You may recall my reporting from last year’s Tokyo Anime Fair and Anime Contents Expo, the rival con that was established in protest over Ishihara and Bill 156. Well, Ishihara is gone (though now exuding his stink in national politics, trying to out-fascist Abe Shinzo) and while I don’t think all is forgiven, mutual financial interest has won the day and the two events were combined into one mega-con, “Anime Japan“.
Without a doubt this was a bigger event than either on their own – TAF especially was a bit derelict after the split – but the good thing about Comiket is, after you’ve survived that there’s really no crowd in Tokyo that will seem too big. You’ll always find yourself saying “Well – it’s no Comiket”. So while there were areas that were packed (like the Aniplex booth, as always) on balance it was pretty doable. There was even the nice bonus of a postcard view of Mount Fuji on from the Yurikamome Line on the way to Odaiba, though it was gone before I had a chance to whip out the camera.
Without a doubt the highlight of the day for me was a screening of the premiere of Mushishi Zoku Shou. There were of course no subs, and sadly the screening area was sandwiched between two extremely loud soundstages with idol-type stuff happening, so it was hard to hear. What I can report is that there was no OP (may be added later), and thematically it tied into the series premiere, revisiting the notion of the ever-filling sake cup. The story revolves around the son of a sake brewer (who I think is played by Honjou Yuutaro – Ao – but I’m not sure) who can see Mushi, and a gathering of Mushishi in the woods. Happily there was no CGI that I could see, and the production values and art looked up to the usual Mushishi standard. Perhaps the most exciting thing was that Nakano Yuto was on-hand, and gave an interview after the screening. He doesn’t look any more like a seiyuu than he sounds like one.
The pictures mostly tell the story of the rest of the day. Hiro Shimono was emceeing one of the stage events, again demonstrating that he’s utterly a natural at that sort of thing. No Madhouse booth, sadly – they seem to avoid cons, for some reason (though their retail store in Asagaya opens next week, and I’ll be reporting in) – and while Satelight had a huge booth and Thomas Romain was there according to his Twitter, I missed him. I was gratified to see a very prominent presence for Yowamushi Pedal (though not as prominent as Haikyuu!!), and a lot of young ladies sporting Yowapeda swag.
Afterwards, tired as I was I decided to finally check off a box that’s been nagging at me since I’ve been here and check out the life-sized Gundam statue at Diver City. It’s on Odaiba so you’d think I’d have stopped by on one of my trips out there, but Odaiba is so big that walking between places takes forever, and the train is ridiculously expensive ¥240 for one stop) that I’ve never mustered the will to do so until now. And I admit, it’s pretty impressive up close. I also realized that the adjacent Venus Front shopping center is a flat ripoff of the underground shopping complex at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas, right down to the fountain (though that’ not a bad thing, as it’s a pretty nice place to kill some time).