FACTS (Fantasy, Anime, Comics, Toys, Space)
Is known to be the Belgian Comic con, it has gotten far to its 28th edition held on April 1st and 2nd at Flanders Expo Ghent, Belgium. Not just open for geeks but as well as to all ages, it happens to be the biggest event ever each year for cosplayers, photographers, comics/marvel fans, manga/anime fans, collector items fans, arcade gamers, and even to those who love to meet and greet hollywood and popular actors and actresses.
The venue was quite big as expected that will surely require visitors to walk a lot, the entrance fee can be varied on what kind of activities will you avail if you want to have an access only in the open public places then entrance fee will be 20 euros per person however if you wish to meet and greet and get an autograph with your favorite actors or actresses then it’ll cost you more depending of the level of VIP ticket you will take.
This years edition FACTS has featured some of those very popular actors/actresses in the hollywood industry including Spencer Wilding of Star Wars, Nathan Fillion of Castle series, actor Kristian Nairn (Hodor) of Game of Thrones and a lot more, hosting this kind of event with this very known people is a sign that FACTS is really a high reputated event.
Super heroes are one of the highlights since Marvel, Comics, Space the first thing in our mind is Star Wars, Startrek, Super Man, Spider Man, Bat Man, Wonder Woman etc.
The nicest thing about this event is that everyone is invited to come with their cosplay attire on, the interesting part is you will get a discount from your entrance fee if you’ll be in your cosplay style. Mostly people might think that its ridiculous to see cosplayers walking on the street with their wierd costumes but hey these costumes are the fruit of their hard work and perseverance to attain this level of achievement. If you are an amateur cosplayer? then this one is the best event for you to come to debut and bloom. if you’re an amateur photographer it’s a feast like a buffet, limitless pleasure to take photos of this gorgeous cosplayers.
The first that I’ve noticed when I came into the area was the different kiosk located inside the first hall, there they have the booth for Weapon Check for those cosplayers who bring props, then a booth where they can leave their things and a dressing room to change costumes.
After passing through security control is the way to the grand hall of exhibition, it was quite the same as Made in Asia’s plotting of booths/stalls and stores. The first thing we did was to search for the reception but unfortunately they don’t have it, I haven’t receive any welcome greetings from the staffs or even flyers however they have an application in android playstore to see the map and content of the area but its my first time so I saw it in the last-minute I was actually expecting the same method as Made in Asia offers.
Roaming around the area I’ve encountered a lot of cosplayers around and gently ask them if I could take some photos luckily of all I’ve ask no one did say “no”
From Movies, Anime, Manga, Cartoons, Pokemon, Super Mario to Marvel, Disney, Nintendo, online games and a lot more, cosplayers are unbelievably great putting on a show with their costumes.
While enjoying the moment of being the photographer that day, all of a sudden out of the blue there was commotion in the middle of the place, a staff was actually announcing that they will having a catwalk style show for cosplayers in the stage installed, first will be for those who’s doing Online games, and anime series.
I was really curious so I run directly in the middle and go a good spot to take adorable photos during the catwalk of some cosplayers. It was kinda hard to be in competition with those other photographers installing their stuffs beside, there were many I can say professional photographers who were there to take some photos too. If you guys are interested to watch the video combined with pictures that I got during the catwalk show you can watch it here : https://www.facebook.com/lexieAnimeTravel/videos/1872676769724386/
There were different duo’s cosplayers that day, It was unbelievable to see how they did a great job in terms of their costumes and postures aiming to be a perfect fit for the character that they are portraying.
Aside from being filled with cosplayers, this event also have stalls/stores who sells collectible rare items, as for us we bought a petit pop figurine of pharah the green one a rare stuff for collectors, and for the onepiece fan (me) I bought some souvenirs as well zoro keychains, mugiwara cards, and a special DVA of overwatch mouse pad.
As we roam around the place was beginning to be full, suddenly its lunch time and its also time for us to take lunch. we went up to this store side corner restaurant which gives a magnificent look over the perimeter of the area, It would be very authentic to have your lunch with a superb view from upstairs but unluckily the restaurants doesnt served dishes that I prefered so we went down and search for something to eat.
We ended up eating meatballs and fries, anyways its saturday I’ll forget my diet first. while eating in the corner I saw this girl wearing DVA costume I thought that she’s perfect fit for it and hoping I could take a pic of her later. And yes I did right after my lunch.
There was also a Hall of exhibition of Cars and Scenes used in the movies like Transformers, Starsky and Hutch, and a lot more, just in the exit part of the hall I saw this cute R2D2 mascots moving around.
On the other side is the hall for the world’s biggest inflatable obstacle course, its a huge perimeter where you can really enjoy and have fun with your family and kids. For the rest of the hours all I did was taking pictures of this incredible cosplayers all around, though I haven’t ask to everyone it’s because there were a lot of them sometimes others photographers were busy taking photos too but It was pretty cool and fun experience.
I won’t let this opportunity to escape, I want to feature the best Genji cosplayer that I’ve ever met, the first time I met him was at Made in Asia and eventually here in FACTS. he’s one of those artist that I look up to, what an exceptional presence of this guy.
Finally I wont let this article ends without telling you my favourite picture of this event, I would give it to the most impressive girl that moment, my heart almost jump out of its place when I saw her It’s like a real ghost in front of me. If I’m one of the judges of cosplay competition she’ll be my number one in terms of costume, make up, facial expressions, gestures and deliberation she’s top of the top.
And for those One Piece lovers out there like me I have a special bonus pictures exclusively for you, these are some of the figurines that I’ve found (and wanted to buy) but I’ll save up first for it.
After a while we had to go home, this experience will be treasured as much as I can, I really love the feeling of taking pictures left and right and everywhere non stop it was fun and at the same time exhausting but the most important part is the moment of joy.
Overall experience was really good, the plotting of the stalls/stores are not so bad even though it was a little short to accommodate a lot of people especially the passage part. I believe that I have already discussed it also in my previous article about this disadvantage. On the other hand It was really handy and accessible for those who didn’t have much cash on their pockets, out of all stalls that I’ve been too I have only paid with card which is really easy for me and for other visitors for sure.
It would really be appreciated if FACTS would give a token of gratitude for its visitors, considering the fact that the entrance of this event is pretty high I think people deserves to be given a little gift, not counting the free shopping bag that we have received.
One more point to say is that I like the way that this event is presented, except about the map/area content copy, that I know FACTS prefer it to paperless and be available via smart phone/phone app however there are people who still prefer paper copy and I hope they’ll still continue spreading it out.
Lastly I want to thank the FACTS organizers, staffs and all the people who work behind this event, and of course the Cosplayers who participated and gave their best and all effort I congratulate you all for your courage and confidence. Remember that even if photographers didn’t ask you for a picture it doesn’t mean that you’re not good at what you’re doing but perhaps there are more out there that outshine you.
Continue what you are doing time will tell you’ll be soon at the stage proud and confident with your cosplay attire.
Love lots from a huge cosplay fan (me) and hope you guys won’t be tired of being present in every event, and will always be patient, friendly, kind, and please don’t be tired to pose for a picture or videos.
P.S. This is only personal opinions/suggestions, photos are all taken by me and if you happened to be the cosplayer whom I took the photo with, if you wish to have a copy of it don’t hesitate to ask. Hope to see you all again next incoming FACTS event 21-22 October of this year. check out the official site of FACTS for information and tickets http://facts.be/
What to expect?
Why did I brought up this topic? As we all know this two events are not just the well-known and biggest in terms of Comic and Animé Events in Belgium but they are also Internationally known by its activities offered and thousands of people don’t want to miss this.
This is not about who is the best out of the two, we try to point out what they need to improve so that they can offer more comfortable and happy experience to their guests. Both events are exceptional and fun to go personally I love both.
This two has always different dates and venue they never had any coincidence to make it at the same time or place (of course business speaking).
Made in Asia offers a variety of presentation of programs, games, stores selling goods and services during its event from the tittle itself it doesn’t entirely means all stuffs that are present on that event are made in Asia, well mostly are however you will find some that are especially on stalls that sell animé souvenirs.
They also have Karaoke Hall, Activity area where you can learn like KPOP dancing or sewing cosplay costumes, hall to play Online or Arcade games, a Concert hall where some Group Bands and artist will be presented as well as Cosplay competition, Hall for kids where they can play freely, hall for food and restaurants, hall for autograph and fan signing and lastly the first hall that you’ll see when you enter is the hall for stalls/stores.
In terms of venue Made in Asia has a quite large capacity to welcome their guests like the last event held at Brussels Exposition in Heysel more than 70,000 people went on that 3 days event.
F.A.C.T.S. Fantasy, Animation, Comics, Toys, Sci-Fi, Games and Cosplay, this year is their 28th edition, awaits their guests at Flanders Expo in Ghent it’s also known as the Belgian Comic Con. FACTS is not only focusing on Marvel side but also it features animé and manga like Made in Asia.
They have a different theme in terms of presentation and settings of souvenir stores/stalls and restaurants. the entry hall is however an empty space with corner for cosplayers who wish to leave their personal belongings and to change costumes, unlike MIA the Entry hall is an Info Desk and stalls/stores.
They also have various halls like Hall for taking pictures includes decoration and motif, hall for programs for concert and cosplay competition, Hall for autograph and fan signing, and the hall of souvenir/stalls as well as food and restaurants together.
It’s a 2 days event mostly held in week ends and from its record of 50,000 visitors last 2015.
This two events are open for all ages, cosplayers or non cosplayers, geeks or not, animé lovers, marvel fans, Disney fans, Nintendo etc.
Which is Cheaper ?
Made in Asia has some offers went it comes to price, it’s a 3 days event so if you’re planing to go 3 days the price will be 10 euros/day but if only 1 or 2 days It’ll be 13 euros/day
F.A.C.T.S. same as Made in Asia it has also some offers but it’s completely different, normal price is 20 euros/day regardless if you’re going 1 or 2 days however for those cosplayers the price is lowered to 15 euros/day, parking and tram fee is free included on the price of the ticket. They also have offers for VIP for autograph signing and picture-taking with your Idols its included in the price In the contrary with MIA it’s free but you must do the queue of course.
Venue Wise ?
Made in Asia has larger venue that FACTS and plus it’s held in Brussels the capital which is more accessible for those who live in the southern or northern part of the country.
Presentation Wise ?
FACTS has more charisma in terms of presentation, They even installed a stage in the middle of the stalls/stores hall to make a sort of cat walk for cosplayers to expose their works and they made it more attractive for people to wear costumes cause of the price difference rather than Made in Asia your free to wear anything cosplayer or not the price is the same.
Hall Blockings/Arrangements ?
Made in Asia has the flawless hall blockings, although they must still fix the settings of stalls/stores cause it’s too close to each other and in case of hundreds of people passing by its suffocating. (I have experience by myself) or make a minimum distance from stall to stall 3-4 meters apart, It’s actually the same problem at FACTS too when there were too many people the way is unbearable.
One more thing to point out is the restaurants in FACTS its kinda all over the place, they should have made like one Hall for it.
Guests Presentation ?
Both has their strengths FACTS got hollywood guests, especially StarWars, Game of Thrones and hollywood actors/actresses. MIA on the other hand has featured YouTube sensation artist, famous Manga Authors and Writers, and famous Manga Animé OST singers and bands.
Information and Guide ?
I was surprise that In FACTS there was no information desk, there was just a little stadium at one side, I haven’t even had a map or guide. MIA however did it with the welcome desk and kinda Bank service where you can withdraw some cash but with interest, because not all stall/stores accept card/bankcontact unlike in FACTS all stores do.
Photographers advantage ?
FACTS have it with the Cat Walk presentation were amatuer or professional photographers can clearly take pictures of this amazing cosplayers. The panorama view of the first hall (stalls/stores) which located at the 2nd floor where a restaurant situated.
A Photo Booth is found at the first hall after passing from the entrance, this will allow people take some pictures of themselves, and even for photographers a great spot to do their photo shoot with cosplayer artist.
Food Prices ?
It depends on what you want to have for a lunch or snacks, prices differs from 7 euros and above for a meal. In our case 7,00 euros for meatballs and fries (delicious) at the FACTS, 7,50 for a fried noodles in MIA but if you prefer hamburger or sandwiches or other meal prices may differ.
You can also bring food on your own if you wish to eat more healthy or to save it’s always a great option.
Car Friendly ?
Cars are always a big dilemma when finding parking space, at MIA parking is not included so you need to search the parking lot near the vicinity of the neighbourhood that requires you to walk a little or take the parking from the designated area which cost 6 euros per day FACTS has its own parking space in the location but it’s not included on your tickets like tram access, its payable for 5 euros per day.
Commuters Friendly ?
It depends if where you are living, in my case I live in the Brussels so going to FACTS would take me almost 1 hour and a half with train and tram. with MIA it’s around 45 minutes with bus and metro.
Souvenirs and Collectibles ?
Both have this, from MIA that you can buy lots of stuffs from animé figurines, posters, shirts, cards, souvenirs, manga magazines, books and a lot more. While FACTS has almost the same too but more of Comics and unique collectible items like figurines or hollywood actors/actresses mainly Marvel stuffs.
Whats the difference ?
To cut the story short there’s not a lot of difference FACTS is specialized on Marvel and a little bit of animé and everything and Made in Asia specialized more of Animé and Manga and Asia’s world and a little bit of Marvel and others.
The Verdit, Who’s Better ?
FACTS : 6,5 points
Made In Asia : 6,5 points
After considering all aspects that affects the scores of this two fantastic events, I have called it a tie, both of them has their own advantages and disadvantages.
Personally I love them both, there are a several factors that I must consider if I need to choose only one. But I love Animé Manga and Marvel at the same time, eventhough there were more Cosplayers present at FACTS, MIA has its asian ambiance and feeling. Both are winners for me I wouldn’t miss going to this events.