With the Japanese government trying to gain a foothold in the growing information technology hub of Singapore, one way Japan is winning over the hearts and minds of Singaporeans is with anime.
From Nov. 11-13, Singapore will be rocking again at the fourth annual Anime Festival Asia (AFA), which, will feature live concerts of J-pop singer May'n, virtual singing sensation Hatsune Miku and many other anime-related singers, according to the festival's organizers.
The AFA will be held at the Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Center.
The large-scale anime event AFA was launched in 2008 to boost Japanese pop culture in Southeast Asia, focusing on anime, manga and J-pop music.
The event is gaining increasing recognition and popularity, and is also growing larger in scale.
This year will likely be an even more exciting event compared with past years, with an impressive guest list.
Hatsune Miku, a wildly popular computer-generated character for a voice synthesizing application, will be featured in a live concert. She gained worldwide fame after she took the stage at Anime Expo in July in Los Angeles, attracting more than 5,000 audience members.
In addition to familiar faces such as May'n and old hand Ichiro Mizuki, three-piece all-girl band Kalafina, rising singer LiSA, five-member rock band Flow, anime songstress Kanako Ito, and idol unit Milky Holmes will perform at the venue.
Not to be outdone by the musicians, leading anime creators will also make guest appearances.
Go Nakanishi, a King Record Co. producer responsible for "Sokyu no Fafner" and "Magister Negi Magi," will make a special guest appearance.
Producer Atsuhiro Iwakami from Aniplex Inc. will appear in programs related to "Puella Magi Madoka Magica" and "Fate/Zero."
Also from Aniplex, producer Shunsuke Saito will join a program for "Anohi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai" ("Anohana" for short) anime series.
Voice actress Chiwa Saito will also appear in the "Madoka Magica" program, while character designer Masayoshi Saito will join the "Anohana" event.
In addition, the annual Regional Cosplay Championship will be held to decide the top cosplayer in Southeast Asia.
Other highlights include Akiba Town, which offers products from Tokyo's fabled Akihabara district, and maid and butler cafes.
Latest anime features including "Fullmetal Alchemist: The Star of Milos" and "Naruto: Shippuden - The Blood Prison" will be screened at the Anime Theater.
For more information, visit (http://www.animefestival.asia/).
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