Hyper Japan Festival 2015 Friday Report
The event returned on 10th-12th July 2015, here’s my experiences of the Friday.
The Hyper Japan Festival came back for another summer event. This time using The O2 in Greenwich as it’s venue. The O2 is a bit of an unusual venue, with the event split into a number of areas within the main complex. This layout was a bit odd. There was a lot of walking between the areas of the event. This even involves exiting the building to reach the stage area in Building Six. The walking would become an issue as the day went on.
The first area visitors came to was Anime and Gaming Park. The inside of this area was dominated by Nintendo, who had a large number of game demos to play. Also there was their official merchandise stall, selling games, accessories and apparel. It was the first stop for many people (including myself) who were searching for Amiibo figures. They did not disappoint. A large number of them were available including rarer figures from earlier release waves. Characters such as The Villager, Marth, Shulk, and Robin. A special case was on display which contained a complete collection of the figures from across the entire Amiibo range. It also had a preview of future releases. The majority of Nintendo’s presence was taken up with the area containing several demo stations for Super Mario Maker. It was a large Super Mario themed area with pipes, ? blocks, and other series staples. It was a nice place to try the game’s demo. Another large presence was the Monster Hunter section. The area was set aside to players to gather and play the game together at a number of charging stations for their 3DS systems. Newcomers could play a demo of the game and get a feel for it. The rest of the area contained a number demos for upcoming games like Star Fox Zero, Chibi Robo Ziplash, and Project X Zone 2. Finally, Nintendo had a stage program running all day featuring competitions, tournaments, and game presentations.
Bandai Namco were the other big presence in this area. They had number of demos for future and recent releases. Tales of Zestria, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 and Sword Art Online Last Song were prominent attractions. Anime steaming Daisuki.net was also a part of this stand. They had trailers for various anime licences including one based on the God Eater games. There was one unmissable part of the Anime and Gaming Park; the Colossal Titan, or rather it’s head. A Huge balloon based on the Attack on Titan character sat in a prominent position. Visitors were free to take photographs with it. It looked fantastic with its intimidating size.
The larger ‘main’ area was a bit further away from the Anime and Gaming Park. It was near to the entrance to the O2 Arena and was fenced off with a specific entrance and exits. Here was contained the Fringe Market and Hyper Kawaii sections. There were a number of stalls selling a number of different items including jewellery, figures, and books. A number of artists were present as well selling their work as well as taking commissions. The Festival Stage was located here in this area near the entrance. There were a number of shows and presentations all day, in a variety of subjects. There was also another staging area here for other cultural demonstrations such as martial arts. This area felt smaller than it did at previous shows. It seemed pretty quick to walk through and it felt like you’d seen everything pretty quickly.. The food court also felt smaller. There appeared to be few vendors here offering their food.
Building Six contained the screening room, a gallery, and the Hyper Live Stage. The Hyper Live Stage held performances from many artists during the day. It was nice venue with its own bar and good sized stage. In some ways it felt quite intimate. I saw Eir Aoi perform her hour long set. She is the artist behind the opening and ending songs for a number of anime. Series’ including Sword Art Online, Kill La Kill and The Heroic Legend of Arslan use her work. It was great performance, with plenty of energy and great songs. At the end of the performance she took picture with the audience. This picture would later be put up on Twitter. She also did a meet and greet afterwards in the space near Area 2 of the event.
— 藍井エイル(あおいえいる) (@eir_ruru) July 13, 2015
This day of the event was disappointing in some ways. The venue seemed to cause a lot of the problems with it. As the day went on the distance between the areas of the event and the walking between them became a bigger issue. Building Six was the least obvious entrance to it, as it involved heading outside from an exit near the Anime and Gaming Park. From there, it was a path to Building Six. This was confusing as the regular entrance to it was closer to the It did feel like the nature of the venue had put more restrictions on the event, limiting the space available. Hopefully, things will improve with the next event in a different venue than The O2.
Photos © Luke Nelson