Visitors are given a glimpse of the Japanese culture as this year’s Animax Carnival was filled with booths, on-stage activities and entertainment that cater to the Japanophile crowd.
Animax Carnival Philippines 2015 took place last May 30-31, 2015 at Hall 4 of SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City.
BOOTHS AND ACTIVITIES
The first thing visitors notice upon entering is the magnificent cherry blossom tree and torii gate in the middle of the hall in Yoyogi Park. Cosplayers and non-cosplayers alike gathered here to have their pictures taken. Oo-kun also made a surprise appearance at the tree and guests had a fun time posing with the Animax mascot.
Behind the cherry blossom tree was the Carnival Games booth were guests can try their skills (and luck) at four traditional Japanese games: Kendama, Daruma-otoshi, Wanage, and Shateki.
In Kendama, players are given a kendama, a wooden Japanese toy comprised of a ball tied to a hammer-looking stick. Each player must successfully place the wooden ball into the 3 hollowed out “cups” and finally into the “spike” without touching or placing the ball by hand. People from the Goenkendama shop were glad to assist the players and show them the techniques on how to successfully complete the game. It’s fairly easy to master and get addicting once you are able to get the ball into the cup for the first time.
The next booth, Daruma-otoshi, proved to be the crowd favorite as this game had the longest line among four. Players are given two daruma stacks that look like mini-totem poles and a small stick hammer. The objective of the game is to hit all the stacks without causing the daruma at the top to fall. The game looks deceptively simple but it can take a lot of focus to make sure the next hit doesn’t cause the daruma to fall over.
Beside the Daruma-otoshi is the Wanage or Ring-toss game. Here, players are given 3 tries to throw a ring around Oo-kun and Mirukun. Guests also got a chance to prove their sharpshooting skills by shooting down the targets at the Shateki booth. Those who weren’t up for games enjoyed taking selfies with the Fairy Tail gang in the Fairy Tail booth.
The Embassy of Japan also made an appearance in the Animax Carnival with the Origami and Katakana booths. At the Origami booth, guests who succeeded in creating paper cranes by following the posted instructions were given a prize. Their origami creations were used to decorate the cherry blossom tree in the middle of the park.
People also crowded by the Katakana booth where representatives from the embassy themselves showed guests how their names are spelled in Japanese katakana form. They also gave away magazines and brochures containing information for those who are planning to fly to Japan.
Guests also enjoyed the mini-games and freebies at the Sponsors Area found at the left side of the hall. People were able to try out playing console games at the Sony booth. Artists showed off their drawing skills using the Bamboo tablet at the Wacom booth. The crowd also loved taking pictures at the photo booth courtesy of Ana Airlines.
Those who were able to complete at least 5 activities in their Activity Passport which were given upon entry were able to redeem exclusive Animax merchandise at the Redemption booth. Some of the most sought prizes were Oo-kun T-shirts, waterbottles, notepads, and balloons.
Those who were unable to complete their Activity Passport still had a chance to purchase their own Animax merchandise at the Merchandise booth. Everything from cellphone charms to bedroom slippers had a splash of “Oo-kun” blue. Cosplay and Japanese merchandise were also sold at the merchant stalls found at the right side of the Main Stage Area.
All that walking around can make you hungry, and Animax made sure the Japanese experience doesn’t stop even when it comes to food. Some of the Japanese specialties at the Food Area were ramen, taiyaki, takoyaki, beef gyudon, and tonkatsu. Visitors also got to taste the special ensaymada from the Diamond Hotel.
The audience had fun participating in exciting Japanese inspired games throughout the day on stage.
In the Marshmallow Relay, players need to retrieve a marshmallow from the cup located in the other side using chopsticks and feed it to the next player. Only when the next player has completely finished eating their marshmallow will they be able to move on.
Players literally “face off” in the Biscuit Game where teams of two carefully slide a biscuit from their forehead to their mouth by making expressions on their face and then drink their softdrink. The first duo to complete the game wins.
You don’t need to be an expert Kendama player to participate in the Unicorn Race. Players must complete a series of movements while balancing a kendama on their forehead. In the final round, players jousted their kendama against each other.
The audience had a glimpse of the new episodes of Fairy Tail (New Season) and Parasyte ~the Maxim~, movie rerun of Hunter × Hunter: Phantom Rouge, Fairy Tail ~The Phoenix Priestess~ and snippets from upcoming anime titles were shown in between activities.
See separate article for the Individual and Group Cosplay Competition soon
Finalists, both locally and internationally, from the recently concluded the first Asia’s Got Talent filled the Animax Carnival Philippines stage with pure talent.
From the local side, we’ve got dance troupe, the Junior New System, performing a flawless Voltes V-inspired dance number on the first day while on day 2 internationally-recognized cosplayer and artist Alodia Gosiengfiao had a song and dance number from her album “Kawaii Girl.”
Though there were no anisong artist invited this year, these international guests still set the “Japan culture” theme of the Carnival. Gonzo also known as the “Tambourine Monster” took the Carnival stage with his unique costume and “God Hands” tambourine playing.
Last but not the least, the dance group TriqStar entranced the audience with their spellbinding combo of robot dancing, traditional Kabuki and contemporary Hiphop dance.
Of course, Animax Carnival would not be complete without a special dance performance by their cute raccoon mascot Oo-kun!
IN THE END
ANIMAX Philippines in their press release promised a bigger and fun-filled Carnival this year and in the end, they succeeded.
The two-year hiatus paid off with a bigger venue, lots of Japan-themed activities and bigger international guests. Though unlike its Malaysian counterpart which they invited famous anisong artists and big sponsors from Japan, the Philippine Carnival was still able to spotlight on the Japan-culture theme with guests from Asia’s Got Talent. The carnival didn’t just focused on anime but with the theme.
This year’s carnival also took advantage of the minimal stage activities which makes the attendees more active with the activities and games off the stage. It also opened more doors to possible program variation aside from the overused cosplay competition.
The passport system was a good move for the organizers to let the attendees on their feet to enjoy all of the booths. It also helped to minimize loitering inside and outside the venue which is a common issue especially for the passing public
If you are a toy enthusiast, nothing much was expected in the event as there were only few booths, but you can be assured that they were official Japanese merchandise.
In the end, ANIMAX Carnival Philippines 2015 is one of the best Japan-culture events this Summer.
Thanks again to ANIMAX Philippines for inviting us in the event. See you again next year. This article is a collaboration with @nekomimi26