A few weeks ago, my friends and I had the privilege of going to AnimeJapan, the largest convention in the world featuring Japanese animation from all studios and stations across Japan. It was hosted in Tokyo Big SIght, a convention center located in South Tokyo along the bay, making it very windy. Although the lines were very long, and the crowds were huge, it was definitely worth the ¥1600 to get in.
Upon arriving at the convention, we realized that there were so many people! In the exhibition halls, there were lots of television stations and animation studios showing off some behind the scenes of the work they do on their animations, and selling merchandise.
There was a large cosplay area where people could take photos of those dressed up. Here, they provided backdrops from specific shows, so that those characters could pose with it
The area also extended outside, because there were so many people. You usually had to wait in line to take photos of the cosplayers, and they each had their own sign so that you could go to their social media pages.
TUJ student Naomi Polite is in awe of just how large the exhibition halls were, especially at the large screens above many booths screening promos for new anime.
This show, Love Live!, was very popular at the convention. Idol animes are currently all the rage, so it was common to see girls in similar uniforms in dance poses.
TUJ Student Megan Smith is in awe at the display for the series Kyokai no Rinne which just premiered in Japan. As a fan, it was exciting to see new information on the show that wasn’t available in the U.S. or even on many English websites.
Many cosplayers at Anime Japan even took photos themselves. This cosplayer, dressed as the character Araragi from the Monogatari series was also taking photos of other cosplayers, while cosplaying himself.
Here Temple Japan student Megan Smith poses with the outfit and prop for the titular character from the upcoming anime series Kyōkai no Rinne.
TUJ students Carlos Casademont and Megan Smith laughing over something but still having a good time enjoying Anime Japan and checking out all of the booths and merchandise.
Many studios are a chance to promote their upcoming shows. This one, The Heroic Legend of Arslan, is an upcoming anime television show. This area was very busy because the manga version of the show was written by the famous author Arakawa Hiromi, known for creating the series Fullmetal Alchemist.
Cosplaying at Japanese conventions is incredibly different from ones in the U.S. At AnimeJapan, cosplayers were allowed to go anywhere in the convention, but this isn’t always the case. In similar conventions in Japan, it is common that you cannot leave the cosplay area without completely changing first. In the U.S. there is no limit on where you are permitted to wear your cosplay.
Sadly, the convention only ran from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm each day it was open (which was only Saturday and Sunday). Conventions in the U.S. usually run 3 days, from Friday to Sunday, and open at times such as 9:00 am to 2:00 am.
AnimeJapan was a big new experience for me and I would love to have the opportunity to go to something similar in Japan again. Unfortunately, AnimeJapan is only once a year in the spring, but there are many other similar events in Tokyo and other places in the nearby areas for fans and even cosplayers to attend.