Tokyo International Anime Fair
AnimeJapan Convention in Odaiba
Tokyo International Anime Fair is a yearly event held in the beginning of spring in Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center on Odaiba Island. It was renamed AnimeJapan in 2014 and is the largest world event dedicated to the Japanese animation industry.
Every year in late March, AnimeJapan convention is held in the iconic Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba for four days, including two only accessible to professionals. It is dedicated to Japanese cartoons, manga and otaku hobbies.
The first salon was organized in 2002 under the name of Tokyo International Anime Fair (TAF). The 2011 session was cancelled due to the Great Tohoku Earthquake. In 2014, it merged with Anime Contents Expo to become AnimeJapan. The convention attracts each year more than 100,000 visitors, despite a quite expensive entrance fee.
About 300 professionals set up a display booth, among which famous animation studios, such as Toei, Aniplex, etc., as well as publishing companies such as Shueisha. They use the convention to make exclusive announcements about their new products, which makes the events’ importance comparable to an “E3 of the anime industry”.
The most popular animated series are celebrated with exhibitions of exclusive illustrations of future releases, various related items, figures and statues, or voice actors and directors’ autographs. And of course, it is possible to purchase (it would be unthinkable not to!) many goodies from one’s favorite shows.
Organizers have also prepared a specific area for cosplay amateurs on the side of the convention. There are also many costumed Japanese hostesses who kindly accept to be photographed. Visitors are by the way often invited to pose with characters played by professional cosplayers in the surroundings of animation companies’ booths.
In addition, cafés and catering stands, some of which featuring decorations from popular anime, serve bento 🍱, takoyaki and okonomiyaki. In this anime high mass, the festive atmosphere is guaranteed thanks to various live performances.
Non-professionals can visit on Saturday and Sunday, and it is recommended to come as early as possible. Despite an attendance that may seem low compared to the Comiket’s, which is held at the same place, AnimeJapan only occupies half of the exhibitions halls and therefore is quickly crowded.