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Sakura-Con 2011 Exhibition Hall Report by Michelle Tymon (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

June 4, 2011 by  



Sakura-Con 2011 Exhibition Hall Report & Photos by Michelle Tymon

Exhibition Hall at Sakura-Con 2011

 

One of the biggest perks of going to Sakura-Con is their enormous Exhibition Hall.

Throughout the whole weekend, this place is packed because anime fans can find almost any merchandise they could ever ask for.  The number of exhibitors grows every year and this year Sakura-Con had 120+ exhibitors from all over the country.  Of course anime and manga merchandise aren’t the only things you’ll find here.  Other exhibitors include organizations dealing with Japanese culture, video game exhibitors (particularly retro gaming), and shops selling anything involving Japanese or Asian culture (you can buy swords!).

People who wish to cosplay but cannot sew themselves can even find cosplay costumes and wigs here.  JRock enthusiasts can also find clothes, accessories, posters, and of course music from their favorite bands.  For three days, this huge hall turns into a Japanese Culture Heaven.

 

various items offered at the Asylum Anime booth

 

Anime and manga fans can pretty much find anything from DVDs/Blu-Rays to body pillows of their favorite characters.

Popular items include DVDs/Blu-Rays, figures, anime cels, mangas, art books, and much, much more.  Official anime distributors like Bandai, FUNimation also usually have booths in the Exhibition Hall and this year Bandai’s booth was impressive.  Not only did they have a booth to sell DVDs and Blu-Rays, they had a whole separate section right next door just for Bandai figures.  Fans could find figures from “One Piece”, “Saint Seiya”, Gundam, and many other series.  Of course, Gundam would be one of the fan favorites.

Kinokuniya is the biggest Japanese bookstore in the Seattle area and they always have tons of manga, art books and an amazing Japanese music collection.  Oh, there’s also a Yaoi booth… for those who are interested.

Bandai's Figure Collection at Sakura-Con 2011

 

Retro gaming is pretty popular with the crowd at Sakura-Con and this year there were multiple exhibitors specializing in retro gaming.

Pink Gorilla is a local company in Seattle that specializes in retro and import games and their booth this year was one of the biggest for retro gaming.  There was also Another Castle Video Games and also a booth for the Seattle Retro Gaming Expo.

 

 

Pink Gorilla's booth at Sakura-Con 2011

 

For those interested in other aspects of Japanese culture, various associations were present to give out information regarding festivals, events, clubs, teaching English abroad, and volunteering opportunities.

Organizations that were present this year included: the Japan America Society of Washington State, The Hyogo Business and Cultural Center, Meito Shodo-kai, and the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle who also runs the JET Program.  You could also stop by the Uwajimaya booth to get some Japanese treats like Pocky and Ramune drinks.

 

JRock and Visual Kei items sold at Visual You at Sakura-Con 2011

 

Fans will never be disappointed at what they find at the Exhibition Hall.  Anime fans will always find what they’re looking for and even find stuff they never thought they would find.   It’s also a great way for people to learn about other aspects of Japanese culture and for gamers will find that nostalgic game from when they were a child.   Definitely worth stopping by at least once if you ever attend Sakura-Con.

For a list of all of the exhibitors from Sakura-Con 2011, go to: http://www.sakuracon.org//exhibitors/exhibitor_booths.php

For many more pictures from the Exhibition Room this year, please check out my flickr at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28410146@N06/sets/72157626760344647/

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