The Tokyo International Film Festival, running through Oct. 31, is no longer Asia's biggest or most important festival — that honor is now claimed by the recently held rival Busan film festival. But its 27th edition — the first to reflect the full influence of TIFF's current director-general, Yasushi Shiina — has both a new hub in the Toho Cinemas Nihonbashi theater complex and a new focus on a made-in-Japan genre: anime.

Speaking with foreign journalists on Oct. 20, Shiina said, "I think one of the key contents that we can showcase to the world is Japanese animation. It's very strong and powerful. If we asked our audience what kind of films they want to see the most at TIFF — whether a world premiere or an Asian premiere — it would be animation."

For English-speaking non-Japanese fans, TIFF offers a rare opportunity to see theatrical screenings of both new and classic anime with English subtitles. Many Japanese live-action films in the Japan Cinema Splash section (indie films mostly by younger directors), Special Screenings (films scheduled for a fall or winter release) and other sections will also be subtitled. Even Japanese film and anime otaku (obsessed fans) who are fluent in Japanese will probably make fresh discoveries in the festival's wide-ranging lineup.