Anime Festival Asia, more commonly known as AFA, is back in Singapore for the tenth time this year. Apart from the various exhibitions of official anime goods, creator goods and even Japanese food, there are also meet-and-greets and showcases during the day and “I Love Anisong” concerts at night. All of these are happening over a three-day period, from 24 to 26 November (Friday to Sunday) at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.
The biggest highlight of this event is none other than the daily “I Love Anisong” concerts. The concerts feature Japanese artistes whose songs are used in anime, usually as the opening or ending song. These songs also define the anime, and are sometimes so iconic that hearing them reminds you of the anime.
This year, there are a total of 15 acts, all more than ready to hype up the atmosphere for three nights! Let’s take a look at who they are below.
24 November (Friday)
The official rival of Japanese female idol group AKB48, Nogizaka46 debuted in 2012. Their popularity is apparent with their singles and albums topping the Oricon charts (Japanese CD sales ranking). With a total of 46 members, only 15 — Asuka Saito, Erika Ikuta, Kana Nakada, Kazumi Takayama, Mai Shinuchi, Manatsu Akimoto, Marika Ito, Minami Hoshino, Miona Hori, Misa Eto, Reika Sakurai, Rina Ikoma, Sayuri Inoue, Sayuri Matsumura, Yuuri Saitou — will be making an appearance, subject to changes. This will also be Nogizaka46’s first performance in Singapore.
One of their more notable anisongs is “Yubi Bouenkyou” (Finger Telescope), the ending song for “Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic”.
A 5-piece rock band with two vocalists, a guitarist, a bassist and a drummer, FLOW was formed in 1998. Their songs have struck a chord with many anime fans, beginning with “GO!!!”, the upbeat opening song for “Naruto” in 2004. They have since created theme songs for various popular anime, such as “Beelzebub”, “Code Geass”, and “Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods”.
Malaysia-born Iris began her singing career in 2012. After moving to Japan in 2015 and getting featured in a television programme where she hitchhiked across Japan, her popularity gradually increased. She was also chosen to endorse Kose’s Sekisui skincare products, and even sang the theme song for the commercial. Her performance will be the opening act for the first night.
Iris’ latest song is “Aka Dake ga Tarinai” (Only Red is Missing), also the ending song to the anime movie “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion”.
4. Shiena Nishizawa
The singer-songwriter fell in love with music in middle school, when she first got hold of her father’s old guitar. After emerging as the winner of Flying Dog Audition, a popular singing contest, the then 17-year-old Nishizawa debuted in 2015 with “Fubuki” (Snowstorm), the ending song for the anime “Kantai Collection”, otherwise known as “KanColle”. Nishizawa also sang “Kikan” (Return) for “KanColle: The Movie” and released her first album “Break Your Fate” earlier this year.
5. Tomohisa Sako
From a street performer to an online singer called “Shounen T”, Sako eventually released his first single “Ai Kotoba” (Words of Love) in 2012. His song “Getta Banban” (Mad-paced Getter) was used as the opening song for the anime “Pokemon XY”, and his latest single “Floria” was the opening song for the anime “Natsume’s Book of Friends”. The talented 25-year-old, who was nicknamed “the God with the healing voice” by fans, is also active as an actor, producer and songwriter.
25 November (Saturday)
ClariS, which means bright and clean in Latin, is a duo formed in 2009, originally with singers Clara and Alice — currently Clara and Karen. Their song “Irony” was used as the opening song to the anime “Ore no Imoto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai”. Since then, the masked duo has been singing for various anime, such as “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”, “Nisemonogatari”, and “Moyashimon Returns”.
7. Konomi Suzuki
After winning the Animax All-Japan Anisong Grand Prix in 2011, Suzuki debuted the following year with “Choir Jail”. The 21-year-old has also made four consecutive appearances at Animelo Summer Live, the biggest annual anime music festival in Japan. Some of her famous songs are “This Game”, opening song for anime “No Game No Life”, and “Redo”, opening song for anime “Re:Zero”.
8. Moso Calibration
Moso Calibration, also known as Mo-Cali, consists of five members: Mahiru Kurumizawa, Usa Sakurano, Nia Hoshino, Iori Amamiya, Yumeko Mizuki. Although they only launched their first major single last year, they have proved their capabilities with “Geki Yaba ∞ Bokkan!!” as the ending song for anime “Time Bokan 24” and “Sakura-iro Diary” as the ending song for anime “Saekano: How to Raise A Boring Girlfriend”. Their performance will be the opening act for the second night of the I Love Anisong concerts.
A Japanese-American singer, nano possesses a powerful and unique voice. She began with posting her music on YouTube, which garnered her many fans worldwide. Her debut album in 2012 “nanoir” did relatively well on its first day of sales too, at 10th place on the Oricon daily chart, which is uncommon for a rookie. Subsequently, nano recorded several theme songs such as “Bull’s Eye” for anime “Aria the Scarlet Ammo”, “Now or Never” for anime “Phi Brain: Puzzle of God” and “Born to be” for anime “Magical Warfare”.
Apart from being a singer, TRUE is also active in the entertainment industry as an anisong writer, composer and radio personality. Her style of songs varies from upbeat music (“Unisonia”, opening song for anime “Buddy Complex”, and “Dream Solister”, opening song for anime “Sound! Euphonium”) to grand ballads (“Ailes”, ending song for anime “Maria the Virgin Witch”, and “From”, ending song for anime “WorldEnd”), making her a versatile singer.
26 November (Sunday)
11. EGOIST (exhibition)
A fictional artiste created by Ryo from J-pop band Supercell, EGOIST was born from the anime “Guilty Crown”. EGOIST also performed the theme songs for anime such as “Psycho-Pass”, “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress” and “Fate/Apocrypha”.
Formed in 2002 originally with Satoshi Yaginuma and Nao, fripSide is a duo who produces music with synthesiser sounds and catchy melodies. In 2009, Yoshino Nanjo replaced Nao as the vocalist. fripSide stands by their motto of “creating songs that everyone can relate to”, with anisongs like “Only My Railgun”, opening song for anime “A Certain Scientific Railgun”, and “Sister’s Noise”, opening song for “A Certain Scientific Railgun S”. The latter even topped the Oricon weekly chart, and obtained 9th place on the monthly chart.
13. Luce Twinkle Wink☆
Luce Twinkle Wink☆ is made up of five members: Yukino Usami, Saki Fukasawa, Megumi Nishikiori, Saori Itayama, and Kaho Higaki. With their kawaii dances, they aim for a lively and cheerful performance. Debuting in 2015 with “Koi Iro ♡ Shikou Kairo”, the group continued to soar as their second single “1st Love Story” was selected to be the opening song for anime “And You Thought There is Never A Girl Online?”. This year, their songs “Go to Romance” and “Fight on!” were used as the ending songs for anime “Urara Meirochou” and “Gamers!” respectively.
14. Mashiro Ayano
With a clear and resonating voice, Mashiro debuted in 2014 with “Ideal White”, which is the opening song for anime “Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works”. Her songs “Vanilla Sky” and “Lotus Pain” have also been used as the opening song for anime “Gunslinger Stratos” and the ending song for anime “D.Gray-Man Hallow” respectively. This year, Mashiro’s new single “Newlook” was chosen to be the ending song for anime “Re:Creators”.
May’n is a well-known singer, who has performed the theme songs for not just anime, but also dramas and movies. Some of her popular songs include “Scarlet Ballet”, opening song for anime “Aria the Scarlet Ammo”; “Chase the World”, opening song for anime “Accel World”; and “Diamond Crevasse”, ending song for anime “Macross Frontier” — also where she sang for the character Sheryl Nome. Her desire is to “become the main theme of everyone’s lives and sing for them.” May’n welcomed her 10th anniversary in 2015 with a concert at the Japan Budokan, which is also her fourth time performing at the prestigious location.
After seeing the list of 15 artistes above, who are you most looking forward to seeing this AFA?
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