Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cybertron Convention 2012: Mostly Nostalgia and A Buying Frenzy

The only version of Transfomers Red Dot Diva remembers well was the animated series, "Beast Wars", and those noisy Michael Bay movies. "Beast Wars" was particularly memorable maybe because it was not anime-style and had a very entertaining script with several interesting characters.

Still, as unfamiliar with much of the Transformers world as she was, she crawled out of bed early Sunday morning to be at RWS Sentosa the opening of the Cybertron Convention 2012 mainly because of:

1. a press pass (she has already mentioned that she's a nosy person, ya?)
2. the opportunity to hang out with her cool geek buddies
3. to see and gauge what kind of crowds were coming for the convention

Filipino comics artist Mark Torres and companion Punky happened to be in town. And since there were spare passes available and it was their last day in Singapore, Red Dot Diva invited them to come long to the Cybertron Convention with the rest of the gang.

When bleary-eyed Red Dot Diva and her entourage arrived at the venue at 9 am, there was already a sizeable crowd waiting at the main entrance. This was not surprising. Hardcore toy collectors are known to wait in line a day before for limited edition goodies, and at the Cybertron Con, there were only 100 sets of Exclusive Optimus Prime toys available.

The official opening ceremony began at 9.30 am or so at the main stage area. The guests-of-honour, including Hideaki Yoke-san, Hasbro Asia Pacific's VP Mr Harlund Chun and VP of Universal Studios Singapore Mr John Hallenback took their designated seats at the front row. Six bicepstuous dudes (ok, some were, sadly, not *that* bicepstuous) in NEST solider gear sullenly rode down the side escalators and strode to stand guard at the stage.

The NEST soldiers... kinda
There were the usual "blah blah blah's", a token performance by young boys from a precision drill team .... and then the key guests of honour were invited to press a button at the podium. In an awkward fashion, a bluish Energon cube began to rise, anti-climatically signifying the official launch of Cybertron Convention.

Phew. (That was intense.)

With that over, Red Dot Diva and her buddies waited patiently for their Media Tour. The lucky media had first look of the convention hall before the doors were opened to the public at 11 am, so it was a good time to take pics of whatever "sights" there were before the crowds came in.

For starters, Red Dot Diva wants to grouse about the Compass Ballroom lighting. It SUCKS for photo-taking. The diffused yellow light made everyone looked as if they were from the set of "The Simpsons" and most cameras found it difficult to get proper focus to take actual good photos.

"Beast Wars" action figures

Custom-made toy

The toy displays were now all filled with action figures from the different generation and variations of Transformers. And there was the more interesting section of custom-made Transformer figures by various artists, but nothing much really changed from what Red Dot Diva saw from the Media Preview the day before. The cavernous ballroom made the convention look sparse with many static displays and booths. Not really exciting.

Well, on the other hand, the food offered at the media reception got the group pretty excited. There were yummy sushi trays, sinful desserts and Red Dot Diva knew of someone who kept attacking the Peking Duck section. (Poor chef... he had to keep carving the duck). And they had a chance for a second round too, simply because the interview time slotted with Hideaki Yoke-san didn't come through.

Hideaki Yoke, and the 1st fan to meet him, Brendan Yip

Understandingly enough, Yoke-san was not able to do the interview because he was busy signing the limited edition sets for the happy toy collectors. When Red Dot Diva scoped out the autograph line earlier, most of them seem super-eager to meet the genius in person.

The group decided to make one more round of the convention hall, taking a final batch of photos of whatever they needed. The crowd mainly consisted of families, most mingling around the giant Optimus Prime statue. A line of about 70 people deep snaked around the scaffolding specially set up for photo-taking. Red Dot Diva noticed that the younger kids, especially, were very excited to "meet" the life-sized Optimus Prime.

Red Dot Diva surmises that if one is unacquainted with the wondrous world of Transformers, the Cybertron Convention was still an enjoyable place to spend a day in. It was also a useful place to initiate one's child to be a Transformers geek. Or, if one simply wanted to recapture childhood Transformer memories, the convention would have brought in a wave of nostalgia. Or, if one was just interested in buying anything Transformers from the merchandise booth. (That section was crazy-crowded!) And if one was Transformers-obssessed, the panels and the various meet and greets with key guests would have been a chance of a lifetime.

The frenzied merchandise section

And all at a reasonable 1-day ticket price of SGD 12.

For those who had desired more "wow" interaction and an assault of stunning and varied audio-visual imagery, then Red Dot Diva thinks that the Cybertron Convention may have fallen quite short of your expectations.

So tell Red Dot Diva, did your Cybertron Convention experience "more than meet the eye"?

1 comment:

  1. Bah! someone is covering me in the 1st photo, nice review.