After all the controversy surrounding Bill 156, I wasn’t sure I’d attend Tokyo Anime Fair again – or even if it would continue to be held. Well, Ishihara is gone as Governor (though now afflicting national politics, and his successor is his chosen acolyte) and the law has proved to be every bit as pointless as unenforceable as the skeptics promised it would be. After a couple of test cases yielded nothing (TLR: Darkness and Yosuga no Sora being the most famous) everyone seems to be pretty much pretending the law doesn’t exist, as near as I can tell.
That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been an impact. As a direct result of their anger over the bill the industry started a rival event, Anime Contents Expo (which I’ll also be attending) held a week later, in nearby Chiba. The first was cancelled due to the 3/11 quake (as was TAF) but last year’s event went quite well, and attendance at TAF was noticeably less than it was when I attended in 2009. TAF has a considerably more family-oriented focus now (though by no means exclusively) and it was generally comparatively low key. Of course, after the uncontrolled mayhem of Comiket I may be destined to feel that way about any other anime event.
Ironically, the best display by far came from GAINAX – and sadly, no pictures were allowed. It was a very clever interactive walk-through of their animation process, centered mostly on TTGL and complete with signage in (excellent) English, and very open and opinionated written commentary. Of course any reminder of GAINAX’ brilliant past is also a reminder of their depressing present and future, so it was a fairly bittersweet experience. There was also a stunning (no surprise) booth set up for the new Shinkai Makoto feature.
Among the other photos are some I took of the Tiger & Bunny booth (swamped with fujoshi), various other anime-specific displays, and some very cool models from Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (very strong Matsumoto presence this year). Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki was given the top prize for animation in 2012, though the rest of the winners were a mixed batch at best. I’m happy to report I got a bit of Ginga e Kickoff swag in one of the gift bags, and got to say hello to Thomas Romain, who was working the Satelight booth. There was also a genuine, honest-to-goodness hero show complete with screaming kids.
I also threw in another sakura shot as the trees along the moat were even better today thought the weather was not. And a couple of notes from Akiba: the big stores have taken to displaying the last two volumes of Touch in the Mix displays, which I suppose is rather clever. And I saw one of the more unusual crossover doujins I’ve seen in a while: Minami-ke and Magi. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.