Sunday, July 20, 2008

Star Wars Celebration Japan

Today is the first day of Celebration Japan. It opened at 10:00 AM, but I didn't arrive until 10:30. From the line to get in, I thought it would be packed, but it wasn't bad at all.

The event is being held at a massive complex in Chiba called the Makuhari Messe. CJ is in one of the halls, which looks like a hanger bay for B-52s. It feels a lot different from the Celebrations I attended in Indiana (CII and CIII) which were more festive and Star Warsy. CJ feels a bit more like a computer or car convention, with everything in one massive space, with bits partioned off by Dilberty cubicle walls.

There aren't too many dealers or things to see or buy, yet admission is 4,000 yen per day. Still, all in all if you take advantage of what is there, there's enough to keep you busy for a day. If you stretch it to 3 days, you definitely have to take in the collector panels, which fortunately are one of the highlights.

The outside of the hall:
The Hanger Bay:
Once inside, you see lines to take photos with replica props. You start to think, "Ugh, it's a line-a-con!" But the lines go fast, and it's a pretty neat thing to do, especially for kids.

Star Wars goodies on display:

And some Japanese stuff. Gotta love Star Wars slots and pachinko!

Onto the panels. 4 per day (12 total over the course of CJ), on a range of topics related to SW collectibles. I attended three, including this great presentation on vintage Asian bootleg items:
Which was put on by a couple of buddies:

For each panel you attend, you receive a metal medallion. They're officially licensed by Lucasfilm and are very well made:
Dealer tables:
Some cosplayers in attendance. GONK! The autograph area. OK, this particular line was for Anthony Daniels. Both he and Mark Hamill (only signing on Monday) are signing behind Dilbert walls to prevent people from photographing them. Basically, if you want a photo with one of these guys, you have to pay for an autograph. Kind of weird, but eh, it's their thing.
The Vader Project is a highlight of the show. It's a collection of 50+ Vader Helmets customized by artists from all over the world. Very impressive indeed!
Here's one by Mori-san (Real Head):
And one by Itokin Park:

Dinner! Soba tonight. My favorite part was the fresh wasabi. Yummy!
Then I wandered into an amusement center. Most arcades have games where you shoot out metal balls, trying to have as many as possible pushed over the edge, so you get more metal balls, which you then shoot back into the machine until you've had enough of the process.
To get you to keep feeding the machine, the designers come up with some ingenious contraptions. This is the most complex one I've ever seen - The Galileo Factory. It has all these ramps and balls and spinning thingamajigs, plus screens and jackpots and other whatsitgabobs to keep you completely absorbed as you fire balls in with a rapid fire spin launcher. Pretty cool to watch, though I'm glad I wasn't one of the feeders. Gets expensive!

Two of my well-known Japan weaknesses are crane machines and candy tower machines. I wasn't that interested in the Kit Kat towers, but I spotted some pretty interesting cranes, including a frozen dessert scooper!
I gave it a go and came up with a pretty nice prize on the first try. My feat earned a few "segoi's!" from the other craners. And it was yummy!
Tomorrow: WCC!

1 comment:

krakit said...

Nice summary with great pictures.
Thanks for sharing with us.

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