One of the most established festivals for Japanese pop culture in the region - Anime Festival Asia - opens today at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The three-day event, which features anime producers, screenwriters and voice artists, will take up more than 12,000 sqm of space across all six halls on the exhibition centre's fourth floor, more than double the size of last year's edition.
Organisers are expecting a bigger turn-out this year, and have introduced new events at the festival, which is now in its seventh year.
Life! tells you five reasons why you should head down to Anime Festival Asia.
1. Largest gathering of cosplay favourites
With cosplay being one of the main features of AFA, the festival is bringing in 17 cosplay celebrities from all over Asia. Look out for crowd favourites like Reika and Kaname from Japan, and Yuegene Fay from Thailand, as they battle each other in the annual AFA Regional Cosplay Competition.
2. The introduction of Nico Nico Kunikagi
At this new collaboration between AFA and popular Japanese video community site Nico Nico, attendees can cosplay, dance, sing and play games during the festival, while online viewers worldwide can comment in real time. Experience iconic anime scenes in person or pit yourself against other Nico Nico users in gaming sessions.
3. Exciting photo opportunities
Fans stand a chance to take exclusive photos with three life-sized models of the characters of the anime Psycho-Pass. This exhibit is being showcased for the first time outside of Japan. Attendees can also snap pictures of the famed Lamborghini Itasha, specially designed by producer of media conglomerate CultureJapan, Danny Choo.
4. Asia Anisong Audition
J-pop hopefuls can now fulfil their dreams at the inaugural Asia Anisong Audition, a singing competition organised by AFA to look for the next J-pop star. Auditions, which started in October, will be open for another round of auditions today and tomorrow for those interested. The winner will walk away with a contract with Sony Music Japan and the chance to perform around the world. The finals will be held at the main stage on Dec 7, the last day of the convention.
5. I Love Anisong concert
Started in 2009, this in-house concert features at the festival each year and has become one of the key highlights as the closing act for each festival day. This year's concert boasts a line-up of 13 artists, the biggest gathering of Anisong artistes outside of Japan. Catch returning favourites angela and FLOW, debut performances by THE IDOLM@STER and Eri Kitamura, and more.
Anime Festival Asia 2014 runs from today till Sunday at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre, Level 4. Tickets cost between $13 and $428 and are available from animefestival.asia