This year the organizers of C3 (Sotsu Co) and AFA (SOZO) decided to collaborate and create C3AFA. Before the collaboration C3 focused on “Character, Culture, and Contents.” This means they focused on many character goods and had various manufacturers exhibiting at their events like Bandai and Hobby Japan. AFA, which is short for Anime Festival Asia, focused on having stage programs and concerts that centered on Japanese pop culture. The C3AFA was held at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture on August 26-27.
Walking through the entrance of C3AFA you can see some well-known companies exhibiting. The first one that caught my eye was Crane King, which is a subsidiary of Banpresto. The displays had items that you can usually only get from a UFO Catcher or claw machine. There were so many booths with displays of figures.
Some had great attention to detail while others were fun to just look at. The Aniplex set up was celebrating its 5th year anniversary with character figures from different series. When I saw the poster for “Your Lie in April” my heart sank, but I could not help wanting to take that giant display home.
As excited as I was to see Ultraman costumes on display, the fact that “Atom: The Beginning” became an anime gave me warm feelings. It is a great story that pays homage to one of Osamu Tezuka’s famous works, “Atom” or “Astro Boy.”
Wandering to one side of the exhibit hall there was a plethora of Gundam models on display. While there you could get help assembling a Gundam model that you bought. So many different goods were on sale that at times I had to resist the urge to spend my money. The market on the 27th was filled with people trying to sell the models they made and painted themselves. Many of the figures there had amazing details and the ones I wanted to buy were sold out.
At the stage section photos and video recording were not allowed while the performance or panel was happening. The staff only allowed me to take a photo after the session was done, but it was fun to watch the performances. Also, the gameplay for Gundam Versus was entertaining to see too.
Next to the stage area was the Cosplay Plaza where they set up different backgrounds for cosplayers to use. The most popular set up was the one based on the Yorozuya room from Gintama. It was great to see people dressed up as Gundam characters relaxing in the Gintama setting. Before I could even take a photo of them they had already left the set up.
E-Sports has been a growing as a spectator sport and on August 26 the LJL 2017 Summer Split Final was being streamed. The League of Legends match I was able to watch was between DetonatioN FocusMe and Rampage. In this area, they were giving out Match energy drinks and had other games available to play like Street Fighter V with arcade game sticks.
In the midst of exploring, there were a few booths that allowed you to try out the new game or components. The one I was looking forward to trying was Project Cars 2 on their play seats. I chose the California highway course and I played to win. The wheel was moving so much that you had to adapt and keep it steady in order to not swerve. Luckily, I got the hang of it and finished in 1st place by the time I reached the end.
Another one that was fun was the Gundam Pod game. Usually you can see one of two of them in an arcade, but at C3AFA they had 8 set up. You got a chance to experience a 4 vs. 4 team battles and if you were new they had a pamphlet that explained the controls. When the match was over I was in last place based on team ranking, but it was fun nonetheless.