Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you about the Anime Contents Expo.
I saw a sign for it in the train station the other day and sorta shrugged it off, like yeah, it’d be nice to go, but I sorta had plans that weekend and wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it.
On Saturday I spent lots of time with my host mom, and on Sunday we were going to meet up with her son. Her son was running late, and wondered if I knew about the Anime Contents Expo. I decided to actually look into what was going on there, and a quick google search yielded that it was this weekend only, ended at 5 PM, and the entrance fee was only 1500 yen (which, compared to the registration fees of the anime conventions I frequent back home, is a sweet deal). On top of that, the venue (Makuhari Messe) is walking distance from my house.
So, noticing it was almost 2 o’clock, I decided to check it out. The plan was for me to check out the Anime Expo until 5, when I would meet up with my host mom and her son at the station for dinner.
I didn’t really know the way to the Messe; I only had a tiny map and some intuition to go on. As I walked to the station, a little kid walking by with his father pointed and shouted “Gaijin da!!” (“Look, a foreigner!”). His father looked horrified but I laughed it off. Friends who had been to Japan had told me to expect things like that. I wondered if I was the first gaijin that kid had ever seen.
When I reached the station, I noticed a crowd of people walking with huge anime tote bags. They all seemed to be walking away from the same general point, so I followed them upstream for a while. I soon saw some signs indicating the Messe was ahead, and knew I was going in the right direction.
When I got there, I was greeted by a hUGE sign showcasing posters of all the series represented at the expo. I was pleased to see some of my favorites among them: Gurren Lagann, Star Driver, Persona 3, etc. I followed signs for the entrance, which took me around the other side of the building.
I bought a ticket and went inside, where I was bombarded by sights and sounds. The place was packed! Probably less packed than it had been the day before, but still fairly impressive as far as crowds go. I browsed the booths lazily at first until I spotted the booth for a toy company I’m a fan of — Good Smile. The company makes a lot of products I like (Masamune and Aigis are both Good Smile products) so I was excited for the chance to finally get to see them in person, in some capacity. They had many new figures on display, such as the Ah My Goddess! statue I’d seen on the site and a prototype for Undersea Miku. Some of Good Smile’s scale figures were really impressive quality-wise. Just look at that Belldandy! (see below)
Mikudayo was also there. She was fairly popular.
After looking at the Good Smile booth, I wandered around to the other booths, taking pictures as I went. One booth had Saint Young Men cutouts, and I got my picture taken with Jesus and Buddha.
There was so much to see and do… one corner had anime playing, and there were figures on display, merchandise for sale, and cosplayers handing out flyers. I ended up taking every flyer I was handed, thinking I’d go through them later…. I got a Magi phone charm from a gashapon machine, and I also purchased some clear files from the Fate/Zero booth (though, truthfully, my objective was to get one of those Lancer tote bags…)
After walking around and browsing for an hour and a half or so, I heard the theme song from my favorite anime start to play. I made a beeline for the watching area–which by then was standing-room only–and took my place to watch. I hadn’t seen the show in a while, but I almost cried at several points remembering how much it meant to me. I can still remember every line, even without subtitles.
After that, I wandered around a little more. Deciding that I’d seen everything at about 4:30, I headed back, Lancer tote bag in hand and a huge grin on my face. All in all it was an incredibly fun experience, and my one regret is that I didn’t think to ask any of the IESers who live close to me if they wanted to join me. Oops. Next time I’ll put out a facebook message or something, for sure.
Here are some pictures–there was a lot of stuff that had “no cameras” signs on them, but people were taking pictures like mad anyway, so I snapped some as well… Out of respect for the no cameras signs, I won’t post pictures of anything that I shouldn’t have photographed.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Lauren Fellows is a Japanese major, geology minor studying at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. She hails from Boulder, Colorado, and is glad to be going to school in a place with both mountains and a water feature (the weather, however, leaves something to be desired). Lauren is a huge dork who loves drawing, watching anime, writing stories, and taking pictures of toys when she isn’t spending long hours training to beat the Elite Four in the latest Pokémon game. She’s ventured to a few places outside the United States, most notably France and Israel, but this is her first time in Japan and she is SUPER EXCITED. While in Japan she plans to make friends from near and far, experience anime culture in its natural habitat, and explore an urban jungle unlike anywhere she's ever been before. The adventure of a lifetime is just over the horizon!</span></p>