Anime Festival Asia: A Colourful Explosion of Pop Culture


Anime Festival Asia (AFA) is often regarded as the final frontier of anime conventions in Southeast Asia – and with good reason. Over the years, the event has become known for inviting a plethora of international performers and industry professionals to appear at the event, as well as a highly curated artist’s alley featuring well-known creators from all over the world.

We recently had the chance to check out this year’s AFA in Singapore, which was held at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre from November 24th to 26th. Here’s what we saw:

Getting There

Attendees had various options to reach the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, with the venue being easily accessible by MRT, bus, and various e-hailing services. We chose to take the MRT, which led us to the Suntec City Shopping Centre. It was a short walk from there to the exhibition centre, with plenty of clear signage placed around the mall that ensured we would never get lost on the way there.

Don’t expect to be able to enter the event immediately upon reaching the exhibition centre, though – the lines at AFA are notoriously long, with our group waiting around one and a half hours to enter despite arriving relatively early on Saturday morning. If you don’t feel like waiting that long, we’d suggest coming later in the day, as wait times in the afternoon dropped to roughly around half an hour.

Exhibitors and Creators’ Hub

Now, you might be wondering why anyone would choose to arrive early to AFA if the early morning queues are as bad as they sound. That’s because once you make it into the event, you’ll instantly be rewarded with the sight of over two hundred artist booths filling the event hall, with well-known artists such as Yueko, Loiza Chen, Raiko, Kanishiima, and many more having a presence at AFA this year.

On the cosplay side of things, fans had a chance to meet their favourite cosplayers from across Asia, with names such as Larissa Rochefort, Thames Malerose, Hikarin and HaneAme making an appearance. Many of the most popular booths were sold out of most of their goods by the time Saturday afternoon rolled around, so it’s no surprise that fans clamoured to get into the event as soon as possible.

The exhibitors at AFA were also no less impressive, with retailers such as Hakken!, Animate, and Kotobukiya tempting visitors with all kinds of official anime merchandise, streaming services like Bilibili and Crunchyroll promoting their latest anime series, interactive manga exhibits from Shueisha, and so much more.

Despite all that, the most intriguing booth at AFA wasn’t a booth at all – but rather, it was a wrestling ring! World Wonder Ring Stardom, a Japanese women’s professional wrestling group, showcased real wrestling matches throughout the weekend as part of the Bushiroad Expo happening at the same event.

Guests & Performances

AFA 2023 attracted an impressive lineup of esteemed guests, including renowned anime creators, voice actors, and popular artists. These included Japanese illustrators LAM and Shigure Ui, idol and AFA 2023 ambassador Iori Moe, and panels featuring the cast and crew behind popular anime series like Mushoku Tensei, Rurouni Kenshin, Jujutsu Kaiden, and Attack on Titan.

The event also played host to a dazzling array of international performers, such as Nano, FLOW, Asca and spira spica, who treated guests to a variety of popular J-Pop songs during their concert sessions on Friday and Sunday. VTuber fans in particular got to enjoy an exclusive stage session from Hololive on Saturday, which included talk shows from some of the VTuber agency’s Japanese and English members, as well as a live concert featuring four of its Indonesian members.

Attendees to AFA 2023 were also kept entertained by the event’s Akiba Stage, a smaller but no less lively stage in the middle of the convention hall that featured a variety of singers, dancers, VTubers, and many more. We even spotted a few Malaysian creators such as Ristelle, Amelia Khor and our very own Sarah in a Snowstorm! It was a great initiative to help spotlight some of the region’s rising talents.


So, would we recommend making a visit to AFA? In our opinion, if you can afford a trip to Singapore and have ever been curious about the event, then it’s definitely worth visiting at least once, just for the experience of being at such an internationally renowned anime convention. It’s a rare chance for you to see guests and buy merch that would be hard to come by locally.

We still have plenty of stories to share with you from Singapore, so keep following our pages for more!

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