2023 is the 15th anniversary for Animangaki — and for the first time in its history, the event began on a Friday, as opposed to the usual two day weekend structure. Despite that, the crowd on the 25th of August 2023 was nothing to sneeze at. Here’s a tour through time and space — from the 25th to the 27th of August!
Day 1 — (Almost) Calm Before the Storm
Arriving at Animangaki in the early morning of Friday the 25th, I wandered the main event space before it was to open to congoers. Already, there was a crowd forming outside the event hall — ticket holders snaking past the entrance and outside into the convention hall exterior. Many booths were in the process of being set up, and the Sky booth stood right after the main hall doors to welcome all.
Sky is a multiplayer exploration game whose soft, glowy aesthetic you may remember from games like Journey and flOw. This was their first convention in South East Asia, and the beginnings of a Guinness World Record attempt!
The convention hall was punctuated by the call of the overhead speaker as the doors opened and congoers filed in. Members of the media were called to the front stage, and the ceremony was officially launched by AMG founder, Yvonne Sing.
As she pressed the countdown button, Kei-chan took off and landed on Planet Orange. Right after that, both Keisuke Ito and Yusuke Kozaki were called to the stage.
Fielding questions from the media, the esteemed composer and illustrator gave insightful answers. If you’d like to dive deeper into these interviews, keep an eye out for the interview piece on HereBeGeeks!
We dispersed, and the Artist Alley was quiet. Too quiet. But then came the surprising surge of congoers as they bought fanmade merchandise of their favorite characters and fandoms from artists. At the back, food vendors sold tasty snacks — chief among them the Pizza Hut station that sold limited edition Genshin Impact combos.
The new Makan Corner also was a respite for hungry and tired congoers to rest and refuel. Gone were the days of eating outside the convention hall or sitting on the floor around the food vendors (mostly).
Yusuke Kozaki also had a popular signing session that was closed 15 minutes after it had opened. At the other end was the ICU Con Cafe, and the Anone, Anone maid cafe! Both medically themed, you could go for the adorable Platelets from Cells at Work! or the helpful nurses and doctors.
I happily wandered the floor and bought some merchandise — Genshin Impact was still going strong, but the Honkai Star Rail community was growing. Many cosplayers cosplayed the upcoming Imbibitor Lunae, a dragon-human hybrid and reincarnation of fan-favorite stoic Dan Heng.
As the day drew to a close, we enjoyed Keisuke Ito’s shamisen performance and several interesting panels in both the community rooms and the main stage.
Day 2 — The Inevitable Vortex of People
The beginning of the day already sees a surge of people coming into the convention hall. Vendors and booths alike are chatting with eager customers. I stop by the music game booth for awhile as I observe several congoers put on their best dance moves — you won’t believe how fast they go!
The already crowded Artist Alley and food vendors from Friday now see sardine-esque crowds — several lines stretch out from the bubble tea booth. Even more cosplayers roam the halls, and excited fans stop to take photos of them.
Undoubtedly, the Pizza Hut x Genshin booth never saw a moment of rest as lines filled up as quickly as they dispersed. Professional photographers shot cosplayers in the corridor outside the main hall. Congoers rested by the two food trucks outside, and within the confines of the 2nd floor.
The adorably cosplayers at the Sky booth drew much attention as people snapped photos and tried out the game for themselves.
At the Cosplay Alley, lines were formed as eager fans waited for a chance to meet their favorite cosplayer. Within that was the VTuber Showcase full of standees of various Malaysian VTubers. Hobbyists from different fandoms gathered to showcase their merchandise. Both the Go! and local Dungeons and Dragons groups took part — allowing congoers to experience the games first hand.
One could hear Moe Moe Kyun~! from within the maid cafes — after tickets were purchased, congoers were ushered in by a designated maid. I happily watched the crowd for several more minutes, before bidding Day 2 goodbye.
Day 3 — Touchdown!
The final day is upon us, and the crowds are as lively as ever. With the final few performances and panels, congoers snap photos and rekindle connections with friends both new and old. And as the sun sets and the night comes, we head to sleep with the stars and moon watching over us. Who knows what lies beyond them?