Arriving too early always means on thing: waiting to check into your room. And while I love San Francisco, and definitely looking forward to a WonderCon weekend, I’ve got time to kill and work to do. Now, no offense to anyone, but I loathe the thought of opening my laptop at the local Starbucks. Writing, for me, isn’t a spectator sport. Thankfully, I’ve happened upon the Sutter Station, a dive(ish) bar with free wifi. So, bloody mary in hand, sinking into a plush row of empty leather chairs, the kind yearning for ass, I bring you a few more words on the Tokyo Anime Fair.
As you’ve already seen, I’ve begun posting blurbs about upcoming anime that grabbed my attention like a blue-eyed redhead. I shall continue in such fashion. But a few thoughts on the event are, I think, necessary.
According to the event coordinators, 132,492 people attended this year’s TAF. From the lines I witnessed, as well as the often body odor paved walkways, the exhibition hall was indeed swelling at all times. Be that as it may, the global economy lurks. The fair was noticeably smaller than in previous years. Let’s face it, as I’ve said before, true digital culture and its sheer destruction of the way media and entertainment have traditionally generated product and profit is a touchy subject. That alluring, well-packaged DVD is obsolete. And for the middlemen still trying to suck on that teet, it’s more than a contest for third base. It’s a fight to the death! So, as the business panels suggested, the industry is all about tapping into new markets. One particularly subject to internet censure comes to mind. Think about it: China.
Anyway, enough of the business nonsense, right! What about the fair itself? One phrase emerges: trade fair.
This venue is open to the public on the weekend, and for anime fans it’s well worth visiting. But this is an opportune moment for licensing, other business deals, and anime announcements for the industry in Japan. It’s great for getting the latest info and viewing never-before seen trailers. But if you’re into purchasing collectibles and merchandise, Tokyo at large and the Cons in the US are better venues. Furthermore, the Tokyo Anime Fair incorporates all Japanese animation. Many booths are dedicated to the kids. So be prepared for adorable caterpillars, bears, ducks, and a very cute anthropomorphic soybean. In fact, I suggest you fanboys take a girl. I guarantee she’ll fall in love with these Hello Kitty-esque characters. Who knows, maybe you’ll even score some points.
Overall, I like it. I like it a lot. On a sunny day, the monorail ride across the bay to the Tokyo Big Site is worth it alone. During my ride, I not only witnessed a cutesy pop concert, but also some Tokyo drifting.
My one complaint: not enough cosplay. Well, you can’t have everything, right?
If you have never been to the Tokyo Anime Fair, I strongly recommend a visit. It’s held every March, and that time of year is perfect for good airfare and room rates in Tokyo. So, it’s a good reason to start planning that trip to Japan. Yes, the one you keep putting off!!!!