Sunday, June 14, 2015

What to Buy at CharaExpo Part 2: Angel Beats, Little Busters & Charlotte


Welcome back to Part 2 of our Buying Guide for CharaExpo! Visual novels are out in full force as renowned studios VisualArt's/Key and Frontwing will be bringing a huge assortment of goods from Japan to Singapore. Key is well-known for Angel Beats and Little Busters while Frontwing is famous for producing the Grisaia trilogy. There are even some event-exclusive items so don't miss your one and only chance to get them at the convention! In this edition, let's take a closer look at the attractive merchandise on sale at the VisualArt's/Key booth.

VisualArt's/Key (Booth H10)

Key will be selling event-exclusive T-shirts at CharaExpo

CharaExpo-exclusive printed shirts will be on sale at booth H10 in CharaExpo at an affordable $30 each. They come in three designs- one featuring Kanade from the anime Angel Beats, Nagisa Furukawa and her mom from Clannad and Yumemi Hoshino from the visual novel planetarian.

In addition, Key's critically-acclaimed post-apocalyptic kinetic novel, Planetarian, The Reverie of a Little Planet, which was translated into English last year, will be on sale at only $15 so why not grab yourself a copy too?

Dry yourself after a bath with Kud, Rin or Misuzu with the Little Busters microfiber towels

Key illustrator Na-Ga's first art-book 竜胆-rindou-, which sold out at Comiket, will also be on sale at $100. Only limited copies are available and each will be tagged with a unique serial number so get yours before it sells out again! Na-Ga is celebrated for his remarkable character designs on Little Busters and Angel Beats, and will also be working on the upcoming summer anime Charlotte.

Na-Ga's highly-priced artbook comes in a striking box, giving it a premium feel

Featuring all of Na-Ga's works, including Little Busters and Angel Beats

If you love Na-Ga's art, it is definitely worth every dollar spent on it

Na-Ga's illustrations for the upcoming Charlotte anime are also featured in 竜胆-rindou-

You can also take home "white clover", an art book featuring illustrations by Key's other prominent artist, Itaru Hinoue, for $50. She is renowned for her work on famous visual novels such as Clannad, Air and Kanon. Their signed drawings often fetch staggeringly high prices at auctions in Japan.

Itaru Hinoue's art book, "white clover" featuring her many illustrations for Key's visual novels

Distinguished Japanese musical composer Shinji Orito's personal album, "Circle of fifth" will also be on sale at the booth. It was released to commemorate his 14 years of working with Key in 2012. It is a two-disc compilation of re-arranged songs composed by him and sung by singers including KOTOKO, Lia, yanaginagi, Ray, Mai Kawada and Ayaka Kitazawa. I think that this is a must-buy album as it features many all-time fan-favourite songs from Key's various productions, including Lia's "Tori no Uta". It is value-for-money for a two-disc album at $40 too.

Shinji Orito's compilation album, "Circle of fifth"

Circle of fifth features the opening and ending themes of famous animes such as Little Busters, Ano Natsu de Matteru, CLANNAD AFTER STORY, Onegai Teacher and Key's visual novels, Rewrite, Kanon, Air and Tomoyo After.

For those of legal age 18 and above, Shinji Orito will be DJ-ing at CharaExpo's official after-party, AniCrush, on the night of 21 June at Club Kyo too! Don't miss this exclusive opportunity to experience his live set in Singapore for one night only!

Shinji Orito to DJ at Ani:Crush Singapore after-party!

You can also get Saitama singer Ayaka Kitazawa's first album "nature coleur" at the Key booth. She sang "Kimi to no Nakushimono", the ending theme for Little Busters Refrain and has also sung original songs for Circle of fifth, Little Busters and Rewrite.

Her melodic voice has a calming and soothing effect, somewhat like yanaginagi's and Ray's. Yet, it is nevertheless powerful and impactful. She is definitely a singer to look out for and I am looking forward to more anisongs from her in the future. You may listen to track samples from her album below and judge for yourself. Personally, I think it's a good buy.

Other interesting merchandise on sale include a full colour Angel Beats T-shirt at a reasonable $50 (Cospa's full-colour shirts cost a lot more), a Charlotte tapestry at $80 (which is comparable to the Japanese price of ¥6,000) and an exquisite Angel Beats leather wallet at $250.

Looking good... the Charlotte tapestry

Before you exclaim 'overpriced', the wallet is actually made with nume leather, a superior and highly durable leather used by luxury brands. It has a meticulously-sewn finish and is a wallet good for long-term use. In fact, the wallet was only sold because it was favourably-received at previous Key events in Japan and fans demanded a re-release. It was sold at Comiket at Japan for ¥20,000 so the pricing is consistent. The description reads, "the cover is engraved with the Angel Beats logo, making it a high-quality product which combines design and functional beauty". I would totally get one as my everyday wallet if I had the cash to spare!

Not your typical marked-up anime merchandise- this wallet is made of genuine luxury nume leather

It's unfortunate that they didn't bring in the dakimakura covers which they sold at Comiket too. The design with Yuri must be the best, with her half-disrobed, playfully teasing the user one moment, and in a compromising position the next. The Kanade cover isn't too bad either, gratifying fans with a different side to the innocent and pure angel. The Yui cover-let's not even delve into that. No doubt, Singapore being the morally-principled country which it wishes to present itself as, strongly forbids and condemns such paraphernalia. That may be why Key isn't bringing them in although I can imagine they would be a significant contributor to sales.

The Little Busters microfiber towels will have to suffice for now

Key is really pulling out all the stops for their debut appearance in Singapore, aren't they? With such an extensive and diverse selection of goods, there is certainly something for everyone. Besides, the prices of their merchandise are closely aligned with those sold at Japan events and are not marked up exorbitantly. That's something I really love about Key- their customer-centric approach. Did I forget to mention that you can also get your merchandise signed by Shinji Orito and Ayaka Kitazawa if you happen to make a purchase while they're at the booth?

Key's most notable works

Most of us grew up with Key, watching tear-jerkers Clannad, Little Busters and my personal favourite, my first anime, Angel Beats. Finally, Key is coming to Singapore and they're promising to give us a good time. Don't miss this chance to get some of their exclusive and affordable goods! You'll never know when they will be back again.

Don't miss the VisualArt's Special Key Live Stage on Day 2 of CharaExpo, starting at 2.50pm, featuring Shinji Orito and Ayaka Kitazawa!

With that, we've come to the end of "What to Buy at CharaExpo" Part 2.

If you like reading this guide, please share and tweet about it to your friends and we might just do a Part 3! Check out Part 1 here!

Until then, enjoy this preview of "Keep the Dancing Beats", an Angel Beats vocal remix compilation that was sold together with the Key 15th Fes. pamphlet in Japan earlier this year!

CharaExpo 2015
20-21 June 2015
Singapore Expo Hall 7
Tickets: $6 (Early-bird)/$8 (On-site)

Check out our full coverage of CharaExpo 2015 here. 

What to Buy at CharaExpo Part 1: Love Live! & Cinderella Girls (UPDATED)
Wake Up, Girls Coming to CharaExpo? (No, They're Not)
Ayano Mashiro and Kurosaki Maon Have Dinner Together Before CharaExpo
SHAFT, Kantoku, KitaEri & Mimorin's Magical Girls Anime Coming to Singapore