A Weekend at Hyper Japan 2016

It came and went like a cool summer breeze. The 10 year Hyper Japan anniversary festival was an event that firmly shut the door on last years disappointment which attendees (ourselves included!) very much appreciated. After a poor stint at The O2 in 2015, the event thankfully moved to a familiar venue that was the Kensington Olympia, most importantly, within a space that the organisers could fully control and plan.

Split over two floors, the stalls, food court, gaming areas and stages were well placed and allowed the flow of visitors to navigate the areas with ease. The upper floor catered predominantly for anime and allowed visitors to take in the event space and appreciate some of the venues impressive architecture. The food on offer as always was top-notch and is a huge draw for both first time and repeat visitors.

“..the current state of the anime industry as “on edge”, simple to produce and lacking in quality..” – Hirokatsu Kihara

We hit the festival early on the Saturday which is traditionally split into two parts and where we had a lined up an interview with Hirokatsu Kihara and Azumi Inoue, who have both worked intimately on Studio Ghibli greats such as My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Laputa Castle in the Sky. It was a great and revealing interview (see below) during which Hirokatsu-san described the current state of the anime industry as “on edge”, simple to produce and lacking in quality with a heavy character focus, going as far as to call it “character-anime”. Azumi-san called for more anime penned theme songs rather than the heavy focus on J-Pop themes and looking back on her Totoro theme song stated she could never have imagined the impact her songs would have many years later.

Following the interview, Hirokatsu-san invited us for a brief chat and shared with us some truly amazing and exclusive original artwork which we unfortunately cannot share but left us in a state of shock and awe!

Shock over and after a brief break, part two saw quite the line up of visitors snaking around the venue, among them some pretty impressive cosplays. The trend continued into the Sunday where we grabbed a word with a few cosplayers to gauge their take on the event in general. Follow this link to check out our picture gallery.

Jenny as Nelliel (Bleach)

Daniel as Shiina (Yona of the Dawn)

Jack as Kisshu (Tokyo Mew Mew)

In comparison to last years event, Hyper Japan 2016 was a buzz with positive energy, no doubt partly in thanks to the great weather the city was bathed in but also due to the organised and more intimate feel of the festival. From tiny tots to grandparents as one attendee described the event, it really encapsulated Japanese popular and historical culture. With tasty food and goodies on offer, it marked an impressive 10 years and I can see it growing bigger and stronger in the years to come provided it keeps its organised structure.