A Japanese porn star’s hugging contest, as well as covetable limited edition action figures, is drawing record crowds of manga-crazed youngsters to Hong Kong’s annual comic fair.
Hundreds of excited teens camped out for days so they could be among the first inside the venue, turning elevated walkways leading into the city’s convention center into makeshift homes.
“We are expecting a record-number crowd this year — higher than ever before,” a spokeswoman said as the event opened Friday. Last year’s event drew a staggering 680,000 people.
“Youngsters were queuing up outside nine days ago — they had their sleeping bags, foldable chairs and everything ... We have some hardcore supporters,” she added.
Some of those streaming inside were dressed as their favorite characters from anime — the term for Japan’s distinctive animation used in television series, films and video games.
But apart from the cartoon characters, one of the big draws was the chance for visitors to embrace former Japanese porn star Maria Ozawa.
Extra security was reportedly drafted in to maintain order as Ozawa offered hugs to the first 40 people to enter the five-day fair.
In the US, Hugh Hefner and Playmate Crystal Harris, his former fiance, have patched things up in no time flat.
Harris has apologized for saying earlier this week on shock jock Howard Stern’s radio show that sex with the 85 year-old Playboy founder lasted “like about two seconds,” and that she never saw him naked.
“The Stern interview scared me, he’s harsh,” Harris, 25, said in a Twitter post on Thursday evening. “I was unprepared and blurted out things I shouldn’t have said, I’m sorry.”
The magazine mogul, who had previously accused Harris of lying about their relationship, welcomed his former lover’s mea culpa in his own tweet that followed shortly about hers.
“Crystal apologized for her Howard Stern interview, which I appreciated,” Hefner tweeted. “It didn’t have much to do with reality.”
Harris was Playboy magazine’s Miss December 2009 and was engaged to Hefner a year later, but left him and the Playboy mansion five days before their planned wedding on June 18 of this year.
Hefner, who has cycled through a number of women in recent years, has since moved on to live-in girlfriends Anna Sophia Berglund and Shera Bechard, who also have appeared in his magazine.
In other celebrity news, Amy Winehouse left behind a trove of unreleased music, but no decision has been made about whether it will be released, people close to the singer say.
The soul diva, who had struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, was found dead of unknown causes at her London home on Saturday last week. She was 27.
Spokesman Chris Goodman said Thursday that Winehouse left behind “plenty” of material, but there have been no discussions yet about releasing anything.
It’s not clear how finished the tracks are. Winehouse released only two albums in her lifetime, but had been in the studio sporadically over the past few years. In July last year she said a new album would appear within six months, but it was never finished.
Producer Salaam Remi, who worked on both Winehouse albums — Frank and Back to Black — and was involved with her new material, told New York’s Power 105.1 radio station that there were not large amounts of finished material, and Winehouse’s estate had yet to approve the release of anything.