Last year, I attended AnimeJapan 2018 and had a fantastic time. You can read that post for more details, but in short it was one of the best days of my life. Getting to see all of the seiyuu I admire in person was awesome, and I’ll always think of the day fondly.
Naturally, I made it a priority to also go to AnimeJapan. If you’re just catching up, AnimeJapan is a 140,000+ person event held in Odaiba’s Tokyo Big Sight. 2019 was the sixth consecutive year the convention was being run – though convention feels like an understatement for how massive it is. For the most part, AnimeJapan utilizes two exhibition spaces and multiple stages where the talks with anime staff and voice actors occurs; these stages are lottery-only, and you have to win access to a seat for the coveted chance of being close to your favorite seiyuu.
As someone who doesn’t live in Japan, I was very excited about the chance of being close to my favorite seiyuu again. I love seiyuu, and it’s my driving force to enjoying anime, but that’s a discussion for another time. Last year I was incredibly lucky to make it into four stages – every one that I wanted to get into, I did! But it took some communication with the ticketing department to ensure my submissions for the lottery would work, as it was restricting me from submitting to more than one lottery. This year, the restriction seemed to be lifted, but despite that… I didn’t get into a single stage. I’m not sure what happened, how could I go to 100% luck to 0% between years? I can’t help but feel like something had glitched with the foreign ticketing portal. I was a bit upset about it as the primary reason I wanted to attend the convention was the stages, but I still made the most of the convention and in the end, still had an amazing time with my friend and my sister.
Upon entrance, my friend and I got roped into a scavenger hunt for Osomatsu-san since we both love the show. The requirement was to buy one thing from each related booth in order to obtain a sticker. Obtain 4 stickers, and you can trade it in for an exclusive clearfile. It was fun running around the exhibition floors trying to find the eligible booths, but as a result… I hardly took any photos!! Totally failed. But if you’re interested in photos, take a peek at my post from last year! It was more or less the same. Most of the photos below are courtesy of my sister. Thank you Shauni!!
And if you’re feeling sad that I didn’t get to swoon over voice actors, fear not. AnimeJapan – in addition to lottery stages – also sprinkles in some general public stages around the floor. In a repeat from last year, I waited for an hour to be able to see my ultimate favorite, Takahiro Sakurai, do a panel for TV Tokyo promoting Ace of Diamond – one of my favorite anime. So in the end, I still got to do some seiyuu spotting and probably even closer than I would have been had I actually won a seat in the lottery stages. It all works out in the end!
So would I visit AnimeJapan again for a third time? I think yes. It’s completely unlike any American convention, and the atmosphere is fun and frantic. While 2018 was insanely busy (to the point where you could barely move on the floor), 2019 was surprisingly much more relaxed and easier to navigate, and doing it a second time was a lot easier than the first. While I didn’t stay nearly as long this year due my primary interest being in the stages, for someone who lives and breathes anime would undoubtedly have a great time scouring the floors and seeing all the cosplay.
The train station that you arrive at was all decked out in anime advertisements! Such a rush out of the gates and on the long walk to Tokyo Big Sight, too.
Like last year, the line was miles long and took about an hour from doors opening to actually get inside.
Oh, and in the end, I managed to conquer the Osomatsu-san scavenger hunt and won my clearfile… but lost a lot of money on other things in the process. See my slightly shameful haul below. Whether or not I’ll attend AnimeJapan 2020 remains to be seen, but if you manage to go, you’ll definitely have fun. And in the end, you can enjoy the sunset falling over Odaiba which was the perfect way to end the day.