So let me invite you into my review of the Sunday session of Hyper Japan. To check out the Saturday review by Jojo, please click over here: Hyper Japan Christmas Market 2014: Saturday Review
It was a very soggy Sunday by no understatement, but the mood within the Olympia in Kensington wasn’t dampened by the good old British weather. In fact, the jovial atmosphere was an inviting respite from the rain.
Having sold out on tickets, I wasn’t too sure what to expect crowd-wise, though was pleasantly surprised that the single long session – running from 9am through to 6pm – had a naturally regulated crowd, so the venue was never too packed at one time. Having experienced the uncomfortable crowding of the second Saturday session, this was a breath of fresh air. It’s highly recommended that if you want to attend with small children or are less able to get around, Sunday is the much quieter day, and makes for less problematic movement throughout the event.
The event itself was not quite as big when compared to its summer counterpart that took place at Earls Court in July – for one, the Olympia was a smaller venue, though it was organised efficiently over the two levels inside with plenty of stands to admire. Lack of space wasn’t particularly an issue either, with plenty of room to walk between the aisles to take in the different booths, as well as surrounding the main stage area. With everything all so well laid out and easy to find, navigating to your desired section – whether it be to visit the gaming section or feast in the ‘Eat Japan’ area – was a breeze!
Speaking of ‘Eat Japan’, I partook in some of the most fantastic sushi from some of the stalls there, served by some of the friendliest vendors you could ever hope to meet. Fresh, flavoursome and entirely delectable, I allowed myself to overindulge in the finest examples of Japanese cuisine. It was an utter treat and made the Hyper Japan experience even more immersive. They had plenty of other Japanese food choices, including Takoyaki and Katsu dishes, which appeared to be very tasty! Plus, I shouldn’t forget to mention the wonderful sake you were allowed to sample – a perfect complement to all that wonderful food. Needless to say, a lot of sake was purchased, and at such affordable prices, too! It went down a hit with visitors, who gathered in their numbers to get a sip of some of the finest Japan had to offer.
There were plenty of performances to spectate between the main and sub stages on the ground floor, to the martial arts stage on the first floor. The main stage had some particularly eye-catching performances by the striking Joe Inoue, whose bright jacket was something I commit to memory, and the lovely Koike Miyu, who devotedly greeted her fans with an infectious enthusiasm after her performance – it was very charming to see such personal interaction!
The popular manga/anime Sailor Moon also had a particular focus at Hyper Japan a numerous ways. There was the ‘Moon Pride’ fan-art display with a contribution from 90 artists worldwide as a non-profit dedication to Sailor Moon’s 20th anniversary of its release. It was a wonderful commemorative exhibit of exceptionally talented artists with vastly creative ideas and styles to illustrate their true appreciation to the show. Also, the exhibitor ‘Dreamy Bows’ was privy to a selection of Bandai’s limited edition Sailor Moon cosmetics and accessories, which had sold out in Japan. From transformation broach mirror compacts to a moon stick lipstick, the collection of items were utterly adorable pieces of merchandise that any diehard Sailor Moon fan would want to get their hands on. Of course – as an avid Sailor Moon fan – it was a must have for me to purchase myself some limited edition products. It was a good thing I got in there quickly, as by mid-Sunday afternoon, they were sold out! And with the exorbitant prices of trying to obtain these goods online, anyone who managed to grab themselves some Sailor Moon goodies should count themselves very lucky! Thank you ‘Dreamy Bows’!
The cosplay turnout on Sunday was in decent numbers with plenty of exceptional quality costumes to gush over. We at Renegade Revolution were at the ready to go photo trigger happy to capture as many superbly recreated characters in their stunning costumes. (Please check out our Facebook album to view our Hyper Japan cosplay photography: Renegade Revolution FB Hyper Japan Christmas Market 2014) It really added to the vibe of the event with so many people taking the time to dress up and engage so readily with the public.
And if it wasn’t us wanting to capture the moment on camera, we caught sight of a Hyper Japan photographer sweeping in to take photos of all the happy attendees, whether they be in bright and bold costumes or just in their regular civvies. There was even a perfect little area with dangling baubles and paper snowflakes to get your pictures taken in theme of the season.
There was also the opportunity at the Moshi Moshi Nippon booth to get a selfie taken, as well as a Polaroid, where you could use cute cut-out speech bubbles to give some flair to your photos. Needless to say, Jojo and I happily got our picture taken here. It was such good fun!
While I personally wasn’t too big a fan of the hall used for the Christmas Market (maybe the size of Earls Court One had spoiled me a little too much?), I think the smaller, cosier setting suited the event just fine, though was a little more troublesome to get around on the busier Saturday. There was just so much to enjoy and so many items to purchase, many across the range of anime, manga and gaming merchandise, as well as traditional Japanese goods. Attending Hyper Japan on the Sunday was a lovely, leisurely experience that I completely recommend to any Japanophile out there that wants a thoroughly enjoyable taste of Japan without getting on a plane.
Hyper Japan will be back next July with the HYPER FESTIVAL – further details regarding the dates are still pending. The Christmas Market will be back at the London Tobacco Dock during 27th – 29th November 2015. Keep checking our Facebook page for further details regarding this event as and when information becomes available to us – Renegade Revolution Facebook
Official images and logos are © Hyper Japan & respective companies
Photography © MayDay