Hyper Japan 2016
I was pretty excited for Hyper Japan this year, it’s been a few months since I’ve been back in the UK and I’ve been in serious need of a Japan fix since getting back! I would liked to have gone to Japan Expo in Paris the previous week, but Eurostar tickets were expensive & the exchange rate taking a big hit would have made things even more costly 😦
Annoyingly I forgot to book my ticket early so missed out on getting the 3 day pass. The event wasn’t actually fully booked for all 3 days when I tried to book, for some reason they just decided to stop selling 3 day pass prices after a certain point!
On Friday the doors didn’t open till around midday, allowing me a fairly relaxed morning before hopping on the Overground to the Kensington Olympia. I got there about 15 minutes ahead of time and joined the ranks of people waiting to get in, surprisingly when the doors opened it only took a few minutes to get through into the main hall.
Getting in early meant plenty of time to wander around and get an idea where everything was before the place got to packed. Downstairs contained the live stage, a massive Nintendo area, a small wrestling ring (for reasons I still haven’t worked out), lots of vendors selling snacks and merchandise etc, the Sake tasting area (sadly tickets had sold out) the theatre room and areas for craft and drawings.
One of the first events of the day was the history of Japanese animation from 1803 in the theatre, it was a very interesting presentation learning how early animation was done and how / why it came about. There’s to much for me to explain about it on here, but here’s one of the early projection units used, using thin glass slides.
After the presentation I decided food was needed, so I headed to the upper level which contained the food stalls, praying that at least one would be selling takoyaki! I wasn’t disappointed! There were a lot of food vendors selling, sushi, tempura, kaarage, soba, donburi dishes and thankfully takoyaki!!
There were a couple of takoyaki stalls, but seeing one of them was Osakan / Kansai takoyaki I didn’t hesitate making that my first choice! It still wasn’t quite as nice as what I’d had in Japan, but it was still pretty good. And after not having had any for so long it was certainly welcome!
After lunch I headed off in search of something to drink, which actually proved a challenge. Most of the food stalls were selling cups of Akashi beer, water or bubble tea, but things like Calpis soda were nowhere to be found 😦 In the end I settled on a melon soda. There were a couple of coffee shops built into the venue, but coffee I could get anywhere.
I spent a bit more time exploring the upper level, this is where most of the anime, game and general merchandise was being sold. With my budget being fairly limited I eventually headed back down to check out the Nintendo area. The Nintendo area contained a large stage with a projection screen where matches of various games were being held, Smash was mid progress when I entered the area.
Surrounding that there were plenty of smaller sections with demos for Pokémon, Splatoon, Yo-kai watch and several others. It was great seeing an original Gameboy with Pokémon Red, Blue & Yellow again!
By now it was almost time for the first act on the live stage, so I wound my way back through the Nintendo area to find a free space. Now I’ll be honest I hadn’t heard of half of many of the acts that would be on stage during Hyper Japan! As a result I was keen to catch as many of them as possible.
Friday’s lineup was packed with Airly Momoko, Broken Doll, Takaaki Konno, Charisma.com, IA (video not live), then Azumi Inoue (singing many Studio Ghibli hits), followed by BANG!
Everything was pretty cool, Airly Momoko was a great singer, lots of energy, sadly a lot of the crowd didn’t seem to join in though when she asked everyone to sing along a couple of words. I was of course happy to, as a was a small group near me, so we tried to be as vocal as we could!
Broken Doll had some pretty good guitarists and was fairly hyper, Takaaki Konno was great also. Charisma.com were by far the liveliest act of the day, for some reason they even brought a step ladder on stage with them (No idea why, but you just kinda go with it), they had a portable DJ booth thing, then broke out some selfie sticks and went dancing through the crowd with them! IA was just a video of the live show, not quite the same as last years Christmas event when they had IA live! Azumi Inoue’s set was great, and BANG was just, well, really strange! I still don’t really know what I watched!
Most of my day was spent at the live stage, wandering around the stalls and Nintendo area in between breaks. I found a stand selling really cute giant soft toy shiba inus, but managed to resist the urge to buy one!
The schedule was hectic as between the live stage, craft area, and theatre, all events overlapped! While seeing the acts on the live stage I missed out on Colorhtym Risa, a couple of seminars and talks, and Yucha over at the theatre, as well as all the craft activities. Thankfully some of those were back for day 2, so I’d catch them then, but even attending all 3 days it wouldn’t be possible to see / do everything due to the overlaps.
Naturally I stayed till the very end of the day, something I was rewarded with as one of the food vendors approached me offering me a massive platter of sushi for just a fiver!