This was the first chance I got to attend Anime Japan. I wasn't sure what to expect from this Japanese con as I've only attended Comiket up till this point. Hear my thoughts below.
For those unfamiliar, Anime Japan is one of the biggest cons in Japan, having brought in about 135,000 people in 2016, steadily climbing by a few thousand every year. Though the con is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, I attended just the Sunday.
I arrived at Tokyo Big Sight at 11 o'clock, the bad news was it was raining but the good news is I always keep an umbrella in my sling bag. There was some trouble with the network and I couldn't load Pokemon Go through most of my time standing in line, which was roughly 45 minutes long. Tickets were 2200 yen (around 25$ Canadian), the line moved along fairly quickly.
Once indoors, you take your pick where you want to head, I headed to the cosplay area room, which was shared and separated by a stage and eating area. The cosplay area (due to it raining) was rather tight and the room lighting was quite horrible. I never brought my flash which will likely be something I do next time for this con. I mainly used my 35mm 1.4 lens.
The cosplay area had 4-5 individual 2-meter wide backdrop walls with differently themed designs for the cosplayers to use. I don't think I've seen that at a convention before, it was for sure interesting and a nice addition to an otherwise very plain and boring background selection.
As per every convention and Japanese custom, you wait in line for your turn to take photos, you and the cosplayer each say おねがいします (please) before shooting. One thing I've noticed is that most Japanese cosplayers seem to know how to pose and have a good number of poses they'll scroll through for you, they know how to go through the motions. I give them kudos for this.
The eating area had tall narrow tables where you could stand at while you eat the food you purchased at the nearby shop, or just relax for a bit. It was an area that I think most people appreciated. Reminds me of FanEx's food/relaxing table area, a nice gesture from the cons not expecting people to eat while sitting on the ground. On the other side of the new building was essentially a kid's area. I couldn't go in, but it looked like they had some neat stuff for families to see and interact with.
I next explored the 2 large rooms where most of the event stuff was being held. From dealers with exclusive items, to demos, to shops, to displays and more. I took my time here and found myself enjoying it more than I thought I would. This is where the con distinguished itself from Comiket for me. Comiket is mostly a fan-art driven con which doesn't appeal too much to me personally, but the larger display areas I found more exciting to explore. The density of people is much lower than that of Comiket as well, made for getting around a lot easier.
If you get a chance to check the convention out, I recommend it. It's once again, different compared to most NA anime cons. I'm going to give myself more time at this con next year.