Convention is worth the wait for anime fans

Long queues form as annual celebration of comic culture gets under way in Wan Chai

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 July, 2014, 4:09am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 July, 2014, 4:28am

Die-hard anime fanatics queued for more than 24 hours to be first into the biggest ever edition of the Ani-Com & Games convention.

People started lining up as early as Wednesday night for the chance to be first in line to the booths when doors opened yesterday. Many of the publishers and other businesses promoting their wares offer special gifts or limited-edition products for the first few through the doors of the annual event, now in its 16th year.

Among the highlights on day one was the launch of T-shirts based on a wildly popular Japanese animation called No Game No Life, released in April.

Based on a graphic novel by manga artist Kamiya Yuu, No Game No Life tells the story of siblings named Black and White who achieve little in the real world but who rule the virtual world with their exceptional gaming skills.

Watch: Ani-Com Hong Kong 2014 brings comic animations to life 

The craze has swept Hong Kong, with the manga books almost selling out at the Hong Kong Book Fair last week.

Local distributor Tong Li Publishing said it had ordered extra stock to sell at its booth at the Ani-Com & Games event.

"I think it is really the [ No Game No Life] T-shirts this year," said secondary school pupil Nicholas James Beale, 16, when asked what had attracted people to the convention. "I have seen a lot of people walking around here who have actually got them."

Also attracting attention was first-time exhibitor Sony, which offered a range of promotional packages, including allowing people who spent HK$3,380 on a PlayStation 4 games console to pick up a PS Vita TV mini-console for HK$360.

Visitors also donned their usual array of elaborate costumes, with characters from Japanese manga books such as Sword Art Online and Black Butler proving popular.

Ng Ching-lam, 17, a Form Six pupil, dressed as Kirigaya Suguha from Sword Art Online.

"Kirigaya is one of the most courageous and fiercest fighters, and the determination shown is what drew me," he said.

Student Lam Tim-Yat, 20, drew influence from many characters for his costume.

"I have noticed an emergence of original characters in fiction and game series, but not a single self-produced avatar in recent years," Lam said. "By doing so, I hope I can set a precedent and strive for local recognition for such work."

The exhibition is expected to draw some 700,000 visitors before it closes on Tuesday.