Though singing and acting are both modes of expression, and I also express a character when I sing, I found them to be more different than I'd anticipated, and it was very difficult.
If you could single out one of your songs that is the closest to you, what would it be?
- If I had to pick one, it would be "Mnemonic," an insert song from an anime called A Lull in the Sea. I really enjoyed compsing that, and I cried while I was writing it.
I've noticed that in many of the songs you write for anime, the lyrics reference events or themes in the anime, or quotes the script. How much of the story do you know before setting out to write the songs?
- When writing songs for anime, I try to get as much of the original work as I can. For example, if it's based on a manga or light novel, I'll read everything that's out, and I'll ask the anime staff if I can read as much of the anime's script as I can.
Your new album "follow my tracks" is slated to release in April. What is the direction for this new album in terms of theme?
- The new album has a theme of "travel," and I hope my fans can get the feeling of going on a journey with me as they listen to the music.
Of course, what would an anime event be without its fair amount of cosplay? Judging by the amount of people clad in costume in the con, it's likely there were far more people in costume than without. The event held a preliminary for a cosplay competition on Saturday morning,winding down to a hortlist of 10 finalists that were further judged for a top 3. The three winners include (from left to right in picture below): Raion Leo (first runner-up) as Doll from Black Butler, Gan Cia Seng (champion) as Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty/Maleficent, Pamela Princess Ng (second runner-up) as Hotarumaru from Token Ranbu.
Photos courtesy of Animax
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