C3AFA Tokyo: Where Gundam Fandom Makes Its Big Stand

posted on by Kim Morrissy

C3AFA Tokyo is a relatively new anime and pop culture expo, having gotten its start last year when SOZO (Organizers of Anime Festival Asia) and Sotsu (Organizers of C3 Events) announced a partnership to host Anime Festival Asia in Tokyo, among other Asian countries. As a result, it's one of the quieter anime-related expos in Japan, but it's still notable for its strong ties to Gundam fandom.

You'd be forgiven for assuming C3AFA Tokyo is a Gundam fan event at first glance. Most of the cosplayers were dressed up as Gundam characters from across many different parts of the franchise. There was also an area dedicated to fan-made garage kits, most of which were Gundam inspired.

Because Bandai Namco has presence at the event, even the corporate booths are filled with Gundam-related promotions these days. In particular, the upcoming Gundam Narrative film has been drawing a lot of attention at C3AFA Tokyo. Bandai Namco has been encouraging people to post pictures of themselves attempting the pose shown in the Gundam Narrative key visual under the hashtag #ガンダムNT.

Even Bandai Namco's social media accounts have gotten in on the meme, posting pictures of their own staffers at C3AFA Tokyo attempting the pose. This proved rather difficult for Gulliver, the mascot character from Eureka Seven, but that only made the whole exercise more amusing.

From the @VSTORAGE official Twitter account.

That wasn't the only silly Gundam-related thing to be seen at C3AFA Tokyo. Men's Bigen, a company that sells hair color products aimed at men who wish to cover their graying hair, has been doing a collaboration with the Gundam series to produce gray hair treatment with a Char theme. It's true that despite making his first appearance in 1979, Char has yet to show a gray hair on his head, so perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here. Char always was talking about “defeating that white thing” in battle.

Outside of Gundam, the expo was filled with things to see and look at. Many of the booths, such as the Aniplex and Bandai Spirits booths, where showing off toys and figurines that had already been exhibited at events earlier in the year such as the Tokyo Toy Show and Wonder Festival, so not much of the content was strictly new. However, because C3AFA Tokyo is a relatively small convention, it would have been easier to line up to play Bandai Namco's upcoming games Soul Calibur VI and Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown there compared to dealing with the massive crowds at Tokyo Game Show.

Stage shows for various anime-related properties were held throughout the two days of C3AFA Tokyo. This year's C3AFA Tokyo held an award ceremony for the winner of Project Anima's Science-Fiction/Robot Anime Contest. Macross creator Shoji Kawamori personally attended to congratulate the runner-up winner (nobody took the grand prize this time).

C3AFA Tokyo is a yearly event that is held on the last weekend of August. It takes place at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba. Adult entry for a same-day ticket costs 1500 yen.

More photos from the event are shown below:

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