In case you’ve been offline as the world passes by, the fourth edition of Visual Arts Expo 2018 was held over the weekend on 21-22 July at Shah Alam Convention Centre (SACC). Their special guest lineup include comic artist Dave Ross, Studio Orange’s Waki Kiyotaka, Studio Frontwing (FUMIO, Yosai Kuchu and Keiichiro Kawaguchi), Reika and Tatsumi Inui while featured guest performers consisted of CrestFall Shuffle and Hige Driver.
Now that we’re done with the typical event introductory paragraph, let’s jump straight into the fun parts!
Cosplayers, Cosplayers, & Cosplayers!
While the number of cosplayers in events such as AniManGaki and Comic Fiesta is much higher, VAX had a sizeable number too. The ones who were at VAX were pretty darn awesome in their own right, with characters ranging from video game characters to popular anime/manga heroes & heroines.
Besides DC heroes, My Hero Academia and Fate/Grand Order cosplayers made their distinctive presence known with their detailed and highly recognisable costumes. Judging from fans’ responses and the number of photos taken of every cosplayer, the amount of hard work and effort that was put into each costume did pay off!
Local Gaming Studios Represent!
In VAX’s event area, there’s a “Local Creatives” section which specifically housed a few local gaming studios. One of which was Les’ Opaque, the company behind many kiddies’ favourite cartoon series Upin & Ipin.
Fortunately for attendees and gaming fans, studios like Xenoaisam Studio, Streamline Studios, 7th Beat Games, and Studio Kamii had brought some of their still-in-development titles to VAX so the public can try them out and have some fun.
Houseki no Kuni’s Special Exhibition
It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t take any photos and record any videos of their talk and exhibition. At the very least, Studio Orange did not disappoint when it comes to their exhibition material as attendees got to admire the hit anime’s gorgeous character concept art and storyboards.
It was nice to see behind-the-scenes stuff that helped shape the anime into what it is. However, the talk by Waki Kiyotaka (he also had an autograph session later on), Studio Orange’s producer was unexpectedly quick; a summary video on the anime’s first season was shown, followed by an ultra-short Q & A session that did not really reveal much information.
Before leaving the stage, Kiyotaka showcased the company’s upcoming offering, Monster Strike The Movie: Sora no Kanata (Beyond the Sky)’s trailer:
As a fan of Houseki no Kuni (a.k.a “Land of the Lustrous”), I was honestly quite disappointed with the talk and I believed many fans genuinely shared the sentiment too.
This was because said talk seemed pointless; nothing new to fans were revealed and the Monster Strike movie trailer actually premiered a few days before VAX. For comparison’s sake, last year’s Studio Trigger panel was miles better and more engaging.
Comic And Gunpla Workshops
VAX stuck to their guns in showcasing an encompassing array of visual arts by organising two creative workshops from vastly different industries. The comic workshop was conducted by renowned veteran artist, Dave Ross, whose works had been published by DC, Marvel and Dark Horse Comics, among others.
The workshop fee was a reasonable price to pay for the learning Padawans; early bird version was RM35/SG$12 while on-the-spot one was RM50/SG$17. On top of that, comic book enthusiasts and collectors can buy his original artwork (three-figured pricetag) at VAX too.
The other workshop was the Gunpla one, which was hosted by Gundam Toy Shop. Costing RM100, participants got to learn the general basics of assembling a Gunpla. Topics such as covering seam lines, panel lining and airbrushing plus finishing were touched on during this workshop.
AX was pretty decent; it’s definitely a league above Asia Comic Con 2018 but I personally felt that last year’s edition was better. For example, this year’s talks had photo/video taking restrictions which really put a damper on everyone’s mood; not as if the public can’t find the featured images/videos on the internet. The crowd size seemed lesser too, maybe because VAX was held on the same weekend as the Bon Odori festival.
Also, Shah Alam Convention Centre wasn’t exactly a “convenient” location. I mean, it’s Shah Alam.
Bad points aside, VAX does have its good points, such as the cute LEGO MOC (My Own Creation) creation above by a member of Synergy LEGO User Group that featured our current Prime Minister and his wife!
When it comes to booths, attendees were spoilt for choice as they can buy comics, anime merchandises, art books, cosplayers’ prints, original artwork, fanart, figurines, and so forth. They can also play video games and for music fans, the closing ceremony concert was a free one. Sharing the same diversity as the booths were the panels/talks which featured both local and international guests/speakers from different visual fields, namely anime, comic, cosplays and games etc.
On a more lighthearted note, the free flow of Oishi drinks could also be considered a good point too. I jokingly asked a gentleman who was manning the event’s information counter regarding how many bottles one could take and he replied with plenty of amusement that he’s more than happy to give a whole pack away! Good to know that and also kids, please watch your sugar intake.
Despite an entrance fee of RM30/SG$10.08, VAX was at least a worthy visit for those who are genuinely into the geeky.