Anime event seeks to occupy a comfy niche31 August, 2012 by Mus
Mention A.C.M.E (A Certain Magical Event, although more people know it as its initialism) to anime fans around you, and you might get a few blank stares while a few others might light up. The event, which pushes itself as an event by fans for fans, seems to fit nicely into its niche role and from the looks of its organization, does not mind staying there.
In its fourth year in 2012, A.C.M.E IV was staged in the Garnet rooms of the Singapore Expo. We took a while to find where exactly this was, and it turned out to be at the other end of the convention halls from the Expo MRT station, which made it quite a lengthy walk. Nevertheless, there were signs to direct us there, and the air-conditioned walkways made it a breeze, quite literally.
Upon ascending the escalator, one might notice the significant lack of cosplayers (and their accompanying photographers); this is no accident, the organizers have explicitly stated that A.C.M.E is not a cosplay event.
This comes as a disappointment to some – given the local scene’s close ties to cosplay – but ultimately it makes for a nice refreshing experience being able to walk the floor without bumping into a huge styrofoam weapon.
The event area is rather small, with some describing it as the size of ‘an exam hall’, which probably is the best approximation for it. A good comparison for A.C.M.E would probably be with dealer areas of big American-style conventions. The relatively small number of exhibitors, allows for a lot of breathing space and visitors can take their time exploring all the tables, despite the small size.
As we walked in, many were practicing their card skills with friends in preparation for the card tournaments that being held throughout the day. No surprise, considering that the event is sponsored by Bushiroad and supported by The Card Geeks. One can really see the wideness of the appeal of card-games; we spotted age groups running from pre-teen to late twenties.
A.C.M.E IV also saw illustrator Suzuhira Hiro and Supercell guest-singer Yanagi Nagi making an appearance. Lines for the signing session extended outside the hall, with fans forming an orderly queue as organizers led them in in batches.
Overall, it was a great experience to visit A.C.M.E IV, if only because of the marked difference in how the event is staged compared to the rest of the ‘anime events’. While the one-day event seemed to be in a good place as it is, we look forward to more expansion as it does seem like it has a great formula for an enjoyable atmosphere as far as events like these go.
Whether or not said expansion would be detrimental to that atmosphere, however, is something that remains to be seen.
Writer who also doubles as the photographer during event coverage. Mus' interests in Japan lie in the language, literature, popular culture and underground rock bands. Having an academic background in Japan, Mus is also particularly interested in the study of Nihonjinron.