Tokyo Anime Fair 2010 Blowout: Days One & Twoby Zac Bertschy, Mar 26th 2010
It's that time of year again when the Japanese animation industry gathers at Big Sight in Odaiba, Tokyo to show off their latest wares, court potential licensors and mingle with press and fans alike.
It was no secret that the show felt smaller this year; after a couple of years of economic decline and depressed foreign sales, the big lavish booths were scaled-down to more practical – but still impressive - sizes this year. Regardless, there were plenty of brand-new, exciting anime series on display.
We'll run down each major booth and let you know what they had on display and what's new.
STUDIO GHIBLI/ NIPPON TELEVISION
Studio Ghibli showed up with their usual green booth and giant Totoro balloon, this time promoting Karigurashi no Arrietty, their upcoming retelling of the classic children's novel The Borrowers. A short trailer was on display and some merchandise from Ponyo was out, as well as their standard promotional material for the Ghibli museum.
Sharing space with Ghibli was Nippon Television, which had a couple of lifesize Lupin statues around to promote “The Last Job”, a TV special that aired back in February, and some promotional material for Kimi ni Todoke, a romantic comedy that just recently finished airing. Beginning April 6th, Nippon TV will begin airing the new series Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin, which follows a band of troubled teens who have to make their way in the world after being trapped in an abusive reformatory together for years.
Gonzo's booth has been slowly scaled down over the years and this year they had a modest but still pleasant booth showing off most of their previous works and merchandise based on their series, including stuff from Saki, Samurai 7, Witchblade and Afro Samurai. No new series were on display, but a room in the back was being used to show off clips from Last Exile and Blassreiter, which had been converted to 3D and were playing on a 3D LCD TV, with the required 3D glasses provided. While no full 3D conversion for Last Exile or Blassreiter are planned, the idea was to show off what they were capable of in terms of producing 3D films, and the representative told us that they were tentatively working on a new 3D anime TV series that would potentially air as early as Spring 2011. No further details are available as of press time.
Dentsu took up a sizable chunk of real estate near the back center of the hall, with a boatload of Mameshiba merchandise on sale and a massive statue of their latest shonen hero, Stan Lee's Heroman, on display to the left. A huge tower of pastries was erected in the right corner in honor of the ongoing Yumeiro Patissiere, and posters for upcoming Bleach and Gintama movies were in full display. There was also a poster for the King of Thorn film - on a roadshow tour now - which was sponsoring a scavenger hunt at the convention where fans could win prizes for finding certain locations throughout the show.
Another big company dabbling in 3D was Sunrise, which, in addition to the standard (but still impressive) full-size Gundams on display in their massive booth's main lobby, had a series of small theaters set up for viewers to strap on some goggles and check out a clip from their upcoming 3D anime project, Hipira-kun. The short segment involved Hipira-kun and a friend getting trapped in a witch's sketchbook, where a crayon dinosaur comes to life and starts wreaking havoc.
Inside the main lobby a handful of new theatrical titles were being shown off as well; a new Sgt. Frog movie and the previously mentioned Gintama theatrical film (which bows on April 24th). Outside the booth on the south side was a lifesize standee of an SD Gundam in full Romance of the Three Kingdoms gear to promote Brave Battle Warriors, which casts the SD Gundam crew in the roles of that classic tale.
TMS's booth was largely a scaled-down version of what they showed last year, with a repeat of their Saint Seiya OVA display out and an extended Bakugan Battle Brawlers section. Also being advertised was the Lupin III theme park ride and the new Detective Conan movie, which was more extensively promoted at the Toei booth.
NHK, the Japanese television network, had a towering booth with a handful of new shows on display. Among the new projects displayed on the turrents of NHK's booth was the fall release of Bakuman. which is based on the popular manga of the same name that follows a confident writer-artist duo as they dream of conquering the world with their manga.
Coming up in the Spring season is Giant Killer, which follows a ragtag soccer team that's in danger of being booted out of the league; the coach decides it's up to him to shape these athletes up in order to take down the #1 team in the league.
Geneon – which, remember, still exists in Japan – had a big space marked out near the front of the hall with three big arches displaying their brand-new and recent works, with a massive red carpet filling the empty space beneath. An array of brochures and a TV displaying some trailers dominated the end of the booth.
Geneon had a handful of new series out for perusal, including Kaichou wa Maid-sama!, which follows school council president Misaki Ayuzawa who, naturally, moonlights at a maid café; her secret is discovered by a dashing classmate and naturally romantic hijinks ensue.
Also in the pipe from Geneon is Mayoi Neko Overrun!, which is about a little kid who lives with his not-related-by-blood sister and helps her run a sweets shop. As is usually the case, his older “sister” one day brings home a mysterious cute girl she found in the street. There are cat ears involved!
GOOD SMILE COMPANY
Venerable otaku toy and statue manufacturer Good Smile had the usual display of their latest wares out, this time including some SD figures, standard statues, “Nendoroids” and models of characters from K-ON!, Strike Witches, Evangelion 2.0, Bakemonogatari, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha and many others. Check out the video for a full-run through and start your merchandise lust now.
Toei's massive red booth dominated the center of the hall and featured one of the show's main attractions: trailers for the upcoming CG Captain Harlock and Gaiking movies, which kept the small theater provided in the booth full even on press day. There was also a 3D dance routine on display from the latest Pretty Cure offering, some limited promotional material for Shadow, the latest in the Ring ni Kakero boxing series, which airs on Animax's pay-per-view cable channel in early April.
Visitors to Toei's booth could also have their pictures taken with Luffy and Goku from One Piece and Dragonball, respectively, each in their promotional poses for the one-hour TV block they occupy. Some standees from the children's series Toei Robot Girls took up the back corner. Also in the rear of the booth was a display for Zebraman 2, the over-the-top sentai action movie, with a few leathery costumes out for press perusal.
PIERROTPierrot returned this year with their big circular booth, complete with model display and children's area (where little souvenir bags were being decorated with what looked like puffy paint). On display were a bunch of promotional items and merchandise for Tegami Bachi, which enters its second season soon, and a simple poster for a new Bleach movie that's scheduled for release this winter but doesn't have a title (or a plot synopsis) yet.
ShoPro brought back a slightly truncated version of last year's booth but still had plenty on display. The 30th Doraemon (that's right – there are thirty Doraemon movies!) came out in March in Japan and a big display was set up with a boatload of Doraemon merchandise and a theater standee for the film.
ShoPro had a few new series airing in the spring; the first is titled Rurupuri, which is a traditional magical-girls-with-animal-sidekicks series that features a team of girls who transform into classic fairytale princesses like Snow White and Cinderella and, presumably, defeat their enemies and learn about friendship. The series is backed up by an arcade game produced by Sega. Also on tap in the shojo realm is the second season of Mechamote Iinchou.
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