The recently concluded Japan Expo in Paris (30th June until 3rd July 2011), France featured an exhibit by Comiket venue Tokyo Big Sight, where seven famous Tokyo neighorhoods and other key locations were portrayed by popular manga-ka as anthropomorphized characters.
The goal of Tokyo Big Sight’s exhibit was to showcase Tokyo’s many attractions, as well as collect messages of hope and encouragement from event attendees for the victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Akihabara — famous for (or infamous for, depending on your point of view) its electronics outlets, anime and manga merch stores, and maid cafes, is one of the most popular destinations for foreign tourists in Tokyo, and perhaps all of Japan.
The neighborhood’s famous otaku haunts are embodied by Akihabara Ruri, who dons wa-loli maid attire accented by twin tails, cat ears, and a French maid headdress. A bewildering mish-mash of different “moe-points”, she nonetheless makes for an endearing sum-of-all-parts that will delight any nijigen enthusiast.
Akihabara Ruri was drawn by light novel cover illustrator and game character designer Tomose Shunsaku. He is best known for his illustration work on Akatsuki no Goei and Kanojo wa Megane HOLIC, as well as contributions to monthly magazine Dengeki Hime.
Odaiba is the site of the sprawling shopping complex Venus Fort and the Fuji TV building with its famous floating sphere. This is also where you’ll find the Rainbow Bridge and the Daikanransha Ferris Wheel — two Tokyo landmarks that always seem to get blown up, knocked down, or run over in different manga and anime. Last but not least, Odaiba is also the home of Tokyo Big Sight, the giant Tokyo exhibition hall and venue of the twice-yearly Comic Market (Comiket).
Daiba Azusa — in her school uniform and twin tails, covers two of the biggest selling manga and doujinshi subgenres featured at Comiket. While she shares the welcoming smile and overall cuteness of Akihabara Ruri, Azusa’s more mainstream “kawaii” factor is a bit more trendy and fashionable thanks to Venus Fort’s influences.
Odaiba was drawn by Hinamatsuri Touko.
Ikebukuro is well-known for its bewildering array of department stores, movie theatres, and amusement centers. However, Ikebukuro is also famous for being the female equivalent of Akihabara. With its stretch of butler cafes and anime and manga stores catering to mostly-female BL fans, “Otome Road” in the heart of Ikebukuro has become a mecca for 801 fans of all shapes, sizes, and tastes.
Ikebukuro Souta embodies many girls’ ideals of the perfect moe-danshi — he is pretty, polite, and always perfectly dressed. And did we mention he has cat ears? That alone should be enough reason for many female manga and anime fans to beat a path to his door.
Ikebukuro Souta was created by Asuka Kanan, of .hack fame.