Anime Contents Expo 2013

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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.

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  1. K

    Did you get Miyano's autograph?

    I'm jealous :p

  2. No, I hadn't bought anything so I didn't ask!

  3. e

    I see among the goodness a Pillar Man, Natsume-tachi, butterflies with Hakaze's BONES (ehe) and an Apo&Hibito doodle plus Mutta's naked clavicle *swoons*

  4. t

    What was your beef with Yuuki Kaji again?

  5. My beef? I have no beef – I just don't think he's a very good actor, which is why I find it mystifying that he gets possibly more lead roles than anyone in the industry.

  6. t

    Right. I'm sorry if my comment sounded like I was insinuating you had an irrational dislike of Yuuki Kaji!

  7. L

    Enzo, I thought he did a great job with Satoru (at least, enough that I didn't notice it was him until after the last episode). And his upcoming role as Eren in Titan could be another redeeming role.

  8. I would say Satoru is about as good as he gets. I honestly don't think he added any value to the role, but he wasn't a distraction – he was fine. But if that's the upside, why is he the busiest seiyuu around? There are so many who are better, and not many worse.

    I recognize that voice immediately, as Satoru or otherwise. I don't think Kaji is capable of disguising his voice at all, which is part of why he's so limited as an actor. I can't hold it against him that so many of his characters are intolerable, because they're written that way – I think it's become a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy for him to be connected with whiny doofuses, just as it was huge a couple of years ago for KugiRie to be annoying tsunderes. But that doesn't change the fact that he doesn't really seem to offer anything to actually do more with what's written than what's on the page itself.

  9. M

    "I don't think Kaji is capable of disguising his voice at all, which is part of why he's so limited as an actor."

    Err, that argument can be leveled at most seiyuu, good or bad. I think the greater (let alone fairer) criteria is rating the suitability to the role. Poor guy is ousted for merely existing. There are plenty of talented seiyuu like Jouji Nakata or Hiroshi Kamiya who've had their share of overexposure.

  10. M

    I thought the highly regarded Horie Yui was insufferably repetitive. Only once I had trouble recognizing her as Masako(MPD). Generally I'd liken her range to Kaji's though.

  11. Opinions are just that, and I certainly see it differently.

  12. M

    I'm glad you're pleased to host a place that displays a medley of them.

  13. A

    You could have asked Miyano Mamoru to do his famous Okabe intro or his inner monologues as Taichi or the awesome Chrollo.

    How was the crowd in the event? Anything like the major expos?

  14. No crowd can compare to the insanity of Comiket, but it was certainly rowdier than TAF. Mostly in the 18-30 range, a few kids, i would say 65% male and maybe 25% of the crowd was 35+.

  15. j

    So, out of curiosity: what do the studios win with their presence at these expos? Surely paying your booth at those places is pretty expensive, I doubt they can win all that back in those few days they're there. And even if they did, it'd surprise me if the profit they made was really that much so as to make all that work worth the effort.

    Is it to boost TV ratings? But then series that already ended, like ZnT, wouldn't be there. Is it to promote DVD/BDs sales?

  16. Why do any businesses go to any trade shows? I think it's just to spark interest in their products. There is stuff sold specifically at these events, but I think it's more about catering to the hard-core fans who are the life and death of the BD sector of the anime market. Don't forget we're talking about an industry where a few thousand unit sales is the difference between commercial success and failure.

  17. j

    Got it; thanks!

  18. G

    Miyano's just a tremendous actor, I love pretty much every role he's been in. *jealous of Enzo* lol
    And awww, Madhouse absent again, I wonder what's up with the studio these days.
    The ZnT Hakaze skeleton is pretty brilliant~

  19. The studio's fine, I think – they just chose not to go to the expense and trouble. I.G. and Brain's Base weren't at either, and there are others.

  20. Z

    "Seriously, anime industry – I just don’t get it. What’s the draw here?"

    The same could be said about many aspects of the anime industry. An industry I may gaze upon from afar but never truly understand.

  21. x

    Jealous that you got to see Mamoru! Was his voice dreamy? lol

  22. It was pretty loud in there so I didn't hear much. He just sounded like a normal guy, I'm afraid.

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