Oct 05 2010
Hyper Japan was last weekend; a 3 day Japan convention in London, food, drink, anime, Lolita, cosplay, singing… I think they had all bases covered!
It’s easy to compare it to the London Expo as they’re very similar, both essentially trade shows as opposed to traditional anime conventions. Hyper Japan however focused entirely on Japan and leaves out all of the western Sci-Fi stuff, this led to what i’d easily consider the best guest and event lineup of any UK anime convention so far (obviously apart from Momoi at Ayacon ). Despite its relatively small size they managed to get from Japan: Goodsmile company, Nico Nico Douga (with live broadcast), Bushiroad (complete with Weiss Schwartz cards with English translations), a whole host of Lolita brand’s, Lolita fashion model Misako Aoki, and the cast of as yet unaired Milky Holmes.
For our relatively backwater country in regards to the usual guest fare we get that’s pretty damn impressive!! I hope either the London Expo takes note of this event and improves, or this event continues to run and get bigger and better each year (maybe something to even rival the Japan Expo in France?). DEFINITELY A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, WELL DONE GUYS!!
Obviously it wasn’t without it’s downsides, namely: promotional material using photos of Japanese cosplayers without crediting them (their banner made it look like they were guests too, lol)… but they’ve since rectified that, translator not knowing the names of the people she’s translating for on stage, and the massive leaking roof everywhere. Oh and that they didn’t really make it clear (or seem to know themselves) that the Milky Holmes anime hadn’t actually aired yet, the PSP game isn’t out until December, and that this will pretty much be the first roles for those seiyuu (this lead to some odd questions from the crowd such as “Do your parents watch every episode?” …uhh, lol), I think their promotional material over-sold the group a bit “Already a TV anime & video game sensation in Japan”, haha. But those are just minor details, it is rare we get such a lineup in the UK, we should celebrate it!
And a brief summary of what we did there:
Day 1 Friday:
After wandering around a bunch of dodgy back alleys in what’s pretty much the brown area on a UK monopoly board we found the place in an abandoned warehouse (ok, not quite abandoned, and not quite a warehouse, but it felt like it, lol). There were absolutely no queue’s at this point, all we could see was a side door and some stairs going up and we were left thinking “is this really the entrance?”, after confirming with the people on the door that this was in fact the entrance to Hyper Japan and not some kind of criminal hideout we ventured inside. Instantly made a beeline to the Goodsmile and Bushiroad booths, got myself a copy of the Black Rock Shooter anime, and bought the Milky Holmes PSP single. The staff at the Bushiroad booth decided they wanted a photo of us as we were the first to buy anything from them (they certainly employ people that fit every kind of moe there, lol… especially the small Nodoka-esque staff person that was always sat at the back). They said they might upload it to their blog, but it seems they got far more exciting photo’s from later that they uploaded instead.
Walked around the rest of the booths, the 3D TV’s weren’t very good, guy trying to sell me a DIY sushi kit with the line “it’s boil in the bag rice!”, that’s surely a bad thing? lol Oh, and briefly spoke to the guy running the Terracotta Distribution booth (does he run the company? I don’t know… but he was presenting the Big Tits Zombie screening the other week), they seem like a really decent company, genuinely look like they enjoy their Asian films.
Wandered around a bit, met everyone else I was supposed to that day, bought an Acchan photobook that I wasn’t intending on buying, and then got interviewed for the Nico Video live stream thing (whoever said they wanted to marry me, I hope you were at least female? lol)
Left for the day after that as there didn’t seem to be much else going on.
Day 2 Saturday:
Got there same time as the day before, only this time there was a queue and it was long (10 mins long is longer than zero, lol). Suddenly cosplayers, thousands of them.
Basically we got straight to securing a spot for watching Milky Holmes, so that meant sitting through 2 hours of Lolita fashion talk, which i’ll admit was kinda interesting, there was some discussion of various Lolita brands, talks from the Editor of Kera magazine, Misako Aoki, mini fashion show, and a demonstration of hair styling from a Japanese lolita hair stylist (don’t remember the name, sorry whoever you were!!).
And there we go, front row seats for Milky Holmes, after a short introduction from the guy in charge of Bushiroad they came out! The first song seemed to be some kind of theme song for the company, anyone know what it was called, or if it’s possible to buy it anywhere? Sadly the crowd weren’t particularly animated, so we just settled for polite clapping while seated, lol. After their first song they were introduced, and asked a few questions from the host guy, and some questions from the audience (yeah, notes for the future Hyper Japan: make sure your staff know a little bit more about who they’re introducing/interviewing!!). They then handed out glowsticks, demanded everyone stand up, and sung the Milky Holmes PSP song that was on the CD… crowd a bit more active this time, lol.
After that they finished. Only 2 songs.
But after that they got changed and walked over to the Bushiroad stand where they stood and handed out business cards for their characters and posed for photos.
Also caught Misako Aoki walking around and got a photo with her. ^_^
(@CDevil4 also in the picture)
After that we all left to get food.
Day 3 Sunday:
I stayed at home as I thought I’d seen everything important, BUT I MISSED JONATHAN ROSS!!! He turned up and walked around on the Sunday apparently. *disappointed*
Yes, definitely a great event. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come and it’ll be bigger next year!