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FRI’s eye: Over 130,000 total visitors! Japan's largest animation event "Anime Japan 2016”


Combining two major anime events, “Anime Japan” is Japan’s largest annually-held animation event that started in 2014. “Anime Japan 2016” (Anime Japan’s 3rd event) has been held for two days from March 26th to March 27th at Tokyo Big site. This is a report of what we saw at “Anime Japan 2016.”

“Anime Japan” is an event that introduces various animations and contents to everyone including anime fans and business-related people. One of the things that gathered the most attention was doubtless information about newly-airing animation. With an announcement for a new animation series, “Berserk” has released a new key visual alongside an exhibition of a full-sized “Dragonslayer” sword model used by Guts himself in the series. Releasing a second season this summer, “The Heroic Legend of Arslan” exhibited a full-sized equestrian statue of Prince Arslan. Whereas “Yugioh,” with a movie coming up during the golden week, featured a 4-meter-tall statue of “Blue-eyes White Dragon” and other large, attention-grabbing figures, in front of which was a massive crowd trying to take pictures. A somewhat peculiar exhibition was an actual motorcycle ridden by the characters of the new spring anime, “Bakuon!” The bold, pink-colored motorcycle had a discernable presence at the event.

There were also numerous announcements of upcoming events, among which was “Animation Summer Live,” a regular mid-summer event that will be called, “Animelo Summer Live 2016 刻-TOKI-,” this year. More information about this anime song festival held from August 26th to the 28 in Saitama Super Arena will be available at the official website.

Meanwhile, one booth that caught our eye in both scale and flashiness among other anime-related booths was the one by Good Smile Company, who had made a tower consisting of boxed “Nendroids,” a palm-sized figure celebrating its 10th anniversary, stacked on top of each other in the order they were released. There was also a Good Smile Company associate booth selling event-exclusive merchandise, where they ran out of the goods for the current-airing “Osomatsu-san” animation, which gave us a pretty good idea of its popularity.

There were also red, blue, and green color-specific stages and an open stage at the event (4 in total), which had many interesting things going on. Especially this time, “Touken Ranbu,” an online-game that’s been causing a number of peculiar social phenomena such as “Touken Women,” had a special staging of its upcoming anime series, “Touken Ranbu - Hanamaru -” (to be released in October, 2016), and “Touken Ranbu (provisional)” (to be released in 2017).

Besides these, there has also been a talk show with the voice actors and actresses for “Macross Delta” that first aired in April, as well as those involved in the previous works of the series. At the talk show, the voice actors and actresses went through memorable scenes from the anime with the fans, making us feel the popularity and history of the long-loved anime series.

As for anime-related events, there were no doubt cosplayers on-site. “Cosplayers’ World” is special in that it features official background sets from several anime series. For this year, cosplayers were allowed to take pictures in front of the background with the futon from “Osomatsu-san” where 6 of the kids were asleep in, as well as the armed detective’s office from “Bungo Stray Dogs,” and an official key visual background from “Sword Art Online.” In the afternoon, there was set up a temporary cosplay area outside the event area which soon got overwhelmed with cosplayers and photographers. Ranging from popular characters cosplayed by beautiful men and women, there were also eccentric cosplays such as yesteryear’s transforming heroes, monsters, and half-monster men. Pretty much all the participants seemed to have had a fun time being their favorite characters.

At Anime Japan 2016, there also the Family Anime Festival 2016, for families raising the anime fans of the future. We have many events planned for people interested in anime, from the Creation Area with business seminars and anime creation seminars, to the Business Area, a space for business negotiations and exchanging information on the business side of anime.

Anime Japan 2016 has so many highlights that even a fan used to Japanese anime events will struggle to look around the hall swiftly. Surely, then, it will be even more difficult for foreign visitors? Which is why we have the Anime Japan Special Guided Tour for International Visitors (by CoFesta Ambassadors) just for our international guests. In this tour, an ambassador from CoFesta, who distribute Japanese anime and games as an NPO Corporation Visual Industry Promotion Organization, will take you around the hall and tell you about the event structure, special booths, and photo spots. One tour takes roughly 40 minutes, which is more than enough time to take it all in. On top of this, since the guide is an ambassador who speaks foreign languages and knows Japanese anime culture, they値l be able to answer any questions you may have. The great thing about this is it痴 free to join - just check in at the information counter before the tour scheduled start time.

Anime Japan 2016 had a total of 135,323 visitors ・13,000 more than last year, and Anime Japan 2017 has now been announced for next March. The sheer number of visitors, and the energy of the fans in the hall - whether exhibitor or visitor - truly displayed the power of anime, and the future it holds.

Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment. This article was written by the member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests that discovered from daily life.