Over the course of 3 days through the 23rd-25th of September, Pokanime Planet made its debut at Pavillion Bukit Jalil in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia. It brought a refreshing twist to the typical ACG event scene by welcoming more diverse cosplay communities and varying card games which allowed attendees an opportunity to expand their horizons. Join us as we look back on the truly fascinating weekend that unfolded at Pokanime Planet.
Before we begin, let’s take a brief moment to reflect on how much the Malaysian ACG community has grown over the decade so much so that it has drawn the attention of those who share the same interests overseas. There has already been a spike in domestic travel for these events in previous years, and while it may seem unbelievable, even a representative from Tourism Malaysia shared that people no longer only travel to sightsee and visit famous landmarks, but also travel for events like Pokanime Planet.
This remarkable growth has event organiser Rasta Rashid hoping that events like this can help bring awareness and provide a platform for the ACG community to showcase and explore their talents. She further emphasised the importance of education in growing Malaysia’s creative industry, especially in animation and game design.
The General Feel
Pokanime Planet had its fair share of doujin vendors and figurine booths with over 100 of them spanning across the halls selling all sorts of event-exclusive merchandise such as figurines, keychains, plushies, acrylic pins and handicrafts.
These would be usual for any ACG event but upon entering the event hall, what would have most likely caught your attention would surely have been the Vanguard display props alongside the crowd of players that were completely engrossed in their games.
The Vanguard and Weiß Schwarz card game communities had sessions allocated for both newbies who were interested in learning how the game works and also giving opportunities to those who were already experienced with the game an opportunity to show their skill through friendly versus matches and a Vanguard tournament held by Engkodok Games that were constantly ongoing throughout all 3 days of the event.
Surprisingly, those who attended the event would have noticed an overabundance of food and dessert stalls, which was one of the best things we experienced, as there was not only a wide variety but rarely any queues to get whatever you were craving.
This availability and easy accessibility of food and desserts compared to other ACG events was certainly a nice change of pace as it allowed more people to enjoy the ongoing event while hanging out with friends and fellow cosplayers without having to worry about an empty stomach.
Tuning in to Forums
There was always something to keep you entertained at Pokanime Planet and one of which was an anime forum on Day 2 where two YouTubers, namely Zamakh and Imran, were invited to share their insights on the current trends of anime. Browsing over topics such as the changes in the quality of anime over the years due to factors like overwhelming demand and increasing popularity among consumers, while also sharing their anime preferences, bringing up titles such as Code Geass, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and STEINS;GATE.
Being able to express yourself is an integral part of any enthusiast or cosplayer community, and forums like these have shown that being yourself and interacting with people who share the same interests might still be one of the largest contributing factors that attract those who love attending ACG events.
Alongside that, there was also an impressive display of talent by an artist by the name of Jon Tham who performed a live anime drawing segment on stage that featured a cosplayer that was randomly picked from the crowd. The lucky cosplayer, who was dressed as Cosette from the anime Takt Op. Destiny, had a portrait drawn of her in real-time and even got to take the portrait home after around an hour of tireless sketching, colouring and commentating by the artist. Bravo!
MSU Fashion Showcase
One would have not expected a fashion showcase at an ACG event, let alone one organized by a local college. The Fashion Showcase segment was conducted on behalf of the Fashion Faculty of the Management & Science University (MSU), where their students got the chance to compete in a runway show judged by esteemed personnel from the local fashion industry. Amongst the creations that were shown, all were inspired by Malaysian culture, from local ghost stories and food to traditional games and events. In the end, participant Diana came on top, with her stunning design that was unique and caught everyone’s attention.
Lolita Fashion Walk
An interesting highlight of the event was the Lolita Fashion Walk. The segment was presented by Chibibie, a local cosplayer and Lolita fashion enthusiast, who gave a brief introduction to the scene before bringing on nine different Lolitas to show off their unique outfits.
For the uninitiated, Lolita is a fashion subculture inspired by the Rococo and Victorian eras. While the style first originated from the Harajuku district in Japan, it has since garnered fans from all over the world, including many Malaysians who had the chance to show off their styles at Pokanime Planet’s Lolita Fashion Walk.
From classic looks such as Sweet and Gothic Lolita to newer styles like Mahou Lolita, the Fashion Walk was a great showcase of style and talent from the local Lolita scene. It was great to see the spotlight being put on a unique segment of the ACG community.
Cosplay Costume Competition & Skit Competition
The main takeaway for any ACG event would surely be the cosplay competitions and, for Pokanime Planet, the usually combined competition was split into two; the first one being costume-focused, whereas the other being skit centric. The judges for both competitions were Fumiko, Hayate and Nash from KuraMaker.
First up on the list was the cosplay competition, where participants had around a minute to impress the judges by showcasing their outfits, as well as character portrayal. Most participants were first-timers who gave their best regardless through their acting, singing or posing. In the end, the one who impressed the judges the most was a Yor Forger cosplayer, Shaa, who presented their amazing fighting movements and successfully won herself the grand prize in the Costume Competition!
As for the Skit Competition, cosplayers were given 1 to 2 minutes to present a skit, either solo, in pairs or a group. There were acts from Star Wars, Genshin Impact, and even the animated movie Frozen! The performance given by the 8 participating candidates was stunning, even the judges commented that they had a hard time choosing and that it was a tough race to the top. Ultimately, the Star Wars skit group delivered an amazing skit from the fan-loved series.
Though we have to say, one of the most eye-catching and unique performances was by Puteri Kilau, where the pair started dancing to a traditional Malay song, which then transitioned into the Chika Dance from Kaguya-sama: Love is War. Seeing this fusion of two different cultures was unique. We look forward to seeing more creative performances like these that show what the Malaysian cosplay community can bring to the table!
With that being said, sadly that wraps everything up for this year’s event. On the bright side, we can all look forward to the return of Pokanime Planet as it was teased in an interview with the event organiser who had already set plans in motion for the event to make a comeback next year that will be bigger than ever as it’ll feature creators and collaborations from five international countries. Which countries? Who could show up?
With all these questions and more, make sure you tune in to see the latest updates and sneak peeks from the organisers in the near future. See ya!