This weekend saw the 10th edition of the UK’s biggest J-culture event, Hyper Japan! Darcy
headed down to the Kensington Olympia on Saturday to check out what was happening and give us the festival lowdown.
Hyper Japan held its first event in 2010 at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, but has since set up shop at the O2, Earls Court and most recently the Olympia. Last year it welcomed more than 85 000 visitors, making it the
place to be for UK otaku!
Now, the first thing to try is always the food - we got to sample some amazing takoyaki (fried squid balls) with bonus pumpkin croquettes and gyoza! Also on offer was bubble tea, bento, donburi, matcha ice cream… in short, Japanese food heaven.
Hyper Japan showcases traditional nippon art with a bonsai exhibition, kimono rentals, pottery and traditional dancing...
... but also modern Japanese culture with lolita fashion, gaming, candy and cosplay!
The focus for us was obviously anime, which was (unsurprisingly) well represented: we ran into the DBZ crew...
...(and drank their ramune)!
We also stopped by the Hyper Theatre to catch the Anime Insiders panel, with industry experts Michihiko Suwa (producer, Detective Conan
), Tetsuya Watanabe (ad-exec, Young Kindaichi
) and Kaoru Wada (composer, Inuyasha
) for an in-depth talk on the anime industry in Japan and around the world.
Former Studio Ghibli Production Coordinator Kihara Hirokatsu (who also worked on our very own My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too!
) stopped by to show off some original artwork from films he’s worked on, including My Neighbour Totoro
and Kiki’s Delivery Service!
Smaller than Comic Con, and with a sharper focus on Japanese culture, Hyper Japan is a lot less hectic than your usual con but retains everything that makes a vibrant and dynamic event - there’s plenty to do and see, and definitely enough stalls to eat up your spending money. We especially love the fact that there’s something for everyone, and it isn’t just modern or mainstream j-culture on show. It doesn’t matter if you’re into origami, anime, J-pop, gaming or bonsai-tending - you’ll find something you love!