Jump Festa 2014

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It’s Shueshia’s world – they just let us use it.

I didn’t go to Jump Festa last year – I was still pretty new to Japan, and Chiba seemed a lot farther away than it really is (about an hour with one transfer to Makuhari Messe, ¥480).  In truth I’m also not a big fan of most of the series in WSJ – historically I’ve been more in-tune with Shounen Sunday – but of course they do run Hunter X Hunter, and I have other die-hard WSJ favorites like Rurouni Kenshin.  So this year I decided to check it out.

What struck me first is just how many true commercial powerhouses the Shounen Jump empire has going for it.  One Piece is the most obvious – and it’s most obvious at Jump Festa – but there are so many others, too.  Hunter X Hunter gets a little lost in the shuffle, especially when it’s on hiatus, but I think it’s fair to say it isn’t forgotten.  I was pleased (though I know it doesn’t mean much) that H x H is still listed as “1998 – Present” on their timeline mural, and on all the group artwork Gon is centrally positioned with the commercial titans like Luffy and Kuroko.  And H x H got one of the 10 slots at the giant stage at the rear of the hall, immediately between Haikyuu! and One PieceHunter X Hunter is not a priority for SJ, but I don’t think it’s a complete afterthought.

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As usual, here are some photos from the day, including the swag I brought back and the banner ad at JR Kaihin Makuhari stationKingdom had a booth, complete with cosplayers (I saw more of Diao today that I have all season) – very nice to see.  The H x H booth was decent-sized, with a very nice merchandise assortment – Gon and Killua were on-hand posing for photos, and they had a couple of seiyuu events at the booth which were ticket-only (including Mamoru Miyano and Namikawa Daisuke, which I’d have loved to see).  The main stage event allowed standing-room walk-ups though, so I got there early and sat through the Haikyuu! event first.  That was interesting in itself – clearly SJ has another fujoshi hit on their hands here.  Murase Ayumu hosted (in-person he really is a little bozu) and the others (especially Hino Satoshi) had a good time trolling him.  The biggest applause (and screams) came when they announced the rest of the anime cast, and the one character who’s apparently a huge fujoshi darling was announced to be played by Ohsaka Ryouta.

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Then came H x H (sorry – strictly no photos/video allowed).  It was absolutely inescapable how much older the crowd for that one was than the Haikyuu! event – almost all adults, and a lot more males.  The big four were all present – Megumi Han (hosting), Ise Mariya, Sawashiro Miyuki and Fujiwara Keiji.  Han-kun and Mariya-kun were dressed in very cute Harajuku-girl clothes with short skirts, and Sawashiro-san was ultra-classy and conservative.  Fujiwara was exactly as you’d expect – a cool dude, complete with shades.  There was a very funny moment when he referred to himself as a “famous idol”, and when Han-san made one of her idol moves on the way off-stage, Fujiwara-san imitated her.

In terms of content, it was striking that almost the entire presentation was focused on “The Last Mission”.  It was also striking that when Han-san – who’s absurdly adorable, by the way, and has a lot of Gon in her natural voice – was wrapping up by talking about how much she loves H x H, she started crying.  Not just damp eyes, but real crying (how damn sweet is that?).  I know I’m probably reading too much into it but it left me a bit melancholy, and I’ve noticed that Syoboi (which I know isn’t a perfect source) still has no schedule for new H x H episodes in January past #111.  Does all that mean anything?  Who knows – but the TV anime is clearly winding down at the very least, and even if Han’s tears and the lack of a schedule aren’t ill omens for the fate of H x H in the upcoming season, that’s a bit sad.

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  1. t

    is this heaven?maybe hell since I am not there…

    so much of HxH and Kingdom! He Liao Diao, Qiang Lei!(BTW, I hope you managed to avoid spoilers especially of HxH and kingdom).
    great photos Enzo! that shirt..(:
    sounds so much fun.

    HxH isn't forgotten among shonen fans. especially now that the series is on the most interesting part so far and the upcoming film which I really look forward to.
    but yeah, thinking about it, 2014 sounds a bit sad now since there is still hiatus and the tv series will probably come to an end this year..
    Han-san ;-; great VA. she is doing Gon so well. it's hard to imagine how she did Sumire in chihayafuru 2 HaHa. but if you said she really sounds like Gon in natural voice..well..she is a lot like Gon (:

    thanks a lot for this article!seriously, really appreciated!
    it's really intriguing to hear your experiences and get adorable pictures you take!
    thanks a lot (:

  2. e

    Pity for the HxH actors no photos allowed but hey you brought home a nice t-shirt. That falling starts shot was one of my fav from the prevous ED :,).
    No photo between Gon and Killua for you though? ^^

    Uhuh dat Lei goodness (bith 2D and 3D) *_* and is that Diao 2.0 I see among the panel pics?

  3. m

    if i could go, i would also have purchased tickets for the seiyuu events 😀
    it's so great you get to meet han megumi 🙂

  4. Well – "meet" is too strong a word. But yeah, it was nice to see those guys in person. The booth seiyuu events were actually by lottery for people who bought 2000¥ or more at the booth, but I got there too late.

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