A major toy exhibition featuring new plastic models of anime robot Gundam and other characters opened Thursday in the city of Shizuoka, with vendors in attendance looking to attract new generations of fans.

Some 80 companies are taking part in the annual Shizuoka Hobby Show. Many have planned events to attract children as most visitors in recent years have been in their 40s or older, the organizers said. The "Mobile Suit Gundam" series, which began in 1979, attracts many adults.

In addition to figures from the popular sci-fi television animation series, figures of nekobusou (cats armed with weapons) are among the items on display. The exhibition is open to buyers until Friday and to the public on the weekend, with about 70,000 visitors expected, according to organizers.

While viewing the new products on display, Koji Uchida, 50, who works for a toymaker in Tochigi Prefecture, said, "It's important to feel the quality and get an impression of real items (even) when you can get any bit of information now on the internet."