So, AniManGaki 2019 (AMG) has come and gone and after spending two days on the ground covering the event and interviews, we’ve compiled all the wonderful things we saw that deserves commendation and those we feel could use some improvement should the organizer still stick to using this venue next year.
Sunway to Mines. Was it an Upgrade or Downgrade?
When the organizer announced that this year’s AMG 2019 will be held at Mines International Exhibition & Convention Centre, it quickly became a hot topic of debate. This is understandably so since most of us are already used to being pampered by the convenience that came packaged with the traditional venue, Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre. Hotels and Food are easily accessible in Sunway and choices are plenty. Sunway’s prime location at the city centre made it an instant first-choice for many due to it being easily accessible by those who drive and those who op for public transports.
However, upon arriving at the new venue this year, we quickly realised the benefit of The Mines – the place is huge. This year’s AMG has more booths than last year’s and yet the event hall could accommodate everyone comfortably. Gaps between booth lanes are generously spacious, so no more getting pushed by the people behind into the sweaty shirt of the guy in front.
People stopping for a photo/selfie or conversation can now do so without disrupting the traffic. Photographers and videographers now have a lesser risk of damaging their equipment during work. Crowd area near the stage is noticeably bigger and more people can enjoy the show now. The official hangout place for cosplayers (the corridor) is also bigger, allowing cosplayers to deploy their kits and hang out with their friends without the risk of being a victim of a stampede.
One may have to walk for a few minutes before being greeted by more choices of food in the mall but the distance is actually quite near (a few minutes). The Hotel Philea next to the venue is just 2 minutes walk away and has a beautiful view overlooking a huge lake.
All in all, although we had to travel a little far to cover this event, we definitely see the logic and potential behind this decision. The previous venue has become somewhat a comfort zone for everyone and this new venue is not as bad as it seems. In order for AMG to grow, for the scene to grow, a bigger place is needed and if it means we have to travel far a bit every once in a year – So be it!
Alright, now let’s look at a list of what we saw was good and what needs to improve!;
The other good stuff we saw!
No Immigration Raid – Tadaaa, there, we said it. And why is this important? Of course, it is! Though this may feel like a jab to some parties but proper applications and documentation are important, as they reflect how experienced and responsible an organizer is. We all remember the Immigration Raid that took place in two previous ACG events and we’d hate to see it happening again. Not only that it puts us as a nation and community in a bad light in front of the world, but it also shows we never learn and unwilling to follow the law. So yes, kudos to AMG for setting a good example. #IfYokoTaroGetsArrestedWeRiot
Cosplayers – Yes, you! Cosplayers! From what we observed, the cosplay scene this year really took the word ‘quality’ to a new level. Compared to last year, this year’s cos and crossplay saw more people displaying costumes and props that are only possible with a lot of hard work and pride. The level of detail in the work of some of these cosplayers was just amazing. As a third party observer watching your progress, we are really proud of you. Keep it up!
Exhibitors and Booths – There are more varieties this year. There’s an area that serves finger food and a big nice lounge by ATO that serves Coffee and CAKES! This wouldn’t have been possible without the bigger space afforded by this year’s choice of venue. The Gacha section was filled and busy as usual and in addition, there’s a claw machine section this year where my colleague has wasted RM 50 for what probably is a RM 10 doll.
Booths were categorized and divided cleverly into sections, allowing visitors to plan their shopping and sightseeing conveniently. The Cosplay Section was a hit with big names like SAIDA, Ying Tze, and King Angel, to name a few, hosting their booths there.
Games Section – Gamers who attended this year’s AMG were in for a big treat with locally brewed powerhouse communities like the INC, Malaysia Touhou Brigade, and Offstage leading the charge in running video games activities and tournaments in what is possibly the biggest gaming section throughout AMG’s history. The highly-anticipated Malaysian made game, No Straight Roads, showcased by ‘The Magic Rain’ was also present at the event for people to try.
Foreign Guests – at AMG 2019 the appearance of some highly regarded foreign guests like the living god and legend, Yoko Taro, the director of multiple-award and game of the year winner, Nier Automata, his partner-in-crime, Taura Takahisa, the director of the recently released Nintendo Exclusive title, Astral Chain. Japanese singer Kei Takebuchi, the popular Japanese Tohou themed Music Band, Yuuhei Satellite, and the South Korean cosplay princess, SAIDA.
Performances! – Another year, another great line-up of performances. This year’s performance can be described with one word, energetic! But of course, there was also a more soft-spoken performance like when Kei Takebuchi took the stage. Her rendition of Country Roads sent a chill down my spine and I wasn’t near the stage, I was standing at the other end of the hall when her voice wrapped everybody in a warm embrace. Rumour has it that the moment she finished singing, a horde of new fans swamped her booth and bought out all her albums. Dear AMG, please bring her back again next year, pretty please? But that’s not all, at the end of the 2nd day, Yuuhei Satellite took the stage and threw a concert that wow-ed a crowd attending Touhou faithful!
Food Trucks! – There were food trucks! A big shoutout to Little Fat Duck for keeping us all well fed and for the good company! You are a life-saver for folks on duty like us! Well to be fair, there were only like 4 trucks. Little Fat Duck, My News, Nomms Fried Chicken, and an Ice Cream truck that never really sold any Ice Creams.
And now to some things we feel the organizer needs to address should this venue is used again next year.
The Second Floor was badly lit – The event occupies two floors with most of the main attraction taking place on the first floor. The second floor was kinda… dark. Perhaps a better lit floor will give it a less gloomy feel?
Was the Second Floor Necessary? – There was still plenty of space left in the main hall on the first floor and the second-floor exhibits didn’t really take up a lot of space. Instead of people travelling up and down, perhaps it would be a better idea to fully occupy the main hall on the first floor first. Maybe this will even draw more attention to their trade that way.
Not enough garbage bins – Most of the bins were full rubbish were piling on top of one another near the bin area. Since more food and drinks are being sold now, perhaps having more bins would help everyone dispose of their waste and used cups/containers. Though to the credit of the event goers and organizer, we have not seen anyone littering and any overflowed bins were quickly tended to. However, it could raise the profile of AMG further if the organizers were to say partner with a local recycling initiative in a bid to reduce excess waste and to promote Cosplaying Responsibly.
So there it is AMG 2019 from our perspective. It was a big gamble to move away from a traditional venue that many have come to call home, but ultimately we feel that this move was necessary. When more people have come and supported an event, the burden is up to the organizer to challenge themselves to provide bigger, better, and not settle down in their comfort zone banking on the fixed deposit of trust and faith of their attendees.
With what this organizer has demonstrated this year, we are definitely looking forward to seeing what they’d bring to the table next year.