Featuring cult series creators
Why not starting the list of our prestigious guests by those who were chosen as guests of honor on the festival? We were very pleased to receive Ken AKAMATSU on this 16th Impact! Our manga guest of honor shared with you the commitment and passion that have been characterizing his work for more than 20 years and have naturally led to the worldwide success of the numerous volumes of Love Hina or Negima! Magister Negi Magi… some qualities that you were able to appreciate during his conference and an impressive live drawing. In addition, he was happy to celebrate his birthday among his fans!
There was another anniversary to celebrate… the 20th one of the Neon Genesis Evangelion saga. His chara-designer, Yoshiyuki SADAMOTO, had to be our anime guest of honor! During an exciting conference, he retraced his eclectic career path as a chara-designer, a mangaka and a film animation director. And experience has shown that all these roles suited him very well!
Click here for more about Ken AKAMATSU and
Yoshiyuki SADAMOTO in our Guest of Honor report
Japan Expo also enjoyed the presence of a living legend in the field of animation: Shichirô KOBAYASHI. This extraordinary illustrator, creator of extremely neat settings, and artistic director of masterpieces such as Treasure Island or Ashita no Joe 2, awarded several signing sessions to his long-time admirers. Those could see the rich variety of his graphic style through a comprehensive exhibition that reflected his remarkable career.
Lots of novelties
Beside some masterworks which have already accompanied an entire generation, the alleyways of the festival were, of course, full of novelties. Among them, the multi-faceted artist Yûsuke KOZAKI came to present us his artistic endeavours as a mangaka (he is famous in France for his series Karasuma Kyôko no Jikenbo), but also as a chara-designer for anime (such as Speed Grapher) and for video games (No more heroes): the dexterity he showed in his live drawing makes us looking forward to discovering his next creations!
The mangaka Boichi presented and signed on Doki-Doki’s booth two freshly printed books: a new volume of Sun-Ken Rock and an artbook that he designed especially for his French public, to “make him discover the creation process”, in his own words.
The phenomenon Sword Art Online that has been blowing over France since 2012 was well felt during the festival. The Ofelbe publishing house can attest to that, since it welcomed all the unconditional fans of the saga that, from a light novel, became an anime. You were able to get signings from the author Reki KAWAHARA and the illustrator abec, and you were given early access to the second volume of the series – which seems to be destined to the same bright future as the first volume, already sold over 16 million copies throughout the world! The contest Ofelbe X Good Smile Company also had much success, and no wonder why: the winners could take away a signed novel and a Sinon figma.
In the amateur area, fanzine readers could meet and chat with the inventive authors of “hand-made” creations. But there is no hermetic boundary between pros and fanzine creators. For example, the mangaka Kenjiro HATA (creator of the famous Hayate the Combat Butler) and Masumi ASANO (dubber) dived into the fanzine world with their latest creation, Seiyû’s life!, which you could discover exclusively in its French version on our Website. This dôjinshi, which describes for the first time the dubbing backstage in a realistic manner, should arouse many vocations, in France just like in Japan! In the opposite direction, the illustrator VanRah, who has long been involved in the fanzine market, was signing her first volume published at Glénat, Stray Dog, an atypical series which adapts the myth of werewolves with a romantic touch.
Prestige and generosity
Apart from the numerous signing sessions, you were able to take advantage of expert advice during interesting conferences, some of which given by our guests. We’d like to acknowledge the generous contribution of Eiji OTSUKA (scriptwriter of MPD-Psycho at Pika), who led a seminar with several renowned professors on manga teaching in foreign countries; with the mangaka Tatsuya ASANO, he also gave a masterclass for all of those who wished to make progress in their story-board.
The anime producers Michihiko SUWA, Tetsuya WATANABE and Hirokatsu KIHARA gave an instructive conference on the animation industry in Japan. The “manfra” market (manga “à la française”) was the subject of a conference conducted by the French mangaka Elsa Brants (Save me Pythie). The singer Azumi INOUE (famous interpreter of some emblematic themes of Ghibli Studio movies) took part in an original retrospective entitled The Japanese anime since 1803. Far from the ancient myths of the first projected drawings, zombie and thrill seekers had their curiosity satisfied during a conference given by the two young creators of Crueler Than Dead, the scriptwriter Tsusaka SAIMURA and the illustrator Kôzô TAKAHASHI. In terms of music, aspiring composers could renew their inspiration listening to great masters such as the composer and arranger Kaoru WADA and the “sound magician” Keiichi ITOH.
In brief, signing sessions, conferences and live drawings gave you many opportunities to get close to your favorite artists, who confessed that they had been touched by the collective enthusiasm of the French audience!
Obviously, all of these meetings would not have happened without the precious collaboration of publishers! Many publishing houses strived to link their emblematic authors to the public at their booth. And those initiatives really met the readers’ expectations!
At Pika’s booth, the fans of Attack on Titan could purchase before anybody else the 14th volume of the series, having maybe at the same time the opportunity to see our guest of honor Ken AKAMATSU. For its 10 years of existence, the publisher Kurokawa paid tribute to Hiromu Arakawa, author of the famous Fullmetal Alchemist, who had come to present her latest book, The Heroic Legend of Arlsân. And to celebrate its 5th anniversary, nobi nobi! had invited talented artist women (Ein LEE, Shiitake, Samantha BAILLY, Alice BRIÈRE-HAQUET, la Luciole masquée) : they gave a warm welcome to their readers, who are unlikely to forget them!
There was also a good friendly atmosphere at Kana’s booth, easily detectable thanks to the giant Naruto floating in the air as every year! Kana offered us 60 m2 of entertainment inspired from the series Assassination Classroom, whose 9th volume was released exclusively for Japan Expo. Regarding anime, the largest Japanese studio, TOEI, had prepared, in partnership with the toy manufacturer BANDAI, a wonderful space of 300 m2 for the public faithful to Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Sailor Moon and other timeless classics… You could walk through life-size settings under the watchful eye of an amazing green dragon emerging from the tight crowds.
Those crowds that were wandering from one booth to another, with their arms full of novelties and classics, taking part in contests, winning goodies… everything was set for their total satisfaction at Delcourt, Soleil, Tonkam, Ankama, Kazé Manga, Doki-Doki, isan manga, Glénat, Akata, Taifu Comics, HSN, Komikku … including Ki-oon, who was granted this year the prize “Asie de la Critique ACBD” with Poison City by Tetsuya Tsutsui, a manga dealing with freedom of expression and the future of the Japanese youth.
To complete these discoveries, you were proposed many fun and educational activities – because fans are usually insatiable, and Japan Expo is very much aware of that!
For the 20 years of the Neon Genesis Evangelion saga, Japan Expo had absolutely to content all its fans! A 160 m2 space was dedicated to it, with 35 rare replicas of outstanding elements of the making process, from the very beginning of the adventure. Thanks to two photocalls, you could take a portrait of yourselves immersed in the mythical series. In addition, 3 window displays containing goodies, video games, exclusive figurines and manufactured collectables were complementing the exhibition – until the upcoming release of a last movie.
In honor of our guest Shichirô KOBAYASHI, a panorama exhibition on almost 100 m2 presented more than 50 works along his long career of illustrator, artistic director and painter. It took you back into the unique atmosphere of some famous anime such as Nobody’s Boy: Remi, Berserk or Ashita no Joe 2 – just to mention a few – and it unveiled a little-known facet of the artist, his vibrant abstract works.
Kurokawa’s exhibition was entirely dedicated to Hiromu ARAKWA and allowed you to penetrate into the mythical transmutations of Fullmetal Alchemist and to better understand the specificities of this creator’s universe, coming from an agricultural background that she admirably depicted in Silver Spoon.
The upcoming generation was represented through an exhibition prepared by Vantan Game Academy (the oldest video game content creation school in Japan). Its students competed this year on the theme of world cultures, and you could see 20 of their enchanting illustrations – the proof that continuation is ensured!
Conferences, masterclasses and workshops
However, you did not need to go to Japan to learn: some masterclasses right on Japan Expo enabled you to explore the drawing and animation technique of your choice! In the educational area Masterclass Wacom Japan Expo, digital workshops took place throughout the festival, ranging from cosplay photomontage to comics colorization and creation of 3D objects – lots of subjects for all tastes and levels!
Some of our prestigious guests also gave exceptional masterclasses: we would like to thank especially Ken AKAMATSU, Shichirô KOBAYASHI, Kôzô TAKAHASHI and Tsusaka SAIMURA, VanRah, Eiji OTSUKA and Tatsuya ASANO, on behalf of all the amateur that could benefit from their knowledge and expertise.
For those with a more “manual” than “digital” temper, the Tengumi association was providing a drafting space where little-ones and grown-ups could use any material they liked to express their creativity. Anigetter, with its papercraft and 3D origami demos, caught the attention of many curious, some of which dared to work hands-on. And the AEUG (Association for the Expansion of Gundam Universe), faithful to its commitment, helped all mecha fans to build their own models and propagate this universe around them!
Video projections, books and travel
The video room streamed throughout the festival many cult anime along with exclusive episodes: Kill la Kill, Tokyo Ghoul, Space Dandy, Nobody’s Boy: Remi, Attack on Titan… including a few independent short films, a simulcast “premiere” of Gangsta and the airing of the first episode of the new series Aquarion Logos.
On the + Japan association booth, an animation specialist, Kô NAKAJIMA, streamed and commented for you anime of all times. You could meet there several mangaka (Makoto NIWANO, Yûko SUGIYAMA, Mako HACCHO and TAEGI) who work to promote their art abroad.
The AMV France association stimulated the fans of pop culture with its tonic video clips made of anime extracts and manga boards on a musical background. And to rest for a while, away from the bustle of the crowds, the Manga Café was proposing its relaxing and reading-dedicated areas. Finally, the Tottori Prefecture, nicknamed “Manga Kingdom Tottori”, had some representatives that encouraged you to come and discover it… since this city has given the world many mangaka, including the famous Jiro TANIGUCHI!
Games and contests
The most dynamic or competitive ones could fight in a variety of contests and games focusing on their knowledge of manga and anime! Inspired by Japanese dubbers, many French young ladies were up for the seiyû challenge and participated in the great contest Seiyû’s Life! The finals took place on Yuzu stage on the last day of the festival, in front of a public of connoisseur. Congratulations to the winner, Emilie Z.!
The specialist of “TV-like games”, Greg WICKER, warmed up the ambiance as usual with his Greggo’s Game Shows. Various quiz on manga culture were proposed by the Kaerizaki and Ze Network Tsundere associations. As for the Brigade SOS Francophone and Forum Thalie, they were offering classicals like blind tests of anime songs, as well as whimsical games from the overflowing imagination of their members. The most confident ones could take part in some photo shoots with the Bande Animée, in the hopes of being selected to become part of a manga board.
In conclusion, this 16th Impact was full of discoveries, moments of sharing and creations around anime and manga, in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere that delighted all of us, guests included! Now, it’s time to go…. But please stay tuned for the new adventures to come!
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for more about the festival with pics!