Alright! Fresh off the successful carnival post, I was able to attend the opening day of the Taiwan Animanga Expo. This expo is hosted each year at a convention center near the Taipei 101. Unlike North American conventions, this, if you haven’t already noticed, is an exposition”. This means, the booths/stalls are actually operated by big anime companies and not individuals. Without further ado, please take a look!
Anyways, as I was saying, each stall/booth is actually operated by a big company, rather than the occasional garage sale-esque stalls of North American conventions. Because of this, at the expo, there’s quite often a bunch of merchandise from the anime companies that are quite popular or rare. Of course, none of the prices are sky-high, thus drawing in huge crowds due to its limited quantity and cheap price.
As said before, this expo runs every single year in Taiwan, and it’s usually a 5 day affair at the beginning of August. These expositions require participants to purchase tickets that are NT$120, which is roughly US$4. Though relatively inexpensive, the ticket covers the duration of the event, as long as you provide the ticket upon re-entry. Of course, they also stamp you with blue ink, but that wears off quickly.
Before I dive into a set of questions, I must explain that the “merchandise” (aside from the figures) are not original COSPA items. Though there are original Broccoli items are sold at this event, the reason why there’s a dearth of “true” COSPA items is that, COSPA actually licenses Taiwanese companies to produce the exact same products. With this, COSPA can cope with the extremely high consumer demand in Taiwan and be able to offer Taiwanese prices, which is actually quite different from the Japanese COSPA items. Though some items can be different, the essential quality is about the same, thus making it a true “bang for the buck”, despite not having the COSPA logo on the item.
What kind of activities are there for anime/manga fans?
Aside from the obvious activity to go “shop til’ ya drop”, there are often plenty of contests to attend, which often feature prizes that are original discontinued COSPA items. These items are highly coveted due to the COSPA tag and the fact that, if Taiwanese consumers were to purchase authentic COSPA merchandise, it would be almost triple the Taiwanese equivalent.
Other than contests, there is a humongous dedicated booth for Weiss Schwarz battles were expo-goers can duel it out with others. Of course, at the booth, they also sell Weiss Schwarz merchandise, thus enhancing the experience for fanatics.
Any rants? The highlights?
Though I don’t have anything big to nag about…OTHER THAN THE WHOLE THING ABOUT PEOPLE ZERG RUSHING BOOTHS…but the general expo layout isn’t too great. The stalls and booths are tightly packed, leaving very little room for people to walk/line up by.
Speaking of lining up, certain extra-popular booths such as Kadokawa Shoten have incredible line ups to get into the booths. I for one, did line up for Kadokawa, only to end up soaking wet due to the line extending outside of the convention center and into the rain. However, things were cheap and I got a ton limited edition stuff, so…#WorthIt.
As I said before, the most enticing aspect about these conventions is the boatload of limited edition stuff that can be purchased, as well as merchandise that are on huge discounts. Also, the contests are totally awesome too as the chance of winning is relatively high (Dakimakura guy over here).
Aside from buying/getting things, there a bunch of show girls at each booth, tantalizing otaku folk to enter. Of course, these scrupulous ladies also hand out flyers, news, catalogues, which actually become quite useful as you decide what booth to line up for. In special cases, holding conversations with these stunning girls are fu… yeah I’ll just leave it at: I had lots of fun chatting/flirting with them.
How does the anime scene look like internationally?
There’s nothing more to say other than “crazed”. The fact that Taiwan has a handful of companies that are licensed by Japanese anime merchandise companies show that, we have such a big market that they simply cannot provide for. To non-Asian folk, the Taiwanese passion for anime can be often seen as “mini Japan”, as we bathe ourselves in the company of Japanese animanga culture.
Regardless, the Taiwanese anime scene is something that truly rivals what you can see in Japan. What they like, we also like. What they buy, we also buy. In truth, I believe Taiwan’s anime culture is remarkably close to that of Japan’s.
As a wrap to this post, I’d just like to point out that Taiwan’s love for anime culture is truly beyond the scope of imagination. Seeing is believing, thus coming to Taiwan will probably provide you with the best explanation as to why we have such a strong anime community.
The anime culture provided by events as such make one feel as if they’re “welcomed” and “un-judged”. Thus, people can actively see “otakus” on streets baring their favourite 2D bishoujo on their shirts.
Anyways, this Taiwan Animanga Expo is considered as the true epitome of Taiwan’s anime culture, thus if anyone would like to experience such an event, do drop by Taiwan in early August and see the wonder for yourselves!