Together with some other friends, Stripey and I put up some of our anime goods for sale at a second-hand dealers’ booth during this year’s A Certain Magical Event, held at Singapore Expo for the first time. This was my first time doing so and, ironically, I have more experience attending Japanese anime events than local ones so I had many surprises and learnt a few things as a result:
First, event only Limited Edition items are not much of Must Have for Singaporean fans, particularly if they are priced over SGD 100. The items do move, even for relatively less popular series like KoiChoco, but people don’t exactly queue up for them like they did at Comiket 82. Most customers tended to prefer to buy lots of small items (even if they had huge mark-ups) than to cough up for one or two big rare, high value items (with very little mark-up).
Second, apart from the willingness to spend, I was also pretty astounded by the differences in what/who was popular. For example, in Japan, the most popular character from Madoka Magica is, heads and shoulders above the rest, Sakura Kyouko. In Singapore, it’s Akemi Homura. And Madoka isn’t all that popular either; it seems that a lot of people dropped the show after Ep 3. Too cutting edge? In contrast, the demand for Sword Art Online goods was surprisingly robust. This was a big exception to the observation above; my C82 Aniplex SAO goods, which I consigned to another stall, were all sold out quickly even though they were priced at SGD 140 each for just two T-shirts in a clear case. In contrast, my C82 Aniplex Fate/Zero set, which I thought was much better value for money at the same price (consisting of t-shirt, drama CD, phone strap and Master/Servant illustration cards) didn’t sell as well.
Third, the language barrier is still a bit of a problem; it really illustrates how only a minority of anime fans actually go on to learn the Japanese language. Singaporean customers didn’t want to fork out for drama CDs as they don’t have the listening comprehension capability to enjoy them whereas Japanese fans consider them to be important extensions of the series’ canon. I sold every single one of my spare KyouSaya doujins though. Even though they were in Japanese, I reckon that the visual nature of the medium (illustrations plus kanji text) made them much more accessible. Also I repeatedly heard comments that SGD10 for one 16pp G-rated doujin was considered ‘cheap’ which reinforces the first point. I’ve never seen Japanese doujins on sale in Singapore before so it begs the question: What’s the market price?