Sunday, August 19, 2012

Akiba Daisuke Festival

Now this was something different. Tokyo has quite a few toy shows (though a lot fewer than in previous years). And there are shows for video games, idol shows, and other elements of geek culture. But it's rare for many of these elements to not only come together under one roof, but to do so in an atmosphere of fun, high energy, and comradery. That was my impression of the Akiba Daisuke Festival.
The weekend show was held, appropriately, in the worldwide center of the otakuverse: Akihabara.
A note about the naming of things. Akiba is short for Akihabara. "Daisuke" means "to like" in Japanese.

I went for the toys but had a great time checking out everything else. But we usually headline with the toys, so let's start with a look at the indie sofubi on hand.
Real Head
 More after the jump:

These weren't show releases per se (I've seen a number of them before), but figures sold as singles (from the archives or the shop or something).

There were a few of the Tricerinext on the right on hand, so I think it was a show release.
Pico Pico

This was display only - as Pico Pico explained, an example of how you can easily and cheaply deck out the figure.


Love the poses on these guys

One Up

This was a Rumble Monsters lottery table. You paid 1000 yen and either got one of the painted figures, a GID Leatherman (special show release), or your choice of one of the figures on the left, some of which were test shots.

Show exclusive Max Toy Negoras.

This was an auction figure. Part of the show was an auction tie in with Yahoo Japan Auctions. They had a giant projector off to the side showing the action as it happened.

 I'll get back to the toys in a second, but first more about the auctions.
Not only was there a booth and giant screen showing the auctions, but they had a unique in person/online auction event going on. A number of auctions were items of clothing (signed shirts and, yes, for at least one auction: panties) belonging to young women. The women went onto a stage while the host talked them up and the people in attendance bid - now get this - on the auctions not by raising a number or sign but by using their smartphones. Never seen anything like it.

After 5-10 minutes, the auctions were ended early, and the winner was able to go onto the stage and meet the person/people whose items which he (everyone I saw in the bidding pit was male) had just won.
 OK, back to the toys...
Sunguts buildings on sale at the One Up booth. Cool diorama components.

 At set times, different makers set up at the One Up booth. Here's Dol Roffo:

 Blobpus set up in the afternoon with some nice customs:

 Live art by Masayoshi Hanawa:

 More art at the show:
Rin Nadeshico solo show

 And now, one of my favorite parts - the free video gaming!

Retro Games brought along several vintage Famicom systems and a Super Famicom system..

You could choose which game you wanted to play.

I tried my hand at Xevious...

...and Adventure Island! It was my first time playing this, or any other Famicom game, (Well, I did play a bit of NES at friends' houses back in the day. Donkey Kong and such) No, I got nowhere close to seeing the boss that Linden made into sofubi for WF. :p

Massive projector screen for Street Fighter gaming.

Retro Games' shop info. I look forward to checking it out sometime. I inquired into the cost of a Famicom system. Not too much, but I don't even have a TV. If anyone knows if I can make the system work using a computer monitor, let me know. :)
Shooting game

Free remote control car playing. I tried this too and, well....I'll just say it was fun. :)
 More shots from the show:

Very friendly booth selling costumes

Free yo yo lessons

Lots of media coverage

Let me close with a word about this last image. In the basement of the building was a kind of interactive idol performance (which was not open to cameras so I'm posting this shot of a show promo). The way it works is performers sing and dance on a stage while the crowd follows their movements, does some other set movements, chants, screams, jumps, and dances.

I've never seen anything like it on this scale. But I thought it was cool that in an otherwise  buttoned-up culture, people could do their thing without having to look over their shoulder. I mean cosplay is huge and widely accepted and practiced. But that's a kind of uniform in a way. You dress up, walk around, and otherwise keep quiet and restrained.

This was visceral. And it was unrestrained. You had some people doing standard moves on cue. You had others jumping up and down. And others were kind of moving and swaying in interpretive rhythms. Anyway I thought it was awesome, and so was the Akiba Daisuke Festival. I hope they hold it again!


Inknpaper said...

This was a really nice coverage post. Not only did you have some awesome shots, but that festival looked like it was so much fun! Especially that group dance event at the end.

Did you happen to catch the name of the artist who had those pieces up in the art show? Just wondering because those looked beautiful.

Thanks for posting.

andy b said...

Thanks very much for the nice comments.

I do indeed have some info about the artist. Her name is Rin Nadeshico. The flyer I got seems to have been put out by Art lab Tokyo. So that might be worth checking out:

I also did a bit of Googling and found the artist's website, which is very well made and even has an English section:

Hope that helps. :)

Mattyboombatty said...

Hey Andy...any more info on those Sunguts buildings? Those looked the bomb.
Matt -A.O.I.

andy b said...

No info sorry. Maybe try the Sunguts site?

Onion said...

Regarding the Famicom...

Well because there has been such a rapid increase in video standards it's going to be a bit awkward to play a Famicom on your laptop. The only way I know to actually make it work would be to buy two special pieces of equipment.

The first is a VGA box. This is basically just a piece of hardware that converts the video signal of a console into a VGA signal so your laptop can display it. Unfortunately to make this work you would not be able to buy a standard Famicom as they only work with an RF switch. So the second piece of hardware you'd need to buy is an alternative model Famicom capable of outputting a composite signal or better. There's the Nintendo first-party released AV Famicom (what I use), a Sharp Famicom Titler (awesome but expensive) or choose from any number of Famiclones. Famiclones are unlicensed hardware made by third parties after Nintendo's patents on the Famicom hardware expired.

You might want to look into picking up a cheap (or free) CRT tv. A 13" model won't take up too much space or cost that much. FWIW, many of my best gaming memories were formed on a Zenith 13" TV. Virtually all of my single player retro-gaming is done on a 9" SONY TV made for campers. CRT models tend to be a lot more 'forgiving' of the pixelation in older games and are the screens they were designed for.

The last option would be to look into emulation (software that runs the games on your computer) but that's a whole different can of worms. You know where to hit me up for more info about that.

To be honest I'd go with the small TV route if I were in your situation. Probably the smoothest set up overall without any annoying barriers to playing. You can head on over to famicomblog:

and read up about his experiences there. AFAIK his situation was a bit like yours and only really got introduced to Famicom stuff in the past few years. The 'Famicom revival mania' fad is passing but there is still plenty of great retro gaming to be had. Enjoy!!!!!

andy b said...

Now that's some knowledge! Thanks!

I should have been clearer - I have a standard (not connected to a laptop) 17" desktop computer monitor. I noticed the guy at the show was able to connect the Famicom directly to the projector, so I was wondering if there was some type of simple adapter that would let it connect to a monitor.

But like you say, we're looking at older vs. new tech, so I can see how a CRT would be easiest. Given my lack of space, that unfortunately wouldn't be possible right now.

Anyway thanks so much for the great info. :)

Inknpaper said...

Thanks for the info!

And the link to the awesome site.

Keep up the your amazing blog, it's always a pleasure when you update : )

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