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A very expensive piece of plastic

Or the one where I got to see SCANDAL perform live but showed up too late to get an autograph. Alternatively, it is also acceptable to refer to it as the one where I still had yet to buy an external flash for my camera and ended up taking shitty photos.

Oh wait, that applies to all of them. Bazinga. How about we just call it the one where it was AFA X and I went there.

Everyone does event report these days and, given that I am no longer a young lad, I cannot hope to compete with the new-age style of live blogging and instant Tweeting when it comes to delivering the event reports.

So screw that shit. I’ll do this event report my way (late, irrelevant and full of digressions). With blackjack! And hookers! Actually, screw the report.

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FFXIII: what I bought a PS3 for

My heroic tale began one fine Sunday morning two days ago. I woke up before noon and loaded up Valkyria Chronicles on my PS3 for some hawt turn-based/real-time hybrid tactical strategy. (What is VC’s proper genre anyway? Please do not say JRPG.) I was at chapter 15 and I was about to face Selvaria for the first time since she handed me my ass with her god-mode exploit many missions ago.

Selvaria
Selvaria’s boobs: what made my PS3 purchase worth

Then I remembered that I had to make my way to Suntec Convention Centre for AFA X and the SCANDAL/angela/May’n concert at night. At the exact same moment, a tropical thunderstorm warped itself into my immediate sector. On a tangentially related note, I own a very tiny umbrella.

Fast forward an hour or so, I collected my awesome-looking plastic ticket from the ticketing counter and made my way into the stage area of AFA X. Strolling casually into the event hall, I saw May’n and SCANDAL’s Haruna greeting their fans on stage. And then it was over. I realized that I had made it there just in time for the last 30 seconds of the meet-and-greet session. Laziness is the bane of my existence.

What followed was about three hours of standard convention fare. I shambled aimlessly around the exhibition hall and cosplay area a few times, took a bunch of under-exposed photos that looked perfectly fine on my camera’s useless LCD screen and almost accidentally stepped into the Borders clearance sale next door (those book nerds really know how to party).

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It’s blur not because I suck at photography (I do) but because it’s Three Dee

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It’s a Segway, except smaller and Japanese

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Maaya :3

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The concert itself was pretty decent.

My seat was right at the front, so I was like less than ten metres away from the performers on stage. There was a group of hardcore Japanese angela fans next to me who brought (presumably) handmade towels with the word “angela” sewn on. They all carried luggage cases and were flying home right after the concert.

Angela performed Shangri-La. Twice. You can say that it was a literal “encore”. Ba dum dish.

Interestingly, the rest of their set list was mostly Fafner pieces. Perhaps they were under the impression that Singaporeans wouldn’t know anything else. Kind of disappointing since I didn’t really care for Fafner beyond Shangri-La and Separation. That said, they did bring Asu e no Brilliant Road and it was awesome. It’s been so very long since Stellvia… Good times.

Right after angela came onto stage, a bunch of people with seats in the back rows ran up to the front and crowded around the fence between the seating area and the stage, thus significantly lowering the value of my prime location, much like subprime mortgage foreclosures in the neighbourhood. Fortunately, the bailout arrived just before SCANDAL came on when a pair of AFA coppers chased the squatters back to their ghettos while menacingly brandishing light sticks. My view of SCANDAL’s performance was thus glorious.

SCANDAL
Left to right: Tomomi, Rina, Haruna, Mami

Since photography was prohibited, I can only show you stock photos of SCANDAL. Tomomi (vocal and bass) has a really high-pitched voice that I find mildly disorienting. Haruna (vocal and guitar) has the typical lead vocalist kind of vibe and energy. My (completely baseless) impression of Mami (guitar) is that she looks like she’s smoking pot all the time. Finally, I have no opinions regarding Rina (drums) because she’s always hidden behind.

SCANDAL performed quite a number of songs from their Temptation Box album (Everybody Say Yeah!, Houkago 1H, Aitai, Girlism) and some of their older stuff (DOLL, SCANDAL BABY), before ending with Shoujo S (from Bleach) and Shunkan Sentimental (from FMA), probably the only two songs that more than 90% of the audience listened to before Sunday.

I love Shoujo S but the performance was pretty bad because the chorus was completely inaudible. Shunkan Sentimental was better and Aitai worked pretty well. Temptation Box is a great album.

Also, since I sat right at the front, 90% of time SCANDAL’s pop-rock beat was basically pounding my internal organs into a fine mesh via the giant subwoofers. It was still good though. Even Houkago 1H was tolerable but I still can’t stand Tomomi’s voice.

Haruna’s vocal was definitely not quite the pitch perfection found in studio recordings, but hey it’s rock so it doesn’t really matter. It’s really too bad SCANDAL didn’t/couldn’t work their ballad single Namida no Regret into the set list. It’s easily one of their top three songs. I suspect they can’t do the song well in a live. (Please do not kill me for blasphemy.)

I have to say that Mami is probably my favourite SCANDAL girl because she looks so stoned and calm even while playing the guitar. She may not be the prettiest but she’s ever so zen.

SCANDAL
This is the face I imagine Mami (background) to have all the time

The concert closed with May’n. Interestingly I actually watched Itsuwari no Utahime for the first time ever right before the concert because I bumped into a 1080p raw on YouTube while googling, so at last I finally recognized Universal Bunny. Unfortunately, May’n’s performance (at least from my perspective) suffered quite a lot because of the insane level of bass. I couldn’t really hear much of her singing. Oh well.

And of course, I only found out after the concert ended that the autograph session was in the afternoon during the meet and greet. Getting SCANDAL’s signature would’ve been pretty cool, but I suppose this is fate. I am learning to be zen too.

Hmmm… Come to think of it this is probably my last AFA ever (for the foreseeable future). If the world doesn’t end and nothing unexpected happens, this time next year I should be chilling around Palo Alto in California, a state almost exactly the size of Japan but without the four distinct seasons.

Maybe I’ll show up for an Anime Expo or two.

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