Anime Japan Review
Hi everyone! Deegan Marie here! Normally I just shoot images of a convention and Darth Mexican writes about the conventions but this time I’m doing both! Last week I boarded a plane to Japan for the first time in my life. I planned my trip around Anime Japan because I really wanted to check out an international con and help expand The Geek Lyfe to another space in the world. I really wanted to go to Anime Japan to see how different the anime conventions in the motherland were compared to America.
Anime Japan was held at Tokyo Big Site. I was staying in the Shibuya prefecture so the train ride to the convention was about 30 minutes. Not too bad and the area itself was breathtaking! The grounds were massive, there was a cute little courtyard-like area in between the train station and the actual building. A couple large staircases right in front which makes for a really nice photo with leading lines. The building itself had separate “wings”. The anime convention was on one side of the building while another 2-3 conventions were taking place on the other side.
The wing of the con had two massive exhibit halls on each side of the hallway. And something they had that I have never seen at another con, they had a specific cosplay area. It was outdoors for the most part but there was an indoor area as well for cosplayers to change and freshen up.
Since I’m on the topic of cosplay already! So the cosplay in Japan is VASTLY different than it is here in the states. Before leaving for Japan I looked at Anime Japan’s website to see the rules to make sure I was better prepared. One of the first rules: you have to pay to cosplay. I believe the amount in USD was $10. Not a whole lot, but still a new thing to me to have to pay to cosplay. Second, you can NOT show up to a con in cosplay. You must bring your cosplay with you, pay, enter the cosplay area and change there. And when you are ready to leave, you must cjange back into street clothes. You are not allowed to leave the con in cosplay. Cosplays can’t be too risque, weapons dont get tagged at this con either.
As far as the actual cosplayers went, they were quite good! My favorite cosplays were the BIG Naruto group. A lot of the were characters I have not seen cosplayed. SAO had a pretty big following as far as cosplays went as well. A lot of anime cosplays I didn’t know but they were all so beautiful. So much kawaii in one building!
Like mentioned above, there was an outdoor cosplay area. This is where most of the cosplayers gathered. It was in a parking lot so most people would stand in a parking spot and hang out there. There was a MASSIVE amount of photographers. The togs would form a line in front of whichever cosplayer they wanted to shoot with and wait patiently for their turn. Most togs had various speed lights and light mods as well as reflectors. Unlike in America, this area is where photographers did their con photoshoots. Cosplayers didnt have cards to hand out to the photographers either, instead most of them had mini white boards with their social media written on it so the photographer could take an image of them holding it and they would remember exactly who each cosplayer was. I think that is so smart! I know there is many times when I’m shooting at an out of state con and I get a cosplayers card and cant remember what cosplay they belong with unless that cosplay is on the card. So just an idea for our fellow american cosplayers!
I didn’t grab anything to eat at the con as I wasn’t there the entire day. I did walk through the area where they have the food and it was awesome! The thing I really liked about this con is they had an entire section of the wing dedicated to food/rest area. They have what is essentially a cafeteria. American cons usually have some tables set out in a couple areas but this one had like an entire huge room set aside for it. And it was sectioned off from the busy areas so you could actually enjoy your food and take a break.
Due to me not being able to speak Japanese, I didn’t get to talk to any of them really haha! When I got to the ticket area however, everyone was all smiles. Everything about the convention was well organized and efficient from the time I got my pass to when I left.
Oh man this con was CHEAP. Its $18 USD a day for advance tickets and $22 at the door. Even at some of the earliest purchase dates American conventions start at around $25-$35 and buy the time you purchase tickets at the door they can get as high as $90 or more. Purchasing tickets to such a fantastic event at such a low price was incredible indeed!
They had little stages set up everywhere for various entertainment. Some had people demoing games on a big screen, others had cute lolita groups doing a dance skit, there were interviews on big screens and 2 big stages in which you needed to purchase additional tickets to go see the shows on those. There seemed to be something for everyone who attended and the quality of the entertainment felt well worth the price of admission.
There were almost none! Unlike american conventions where the exhibitor hall is almost all vendors, Anime Japan did not have many booths where you could buy things. If any of you have beento Anime Expo in LA, the big booths like Aniplex and Funimation, those were the kind of exhibits they had at Anime Japan. Big companys mostly occupied the spaces and had figures in cases, drawings/sketches from when the anime was being produced, booth babes handing out flyers, life size robots and more at their booths. There also was not an area like artist alley. The exhibit hall was literally just that, exhibits. My favorite booth was Aniplex because they had a really nice Ao No Exorcist (Blue Exorcist) showcase. They also showcased a number of musicians which was really refreshing to see music being promoted at a con.
Overall it was a great first international con. I was expecting a lot more cosplayers than I saw, so that was probably my only disappointment. It was kind of nice to not have a ton of vendors as it was easier to walk the con floor without running into a ton of people. I thought I knew a decent about about anime, boy was I wrong! There were so many anime flyers, booths, cosplays that I had never seen or heard of. Which was really cool because now that I am home I can check them out! According to their site, the weekends attendance was a whopping 145, 453! THAT IS A LOT OF PEOPLE. Although that is a big number, I never felt like the con was overcrowded.
Huge shout out to The Geek Lyfe for letting me cover this con and being so supportive over the last year I’ve worked with them. If you want to keep up with my photography and cosplay feel free to check out my social media, Deegan Marie Cosplay and Deegan Marie Photography on facebook and deeganmariee, deeganmariephoto on instagram. But you have to follow The Geek Lyfe on social media first 🙂
Until next time my geeky friends, 😀