Tokyo Anime Fair
This post was originally going to be called ‘Tokyo Anime Fair and Anime Contents (another anime fair in Chiba)’. Unfortunately, after travelling all the way to Chiba we were told that tickets had sold out. I know what you are saying: ‘You should have bought the tickets in advance you git’. In any other circumstances I am sure we would have. the problem this time was that by the time we had discovered the existence of this fair, advanced tickets were already sold out. Given the relatively quiet nature of the actual anime fair, we had high hopes that there would be plenty of tickets to go around. Oh well.
I’m not into Anime in the same way I was a couple of years ago. Back then everything I found was new and exciting and, being a relative latecomer to the genre (debatable genre), there was so much for me to discover that was already back catalogued, as it were. The best thing about anime in my opinion is its potential to create these great fantastical stories without a great budget. This means relatively unknown directors (see: Makato Shinkai) can be allowed to bring their works to the masses. It’s a very different case from that of Hollywood, where the big budget (and therefore an ability to create a fantasy/alternate world) franchises will always go to the Scott’s, Schumacher’s, Bay’s and Spielberg’s of the movie world.
Once I had exhausted the interesting titles from the past ten years or so, however, I was left feeling a little disappointed that other great titles hadn’t been produced to take their place. After realising that the UK Anime industry is reluctant to release many titles outside of their ‘safe bet territory’ – this being anything with lots of boobs/violence or an internationally recognised name – I imported, but soon found myself in a similar rut. I don’t blame the UK Anime distributors. Much of the UK regard Anime as a medium that is morally corrupt and one that often flirts with themes like incest, rape, paedophilia and bestiality – and thus despise it. The rest think the same, and therefore rush out to buy it. Joking aside though, Anime is often misunderstood. To me at least, it definitely feels like the popularity Anime enjoyed outside of Japan is fading fast.
As I begin now to see it, the industry is currently full of series that play to the cute factor (the men queuing up for the booth of a series whose promotional material features teenage girls in maid outfits made me squirm a little), the sex factor and the teenage boy (shounen) audience. A few examples for you. Cute – aforementioned series called ‘something or other milky-chan’, where young girls dress as maids and look fragile. There was also news of a AKB48 anime (words fail me). Sex – The Lupin (a well-known franchise about a loveable rogue-like spy) poster featuring a lady in her birthday suit. I guess the equivalent would be a naked lady on the recent Tin-tin remake poster. Teenage Boy – Some really cheesy looking superhero show with awful CGI. This booth tried so hard to be cool, despite the content of the show. Even the female booth attendants wore some kind of S&M bikini.
The best part of the fair had to be the kind of ‘amateur corner’ they had going, where new animators had the chance for some exposure. Some of the originality here made up for the relative lack of elsewhere.
Here are a few pictures of the event, most of them being of the mascots:
The last two pictures are from Diaba (where the fair was being held). The first is a fancy department store, and the second is the 1:1 scale Gundam, which now resides here.
Also this is awesome:
Apologies for the rushed nature of this post – I want to get some studying/writing done.
The next thing I post on here will be the things to expect from Japan when first arriving. The one after that will in all likelihood concern Sakura (cherry blossoms). It’s only a few days away from the peak of the season, and everyone is already going crazy. We even saw lots of people doing ‘bud viewing’, as in looking at the buds before they have even opened.