by Jia Ying Chia
Fans of Anime and Japanese culture thronged the Aman Hills Shopping Centre this May as their second installment of ‘AnimeFest’ made its much-anticipated return. The two-day event celebrated the Japanese medium and its subcultures, that originated from the early 1900’s as hand-drawn and computer-generated animations. It is now a billion-dollar industry and global phenomenon attracting children and adults alike.
“We were definitely surprised by it.” said Sarinah Sabatini binti Samsudin, a Digital Marketing representative for Aman Hills, of the event’s popularity. She added that when they had launched the first AnimeFest in December of 2022, that they “realised just how big the level of interest was here in Brunei”. Sarinah also said the Aman Hills Shopping Centre hopes to have created a space and platform for local artists and small businesses focused on Japanese Anime characters, as well as local Bruneians who participate in the practice of ‘Cosplay’ (short for for Costume Play) — where participants dress up as specific characters.
This year’s AnimeFest was a rousing collection of games, workshops, Cosplay Contests and a lucky draw, with 200 prizes given away to lucky attendees.