On Monday Sento Kaishi’s 4th edition took place after going on a hiatus last year. Titled Sento Kaishi 4: Rise of the Phoenix, this event is a breath of fresh air and an amusing experience. But not just that. Because the previous edition from 2017 was already hard enough to top, but the JSC have done it again!
It’s so great to have such a growing stable of the community come back to the scene and deliver like we’ve gotten used to over the years, and the title couldn’t have been more fitting.
Here’s a small recap of all the fun activities you might have missed on the main stage: a presentation and a quiz about anime history presented by Karim Ammar, two K-pop dance shows by the Angel Club, a power quizz pitting two teams against one another with abilities and powers, a Heditto concert and karaoke music, and the grand finale was a custom made table-top RPG game controlled by the audience.
But the event’s main feature wasn’t the dance show, the concert or the gaming room. It was the Greed Island challenges. In short it’s similar to Hunter X Hunter’s Greed Island. The contestants had to collect as many cards as they could through challenges laid out all around the event and the venue. And in that way, every part of the venue was connected to this theme, much like it was in Sentô Kaishi’s previous edition with the Hunter Exam, and it just makes everything come together beautifully.
The challenges consisted of very fun quizzes, like “two truths one lie” or “real or fake anime,” gaming challenges all across multiple generations of consoles and various genres, from Rayman Legends to Devil May Cry 5 and Red Dead Redemption.
Some of the more fun challenges were the ones that awarded Phoenix cards, being the highest valued and most limited ones. Two of them were given to the players who beat all the challenges in the gaming room and in the multipurpose room and the other one had to be found after an elaborate treasure hunt in the likes of “Cicada.”
A whole story was written and played out by the event’s staff to top up the adventurous feeling this hunt had, starting with a flashing message in the main stage reading “meet me in 30 minutes. Password is ‘between the gates’,” which set the players on a path to solve enigmas, decode Morse coded messages, and look for the “lost” Phoenix card.
To crown this amazing treasure hunt and to add closure to the story, a custom table-top RPG was made where the top 3 contestants in the Greed Island faced the game master Karim Ammar as the surprise ending segment of the show. The players chosen by the Phoenix to beat the Manticore will play as three characters from 3 different anime with the help of the audience. This challenge served as the culmination of the whole event and a perfect final show. The winners were awarded a cash prize and some gift cards from the sponsors. This also was one of the rare instances where “surprises” were promised and actually delivered upon.
The concept is novel and very creative but having most of the event revolve around it pushes competition into the spotlight and might make the event feel less relaxed for some however, other than that things were smooth and everything was on time.
Another upgrade from 2017’s edition is the main stage. Everything was tight, on time, and of great quality. The usage of Angel Club in both morning and evening sessions and them getting better and better through the years just made the program on the main stage a lot better.
In conclusion Sentô Kaishi is a constantly evolving event that chooses to move away from the classic anime convention formula to find itself its own style and trademark, giving a breath of fresh air to the regulars and a glimpse at what could be in store for future events and projects by JSC. In a year where Japanese and pop culture events were rare and absent, Sentô Kaishi can comfortably claim the title for event of the year.
Yassine Ben Ahmed
JET Press Team