For fans of Japanese animation, March means only one thing –The Tokyo International Anime Fair (TAF). Held annually at Odaiba’s Big Sight convention center in Tokyo Bay, it is one of the largest animation related events in the world.
Anime and manga (Japanese comics and cartoons) have enormous following worldwide, thanks in part to the success of anime characters such as Astro Boy (created by Osamu Tezuka, the ‘Godfather of Anime’) and the award-winning films by renowned director and animator, Hayao Miyazaki.
Open to the general public in Tokyo on March 24 and 25, 2012, TAF is the anime industry’s biggest trade event and attracts over 250 Japanese and foreign television and film production companies, as well as toy, game and software developers. This year’s TAF is especially anticipated due to the cancelling of last year’s fair in the wake of the earthquake that devastated much of Japan in March 2011.
Visitors can expect to see all the big names in the Japanese anime industry represented, including Toei Animation, Bandai Namco and Tezuka Productions, as well as international production companies. Large booths will feature theaters, live shows and special appearances by character actors.
The ‘School Zone’ section of the fair is of particular interest to anyone who wishes to see the work of future anime artists. Featuring work by students at the highly regarded Toei Animation Institute and the Osaka University of Arts, there is plenty of information available for budding anime artists and prospective students. Additionally, promising new artists already making their mark in the industry are represented at ‘Creator’s World’.
A large shopping area coined the ‘Anime Bazaar’ is the place to go to stock up on essential anime-related paraphernalia such as posters, figurines and books.