Pro-wrestling lays the smackdown at Anime Festival Asia 2023, and other activities to look out for

Pro-wrestling lays the smackdown at Anime Festival Asia 2023, and other activities to look out for
Pro-wrestling (left) is one of the highlights at Anime Festival Asia 2023.
PHOTO: AsiaOne

Muscular men and women duking it out in a squared circle - that's certainly not a sight you'd expect to see at Anime Festival Asia (AFA).

But that's exactly what we got to see at the event this year.

Taking place from Friday (Nov 24) till Sunday at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, AFA 2023 has seen snaking queues formed by many visitors from Asia and beyond.

The pro-wrestling ring, however, is a new addition this year to the Japan pop culture convention that typically features anime, manga and games.

While some may find the Stardom wrestling ring an unusual addition to AFA, it was welcome nonetheless - the audience's cheers and chants resounded through the convention halls on Saturday as four men in the tag team matchup brawled in the ring, exchanging blows in synchronised stunts.

The single match, on the other hand, had two women grappling each other, with one sending the other flying in a textbook Hurricanrana and trading hits, even executing a diving kick from the top rope at one point.

If you're interested in taking a look at pro-wrestling at AFA this year, you can catch matches from 1pm till 3pm on Sunday.

HoYo Fest 2023: Freebies and more

Although the pro-wrestling matches certainly stole the show at the event, HoYo Fest 2023 at the HoYoverse booth definitely didn't disappoint.

There are freebies for anyone who's a fan of their games, whether it's Genshin Impact, Honkai: Star Rail or Honkai Impact 3rd.

These free merchandise include plastic fans, bookmarks, postcards and stickers.

Bring your game(s) on your phone as some freebies require you to present proof that you've got the game downloaded.

Otherwise, you can play minigames at stations within the booth to receive other prizes.

You can even be among the first in Singapore to try out HoYoverse's latest game, Zenless Zone Zero, an urban fantasy action role-playing game that is currently in closed beta testing and doesn't yet have a release date.

As an added bonus, you can also compete with other players to see who can complete a mission the fastest - winners stand a chance to receive a prize that changes throughout the day, which includes figurines of your favourite HoYoverse game characters.

If you're more interested in their merchandise shop, however, do note that there are specific time slots for visitors to enter, and you'll have to take a queue ticket beforehand.

When AsiaOne visited their booth at 11am, earliest access to the merchandise shop was already set at 4pm - so if you want to buy items from the HoYoverse shop, be sure get your hands on a queue ticket as soon as possible.

Diving deep into anime culture

AFA isn't just about HoYoverse or pro-wrestling - it also won't disappoint anime and manga fans.

Jujutsu Kaisen fans, have you ever wondered what it's like to be trapped in Gojo Satoru's Domain Expansion?

If you want to try it out, head over to Crunchyroll's booth for an interesting experience in their Jujutsu Kaisen dome - you'll get to see what cursed spirits see right before they're eliminated.

Aside from that, AsiaOne also got into the thick of things and spoke with many cosplayers at the festival to hear their thoughts on cosplay culture.

While some that we met were more about the 'meme', many also had breathtaking cosplay that truly brought their characters to life.

@asiaone fun and frantic just the way you like it #cosplay #afasg2023 #singapore #fyp ♬ original sound - AsiaOne

Of course, there are merchandise galore at this year's AFA.

Yan can check out the booths by Bushiroad, Muse, Mappa and and Shueisha's Manga Plus and more, which promise anime merchandise for fans looking to add to their collections.

Tickets to enter AFA on Sunday begin at $32 per person and can be purchased at the event itself - but do expect long queues on the last day of the convention.

ALSO READ: 'Is she really a girl?' What people think of cosplayer XiaoYukiko doesn't bother her

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