In order to convey the greatness of figures to more, let’s say, “normal” people, our buddy Danny Choo decided to hold (past tense, I believe it’s over) a figure display in hipster-haven Harajuku in an attempt to fulfill this goal. That was the Tokyo Figure Show. Near the end of the showing, he decided to throw a party, and me being who I am decided to attend.
I actually popped my head over to the display a few days before the party to take some photos without being surrounded by too many people. The figures on display covered a decent rage, but I noticed that posables–Figmas, Nendoroids, and the like–were clearly the favourite. Series wise, it skewed a lot towards Haruhi and Lucky Star, which makes perfect sense. The Figma of Danny’s mascot, Mirai, was on display, and it seemed pretty well made.
The party was pretty good. Since it was being held in what seemed like a display space sponsored by Vitamin Water, free Vitamin Water, as well as Vitamin Water cocktails were served for the low, low price of free. Danny’s actually a great MC–really funny, and does well to excite the crowd. There was one janken tournament for three Vocaloid figures, and afterwards he gave out free Petite Nendoroids to those who don’t already own figures. I asked if I could take one, and he said only if I write a report on this event.
But that’s not why I’m writing this report!
What I do want to write about are the two fascinating people I met there. The first one was a Japanese guy in his mid-30s who works for the figure site Amiami.com. It was neat talking to him because he was an oldschooler otaku, and he just happened to have lived in West Virginia of all places. It was pretty cool to hear his stories as a lone Japanese man in redneck country, but it was even more interesting drilling him for info about “The Good Old Days.” Had I known I was going to meet someone like this, I would have prepared questions, so I was kind of reduced to asking him about the general climate of fandom in the 80s and 90s, and what the popular shows were.
The most interesting thing I took from this conversation was his comments on fan culture then, and fan culture now. In the 80s and 90s, there wasn’t much in the way of licensed goods, so people had to make their own. As such, Comiket and Wonder Festival were born. Now-a-days there’s a ton of official merchandise, and it’s resulted in fans turning more into consumers, rather that creators. He also noted that otaku back-in-the-day had a more scholarly knowledge of their obsession, while people today don’t care as much. This is kind of the same story you hear when you talk to any older fans, but it was neat hearing it from an Actual Japanese Person.
The other person I met was Adrian Lozano, a frequent poster on the Macross World forums, as well as the behind-the-scenes man for the blog Otaku2. Talking with him was fun, even if our conversation just kind of degenerated into the strengths and weaknesses of Eva 2.0, and us talking about Colony Drop’s most dangerous contributor, Sean. He did weigh in with some interesting views of fanculture, as well as the way he’s changed as a fan over the years.
So yeah, overall it was a good time. A+++ would attend again. Probably needed more Vitamin Water cocktails.