Japan: Tokyo Animation Fair Starts


The 12th Tokyo Animation fair opened its doors on Thursday (March 21) with 223 companies related to the animation industry displaying their works to an expected 100,000 visitors over the next four days.

Highlights include technologies to help computer graphic creators animate characters in three-dimensions by manipulating a sensor-stuffed mannequin.

"People have been drawing three dimensional computer graphic characters on two dimensional computer screens but they can now create three-dimensional movement in the software by manipulating this doll so we think this complements the creating process very much," said Celsys Inc,'s sales representative Noriaki Aoyama.

Seven more companies are participating in this year's fair compared to the previous year.

There was a significant spike in the number of animations broadcast on television in 2006 and by 2011 when data was last available, 220 animation titles were on the air.

That was the fourth-highest in history, according to The Association of Japanese Animations.

The increase in animation production has strained an industry plagued by low wages and long hours at the desk.

That hasn't stopped animation director Toshihiro Kawamoto, character creator of the animation series Cowboy Bebop, from doing what he loves,

"You think of the make-up of the picture before you start drawing but once that is decided, its just a matter of endurance and toughening it out until you finish drawing. It is a rather big picture so you have to think about the balance as well, but at the end of the day, its just graffiti on the wall isn't it?" said Kawamoto.

A company from western Japan has started to print female anime images on the lining of jackets.

"I have heard that some people imprint the faces of their grandchildren on the underside of their jackets and what we are doing is something similar where you keep what is important to you physically close to you," said project manager Ryuichi Yoshida.

Each hand-made suit costs more than $838 (80,000 yen).

Yoshitaka Kanasugi, 86, was among the visitors with his wife. Both use origiami techniques to fold paper animation characters of Pikachu and Doraemon.

"We are involved in the world of animation through origami and we have really learnt a lot by coming to this fair. We will take our time to explore this fair and study the trends," said Yoshitaka Kanasugi.

Despite the scale of this year's animation fair the Chinese presence was much reduced. There were more then 40 animation companies from China last year. This year there was just one.

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