Winter Wonder Festival 2013
Godzilla, Ultraman, Gamera and More Return for Tokyo Hobby Festival
Author: Ed Godziszewski
Official Site: wf.kaiyodo.net
Translation Assist: Elliot Gay
When the winter chill reaches its peak, it’s a sure sign that it’s time for Winter Wonder Festival. Taking place on Sunday, February 10 at the Makuhari Messe, a few stops down the Keio Line from Tokyo Disneyland, Wonder Festival is not unlike a theme park itself with its endless parade of costumed characters, merchandise for sale, incessant product promotion, and huge crowds. The only thing missing are the rides.
Having attended Wonder Festival for several years in a row, I have to confess to be coming a bit fatigued by the experience with the unrelenting crush of people and merchandise. It’s still always fun to attend, especially if you can find that special item that you didn’t know existed and can’t live without. With the excessively weak dollar finally starting to make a recovery, at last things are feeling a bit more affordable, but as time goes by, the number of new and interesting products on which to blow your hard-earned money has slowly been dwindling. If you like big-breasted scantily clad female anime characters or giant mobile suits, you probably aren’t missing a beat these days since the selection is as plentiful as ever, but if you like monsters and science fiction, the offerings continue to shrink, with many of the biggest kit makers continuously downsizing their tables or not showing up at all. The most conspicuous absence this year was the company which specializes in custom-made Toho monster puppets. They have always been a highlight of each show that I have attended, so it was quite disappointing to note their absence. The one thing that doesn’t seem to have waned at all is the cosplay — still a huge amusing/bemusing assortment of people dressing up and posing for photos.
In the promotinal hall, the most interesting exhibit was a display of the various Pokemon-like creatures that will appear in the upcoming kids scifi adventure film JELLYFISH EYES (めめめのくらげ, Mememe no Kurage), due in theaters in Japan on April 23. The film centers around a young boy who moves to an experimental city after an earthquake. Here, every child is paired with a small monster, and by the climax, one of these little mascots grows into a menacing giant monster that the kids and their companions must confront. Among other events, ULTRAMAN star Hiroko Sakurai appeared at the M1 table to sign autographs.
Wonder Fest remains an fun yet exhausting experience, one that should make everyone’s bucket list. It’s Disneyland for fans and model makers alike, and if you get tired of the show, the real Disneyland is just a short ride away…
Be sure to check out Ed’s previous reports on Wonder Festival and Super Festival:
- Welcome to WonderFest!
- SUPER FESTIVAL 51
- Winter WonderFest 2010
- Winter WonderFestival 2011
- Winter Wonder Festival 2012
- Summer Wonder Festival 2012