Tokyo Anime Fair 2013 Blowout: Part IIIby Simona Stanzani, Mar 24th 2013
Gainax has one of the biggest booths in sight but it is actually not releasing much information, playing mysterious as usual–but only on the outside… in fact in the inside, they disclose more than any anime fan could ever dream of! First of all, they don't hand out any leaflets nor information about their six planned new works aside from posters showing titles and not much else: already announced Blue Uru (Aoki Uru), Hōkago no Pleiades movie (lit: Afterschool Pleiades), slice of life school 4koma manga (not an anime project) Sadon Desu, a collaboration between Gainax's Nowa and mangaka Kyō Hatsuki published on Young Magazine by Kodansha, Akubi wo Suru ni wa Wake ga Aru (There Is a Reason That We Yawn), Tenshi Yohō The Strange Weathers CGI anime and Musical Wizard, original story by Gainax President Hiroyuki Yamaga, who was actually present at the booth talking to people the whole time.
On the side of the booth Gainax Official Shop is selling merchandise, and on its left side there is a timeline of Gainax works and the entrance to "The Theory of Gainax Animation", an amazing exhibition that guides you through every single step of anime production, from the birth of the idea drinking at a bar at night to the organizing of the production committee, planning, writing, drawing, CG, etc. all the way down to the fan watching TV and the merchandise planning process; they reconstructed people with 1:1 drwaing cut-outs, desks completed with animators' favorite action figures, whole studio rooms with computers and also old machinery next to their current substitutes–there is even an old editing machine and an entire mock recording studio with two actors dubbing! And of course tons of sketches, storyboards, color charts and stuff you would never get to see if you don't actually step inside an animation studio. Unfortunately it is forbidden to take pictures of the exhibition, I really wish they set it up permanently somewhere some day!
Gonzo has a small presence and is handing out no leaflets, exhibiting only Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyō, Kimi no Iru Machi, Zettai Bōei Leviathan and Ryo's posters and a video reel, though it still retains its trademark cool and sassy feel.
Tatsunoko is promoting their new Heroes & Heroines Entertainment Bar in Akihabara, Gundam's mecha designer Kunio Ōkawara's Legend of Mecha Design Exhibition with leaflets, Zip! Gatchaman with a video and the upcoming Gatchaman feature film–coming out August 24th–with a big poster. New TV anime Muromi-san is sharing their half of the booth, with posters, trailers and a display of the original manga books and anime scripts used by dubbing actors, while Pretty Rhythm Rainbow Live's girls take center stage.
Like last year, Garo's booth is a huge black cube that looks pretty monolithic, but if you turn the corner it reveals its true identity: it's a cinema theater. It shows trailers of the latest movie distributed on three big screens, one in front of the audience and the others two on the side walls, giving you an interesting quasi-3D feel.
On the back of the giant cube, surprise surprise! A huge Patlabor wall announces the feature film "coming in 2014". Also nice looking girls clad in black leather give away cool Garo paper bags containing movie leaflets.
The left side looks rather like a "real" booth, with Garo products on display and–surprise surprise!–thanks to Tôhoku Shinsha, very British Shaun the Sheep and his friends Wallace and Gromit's merchandise is invading Japan!
TV Asahi is one of the oldest of the lot celebrating this year, marking its 55th anniversary, but they are not making any glitzy statement, only big cutouts and posters From the New World (Shin Sekai Yori).
Card game company Bushiroad this year is as cute and pink as possible thanks to a big My Little Pony corner plus Renai Replay and School Idol Project apps for your moe needs, but they also keep promoting Cardfight!! Vanguard like they did last year.
TV stations doubling as licensors like TV Tokyo are generally not shy about showing off their precious merchandise, each show has got its big poster and video trailers: Naruto, Aikatsu!, Tamagocchi, Gintamas movie, Inazuma Eleven GO, Hayate the Combat Butler! Cuties, Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos, Mushibugyō, Pokémon's movies, Pretty Rhythm, Danball Senki Wars, Monsuno and Gyrozetter.
Dentsu highlights Tanken Driland and Danball Senki with big action figure replicas and trailers, together with DD Hokuto no Ken, but as you turn the corner they also reaffirm their illogical cuteness once again with Mameshiba+Kyary Pamyu Pamyu collaboration character MameshiPamyuPamyu and Hakoirineko, the "cat in the box". Also on display Aikatsu!, Monsuno and Gyrozetter's arcade game machines.
Bones as usual has a low-key but good looking booth, with posters of their best sellers, a big wall ad promoting Zetsuen no Tempest (Blast of Tempest)'s BD&DVD on sale April 14th and a show reel of their promotional trailers on the side.
Satelight is promoting Arata Kangatari, Bodacious Space Pirates, AKB0048, Subaru x Shoji Kawamori's Eyesight project with a big booth equipped with a stage for talk shows with the various creators and a virtual camera demo corner showing the technology used for AKB0048's live performance capture and trailers on a huge screen.
Comix Wave has got a huge, magnificent display of The Garden of Words by Makoto Shinkai, with a big screen showing the trailer, that promises it to be another masterpiece (at least from the visual point of view). Kono Danshi (This Boy) gets his bit of the spotlight too with trailers and poster ads for both This Boy Can Fight Aliens! and This Boy Picked Up a Mairman.
Studio 4°C is promoting its PES project with Toyota with a splendid interactive show, where by pushing buttons and doing similar actions you can make the aliens from the anime do this or that thing, then a sort of "magic box" you can peep in, with holographic and kaleidoscopic effect. They also have a small shop in the back, and a display of Berserk's movie's original drawings. They are showing a keen interest in promoting it abroad.
Goodsmile Company this year has a joint booth with Ultra Super Pictures, the holding formed by CGI animation company Sanzigen and animation studios Ordet, Trigger and LIDEN FILMS, showing samples of their works both on screen and in paper, with particular focus on 009 Re:Cyborg. Of course Good Smile are showing their best action figures too: Oh, My Goddess, the ever-present Hatsune Miku, Berserk, Space Adventure Cobra and more.
TV station Tokyo MX has one of the cutest and most colorful booths on show, with posters and trailers of their programs.
Aside from the usual representation of the various embassies (this year China was notably absent, it used to have a huge and flamboyant booth but it seems the islands controversy is having a tangible effect on business relations between the two countries) this year International Comic Fest (Kaigai Manga Festa) is present at the show with Japanese-French co-production products, like Yapiko's comics or the very cool retro-robot Futuristic models by Walter Pezzali, comic and illustration books, Kotobukiya's foreign comic action figures and a gallery organized by Euromanga magazine with color illustrations and comic pages by famous foreign artist plus shots of last year's International Comic Fest and a corner dedicated to I Kill Giants by Ken Niimura.
Blister Comics store and Shogakkan Shueisha Productions are present selling foreign comics translated in Japanese.
Manga artists duo Akira Himekawa of Zelda fame are also present showing their works in other languages, including Gold Ring, the first UAE manga ever produced. They are very interested in collaborating with foreign artists and companies.
Another interesting project realized in Japan by foreign creators deserving mention is The 2 Queens by Sav! The World Productions, an epic movie animation trilogy about the life of historical figures Queen Brunhild and deadly rival Fredegund, brainchild of writer director Savin Yeatman-Eiffel (Oban Star-Racers). The first movie is currently in production and the animation staff includes Toshiyuki Inoue (Akira; Blood, the Last Vampire). The trailer is very very impressive.
Sav! The World Productions Website
This year the focus is on three artists in the central booth area: Gomm Video/Siichiro Shimizu with arty but amusing short animation Chugakusei (Middle-Schooler Planet) about a chaotic planet where everyone is a middle-schooler, the characters have no facial features; illustrator and 2D animators Yuka Imabayashi and Mariko Tokunaga. Around the central area, other artists and companies exhibit in several smaller spaces. Among them, Takorasu's steam-punk art is really striking.
Akihabara Town (Yamato Nadeshiko)
Otaku's mecca Akiba has got its own spot too, promoting various Akihabara companies, including cosplay agency Onigiri Project providing cosplayers for events, etc. They also have a racing itasha and itabike on display.
We've seen itasha and itabikes, but what about wearing your favorite moe character yourself even when you don't want anybody to know? Itasuit Project has got the answer! They're tailor-made so can be very expensive though. But just looking doesn't cost anything, and they do look very nice!
This innovative system allows you to create 3D character poses on a PC using a purpose-made real doll; as you change its pose, the 3D character changes too. It can be used with both male and female characters as a base for illustration, manga, etc. Quite impressive!
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