Insights On Local Pop-Culture Conventions – Interview with Neo Tokyo Project


Jason a.k.a. Crimson. Promotional Photo for Razer. Photo taken by The Art of Mezame

Pop-culture events have been popping up around Singapore for a good number of years. There is a rise in the quantity and quality of events these years, as the community gets more and more active. With the more exciting changes we see year to year, we decided to interview one of the earlier movers of pop-culture activities in Singapore, Jason Koh from Neo Tokyo Project to let us have a better understanding of the history and development of the local pop-culture community!


QN: Hi, could you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Jason: I’m Jason better known as Crimson in the cosplay community, and I head Neo Tokyo Project, an integrated pop-culture marketing agency in Singapore.

QN: Could you share with us a little more about pop-culture?

Jason: Pop-culture simply means any form of consumed mass media that is currently in the public’s popular consciousness. In Singapore, this includes anime, comic books, games and manga.

One of the greatest expressions of pop-culture fandom is cosplay, which is something we also indulge in because we make costumes ourselves.


Crimson’s Heathcliff (Sword Art Online) Cosplay. Photo taken by Darkon Lore

QN: How did you get started in pop-culture?

Jason: Well, that’s going to be a long story.

NnG: Maybe the origins of it?

Jason: I loved playing computer games as a kid. I recall the first game I played on the PC was Ultima 1. It’s a really old RPG with stick-figure graphics and stuff.

  
Ultima 1 from Wikipedia, StrongStyleFiction

NnG: But it was nice at that time.

Jason: Yeah! So basically I started out with gaming. Then along the way I picked up geeky stuff like playing Dungeons & Dragons and Magic the Gathering. I spent a good number of years hanging out at Comics Mart in Serene Centre, skipping school (laughs) and playing card games. I played lots of games, collected lots of comic books. Basically, all my hobbies have been some form of expression of my love for popular culture, an expression of fandom. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time. I studied Mass Communication at Ngee Ann Poly, and Communications at Wee Kim Wee School at NTU.

This was followed by a good number of years working in the media as a freelance journalist, photographer and multimedia manager, and it’s those skills that have brought me to where I am right now. I picked up blogging, and have since turned that blog into a platform with which I can inspire like-minded people – people who love games, love anime, love comic books, love pop-culture – to work together to develop their skills and to apply those skills to service the companies that produce their favorite products.

QN: Since you mentioned Dungeons and Dragons which were considered “geeky” at that point of time, do you think they could be considered “pop-culture”?

Jason: I think that the definition of pop-culture changes with every paradigm. So what might be popular at a certain point of time might not be as popular later on. Geeky activities really came to the fore with the rise of Internet startups and successful technopreneurs. They called it the dot.com bubble. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, it wasn’t “hip” or “happening” to be a geek at all. But because of the rise of the Internet, with Internet cultures and geekiness gaining traction, more and more successful people were coming out and actually saying they had geeky hobbies. Whatever used to be classified as outlandish and non-mainstream suddenly become the new mainstream. Case in point, it’s cool to watch Marvel movies these days, and if you don’t know who Thor is, who Loki is, who Captain America is – then you probably have been living under a rock!


Thor and Loki by MushStone@DA 

Singaporeans are kiasu (afraid of losing/losing out). They want to be in the in-crowd with their peers. It’s actually a good thing that pop-culture is now so accessible and visible, because it also means that there are greater opportunities for us and for the companies we service to engage with their audiences.

QN: What makes the pop-culture scene so unique and interesting?

Jason: I have been involved in quite a few communities. Before I was involved in cosplay, I was a part of card gaming, comic book collecting and toy collecting forums. There was also an IRC channel called #SGMA that was pretty active back in the day for local enthusiasts, and that was many, many years ago. The thing is, pop-culture’s really come a long way. Right now, one of the greatest and most visible expressions that we see is when people dress up as their favourite characters – in cosplay basically. It’s become an increasingly prevalent activity, with many events springing up out of the blue easily without a word every other month.

As for us, we run International Cosplay Day Singapore as a community event. This event takes place at *SCAPE each year with an emphasis on the positive effects of pop-culture and of cosplay especially. We want to encourage greater solidarity and friendship among local and international cosplayers. At the same time, we run Doujin Market, which we abbreviated into Doujima. It’s an opportunity for young artistic talents in Singapore to explore new ways of getting their art out to the public, to find ways to popularise their work and to showcase themselves. God knows we need more support for local communities.

QN: Is there anything developing in the local community that is especially unique to Singapore?

Jason: Uniquely Singaporean? Other than the kiasu-ness, I think it’s really the fact that Singaporeans are quite innovative. I know for a fact that one of the doujin groups in Singapore that we’ve worked with – their artwork adorns the E.P.I.C. Card for our membership programme. They’ve published a few novellas with original content all on their own. They started doing original content before they worked on doujin products like fanart.

EPICCard  E.P.I.C. Card Illustration from About E.P.I.C. Card

I think another thing that I’ve discovered is that quite a good number of local cosplayers are very talented. People are getting increasingly international and at the same time I think there’s a rise in crafting culture – that’s something quite unheard because most young cosplayers buy their costumes online. I think it’s good that there are more and more people interested in crafting, and I would like to think that we had some small influence in that.

QN: How did you come about starting Neo Tokyo Project (NTP)?

Jason: It’s a really strange story. Basically what happened was that some time in 2010, I came back from a long hiatus in cosplay and decided to build a World of Warcraft costume. So one day, I decided to enter a cosplay competition on a whim, and got selected for an Animax tourism event which took place in Hong Kong.

On the same trip I met Kaika from Cosplay Chronicles – she’s a great blogger, really well respected – and several other bloggers and cosplayers from around the region. I remember chatting with Kaika, and she suggested that I should put my media training to good use and maybe blog about things, so I did.

I ran the blog for a couple of years, and I decided I really liked what I was doing – making costumes, working with other like-minded cosplayers and empowering young people to develop good habits through cosplay and other pop-culture hobbies. We also realized that a good number of companies we love, that produced the games and products we loved – they enjoyed our work and follow us on social media. We started collaborating with them and that’s how we got to where we are right now.

QN: Having been part of the scene and community for so long, what made you decide to organize events?

Jason: The opportunity came when I was involved in the first iteration of Singapore Cosplay Chess. This took place in 2011, and we essentially bankrolled and produced Singapore’s first stage show for cosplayers by cosplayers. After the event was over I had to think about whether we were going to do the show again in the following year. To do so, I had to be influential enough to pull all the sponsors together, and at the same time, provide the performers, who were all volunteers doing it out of passion, with a stage.

 Villager (Dempster) & Travis Touchdown (Alvis Lim) battling on stage during Cosplay Chess

I decided to do something about it and said no matter what, we are going to run an event next year. It needed to be a new event to differentiate ourselves from other cosplay events in Singapore. So I sought the advice of my overseas cosplay friends and connected with communities around the world, and decided to make the International Cosplay Day movement in Singapore something really, really big. We actually made it happen, and we have been going strong ever since.

 Prize giving ceremony at ICDS 2014

QN: How different has it been since you started organizing events as compared to being part of the community?

Jason: I have a lot less time to wear costumes and to attend events now. When I’m at an event, I’m either the producer, or an event partner and it’s all work. Also, I’m usually on the look out for good practices that we can learn from and improve ourselves. Like I said, we want to be a company that is progressive. We don’t want to be a company that does the same things over and over again. I wish I had more time to make costumes as I did in the past, but I think it’s a necessary evil, all that paperwork. I can’t deny the fact that being an event organiser means that I have more influence, and that influence allows me to push for greater opportunities that will benefit the community in the long run.

QN: Was there any problems or new challenges you face organizing ICDS?

Jason: I don’t think we expected ICDS to grow the way it did. The first year when we ran it at Ngee Ann Poly, we were hoping to have 1,000 visitors and we actually broke that amount. We were the first organisers in Singapore to bring in Yaya Han all the way from America. In the second year, we got Alodia and held our event at *SCAPE and our visitor numbers more than doubled. This year we brought in the “Queen of Armoured Cosplay” from Germany, Kamui, and Dat-Baka from Australia and we saw more than 5,000 visitors.

I think the biggest challenge now is how we can keep leveling up our game and topping that.

QN: Just last month, NTP was also involved with Game Start. So how exactly were you involved?

Jason: Game Start is Singapore’s new premier gaming convention, and the first of its kind. It saw 12,000 visitors, and we were their official cosplay partner. We curated an interactive scavenger hunt and cosplay content on stage, including guests such as Yasemin Arslan and Yuegene Fay. Game Start also taught us that there were many new ways we could look at and explore cosplay involvement at events that were aimed at non-cosplay audiences.

Of course, if any of your readers have any feedback or think we can do better, or have great event ideas they want us to execute, please let us know.

Check out our coverage @ Game Start 2014! (opens in new window)

QN: As compared to ICDS, how different was it, helping to run Game Start?

Jason: Definitely different. ICDS was more for the anime, comic books and gaming community, with an emphasis on cosplay. By comparison, Game Start was a gaming event and targeted at a wholly different audience. We are all gamers at NTP, and we enjoyed the challenge of introducing content we were familiar with and supporting the efforts of the Game Start team. It was a good learning experience for us, and helped us improve our processes as well.

QN: One thing I noticed about the Game Start Cosplay competition. There wasn’t a 1st, 2nd or 3rd Placing. Instead people were awarded titles such as best Craftmanship etc. What made you decide to use this method of judging instead of the conventional ranking?

Jason: Actually, I’ve been planning to implement something like this for awhile now. Before I ran events, I was pretty active in the cosplay competition circuit. I think a lot of people hate being ranked – the country’s already so focused on numbers and being number one. It breeds unhealthy competition.

We feel that cosplayers put in a lot of effort into creating their own costumes, into their make-up, into understanding the nuances of their characters. Each of them deserves a chance to shine, and in my eyes as long as they’re willing to brave the stage, they’ve already all won a prize. There should be no reason for them to feel put upon when they are compared to each other.

So rather than focusing who trumps another, or making it a popularity contest based on votes, we focused on the skills each individual cosplayer brings to the table.

If they’ve built the costume from scratch all on their own, they have done the sanding, the priming, the layering, the detailing, then they’re eligible for the Craftsmanship award. If they put up a good show on stage, if it’s entertaining, it’s engaging, and it’s very in-character, then they could win the Performance prize. There’s also a Judge’s Choice, which is an award for participants who perform consistently well in every category.

While they may not be the most skilled in craftsmanship, performance, or in their stage sets and gimmicks, this prize rewards those who are are good all-rounders. We also believe in encouraging new talent, so we always have a Newcomer prize for those who have yet to place in any stage competition.

CIMG2319Check out our cosplay competition feature @ Game Start 2014! (opens in new window)

It’s also very important for us that judges are transparent and that all participants are assessed fairly solely on merit. NTP staff is not allowed to sit on the judging panel or participate in any cosplay competition we run, because we believe that there should be a line drawn between the company organising the competition and the contestants. Our judges are almost always our international guests, because we believe that they are most qualified, and at the same time most neutral and unbiased in any given competition.

Let’s face it, whenever a cosplayer doesn’t get a prize, they’ll rant about it, they will complain about it, they will say “this competition must have been rigged”. We don’t want that to happen and one of the ways we can nip that in the bud is to ensure that we don’t give anyone a reason to doubt in the first place.

QN: Having been part of so many events over the years, is there an event a particular event you remembered or enjoyed the most?

Jason: The one event I enjoyed going to the most was Anime Expo in America, and that left me a lasting impression.

NnG: When was it?

Jason: More than 10 years ago. I was on an exchange trip and I managed to explore Anime Expo and it was great! It was really inspiring.


Anime Expo 2006 from Wikipedia

QN: Do you have any memorable experience as an organiser that you could share with us?

Jason: It might be a little trivial of me to say that cosplay events in Singapore are nowhere near international standards yet, but that’s the truth. Organizers need to know how to not sweat the small stuff and to find ways to ensure that you’re creating great environments for communities to thrive rather than just assuming cosplay will go well with everything and the kitchen sink. America is a great place to learn good convention practices. I’ve had very good recollections of what they’ve done well, and I think I’ll be integrating some of those elements, especially panels and seminars, into my events.


Comiket 62 from Wikipedia

QN: Is there anything you would like to see change or improve in the pop-culture scene in the years to come?

Jason: I think communities need to continue showing their love and their passion for the the games they play, and the products they enjoy. They also need to lay off the self-entitlement and stop being so quick to judge when they don’t get what they want.

I recall a visitor at Game Start who complained that the lights in the hall were really dim and that he couldn’t take picture of cosplayers. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have enjoyed PAX or Tokyo Game Show either, because it’d be just as dimly lit. Singaporeans can be incredibly myopic, and don’t always realize that companies will be more comfortable reaching out to you and giving you the perks that you deserve if you’re gracious and understanding rather than just badly behaved and demanding. That’s why an international perspective is important.

QN: What could we expect from NTP in the near future?

Jason: We’ll definitely be doing Spring Doujima again in April. We are going for more original content in April, and we just might be releasing a card game during Spring Doujima. At the very least, we should be going into a Beta/Play-test to gauge how fun it is. At NTP we want to do things that are fun. One of our core beliefs is that if it’s not fun, we don’t do it.


Doujima 2014 from Official Doujima Facebook Page

NnG: Is it a physical card game?

Jason: It is a physical card game.

NnG: Can we have a sneak preview before it’s released to the public? HEHEHEHE.

Jason: (laughs) You know the characters on the E.P.I.C Card? Those characters were created with a card game in mind. They’ll be featured in the card game we intend to produce, but it’s all in the air right now and we can’t reveal too much. But we are hoping to do a play-test during Spring Doujima if it works out. If it doesn’t, you know how it is. Deadlines get pushed back, there are delays in the game creation process, but that’s game creation for you.

At the same time we will be working with more game companies next year and I will be finishing my book on the history of cosplay in Singapore. I’ve already done some interviews with several movers and shakers in the cosplay community and in the local pop-culture scene, including the lawyer who fought in the ‘cosplay’ trademark case from a few years back. We’re hoping to launch the book sometime in April or May.

NnG: Next year? (2015)

Jason: Yeap! Next year. Of course ICDS 2015 with the theme “Fate and Freedom”. I guess you are the first media to hear about it and we will be doing auditions for Cosplay Chess pretty soon. 

QN: Anything else you would like to add on or want to tell our readers?

Jason: The biggest thing about being a pop-culture fan or being a cosplayer is really about wearing your passion on your sleeve. It’s really about showing your love and your enthusiasm for your hobbies and not giving up. But at the same time, ask yourself: “Does this hobby make you a better person?”, or “Does this hobby give you greater opportunities to improve yourself?”, and “At the end of the day, was the hobby fun?” So the thing is, most importantly…

NnG: Have fun!

Jason: Yes. Have fun. That’s a given. But also internalize the positive lessons from your hobby, and transform yourself into a responsible, successful, well-adjusted individual. That way, you can become the best you can be.

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Culture Japan Night 2014


Immediately after AFA 2014, taking place at Jurong Regional Library is Culture Japan Night(CJ Night). Hosted by celebrity blogger and Director of Culture Japan, Danny Choo, CJ night is an event held yearly after AFA. This event is more of a gathering where you get a chance to learn a little more about the industry in Japan. More importantly, making new friends.

Having been following Danny’s blog since before the first AFA in 2008, I can say, he’s come a long way. From simply his blog color scheme being Orange that first caught my attention, to now a blog filled with many awesome information about Japan. In addition, he has been producing his very own line of dolls, the Smart Dolls. To be honest, I’d love to grab one of these dolls and bring them home during AFA. Though sadly, my wallet doesn’t agree with me.

Back to the event itself. It was a rather eye opening event. Not in terms of display, but the things Danny spoke about. Though lots of people brought their dolls and nendroids.

Even I brought Cherio with me.

A few quick highlights of what was mentioned at CJ night.
We start off with Danny giving us a brief, but rather detailed, summary of his life and progress of his business since the last CJ night in 2013.

One thing I really like about Danny, is how he tries to actually make friends with the crowd rather than just give a speech or talk.

He talked about how he had moved offices, about how some new members had join his team, some of the milestones and joys over the year. He also shared the hardships he had gone through as well as the risks he took to get to where he is today. To be honest, its really inspiring to hear him talk about how he made his passion into his career.

Some of the things he brought up during this year’s CJ night are also great news. Some not so great for my wallet XD.

First thing first, he’ll be going to various countries such as, but not only, Philippines for Toycon and Thailand for AFA Thailand. He would also be trying to get involved in fashion events as well. He also mentioned he will be back in Singapore in May for a huge popculture convention yet to be announced! Hurray!!

Mirai has also been doing government jobs as of late as well by appearing on travel maps for Japan and Malaysia. I really hope a Singapore version appears soon.

He’s also planning to grow his Smart Doll product line. Aiming to promote his Smart Doll as the next Global Brand Fashion Doll, such as Barbie, as well as going into the fashion industry. He’s also aiming to bring down production costs to bring down the retail prices! Cheers!

Some of the Smart Dolls on display

 

To top it up, he’s also looking at producing more apparels for not only the Smart Doll, but for humans as well. That’s right, both you and your doll can have matching clothes. He’s also thinking of producing other goods such as wallets ,waist pouches, shoes and spectacles.

Still in the making is the Smart Doll Guy. Though the final name for this series of male dolls is yet to be finalized, he announced that the first doll would be Eiji, a guy in the Mirai Millennium series.

He’s also hoping to produce character dolls for Yagami Light from Death Note and Snake from Metal Gear. I’m looking forward to these releases.

Yagami Light from Deathnote. Image from Wikipedia
Solid Snake. Artwork by Oxeyclean

So how are we going to get our hands on these awesome stuff in the near future? Well, they’re gonna be up for grabs on a online store which is yet to be launched.

Well, that’s pretty most of the key highlights he mentioned. Though I have to say, his talks, aside from the large amount of good news, are actually very inspirational. Especially when he talks about how he got to where he is today. I’d strongly urge anyone who can take some time off to actually join the next CJ night.

For now I’ll leave you with some shots I got during the CJ night.

AFA 2014 – ARCC coming right up!

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Mikaneko here with the latest updates on ARCC at AFA 2014. Happening right now at Suntec City is one of the biggest Pop culture conventions of the year.

Filled with tons of booths and stage happenings, there is no reason for you miss out this awesome event.

So back to the main update I have. ARCC. Kicking off at 2.15pm today, the competitors are all preparing for their big show on stage.
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Check out those awesome props.
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Make up is on the way as well.
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Well, even with air-conditioning, its really warm here.
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They’re also running their final checks on the stage.

I managed to get a chance to speak to some of the contestants just as they standby for the pre-judging.
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First up, Team Myanmar, cosplaying from the hit anime series, Kill LA Kill.
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Consisting of Akemi and Sue, they were the winners of 84 Comic Party and are now representing their country for ARCC.
Sue: We’re so excited for the competition.
Akemi: This isn’t the first time I’ve been overseas in this costume. I’m here hoping for a great experience.

Next up, Team Philippines, bringing to you, BTX. A truly classic series.
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Louise together with Helios, have been through both Regional and National qualifiers before they are given the honor to represent their country.
Helios: We hope to give the audience a good show and hope that their fellow country supporters would enjoy it as well.

Following up is Team Malaysia, competing with Kingdom Hearts.
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Selected through Comic Fiesta Mini, Yuan and Sky are now representing Malaysia here in Singapore.
Sky: We are really nervous and excited to be our favorite Characters!

We also have Team Indonesia here with the hot blooded Dragonball.
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They were selected through the competition held in Indonesia, Mocha and Prince are here to give the audience a Blast.

Prince: We are Really excited and we are ready to give it our 100%.

Last but not least, We have our very own Team Singapore! Saiko and Min.
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Saiko: I’m really nervous and excited. The stage the audience and Everything.
Min: I’m kind of nervous, but We’ll be OK.

Be prepared to catch all their awesome performance on stage right here at AFA 2014 at 2.15pm on the main stage.

CHEERS!

AFA Regional Cosplay Championship 2014 – Interview with Team Singapore

Today Neko no Gensou brings to you an exclusive interview with AFA Regional Cosplay Championship (ARCC) 2014 Singapore Representatives!

ARCC_LOGO

ARCC is held annually at Anime Festival Asia. It is one of Asia’s most renown Cosplay competition. During this year’s International Cosplay Day Singapore (ICDS), the best craftsmanship team was invited by the AFA committee to represent Singapore in the ARCC this year.

Photo by Foxfoo Photography

Members of the team are Saiko and Min Lauren. Both of them have been cosplaying for a couple of years now, the ARCC is their first major competition yet. Below you can view more of their awesome cosplays.

 

Saiko – Saiko Heartz Cosplay

Photo by The Art of Mezame    The Art of Mezame is also going to run a workshop on night photography. Do check out his page for more details!

 

Min Lauren – Muramin

Photo by Decky Visualgraphy

 

And here’s their breath taking performance at ICDS 2014.

Video Credits to Operation P.Ani.C

 

I managed to get and interview with them despite their packed schedule and rushing their preparations for the big day! They’re a really lively and fun duo making the interview session really fun and hillarious.

So lets find out more about what they have to say!

QN: Could you tell use a little more about yourselves and how did you all meet?

Saiko: I actually met because Min was a customer for prop commission.

Min: She helped me do the Alice Vorpal Blade and that’s how we got to know each other and soon got rather close.

QN: How did both of you get to know and start cosplay?

Saiko: I started cosplaying in December 2006. EOY was the first event I attended.  I actually found out of the event 3 days before the event. So when I saw this event, I decided to dress up for the event. So I cosplayed Misa from Deathnote and actually took part in a Deathnote Cosplay competition. That was my first cosplay and my first competition.

Min: I started in 2010, through a friend. He introduced me to the world of cosplay. I kind of like to join the scene after a while. Hell Girl was my first cosplay, and it was actually quite bad.

QN: Whats the most enjoyable part about cosplaying?

Saiko: I like crafting more actually. Sometimes I actually feel awkward when I am in costume. I prefer masked cosplays where my face is covered. Masks give me more courage! *giggles*

Min: I actually enjoy being my favorite character as well as the costume making process.

Photo by Xeverous Photography Min is on the right.

QN: Do you make your own costumes?

Saiko: Yes, most of them. I started out buying though, but now I do my own.

Min: Not all, but I’m starting to make my own costume. The ARCC costume would probably my first costume I made on my own from scratch.

QN: What’s your favorite kind of cosplay?

Saiko: Horror Genre. Everyday’s Halloween~

Min: Mostly crazy characters. Ranging from mentally deranged characters to the psychotic ones.

QN: So far, which is your favorite cosplay that you have done so far?

Saiko: Bubble Head Nurse from Silent Hill, because we go round scaring people for fun.

Min: Toph Beifong from Air bender. I’ll be having a proper photoshoot for it soon!

Photo by Sandeep Murali | Photography   Saiko is the Bubble Head Nurse right in front.

QN: Any memorable experience you had with while to cosplaying or making your costume?

Saiko: Last year wanted to join GE3 competition as Flesh Maiden Alice. However I started working on it too last minute. On the morning on the event I was still working on the costume. When I realized it was impossible to finish on time, I threw it one side and cried. It took me some time before I got back to finishing it and eventually wore it for Cosfest and ICDS.

Min: The first time I put my contact lens into my eyes. It was painful. When I first wore it, I thought is was all fine. A moment later, it burns!

QN: How did the two of you end up deciding to join the ICDS competition?

Min: Impromtu~

Saiko: Actually it was pretty much a roll over from GE3

Photo by Darkon Lore

QN: So how did you feel when you were invited to represent Singapore in ARCC?

Saiko: WTF are you serious. You bluffing me right?

Min: OMG Really? Ok whatever, lets join!

QN: What are your thoughts on the competition itself?

Min: Stress, Mostly stress.

Saiko:  Yup.

Min: Calls Saiko for help but she never answers her phone.

(Saiko was giving Min a Death glare for a moment there. >.>)

QN: How’s the preparations ongoing?

Min: Good question.

Saiko: For us to know and for you to find out. We would rather not comment too much on this now.

(Rest assured fellow Singaporeans, I’ve seen their progress and its going good. :3)

QN: So what should we be looking forward to see at ARCC?

Min: Saiko Prominent skills in crafting. Saiko Go!

Saiko: Lights! And a fight you have never seen before!

Both: We going to be the very best that no one ever was. (And the song continues)

QN: Anything else you would wish to mention?

Saiko: We are very nice. We are very nice people and we won’t eat you.

Min: Please come support Team Singapore!

 

That would wrap up our interview with Saiko and Min! Lets wish them all the best at the ARCC Competition!

Team Singapore FIGHT ON!

If you would like to catch them in action on stage, don’t forget to drop by AFA 2014 this year from 5-7 December at the Suntec City Convention Centre!

For more information on AFA 2014, do check out their official page at : http://animefestival.asia/afa2014/

For now, team Neko no Gensou signing off! Hope to see you at AFA!

(Time to finish our own costumes as well >w<;)

SD Neo-Zeong Group Build 2014 @ Hobby Art @ Work

Hi everyone, Mikaneko here!

This time bringing you the highlights of the SD Neo-Zeong Group Build 2014.

So First off, a summary about the event. Its a Plastic Modelling Mini-Competition held by Hobby Art @ Work and Toymaker. The only rule for the competition is to use the SD Neo Zeong Model Kit as a base of the submission. Everything other than that, its up to your imagination.

A short walk from Macpherson MRT followed by a lift ride to the 6th floor will bring you to a Hobby Art @ Work, a Gunpla shop.

Upon entering the shop, you’ll be greeted by a Giant Zaku Statue and a Large Collection of Gundam and other Mecha collectibles.

And just for today, a table (Made out of the 1/144 Neo Zeongs) was set up to display the competition entries.

In addition, slight refreshments were also served.

Now moving onto the main topic, the Model Kit Submissions. Though there was only a total of 6 submissions, including mine, I have the say that all of the submissions are really awesome. They had really good paint jobs and detailing, in addition, the creativity aspect was very prominent in the works.

And for my own submission, I basically fitted Cherio into the Neo-Zeong with a little scratch build. I have to admit, compared to the other submissions, I really felt I did a rather bad job on the technical side >…< Especially the paint job~

And the winner of the competition, you have the Yoko(From Gurren Lagann) in the Neo-Zeong! I have to admit, the paint job for this piece is really awesome and Shiny~

Overall, the event, though small-scale, was really fun. I had lots of fun chatting with everyone in the shop, talking about modeling techniques, which was really enriching. Although I was part of the competition, I didn’t feel any pressure, instead I had lots of fun and learned quite a bit. I also was playing with the little kids who were running around the shop.

They also gave out a awesome magnet to everyone at the Group Build.

On top of that, there were cute little animals at the event as well!

Couldn’t get a clear shot of the dog as she was running around too fast, non-stop.

If you are keen to find out more about Hobby Art @ Work or maybe grab a Gunpla, you could check out their Facebook Page.

Hobby Art Facebook

or you could visit them at either of their two outlets

Hobby Art @ Work – 12 Arumugam Road, #06-04. Lion Building B Singapore 409958

Hobby Art Gallery – 91 Bencoolen St, Sunshine Plaza #01-44, Singapore 189652

You can also check out Toymaker’s Blog or Facebook page for the latest updates and reviews about Gunpla and other model kits.

Toymaker Blog

Toymaker Facebook

You can also check out our facebook gallery for the all the photos taken at the SD Neo-Zeong Group Build.

SD Neo-Zeong Group Build

Well, that pretty much wraps up the highlights for the event! I’m actually looking forward to the next group build, and this time, I’m going to do up a better submission piece. >///<;

Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire Launch Day at Funan DigitaLife Mall!

Date: 21 Nov 2014
Time: 3pm – 9pm
Location: Funan DigitaLife Mall

Being big avid fans ourselves (read our demo review!), our journalists ran down to Funan DigitaLife Mall during the launch of Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (ORAS)! Guess what we saw?

PEOPLE! LOTS OF PEOPLE!

It’s amazing how passionate people are with Pokémon and gathered here way before we arrived! I was so amazed, I had to take a video running through the line and making a video out of it.

There was also a quiz contest for the participants. I have never seen Singaporeans waving their hands frantically trying to answer questions. At least not in class.

There was a counter set up with Pokémon Center goods with Tixee staff distributing them for a lucky draw! Too bad I didn’t win the big prizes, but I got something adorable! More details on that later.

While I was here, I could not find the head nor tail of the queue. Security had to step in and maintain order.

It was great to see people actually following the instructions given by the security guards and remaining in order! Great job us!

FREEBIES!?

For those who didn’t get to attend the event, here’s a piece of good news to reward you for lasting until the end of the post!

After 26 November, our friends at Maxsoft has announced that they will be giving out REDEMPTION CODES FOR LATIAS AND LATIOS! All you need to do is to keep tab on Maxsoft’s Facebook Page!

Psst! A little Taillow told us there will be more than 3,000 codes to be given out!

Back to my shameless self-promotion and ego-inflation, I actually won the Tixee lucky draw!

What did I win? The Fennekin sticker set straight from Pokémon Center! Purposely (?) not focused. Look at the awesome games we have instead.

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For those who didn’t win, well… at least you all got a Dittochu.

SOSD FLAG DAY 2014 – A New Start

Mikaneko here again!
Today I’m bringing you a coverage of another event. Save Our Street Dogs(SOSD) Flag Day. I know its a little off from what we normally talk about on this blog, but I guess something different for a change would be nice. Especially when it comes to charity.

I’m pretty sure throughout today, you probably might have seen volunteers all round Singapore going around with donation cans, asking for small change to help raise both funds and awareness for the rescued dogs.

Some fellow dogs are also out to help their comrades by following along to collect money in the cans.

I myself was wearing Li Li and helping the volunteers rope in some people to donate.

Many of these dogs were actually abandoned, injured or even abused and have actually been rescued by volunteers. Many a times, they have also been rescued from local authorities, which often euthanize dogs as a solution to the stray dog problem.  However, helping them recover, fostering and re-homing them isn’t cheap. That’s where all these funds help to ease the strain it puts on the volunteers’ pockets. In addition, the motto of today’s event is “A New Start” which is aimed not only to raise funds for these dogs, but also encourage adoption rather than buying dogs, giving these rescued darlings a new start.

The main event is held at the park opposite SCAPE, and it was surprisingly packed.

Not only was it filled with humans, many owners brought their fluffy dogs along to join the event.

Dogs of all sorts of breeds and sizes were everywhere. Truly a wonderful sight for animal Lovers.

Look at how sweet the two of them are together~

In addition, even a Fluffy white Cat and a Green-Cheek Conure was spotted at the event >w<

Some really simple but neat displays decorated the venue.

The stage was occasionally used to talk about how you can adopt dogs at the events, or how you can donate other than just giving cash, such as donating food. Some random stage activities such as dancing to the music etc. occasionally happened. Well, I was kinda arrowed to go onto stage to dance with their mascot >////<

There was also a wide variety of booths, from merchandises, regular dog food and tasty dog pastries.

The highlight booth is the adoption booth. Over here, you are given a chance to play and mingle with the rescued dogs.

Check out these cuties.

In addition, if you feel that you are ready to bring your love at first sight home, the volunteers are all ready to help your new family member move in!

However if you think you’re not too sure yet, you can also choose to foster them for a short period of time, before you finalize your decsision.

For those who missed out on this awesome event today, but would love to find out more on how you could pick up one of these cuties, or if you wish to make a donation,

you may visit sosd.org.sg for more information.

For those keen to check out our full range of photos, do visit our Facebook Album!

SOSD Flag Day

Mikaneko Signing Off!

Trick Eye Museum – Singapore Cosplay Club Event!!!

Hue Hue Hue Hue~~~~ I totally had fun today! *w*

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Located just at Sentosa Islands in Singapore, we have the Trick Eye Museum, and today we’ve had a cosplay event happening here!

To be honest, this is the first time I attended such an unique event. Before I go on to talk about it, just a quick introduction of the location.

Trick Eye Museum is a place where there’s lots of display which not only you can see, but you can touch and climb on them and take photos. Very special photos.

Now back to the event itself. There wasn’t actually anything planned for this event, it was a own time own target thing. Basically, Cosplayers and Photographers had to register for this event a few weeks before the actual day. If you are chosen, you basically get a free entry into the venue from 8pm onwards! Its a little late, but it didn’t really matter.

So as soon as the doors are open, the cosplayers and photographers rushed in to to snap away!

Everyone was moving in an orderly manner, queuing up, giving way and making new friends! It was really awesome, rather than a hectic rush and mess as compared to many events. Well could very well be because this isn’t your usual event with booths where people are rushing to snatch the awesome goods etc.

So over at this awesome place, cosplayers are given a chance to take photos with the displays in costumes.

Maki got Kidnapped!!!!

To top it off, most of the displays are exactly ‘Normal’. They are designed to create an illusion when you snap a photo with them!

Check out these amazing shots that can be taken!

OMG She’s Floating~~~

Kashima X Hori!!!!! ❤

In addition, you can take really hilarious photos!

Or Simply take some lovely shots.

And All these photos are just created with simple displays.

Its so easy to have awesome shots taken!

Even little Ryuko is enjoying it!

Not forgetting myself. Even I had lots of fun there!

Miaouw~~~~

And where I belong~~~~

Overall, I really felt this was an enjoyable event, where people in the community have a chance to really hang out and have fun together. Its truly an unique event and I really hope for more of these to be organised in the near future.

Though I apologise for my horrible camera skills though >.< ;

In any case, if you want to check out everything I snapped at the event, do visit the gallery at our Facebook Page!

Feel free to tag anyone you know in the album as well!

Cheers!

That aside, time to throw my Li Li costume for a quick wash before tomorrow. Got another event to wear it to tomorrow. >///<