Hyakki Yako (Night Parade of One Hundred Demons), a Japanese folklore belief wherein every year  a procession of Japanese demons and monsters or yokais, will take place on the streets during summer nights and this, in my own opinion, best described my AME Monogatari experience.

I came around noon at the East Pavillion, World Trade Center, Pasay with my pre-selling ticket which I bought last Best of Anime 2011 event. (Hindi ako masyadong excited niyan!) The security had its usual “open the bags and inspect” routine but it was not that strict unlike in the SMX. A positive ambiance strucked within me as I moved into the venue.

During that time also, the newly formed IGA Kendo Club were performing a kendo demonstration on stage which was fresh look for me as a con-goer. Most probably, I have never seen a kendo demonstration before except in anime, of course.  The first thing that gave me interest is the large LED screen as their backdrop of the stage. A good initiative by AME  however, in my opinion, it was not efficiently utilized as its only job is to project what is on stage.

The AME fair had its usual “AME booths” featuring  activities usually found in a Japanese festival and, workshops being held at the back stage, unfortunately, I have no time to try them out.

The event started to get crowded in the afternoon as many familiar cosplayers and con-goers steps into the venue. Human traffic inside the venue was in “red”, so I tended to bump people around. (So sorry!!)  This was also the time when my camera’s battery started to become low (due prolong exposure to cosplayers :p ) and I had to find a way to charge them, fortunately, there were these 2-3 stalls that were vacated by its exhibitors. These stalls became “tambayan” to some con-goers including me.

Sagashimono band

After a “nostalgia” performance from Sagashimono’s band,  the cosplay competition started with technical problems as songs not being played and some mixed up with other anime series. A total of 68 participants joined the individual cosplay competition while 4 groups participated in the group cosplay.

Individual Cosplay Competition Winners

1st Placer -Nix Bennett as Hildegard von Krone (Soulcalibur IV)
2nd Placer -Helios Bonifacio as Magwald Xargin? (Blassreiter)
3rd – Cless Gonzaga as Bellato Warrior (RF Online)

Special Awards–
Best Mecha-  RB Cheng as Death Saurer (Zoids)
Best Chibi –  Mylene Ann Santos
Sun’s Choice –  Herbert Chave as Superman

Herbert Chavez

HTP: Team Suna (Naruto Shippuden) picked up its 4th Group Cosplay Award this year. (Amazing!!)

Here is Team Suna’s awesome performance on-stage.

There were also band performances from Asian Chicken Fest, that really made the house down and Banadame, the last band to perform. Let us not forget the raffle draw, or we might say “Yakisoba Catching Contest”. We had fun catching those noodles (Seriously! :p). Other than the noodles, they have raffled UP AME 2012 calendars.

In the end, UP AME Fair has become one of the sought after anime conventions in the country every year. This is my second time to attend the UP AME Fair and definitely, AME Monogatari was big improvement from last year’s AME Track 10. They have a more spacious venue this 2011, and I am now betting that they will be needing a bigger venue as more con-goers and more cosplayers will parade on isle of next year’s event.

Two thumbs up to the men and women of UP AME!! Looking forward for an “imba” event next year.

P.S. Love the “Yakisoba noodles” freebies :p

Here are some of the photos I took during the event.

For more photos from the event, you can go to AME Monogatari Album at animePH Facebook page