for me, there was only one reason to be at the Popular BookFest this year: Kaoru. i have always wanted to meet the creator of my favourite local manga artist of Helios Eclipse (and Maid Maiden too) and i did meet and spoke to her for the first time at Comic Fiesta 2011; conveniently arranged, i met her again for her autograph session at the same Gempak booth in the same convention hall.
perhaps due to the short queue (or nearing the end of the session when i joined the line), Kaoru kindly signed for as many books and pages for each fan, causing the longer time i had to wait for my turn - which kind of puzzled me for the insane minutes she spent on each book (trust me, it wasn't because i had to wait for long). but at least, i knew i could get her to sign on both Helios Eclipse: Prologue and Maid Maiden: Monday together.
when it was my turn, i realised what took Kaoru so long - she did not just sign off her book with your name and a date or a message - she actually did a quick sketch of each manga main character! great, just what have i missed not attending her autograph sessions all these years. i mentioned we met once at CF'11 and asked whether she preferred drawing rabbit or cat characters. then before we parted ways, she said she hoped to meet at CF'12 again. yay! (surely she tells everyone that she'll meet them again, but until then, i plan to prepare a thank you gift for her hardwork; hey, she gave out free Maid Maiden notepads~)
after the autograph session, i went hunting for Maid Maiden Vol.6 but no luck, so i bought a couple of Kaoru's older one-shot manga - 143 and Colours. i also bought some cute stationeries (buy-1-free-1 stickers and Pilot erasable pink ink pens) in hopes to use it in university. i also found a booth selling 'cream clay' (i renamed them as i forgotten the actual brand) which can be use for decoden, but its harder than silicone.
i ended my solo day trip at Kinokuniya where i bought more books just over RM100 worth (unfortunately at full price; then again, it wasn't like Popular gave super discounts at the BookFest like their Singapore counterpart did anyway). fi-nal-ly, i bought Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld (continued from Leviathan), Wired by Robin Wasserman (continued from Skinned and Crashed), and The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa (translation from the well-known Haruhi Suzumiya series).