Words By Joseph Cesar
Asia Pop Comic Con is a highly-expected yearly event where Pop Culture enthusiasts of every kind gather–creators and fans alike. With last year’s event reaching an astounding estimate of 50,000 goers, they are expecting this year to be even better. Packed with local and international celebrities, famous comic and vinyl artists, and exclusive showcases from Marvel, Netflix, and Disney, surpassing last year’s APCC seems almost natural!
I was fortunate enough to attend APCC’s press conference where they gave us a sneak peek on what to expect this coming weekend–from the talent-seeking agenda of Whilce Portacio, to Disney’s exclusive looks for upcoming movies. As the director of Al Ahli Holding group, Abdulla Mahmood said, it certainly is “the best of east, meeting west”
Included in the Press Conference lineup is an unexpected yet interesting individual. Former lightweight ONE Champion, Honorio “The Rock” Banario was seated with big personalities like Osric Chau, Canvas Cosplay, While Portacio, and more. During the press conference, he was able to share his love and support for anime like One Punch Man and My Hero Academia.
Beneath the battle-hardened face of the former champion, Banario is an avid anime fan to which he claims he draws inspiration from. He tributes his interest in MMA during his early childhood to anime. Without a television of their own, he would go to his neighbor day and night, to stay updated on his favorite shows.
I probed deeper to really test his knowledge on anime to see if he really did watch. After asking him what some of his favorites were and he was able to recall some very old-school anime like Baki the Grappler and Hajime no Ippo.
I was so engrossed in our conversation that we went back and forth on different kinds of anime, and our thoughts on it. Interestingly enough, he told me that as a fighter, he learned more from anime than he did in Hollywood movies. He gave credit to the creators of anime for showing great care to details and to a certain extent, staying realistic.
While he appreciates the realistic side of anime, he also undoubtedly enjoys and embraces its fictional side as he repeatedly talked about Bleach. He even kept me updated on a long-running anime with over 700 episodes, One Piece. After nearly half an hour of talking about anime, I wrapped up the interview by asking him if he has an upcoming fight.
ONE Championship fans, stay tuned as Honorio Banario and other Team Lakay members make their way to China this September for their fights. Banario stated that he already knows who his opponent is, but is waiting for ONE Championship to officially announce it. All he can say is that their opponents are certainly talented.
After speaking with Banario, I met ONE Championship’s Vice President for Digital Marketing, Tai Morshed and my conversation with him enlightened me on some things.
His rationale for bringing Banario out for the Press Conference is to give him exposure outside the world of mixed martial arts. He stated: “People see them as these big, barbaric people who only know how to fight but, that isn’t true.” That pretty much sums up the message that they want to convey to the rest of the world.
He added in an email: “I think ultimately, we see a great crossover of audiences from comics, gaming, and martial arts and we want to be a part of the communities in an authentic way…” even hinting at the possibility and hopes of having Team Lakay members coordinate with The Avengers’ movie release next year.