Saturday, October 23, 2010

How to Japan

The Tokyo International Anime Festival (TIAF) was held at the UDX building in Akihabara on Oct. 22 and 23. I went on the business day, Friday the 22nd. Overall, it was fairly disappointing. Especially compared to its "big brother" event, the TAF. There were only about 30 exhibitor booths, and most of them just consisted of a TV screen running sample anime and a small counter for holding giveaway fliers. Many of the booths didn't even have the fliers. There was one seminar space at the back of the UDX room, and another in the theaters on the fourth floor of the building. The only seminar worth watching featured someone from the Urusei Yatsura films, and I missed that because I got into Akihabara too late (it ran from 11:00 to 12 noon, and I didn't get out of the apartment until 11. The rest of the Friday seminars were just in-house commentaries on 2D and 3D animation which I wasn't interested in. The Saturday events were aimed at the general public, but I work Saturdays so I missed them as well.

There was one film that was really good, showcasing Adobe's After Effects software used on a Maya platform. It was a dramatization of two emperors playing a War card game with real live playing cards. At one point, the film changes point of view to concentrate on two of the fighter plane pilots who shoot each other down and have to survive together on a tiny deserted island. I didn't see the name of the anime, but from the flier it was probably a demo project for an animation school.

Another booth that was kind of interesting was the "How To Japan". The fliers included a sample frame from "How to Sumo". The website has several animations describing elements of Japanese culture, in English and Chinese, such as how to enjoy fireworks, and hanami. The English voice overs aren't particularly professional sounding, though. Still, the website is worth checking out.

For .Hack fans, Bandai Visual was showing the new .Hack Quantum anime, along with Hipira-kun and King of Thorn. It wasn't running on the monitors when I was there, though. But, if you need a .Hack fix, you got it.

I did drop by for a few minutes on Saturday, and ran into one of the guys from Anime News Network, in Tokyo for a different event the following week, but appearing at TIAF to promote themselves to make the most of their trip. Someone wearing an Otakon shirt came by and interrupted the conversation so I wasn't able to learn much from the ANN guy.

Now, I'm really hoping to be able to make the 2011 TAF event in March.

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