A wonderful mix of cultures, times and mediums21 August, 2011 by Chad
The Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention returns again for its 4th year this weekend, bringing with it a wonderful clash of east and western sub-culture obsessions. The folks from Supermerlion visited the halls of Suntec City to experience what is probably this year’s most nostalgic convention.
The hottest exhibit this year was the Hot Toys concept booth, which had been brought over in full from the Animation-Comic-Game Hong Kong held earlier this month. The booth displayed an assortment of over 30 high quality figurines based on various popular movie and comic franchises.
500 sets of each of their Iron Man 2, Batman Begins and Predators 2 figurines were available for pre-order this morning, which attracted quite a crowd. The goods were snapped up by around 10 AM, so despite coming earlier to queue, a friend of mine had to walk away empty handed.
In addition to some tempting prototypes, figurines from the Diorama Wars Project and Iron Man CollARTible Expo were up on display at the Hot Toys booth as well. This was definitely a dramatic improvement over the meager showing from last year’s local ani-toy resellers at the convention.
The Iron Man CollARTible figures, which featured interpretations of the character by various other designers around the world caught my attention. There was even this amusing pink “wota” version of the leading Iron Man characters, complete with AKB48 decals and uchiwa.
The presence of Marvel and DC, the two biggest names in the industry contributed to the completeness of STGCC’s comics aspect of the event. Both were represented by their key figures, with C.B. Cebulski from Marvel and Paul Levitz from DC Comics.
2011 is perhaps the biggest year for superheroes, as far as the big screen is concerned and fans were especially excited to meet up with the leaders of their favorite franchises.
Both companies gave out various freebies and held various autograph opportunities with their writers/artists throughout the two days. They also held a number of forum sessions with the public and VIPs at the main stage at the adjoining hall.
Compared to other conventions in Singapore, STGCC was once again very successful in controlling the crowds. Visitors kept to their respective activity zones, evenly spaced out in the hall.
The main stage was also further segregated from the rest of the exhibits with a hall of its own, which meant that the noisiest booth only had to be the one housing the Marvel Vs Capcom 3 Competition. That aside, the entire convention was surprisingly peaceful for a Singaporean convention despite the crowds. It also helped that the floor space in relation to booth density was far more favorable than other local exhibitions.
Compared to the other main focuses, the games aspect of the fair was the most underrepresented but all was in good fun, casual fun in this case. The Marvel Vs Capcom 3 contest was open freely to the public, attracting players of all ages and varying skill levels.
Still, it was a stark improvement over last year with Nintendo being officially represented here through their local distributor Maxsoft. Visitors could try out first hand the new glasses free auto-stereoscopic 3D system with STGCC being the official local launch for the new Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D software.
The other showing was from Nexon’s South East Asian version of Dragon Nest. It’s yet another Korean-styled Mass Multiplayer Online game but is notable in Japan for featuring the voice talents of Michishige Sayumi. Sadly, Morning Musume’s self-confessed cutest member was not present here today.
Many other overseas brands were brought by their distributors, representing all sorts of different hobbies. The variety of other topics allowed the more adventurous visitors to sample some other different interests too.
Of course, local (and a few foreign) toy and comic shops made up a sizable portion of the floor space. While unable to provide exclusive merchandise or attractive discounts, theirs was a necessary presence. Visitors looking to find out of circulation issues of comics or limited run figurines would have to turn to these sources.
One interesting addition to this year’s fair was a Tamiya booth which featured a timed contest on their large track that attracted the attention of passersby. I was quite surprised to see that this nostalgic toy was still winning over fans, with hobbyist spreading over multiple generations.
Also from Japan were these miniature construction toys called nanoblock. They were far smaller than regular contruction kits, with each block measuring at only 4mm wide. They’d make a great desktop accessory. Sadly, the local distributor only had a small selection of fixed kits brought over.
Vector lovers rejoiced that Simone Legno of Tokidoki fame was back with his line of pop-art merchandise. The Tokidoki booth itself was for sale, though with each board having a $1200 price tag, I’m not sure if there’d be any takers.
Next door, Play Imaginative have returned together with their main collaborators, Kitai Shinichiro and Nishiyama Koto from DEVILROBOTS. The two designer toy artists have definitely heralded the minimalistic approach to their figurines, with the iconic Tofu Oyako character being globally famous in the scene.
Kitai and Nishiyama were available at the booth for most of the two days. Visitors could get their purchases autographed or decorated by the two toy designers. They looked pretty disappointed that pretty much all the locals only bought iPhone cases though.
The Play Imaginative booth had a fascinating exhibit of 30 Mickey Mouse Vinyl Art Figures that had been customized by various named, as well as indie artists from around the world but many of whom were from Singapore.
It is always interesting to see the creative interpretations from different artists. It’s also inspiring to know that many of the best designs on show were submitted by local artists.
Once more, a section of STGCC was dedicated to giving upcoming talents from around the region a place to showcase their talents. Artists demonstrated their different styles based on varying influences. They definitely deserve any exposure they can get.
At a quiet corner was Zi Qi, whose simple but graphic illustration had been chosen from the many submissions to honor the cover of the STGCC brochures. While vector styled graphics no longer attract as much hype as they once did. Zi Qi’s shows off enough refinement and graphic sense worthy of his own toy designs.
While everyone else roved the convention halls, another group of enthusiasts distanced themselves downstairs along the atrium. It’s a good thing since having such a large unmoving crowd anywhere else would have caused quite a disturbance.
Some of these cosplayers would go on to take part in the cosplay competition judged by Kipi and Tadaaki Dosai, Cosmode’s Chief Editor.
Saturday’s exhibition ended with Vocaloid DJ ZANEEDS holding a free performance at the main stage to a mishmash group of cosplayers, otaku and curious bystanders. He was joined on stage by Kipi, who helped to work up the crowd.
That ends yet another Singapore Toy, Game and Comic convention. This year, we get to see a greater spread of interests cover as the organizers continue toward refining the event. We can’t wait to see what they’ll bring over next year. Look forward to move after coverage of the event, including interviews with Kishida Mel and Kipi.