Event Report: Dengeki Bunko Festival 2017

posted on by Kim Morrissy

The main takeaway of the Dengeki Bunko Festival will, for most people, be the news. A third season was announced for both Sword Art Online and A Certain Magical Index, along with an anime adaptation of Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online. The mood at Akihabara was electrifying; even I couldn't help getting emotional when the crowd broke into wild cheers.

But the announcements weren't the only part of the Dengeki Bunko Festival this year. This event, which celebrates the light novel imprint's 25th anniversary, was a celebration of all things Dengeki. Among other things, fans were able to buy exclusive merchandise, trial the upcoming Sword Art Online and A Certain Magical Index games, watch an advance screening of the new Kino's Journey anime, and walk into the so-called “ecchi corner.”

The festival was focused in two venues in the main hub of Akihabara: the Belle Salle Akihabara (the main event hall in the area) and the Akihabara UDX, a shopping complex with an accompanying theater and gallery. The lines to enter the merch booths trailed all the way down the main street. As long as you weren't interested in buying the limited-time merch or trialing the games, though, the lines weren't too unreasonable. The lines were big, but they moved quickly.

Here are some photo highlights from the venue:

In case you weren't aware, the new A Certain Magical Index game is a collaboration with Sega's Virtual-On video game franchise. Here's a model of one of the robots teamed up with the Gekota frog mascot from the Index franchise.

Here's a Mikoto Misaka cosplayer paired with… the green bear mascot from Kaspersky Lab, the Russian multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider? I don't really get it either.

In the second floor of the Belle Salle Akihabara, there was a gallery showing art from a handful of major Dengeki Bunko series over the years. The popular series were obviously represented, although it was nice to see the winners of old Dengeki Bunko Prize competitions get a mention too.

There was also a “Dengeki Bunko Heroines' Secret Room” featuring cutouts of the popular heroines. If you were so inclined, you could use an AR app on your phone to see the “secret” form of the heroines. (Hint: It's ecchi.)

And finally, the ecchi corner you've been waiting for.

Although people were allowed to take photos in here, in the interest of keeping today's coverage of Dengeki Bunko Festival family friendly, I chose not to take any photos inside. Basically, it was a tiny booth (visited entirely by men, by the way) featuring risqué images of light novel girls. There were also “psychological tests” telling you what kind of personality you had based on the fetishes you chose. Lots of people laughed at those; obviously nobody was taking this remotely seriously.

Some other things worth noting: if you'd won a lottery beforehand, you could get an autograph from the author and illustrator of some popular Dengeki Bunko series (Sword Art Online, Eromanga Sensei, Spice and Wolf, etc.) If you didn't win the free lottery beforehand, though, you could still buy lottery tickets on the day. With all this gambling and sexual titillation going on, Dengeki Bunko is obviously Not For Kids!

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