MAJOR UPDATES (30 September 2015)
1. Added more images. Also, the perp has been identified as “Aldo” and the motherfucker looks like this:
3. A representative of Larva ID, one of DAF’s media and transport partners, has spoken up. In his FB post, he tells that after being treated to a club by KKO, his money was stolen; a total of IDR 15 million.
A long while back, I was promised an event that could rival the scope of AFAID. They called it Dewata Anime Festival, or DAF. It was said that DAF would have guest stars that even AFAID can’t imagine. A bunch of cosplayers, and even fucking Babymetal! Wow, go dig a hole and die in it, AFAID!
But what happened? DAF got fucking cancelled because some asshole decided it was funny to run away with another person’s money.
Now, I’ve been doing a lot of snooping around because this event was very, very suspicious. I’ve contacted several friends who were close to the people running the event and I have a well-connected source of information. So, let me finally share what I know to the public.
It Started Out with Seni2Negeri, Now We’re Here
For those of you who don’t know, revisit my old blog post about an earlier event that was also managed by Kotakotak Organizer (KKO) called Seni2Negeri Natsu Gakuen. The event was cancelled at the last minute because someone ran away with the event’s money. Now, imagine that!
DAF is also organized by KKO, and for quite a while, they embarked on a marketing campaign to spread the hype of DAF. The fanpage was up and pre-sale tickets were on sale. Everyone thought it was going to be a good event. I even bought a pre-sale ticket, just to make sure I’d keep the date open in my schedule. They posted updates about guest stars, about Babymetal which backfired on them because Amuse Asia Inc. confirmed that there were no Babymetal concerts scheduled in Indonesia, and even provided tour packages for people. All to look like a huge event.
Now, let me break it to you. I’ve had suspicions ever since Seni2Negeri failed spectacularly. While KKO claimed they were only providing event consultation services and guest star connections for the event, I’ve heard otherwise from my inside guy. My inside guy (let’s just call him Fat Bob for now) told me that there was collusion within DNA and KKO to dupe people of their money. After everything went to shit, some high-ranking douche in DNA ran away, leaving the event in shambles and made the rest of the members as scapegoats. Rumor has it that this exact guy is now a head honcho of KKO.
But let me stress that those are just rumors. Whether they are true or not, I cannot tell because I heard it from a tertiary source. Please take it with a large grain of salt.
A Big Event, Yet So Poor
What do you guys expect from a big-ass event that is said to rival AFAID? I’ll cover the things I noticed that DAF was doing wrong. And bear with me, it’s a fucking long list.
First of all, the reputation of the organizer. KKO appeared like, around a year (?) ago in Bali. They have had no significant portfolio of handling events, yet they’re suddenly handling a huge event like this? You gotta start small and not bite off more than you can chew. Start with small events and build a reputation. That’s not what happened with KKO. They suddenly appeared and began organizing huge events. But, as a Balinese might know, organizing events, especially international events, in Bali is really hard shit. Because you need all the right connections, enough money to pay hidden costs, and many permits from different people.
Second, sponsor fraud. Look at this poster of DAF… or at least the Road to DAF pre-event. Look at the sponsors. Now, I’ve noticed some real odd shit there.
For example, take Citilink and Lion Air, two budget airlines in Indonesia. Doesn’t it strike you as VERY ODD that two companies, both competing in the same line of business, suddenly decide to do a truce and sponsor the same event? What the flying fuck, man? Lion Air is removed from the newest poster, though.
Then, check out Pocari Sweat. Now, I have this guy (let’s call him Orwell Incarnate for now) who has links to Otsuka, the company that makes Pocari Sweat. Otsuka’s reps deny any involvement in the event, including agreeing to sponsoring it. As for the other sponsors, most of them have yet to receive a formal MoU regarding sponsorship.
Third, no good advertising. For those in Bali, have you ever seen DAF being featured by the island’s TV network? Or even in the daily newspapers? Or heck, alongside torn-up banners of anti-reclamation protesters at major intersections? Fuck no. You think, for an event that huge and with sponsors that good, they’d have money to AT LEAST print an ad in a newspaper or air one through the radio.
They also once posted about a large banner hanging in front of the venue. But, here’s a comparison. On the left is the banner claimed to be hung near the venue. But on the right is an actual photo of the venue taken on 24 September 2015, during the Eid-al Adha holiday. Notice the difference?
Fourth, guest star problems. The first problem was with Babymetal. DAF promised Babymetal, but Babymetal wasn’t coming because they were on tour and we’re not a significant enough place to stop by. Perhaps it’s the weebs. Anyway, DAF quickly apologized and retracted the statement. But, it was enough to raise suspicion. Later on, DAF began to announce guest star cosplayers one by one. Famous names were mentioned, from Misa TW to King TW. Some even confirmed their intention to participate in the event through their respective social media accounts. It all seemed too good to be true. Cosplayers from around the globe converging in Bali? Might as well move Comiket here. But it just stopped there. There were no further updates regarding the status of the guest stars. I don’t even know if they know the event’s fucking cancelled! They might be on their way, or worst, already be in Bali this week!
Fifth, venue problems. I used to organize events when I was in college, and believe me, the hardest thing to do is to get the venue in place. To reserve the campus functional hall, we needed a lot of paperwork and three months time prior to the event. What happened with DAF? They fucking changed the location THREE TIMES. Yes, THREE. Not once, but THREE FUCKING TIMES. Unprofessionalism at its best.
The first venue was at the city sports center (GOR Lila Bhuana). It’s a great place to host events because it’s spacious, but I couldn’t see how they were going to fit 4,000 people there. Anyway, I let that slide. Now they come and tell me the venue’s been moved to Mertasari Beach. Okay… so from a sports center to a beach? Fuck man, you really got no theme going on. It stayed that way for a couple of weeks, until finally, a week ago, they announced it was moved to Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK), a premier location in the south of Bali. So, from the beach to the hottest fucking place in Bali? Seriously man? And you’re going to fit 50K people in that place?
Problems began to arise as I dug in deeper into the venues. First, I tried out Mertasari Beach. Because I’m a lazy fuck, my girlfriend scouted out the location. She did confirm that there were people building stuff there. There were sacks of cement, people placing stones, and loud noises from the cement grinding machines. It looked like they were building a road or something. So, I cross-checked with DAF’s page. They announced that the construction at Mertasari was for DAF infrastructure.
Really? Was it really that easy to gain permits and hire a bunch of builders? Besides, there was only a month to the event and now you’re building shit? Doesn’t make sense dude. Then, Orwell Incarnate tipped me off, told me that the construction at Mertasari was NOT for DAF, but was conducted by the people in the village to create a public parking lot and repair the damaged roads.
That made more sense and I concluded that KKO was lying about the venue. Next, I tried to dig into GWK. Orwell Incarnate proved to be a wonderful asset. He had connections with the management and found out that indeed, KKO did approach GWK management and propose the event. KKO did that 3 months ago and all they brought with them was a rough draft. GWK management told them to try again next time and draft a better plan. So, they came back a while later, but still with rough plans. I don’t know why GWK management suddenly decided it was a foolproof plan, considering safety measures and necessary permits were not concluded, but they posted anyway on their social media. (It is now deleted, check it here.) However, here’s a screenshot (courtesy of Orwell Incarnate) of DAF poster being posted on GWK’s official website.
Sixth, shady statistics. I’ve been suspicious of their ticket stats since the beginning. It all started when I was in a discussion with Kevin Wilyan, the head of KAORI, several months ago. KAORI was approached by DAF to become a media partner. In the proposal, DAF stated that they have sold over 4,000 tickets. But that was odd, considering they only printed 500 pre-sale tickets. Now, just recently, DAF announced that they have sold over 50K tickets. They even provided detailed statistics listing region and amount of tickets sold per region. Just to show off. You never do that in business because it’s not polite.
Which made me even more suspicious, because look at Jakarta, where over 13K tickets were sold.
DAF was supposed to be held on 2-4 October 2015. AFAID and Comic Con happened on 25-27 September 2015. That’s a week apart. You think, after splurging money on idols, toys, and Anisong concert, 13K people have the right mind to head to Bali for another weeb event? Yeah right. Weebs are rich, but not that rich. Besides, if 13K Jakartans suddenly came to Bali all at once, plane tickets would be fucking sold out man.
Seventh, no clear rules on competitions. My girlfriend was enthusiastic about finishing her costume before DAF. She already registered as well. She was intrigued by the millions of prize money. Anyway, I’ve been helping her out while trying to lower her expectations because I’m a fucking pessimist. I was right.
So, the cosplay competition was split into three categories: Team, Single, and King & Queen. Both had different amounts of prize money, but the total reached over 50 million IDR or something. Tempting, but too good to be true. After she registered, she received no further contact from the event organizer. No notice of what to prepare, aside from BGM, and no notice of a Technical Meeting beforehand. Very unprofessional.
Eighth, shady transport business. Unlike any other event, KKO provided tour packages for people living outside Bali so that they can enjoy the event. I was really skeptical of this because not even an event as large as AFAID would dare doubly act as a tour company. They provided 2 options: via plane or via bus. All included accommodation, food, and DAF tickets.
A Black Record for Future Events
So those are eight suspicious aspects of DAF that I’ve managed to scrounge up during the past months. What I’m concerned about now is not my lost money (me and my girlfriend both lost 60K in tickets), but rather the future of weeb events in Bali.
This is the SECOND TIME an event has failed, both under KKO’s management. This really calls into question the competency of KKO staff and the organization as a whole. They should be fucking disbanded right now and their members put in jail for fraud. If they’re not in jail, then I deliver this as a PSA: DO NOT TRUST ANY EVENT ORGANIZED BY KotaKotak Organizer. EVER.
Next, I worry about this event being a black stain on Bali’s reputation. Guest stars have been contacted, arrangements have been made, and even tour packages have been made. Prospective event-goers have made plans, only to find the event cancelled. Imagine the crushing pain when you’ve already booked plane tickets and a hotel room, only to find the event cancelled just because an asshole thought it would be a hoot to run off with the money. I’m afraid that guest cosplayers would leave bad reviews and unofficially “blacklist” Bali as a destination. Then, no more weeb events. At all. All of this damage, just because of one stupid asshole and poor management.
I wish to retract a statement I made before. I said that it was a good time to be a weeaboo in Bali. I was wrong. It is definitely NOT a good time to be a weeaboo in Bali. I hope this is the last time I — no, we — are duped. Never again.