Welcome to the second part of Manga.Tokyo’s mini guide to limited edition otaku and anime merchandise in Japan.
The first part explained the difference between normal merchandise and limited edition merchandise, and focused on some major events. This second part will cover some more merchandise and a couple major events. People attending AGF or Comiket will find the info in the article useful!
Now, let’s look at some merchandise available in 2016 that mainly target male fans.
The state of anime merchandise in 2016 – merchandise targeting male fans –
KanColle, aka Kantai Collection, the Japanese free-to-play web browser game developed by Kadokawa Games, never ceases to draw fans in, especially now that they have a new movie and they have opened a new collaboration cafe.
Their personified-warships concept based on real-life vessels keeps charming fans, but what about their merchandise? It looks like that the tides are relatively calm compared to the torrents of the first days when the places where they sold the game’s merchandise had extremely long queues. No problems here.
ラブライブ！サンシャイン/Love Live! Sunshine
The voice cast of the previous Love Live series appeared on NHK Kouhaku Uta Gassen, an annual Japanese music program that airs on New Year’s Eve. The tickets to their Last Live concert sold out immediately and many people had trouble finding one. The trend continued in the sequel, Love Live! Sunshine!!, with the fans wearing all the merchandise they can get for each part of their bodies.
The good thing is that the need is anticipated by the production and they produce enough merchandise to save you the wait in the long queues. The problem remains with the concert tickets; it will be a lot harder to get one of those.
There is a tendency for anime series targeting male fans to release less merchandise than those targeting female fans. Maybe girls have a tendency of enjoying their collections more than boys? If you find yourself in a long queue one morning check the male-female ratio. In general, there are more women waiting in queue at comic markets and various anime events.
Which anime series merchandise are more popular now?
An anime adaptation of the popular browser game Touken Ranbu is already part of the 2016 Fall season, and its popularity continues to rise with its musical and stage drama.
As for their merchandise, they usually adapt many illustrations from the game and produce items of different shapes but they always use the same illustration. So, when new items with different illustrations are announced, fans go crazy over them. An event once had an incredible two-stations long line, starting from Akihabara. Rumors say that they might produce a lot of new items with new illustrations now that the anime is out. The anime series has had four episodes released so far, and the internet comments look good.
They are planning to open a collaboration cafe in December, but it already sounds like a war among fans is on its way with their complete reservation lottery system! You have to reserve in advance for a chance to participate in the lottery to actually enter the cafe!
Manga.Tokyo is determined to find a seat and report on the cafe even if we have to smuggle ourselves in. We’ ll take lots of photos, so wait for our article! ♪
Go buy some limited merchandise! The case of AGF (Animate Girls Festival)
In the last article we mentioned that there are countless otaku events out there and each one is different in many ways: how to buy tickets, when to line up, and the kind of merchandise they sell.
Let’s go through the essentials for Animate Girls Festival (AGF) that’s going to be held in November 5-6, 2016.
Here is a small description of the event:
『AGF is a giant event dedicated to all girls, providing otome games, anime, BL, merchandise, cosplay, and things to eat and drink! This year, we are planning to host multiple amazing projects at Ikebukuro Otome City, as a gift to all the fans who have supported Animate for 30 years. The Cosplay event ‘acosta! ~ AGF 2016 Special ~’ will be held at the same time!』(Quoted from their official website: https://www.animate.co.jp/special/31422/)
AGF at Ikebukuro Sunshine City has become an important venue for every company that wanted to introduce their new products. What’s unique about this event is that they sell both Event Limited Edition and Pre-Sales Edition products!
Pre-Sales items are first sold at AGF but then are available in stores, while the Event Limited Edition items are only sold at AGF.
Example for Touken Ranbu : The items marked with 限 are only available at the event.
There are four different kinds of entrance tickets: Fast ticket, General ticket, Afternoon ticket, and On the Door tickets.
Cosplayers and those who want to go for the voice cast’s talk shows will have to buy different tickets called Acosta! ticket and Handle ticket aside from the general entrance tickets.
Each ticket has different entry priority. If you are planning to buy limited edition merchandise, or there is an item you must have, I would recommend getting a Fast ticket.
Fast ticket: You will be given priority to enter the venue after 9:00 a.m. before the event opening hour. People with fast tickets will enter in line according to the ticket number. Fast tickets are named so you can’t use someone else’s ticket. You can almost certainly buy what you want if you enter with this ticket. First-come, first-served!
[ A ] 10:00〜
[ B ] 11:00〜
[ C ] 12:00〜
There are three different entry hours. You can’t choose the hour of your ticket. It is randomly selected when you buy it.
Afternoon ticket: You can enter the venue after 1:00 p.m. If you want to check it out for the first time or just want to enjoy the atmosphere of the event, then this ticket will do just fine. Popular booths may already have their items sold out, but AGF is not all about merchandise and there are many different projects being held for you to enjoy.
On the Door ticket: Even if you couldn’t buy a ticket in advance, you can still purchase a ticket at the entrance of the event. This ticket only allows you to enter after 1:00 p.m. like an Afternoon ticket.
Acosta! ticket: If you are a cosplayer, or if you want to photo-shoot cosplayers properly, you will have to purchase this ticket aside from an entrance ticket.
If you don’t have this ticket, you cannot cosplay or take photos of cosplayers!
This ticket is like an additional charge for using the dressing rooms. It is generally sold at around 1,500 yen per ticket.
Handle ticket: You need this ticket to attend talk shows and you have to purchase it aside from an entrance ticket. Many of these tickets give you a free gift in general.
The ticket sales are announced on the Animate official website in early September every year. The venue is always Ikebukuro Sunshine City. It’s fun to go shopping in Ikebukuro after the event too ♪
Consider your needs, and decide on the best ticket!
Access: Ikebukuro Sunshine City
Address: 3-1-1 Higashi Ikebukuro Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Transportation: Three minutes walk from Higashi Ikebukuro Station, Tokyo Metro Yuurakuchou Line. Eight minutes walk from Ikebukuro Station of JR, Tokyo Metro, Seibu-Ikebukuro Line, and Toubu Toujou Line. Four minutes walk from Higashi Ikebukuro 4-choume of Toden Arakawa Line.
Go buy some limited merchandise! The case of Comic Market
Probably you’ve heard of Comic Market, the event held at Tokyo Big Sight in August and December every year. The event’s main focus are doujinshi (independent titles), but there are also many original items and official limited edition merchandise by companies. These items are only available at the venue.
Comic Market has created a huge buzz with the many cases of bad behaviours known as 始発ダッシュ/Shihatsu Dash (you jump off the first train and make a dash to the venue) and 徹夜組/Tetsuya-gumi (you line in a queue on the previous night). Tetsuya-gumi is not allowed by the rules of the event and if you are found out, you’ll be forced to move to the very end of the queue! It is not safe and it will trouble the neighborhood, so please refrain from queue-camping.
The TMR booth by Nishikawa became super famous for its unseen end of the queue last summer. The availability of merchandise at Comiket depends on the company. Some companies have enough stock prepared, and you can get what you want just just by taking the first train and walking to the venue. Sometimes, however, more visitors show up than the number companies assume or expect, or the companies joining the comiket for the first time can’t tell how many items to prepare. You need to prepare so you don’t end up waiting too long on one line only to miss your favorite product. Make a priority list!
If you attend the market as a circle or a seller, you receive a priority ticket called Circle ticket. You can enter the venue before the opening hour with this ticket (It’s like the Fast ticket.) However, these tickets are not sold to the public.
The Comic Market is held every summer and every winter. You have to remember that during the summer Comiket the weather is incredibly hot and quite a few people get heatstroked every year. There are about 200,000 of attendees so it’s very crowded. There is nothing to block the sunlight while you’re waiting in the queue. The direct sunlight and the hot air rising from the asphalt road can be stressful to your health. Make sure to bring lots of water, a cap or an umbrella for the sun, and everything you need to make yourself comfortable while waiting.
In winter, it’s the extreme opposite: it’s COLD. The cold wind is blowing from the ocean, and you really need heavy protection against the cold. Be sure to be dressed properly and bring a hot tea or coffee with you. You can’t enjoy the event if you feel sick!
If you are attending Comiket for the very first time, it’s safer to attend the winter event. You just need to dress like an onion and you’re set. Summer is hell on Earth!
You just have to do what you need to do if you want to do the things you like to do.
Yeah, that was confusing, but what is even more confusing is how hard it is to obtain limited edition merchandise. Most people who are into limited edition items are doing what they can to support their favorite characters. Once you become a part of this culture, you start recognizing your tribe at these events, and the items you manage to buy become your treasured possessions.
Do you a collection or an item you are proud of? Share it with us in the comments below!
Also, don’t forget to read Part 1 of our guide to have all the info you need ♪