Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tokyo International Anime Fair

The 2013 Tokyo International Anime Fair was more like a trade show than a convention like Dragon*Con, but I'm glad we went.

The layout was like any convention or trade show, square booth areas decorated and run as the company sees fit.

I didn't recognize very many company names, but some were backdrops and counters, some were mini-museums walking visitors through the animation or production process (no pictures allowed), and one was a completely enclosed mini-movie theater with three enormous television screens, giving a pretty immersive glimpse into some upcoming movie weirdness (I say "weirdness" because I couldn't make head or tails of the plot and couldn't decide if I loved it or hated it) to a group of twenty people at a time.

It made sense that Toei Animation had a prominent booth space with a huge inflatable hanging overhead and life-sized statues of their more famous characters (above), but Bandai Visual (below) probably took the award for Most Television Screens.

Approximately half the images you see in black rectangles are on televisions.
There were a lot of animation studios and production companies, but a few schools and tablet/software companies, too.

Some booths had particularly amusing design or products.

In the picture below, you need to know about two things to understand the top half of the sign. One is Mameshiba, adorable and highly marketable bean dogs. The other is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (sort of the Japanese response to Lady Gaga). At any rate, this is what happens when you put them together.

The bottom half of the sign is for Boxed Cat (approximate translation), which may exist for the sole purpose of selling merchandise. There are cartoons, but the episodes are only 15 seconds long.

Another one was, I think, for a children's show. This booth design was ingenious. It had a black background but didn't feeling dark, and lots of things to play with. Every button or lever would activate some slapstick event on the nearest television screen. Something would fall on a character's head, or they would inflate like a balloon, or they would cause some sort of mischief for one of the other characters.

Bonus points for design in that it was made to look like every screen was a room in an underground series of tunnels, like one unbroken setting.

One of our favorite booths was Hanbaguma GooGoo (Hamburger-bear GooGoo). I think it's ultimately selling hamburg steaks, when it isn't selling merchandise built around a bear made of hamburger. A bear made of hamburger that may or may not be a professional wrestler.

...and is apparently in a band called The Meatles.

No shortage of mascot costumes, either!

I didn't catch the character/company/product/show. Cat-bean-gnome?

His head is a rice ball. This makes me giggle.

Left is a tanuki with a leaf on its head, right is an inflatable sumo wrestler. No idea what they're selling.

This is Nerimaru, the mascot for "Animation City" Nerima. It's some kind of radio radish. Whatever, it's adorable. Not only that, but the person inside the costume deserves a raise. They did a fantastic job of dancing (without seeming to get tired) for this small child.

If you haven't heard of Vocaloid, it's neat. In the mid 2000s, the company (Vocaloid) released some synthesizing software that can mimic word pronunciation and vocal tone. To showcase the product, they created Miku, a completely computer-generated pop star that has performed for live audiences with a live band as a hologram projected on a screen across the stage. (Here's a video, but it's long so don't feel obligated to watch the whole thing) 

Since then, Miku has become a celebrity, if that's possible for a singer that doesn't physically exist. It must be, if she has race cars and motorcycles designed after her.

There's something about fruit rabbits that just tickles me. I don't know what they're about, but I like 'em.

This might be for a television show or a manga or something. Apparently it's about a polar bear, a panda, and a penguin in a coffee shop?
I think that panda is drunk.

There was also a tiny kiosk display (read: a small TV screen above a rack of brochures) for Crazy OL Hour, a very strange and mildly offensive cartoon series about two "carefree" office workers.

In the Western Animation section were some DC/Marvel figurines...

...and the square faux-Lego versions.

Being an anime fair, there were a handful of cosplayers. There was a designated cosplay area for people to pose for and take pictures. The down side is that you had to go to one end of the convention to see any costumes, the up side is that none of them were blocking any high-traffic areas.
I don't recognize very many characters, but some definitely put a lot of time and effort into getting it right.

Some costumes are more popular than others.

Varying degrees of preparation and posing. I have no idea what's going on with the woman in the wheelchair.

This leaves us with just one question. The man wearing all black with a cat-ear hood, wearing two hand puppets that are wearing masks: great cosplay or greatest cosplay?

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