Continued from Day 2: Square Enix Showcase.
The 2012 Tokyo International Anime Fair (TAF) was held on the 22nd to the 25th of March at Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba. Spanning several halls at the massive Comiket venue, it is one of the biggest and most well-attended anime conventions in the world.
The event is split into two viewing days: Business Days open only to industry and press people, and Public Days with are open to everybody.
We visited on Business Days, thanks to arrangements made for us by the folks over at Toei Animation Philippines. Since the attendees were limited to industry people, overseas buyers, and international press, the atmosphere was very calm and professional — there were no maddening crowds like those you find at usual conventions, and you can spend as much or as little time as you like perusing the booths.
Business Days has its pros and cons: on one hand, the hall is easily-navigated and stress-free, the persons manning the booths spend a lot of time engaging with you, and the free swag is so much better compared to Public Days. On the other hand, if you were looking for the excitement of the crowds, stage performances, and plenty of cosplayers, Business Days will literally feel dead — so if you plan to attend TAF consider carefully which days you want to go, and make arrangements accordingly.
Many of the most well-crafted displays were (obviously) from the studios — starting with Gonzo and their 1:1 scale version of a vanship from Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing. Toy producers Bandai Namco and Good Smile Company decked out their booths with their extensive array of Tiger & Bunny and Hatsune Miku merchandise. Independent creator Takorosu — who specialized in steampunk pen-and-ink illustrations, had several framed works on display.
TV Tokyo literally built a museum on the site — their Garo Museum was supercool, featuring a bevy of scantily-clad booth babes and an official Garo cosplayer. Satellite channel BS 11 showed off their line-up of titles (including hot property Fate/Zero) with a group of pretty and affable maids. Nippon Television had an over-sized diorama for Chihayafuru, while Satelight had their own mini-stage, plus an Aquarion Evol standee that reached the rafters.
Last but not least, we were involved in a number of closed-door sessions organized by Studio Hard — the production company behind titles such as Cosmode Magazine and the Vocaloid e-mooks. The company was dedicated to creating avenues for Japanese content to be exhibited and promoted in overseas conventions, and we attended not just as representatives of the site, but also of the Philippine cosplay community via Cosplay.PH.
Overall, TAF was very productive — lots of things were seen and plenty of connections were made, although to the average con-goer it would’ve been bland or even boring. I’m sure the Public Days would’ve felt very different — more upbeat and exciting, but as someone who has spent way too much time swimming against crowds at local conventions, the lack of people was a welcome change.
ACE, on the other hand, was a completely different kettle of fish…