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Anime universe shifts to Tokyo

by Eriko Arita

Tokyo International Anime Fair 2008, one of the world’s largest animation conventions, will be held at Tokyo Big Sight from March 27 to 30.

Hosted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and animation-related companies and organizations, the event consists of a trade fair where visitors can obtain the latest information from exhibiting companies, an event space for symposiums, stage events and special exhibitions, and a ceremony to present the Tokyo Anime Awards for the past year’s best works of animation-related art.

Organizers expect more than 240 companies and organizations to exhibit at some 700 booths this year.

A special exhibition titled “Manga / Animation Museums in Japan” features information on comic books and animation from some 50 museums around Japan, including the works of artists and animators who represent the world of Japanese animation.

The first two days of the fair are open only to business-related visitors and will include public-relations events concerning the anime industry. Advanced registration to attend on the business-only days is possible on the fair’s Web site (see below) until March 26. Admission is free for pre-registrants and ¥1,000 for walk-ins. No one under age 18 will be admitted on March 27 and 28.

The last two days are open to the public. Among the attractions will be singers performing songs made popular in animations, appearances by voice actors and previews of coming animated movies and new TV anime programs such as “Vampire Knight,” which will air from April. The latest information on the “Doraemon” and “Crayon Shin-chan” movies will also be provided.

Admission for adults is ¥800 in advance and ¥1,000 at the door. For students in high school and junior high school, admission is ¥400 in advance and ¥500 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at convenience stores until March 28. Senior citizens, elementary students and younger children will be admitted free, as will the handicapped and their attendants.

Tokyo Big Sight is a seven-minute walk from Kokusai Tenjijyo Station on the Rinkai Line and a three-minute walk from Kokusai Tenjijyo Seimon Station on the Yurikamome Line. For more information, visit the fair’s Web site at www.tokyoanime.jp