Massive crowds packed the Taipei International Comics and Animation Festival yesterday, with organizers estimating that more than 150,000 people have visited the show in its first two days.
Organizers said they expect more than 400,000 to attend the show, which ends on Monday, and are hoping for sales of about NT$150 million (US$5 million).
Publishers and vendors did brisk business, as the mostly teenaged and 20-something throngs snapped up old and new comic books, light novels, animation series and various ACG (animation, comic and game) products.
They also enjoyed events and autograph sessions yesterday with Japanese ACG artists Shintaro Asanuma, Tomohiro Matsu and Taro Tatsunoko.
“It is an honor for me to visit Taiwan for the first time. It’s also the first time I have attended a comic and animation event outside of Japan. I decided to come after learning that I have a big following here. I want to thank all the fans in Taiwan for their support and your good wishes,” said Asanuma, a writer, director and voice actor on many popular Japanese animation series.
Along with the Taiwanese media, news outlets in Japan have been covering the event.
“It is quite a big crowd inside, I had difficulty moving around and was pushed around at times. It’s amazing to see so many Taiwanese fans who are into the various Japanese comics and animation genres,” said Seiichi Ogawa, a journalist from Japan’s Ballsushin news agency.
He added that Taiwan has its own breed of otaku (宅男) — mostly stay-at-home adolescents immersed in comics, cartoons, computers and online games, but with limited social and communications skills.
“There were long lines of people outside waiting to get in. These lively scenes and massive gathering of the otaku groups are similar to what I have seen at events in Japan,” Ogawa said.
“The passion and energy inside are also much the same. There’s a lot of cross-cultural exchange and interaction between Japanese and Taiwanese, especially in the ACG industries,” he said.