Feel the power.
For the second straight year I decided to hoof it out to Makuhari Messe in Chiba for Jump Festa. I was dithering, but the tweets from the official Hunter X Hunter showing off their goods pushed me over the edge. As with last year I’m glad I went – Jump Festa is an extremely well-run event, very fan-friendly and orderly (and much less stressful than Comiket, which is next weekend).
Some observations from the front:
- For those of you hung up on demographic labels, the name of the magazine may be “Shounen “Jump but the crowd at Festa was at least 60-65% female. Without a doubt the majority of the biggest names in the SJ catalog now have majority-female audiences.
- As ever, it’s awe-inspiring to be reminded of just how many powerhouses Shueisha has. There are so many massively popular franchises under their umbrella that it’s hard to imagine what kind of income they must generate every year.
- It may be because it’s airing in two weeks, but Assassination Classroom was definitely getting a much bigger push than Shoukugeki no Soma. It’s almost right up there with One Piece in terms of promotional tonnage.
- Haikyuu!! has definitely passed KuroBas in terms of popularity. Both are big, but right now Haikyuu is bigger.
- While the new female-oriented sports titans are massively popular, Prince of Tennis is still right there. It doesn’t get talked about much but it, too has a huge promotional presence and is clearly still a titan.
- Tokyo Ghoul is a great example of how disc sales are too simplistic a measure of an anime’s success. They were only fair with this show, but the boost to manga sales was one of the biggest in years – and the series has a big presence at this event.
- I was pleasantly surprised to see World Trigger with a fairly significant presence. I guess with 50 episodes on the way it makes sense.
- Conversely, I was a bit disappointed not to see more cross-promotion with the hugely popular Rurouni Kenshin live-action films – there was just a smattering. I eternally hope for the “Jinchuu” Arc to be adapted, but Shueisha just doesn’t seem that interested.
- Just a bit of Boku no Hero Academia to be found. Keep an eye on this one – I think it’s going to be the next breakout “next gen” WSJ title (and it also happens to be quite good).
The main event for me, of course, is the Hunter X Hunter booth. Happily it was about the same size as last year even with no new anime to flack, and also happily H x H clearly still has a sizeable body of fiercely loyal fans. I waited about 25 minutes in line at the merchandise booth, and according to my Twitter feed many of the items on offer sold out their Saturday stock. I originally hadn’t planned to buy anything, but I ended up caving for one of the new shirt designs. I have more H x H T-shirts than I’ll ever need, but I really liked this jersey-style (the Gon & Killua with the black sleeves). I was seriously tempted to buy one of the cels that I thought were ¥2000 too, but it turned out I misread the sign and they were actually sabisu to anyone buying ¥2000 worth. Score! So I took home Gon #4.
As with last year, the big draw for most was posing for photos with Gon & Killua (so many hugs). In the fans’ hearts those two will always be together, I suppose. There was also a wall set up this year for fans to doodle their testimonials of their love of the series – I continue to be amazed by the level of artistic talent in this country.