Wonder Festival Summer 2013 Report Part 1: Industry Booths

Titan-sized Machine Caliber at the Good Smile Company booth.

Figure fans in Japan plan their yearly budget around twin conventions--the Summer and Winter Wonder Festivals. As the largest gathering of amateur sculptors in the world, they draw nearly 2000 dealers, over 40,000 visitors, and more cosplayers than your camera lens can capture in the single-day event. But we didn't always have this luxury.

Hachikin Girls, Kaiyodo's very own idol unit!

The character goods market in the 80’s had a major problem--rights holders weren't putting out all the figures that otaku demanded! So consumers took matters into their own hands and became creators themselves by casting limited production resin assembly models, better known as garage kits. The first Wonder Festival was organized as a garage kit swap meet in December 1984 by General Products, an anime and SF specialty store in Osaka operated by the founding members of Gainax.  

In 1992, General Products withdrew from the market to focus on video games and Gainax goods, passing the torch to their hometown rival and Revoltech maker Kaiyodo. The Wonder Festival of today maintains its flea market roots but has grown to also serve as a pillar for the cosplay community and a trade show for major industry players.

Case in point, Danny Choo was at the AmiAmi booth to reveal the animatronic "Smart Doll" modeled after his mascot Mirai Suenaga. The age of interactive waifu is nearly upon us!

Ami Sports made a strong showing with our popular line of The Idolm@ster cycling jerseys, an absolute must for the competitive racer who wants to take their ita-sha over the finish line with style.

Takashi Murakami took to the stage with life-size figures boasting larger-than-life proportions, courtesy of Kaiyodo's top sculptor Bome. But everyone was more interested in the booth babes cosplaying as Murakami's characters. At Wonder Festival, art imitates life--or was it the other way around?

Check out the gallery below for more shots of the industry booths, or click through to our Facebook page for prototypes of upcoming releases!