anibee's Ultimate Otaku Outing #3 - Onward to ACE!!
On the third day of our trip, Q and I headed to Makuhari Messe Hall at Chiba (Japan's second largest convention site) for the Anime Contents Expo (aka ACE)! It's my first time attending a Japanese event, so I was pretty excited. XD I wanted to see how similar/different such events were as compared to local ones, and of course, I wanted to check out the cosplay scene as well.
And yes, we cosplayed too. :3
ACE was an event held over the course of two days (30th and 31st March). This year's ACE is much bigger and grander as compared to last year's, since the executive committee of ACE planned to scale up this year's ACE. That included expanding the hall space for more contents! 8D YAY!
I guess it's great of them to have expanded the hall space this year because according to the ACE Executive Committee, the attendance for Day 1 was 35,631 and 35,044 for Day 2. With more than 70,000 people attending the event in total, this is a record set for them over the two day run! :D
This year, there were 5 halls used for ACE. Halls 1-3 were occupied by corporate exhibitors while Halls 4-5 were used for anime merchandise sale or display as well as a resting area! Their resting area is huuuuuuuge by the way, unlike the ones we see in local events (that's if we even have resting areas). For more details on the exhibitors, you can check out this site (THAT'S ENTIRELY IN JAPANESE): http://animecontentsexpo.jp/exhibitors/.
Alright then, let's first talk about the cosplay section!
In Japan events, there are specific areas for cosplayers to hang out at. This is so that we don't see wall of photographers blocking the way in the event halls! Pretty considerate, yes? XD There are even rules to abide to at the cosplayers' area!
And yup, there's a certain time that this area will be closed off, and all cosplayers have to disperse by then.
Q and I were both disappointed about this cosplay area though, even if it's a great idea for keeping cosplayers and photographers in one hall for crowd control. One, the available cosplay area for ACE is terribly small.
Nope, don't judge the space by what you see in the picture - the immense crowd of otakus inside just take away the accurate perception of space here. In truth, this cosplay area is REALLY small. Q and I were hoping for a larger space actually. In fact, we were just expecting at least a decent amount of space dedicated for cosplayers. But the actual space available really disappointed us. :(
To make matters worse, the area closed off at 3.30pm, which was pretty early considering the event. D:
But oh well. I guess we could only make do with whatever they prepared for the cosplayers. Initially they were even hesitant about having a space especially for cosplayers, so this year was the first time cosplayers were allowed (other than the hired professional ones), so maybe they were just testing the waters with that smaller sized area. Better than nothing, I suppose!
Something I really want to highlight about Japan is that the people there are extremely, extremely polite and courteous. You might not be able to see it clearly in the above picture, but there's actually a queue to take picture of cosplayers! That's something that we don't see in Singapore, huh. In Singapore, all we have are people who snap away without permission (that's why cosplayers always have unglamorous pictures).
Queuing up to take pictures is a win-win situation. This allows the cosplayers to pose nicely for people, thus ensuring that most of their photos will at least look decent. This also means that everyone will get a fair chance at taking photos of their favourite cosplayers at the event! It's a wonderful thing to do, isn't it? Hmm... I wonder if i can get this trend started locally...? ;D
Anyways, it's time for the pictures of the booths and merchandise! 8D
Well, there were a whole lot of activities going on at the open stage area, but Q and I didn't have sufficient energy to squeeze into that crowd of people. @_@ We also couldn't enter the closed stage area because we didn't buy tickets for stage entry. XD
Oh right! I'd like to mention about something special that I saw in ACE.
They have this service booth where they can help send your bought merchandise back to your house (that's if you bought too much to carry home xD)!! Isn't this cool? We don't exactly have this service for local anime events, but I'm sure we've all seen it during IT fairs. ;D Would be nice if we had this for our anime events too~
Anyways, the booths were sufficient to keep us walking around to constantly check things out. It was awesome being able to see that certain anime have their season twos, and that certain games are being made into animes (I.e Persona 3!!). xD
Of course, looking at the figurines and merchandise kept me entertained too. :3 It's just a pity it isn't a fully cosplay-focused event as it IS an anime contents expo after all. I would have loved to see more of the Japanese cosplayers around.
T'was a tiring (AND REALLY COLD) day since Q and I did a lot of walking around, but hey! I got to experience a Japanese anime-related event, nevertheless. How cool is that? >D
Next up in anibee UO2 – Serene & Q head discover an awesome new treat right in Ikebukuro? What could this be? Stay tuned!!