Forget the stale stereotype of anime fans as homebodies – we like to get out and have fun as much as anyone – and there’s nothing like a mutual interest to break through the language barrier and meet some mutual fans.
It should come as no surprise that the biggest city in the world has no shortage of anime-related events and parties. The largest, and perhaps best-known, is Comic Market, or Comiket for short, which takes place twice a year (in winter and summer) at Tokyo Big Sight.
Founded back in 1975 as a way for creators of unofficial fan comics (doujinshi) to share their stuff, Comiket has expanded to cover every facet of the industry (from manga to anime), and brought in a whopping 550,000 visitors last winter, including plenty of impressive cosplayers.
Other large-scale events in Tokyo include AnimeJapan, held every year also at Big Sight – this one is officially industry sponsored, and features publishers, studios and broadcasters showing off their latest wares with flashy booths and guest appearances by voice actors and other celebs.
Further afield at Makuhari Messe, there’s Wonder Festival, a biannual event every summer (July 29) and winter dedicated to highly-detailed, limited-edition models known as ‘garage kits’, and Tokyo Game Show (September 20-23), which is pretty much what it sounds like.
Outside these mega events, there are a host of smaller events celebrating anime, manga, video games and other subcultural goodness going on somewhere in Tokyo regularly, including DJ parties featuring nothing but anime songs, talks with creators, all-night movie marathons, cosplay meetups and even group blind dates to help the fans find each other. For a start, we recommend Facebook event listings, or even a simple Google search – you may want to use the Japanese text: アニメ (‘anime’ in katakana).