It’s not hard to see a pretty big difference between Kanto’s two rival anime industry conventions.
This was my first visit to Anime Contents Expo – it’s only the second that’s ever been held – so I didn’t really know what to expect. As I mentioned in my TAF post, ACE was set up by the industry’s major players as a protest against Tokyo’s passage of Bill 156. ACE is held in Chiba at Makuhari Messe, Japan’s second-largest convention site (after Tokyo Big Sight, of course).
There is still an industry presence at TAF – some vendors were at both and a few (like GAINAX, interestingly) only at TAF. But my initial impression that TAF was significantly less busy than in prior years were seemingly confirmed by my visit to ACE. There’s just no comparison – this event packs far more energy and excitement than TAF, and the crowds and booths both seemed much larger. Many of the big names like Aniplex only attended ACE this year and there was clearly far more emphasis on this event for everything but the family demographic.
Some impressions and reflections:
- Aniplex had easily the most impressive display at either event. They had a 10th Anniversary theme, with signed messages from over a hundred mangaka and directors and a historical retrospective on their DVD and Blu-ray releases. I spent a good half-hour there and could easily have spent more. One of the pics showcases Hourou Musuko, Mitsudomoe and Tsuritama all in the same frame – it doesn’t get much better than that for me.
- Sadly – and surprisingly – no Madhouse presence at either event. I didn’t see Thomas Romain at the Satelight booth, though he may be there tomorrow.
- Miyano Mamoru was signing Steins;Gate merch at the 5pb booth (actually in front of it) – I stood about 3 feet away from him.
- Absolutely no Shin Sekai Yori presence whatsoever. There was a healthy amount of Uchuu Kyoudai and Zetsuen no Tempest, however.
- There was a moment when I was standing in between the Attack on Titan and Hentai Prince booths when I had Kaji Yuuki assailing me from both sides. Seriously, anime industry – I just don’t get it. What’s the draw here?
- This little fellow was part of the silent auction. On the Tanaka Romeo front, I was pleased to see the Aura booth was the very first one you see when entering the main hall.
- Among the giveaways: Menma Mask. Lots of pub for the new AnoHana flick.
- Lots of previews for the Spring shows, plus upcoming theatricals. Attack on Titan continues to look tremendously impressive, and had a hilariously over-the-top booth as well. The new Ika Musume OVA also looks very solid. Surprisingly, it almost seems as if Summer might have as many truly interesting series as Spring this year – Gin no Saji, Uchouzen Kazoku and Yomamushi Pedal all look very interesting, and quite different from the usual summer formula feast.
- Aniplex was announcing some sort of new TTGL BD release that they’re pushing pretty hard.
- Dominators not for sale.