MangaGamer occupied two islands of booths this year in the exhibition hall, instead of having a totally enclosed 18+ booth like last year. They brought a lot more companies this year, and this can be seen in the variety of booths they had. However, the main feature of their booths was probably the live stage, where they held a total of six miniature concerts over three days.
The major players had their booths as usual. One of the islands was mostly occupied by CIRCUS, who had various t-shirts, key chains, posters, CDs and fabrics for sale. Singers Aina Kase and rino also signed their CDs at the booth, while artists Yuki Takano and Yuka Kayura drew custom sketches for customers. OVERDRIVE had a booth on the other island, selling the all-ages and physically packaged version of KIRA KIRA along with other merchandise like CDs. Love+, d2b’s latest album (and not to be confused with the Nintendo DS game) was prominently featured, but there were also copies of a Touhou album by bamboo for sale. Illustrator Shinji Katakura was present, doing commissioned sketches, and singer UR@N was around signing CDs. BaseSon/NEXTON also had their little area selling Koihime Musou related merchandise.
What’s interesting this year, however, are the other companies MangaGamer brought. HOBIBOX, who was here last year, had a corner of an island, selling hardcore electronic music as well as 07th Expansion games. The head of SHOT MUSIC was there, selling their latest release, SUPER SHOT2, which was a remix album of songs from bishoujo games that was released one week before Anime Expo. The first six chapters of Umineko were available for purchase, and there was a prominent sign encouraging buyers to visit Witch Hunt for the game’s translation patches. The eight main arcs of Higurashi in Japanese were also available for purchase, as well as a packaged version of MangaGamer’s released of the question arcs to Higurashi.
Collectible card game publisher Bushiroad also had a booth with MangaGamer for the first two days, and had an area where they taught beginners how to play their games. Bushiroad publishes such CCGs as Weiβ Schwarz and Chaos TCG, which feature characters from bishoujo games.PRODUCTION PENCIL also had a booth, selling their PENCIL LIVE 2010 t-shirts as well as wallscrolls and posters of games from their brands Lillian and PajamasSoft.
The highly anticipated âge was selling Minami Kuribayashi CDs (one featuring songs from âge and one featuring the more mainstream songs from anime) at their booth along with models of mecha from their Muv Luv series. Their artists were also available to do customized sketches. Front Wing’s booth for days 3 and 4 had some merchandise for sale, but it was dominated by the presence of their artists. Akio Watanabe was quite busy during the day, working on sketches for people. Apparently, only a handful of sketches were done each day. The most popular sketches seemed to be of Komugi from Soultaker/Nurse Witch Komugi-chan and the characters from Bakemonogatari, with Hitagi Senjougahara beating out Komugi Nakahara (Soultaker version) in popularity. 0verflow of School Days fame also had a booth, where they sold pillow paraphernalia from their latest Cross Days and displayed on a netbook their English build of the trial version of Summer Days that was released as an April Fool’s joke a few years back. Lastly, there were representatives from at least two other major game companies present, although probably not in an official capacity.
The major crowd grabber was obviously the series of mini-concerts they held. MangaGamer erected a miniature stage for the concerts, enough for a couple of people to stand on, just like last year. Each of the first three days, there were two performances, one held at 1:00pm and one held at 4:00pm. Each concert had three vocalists perform approximately five songs each. Aina Kase performed in all the concerts, and the other three switched up. UR@N dressed up in traditional Japanese attire, Aina dressed up in a pop idol outfit with her zettai ryouiki, rino dressed up in a more sedated attire and Minami sported either the waitress uniform from Sky Temple (a family restaurant in the âge game universe) or the school uniform. Of course, each concert was accompanied by a sizeable crowd, with glowstick users in the front. Parts of the concerts were broadcasted live, either through Nico Nico Douga or Ustream.
On the last day, instead of a concert, tororo-dancho gathered together some unsold items and held an event to sell them, each item coming with complementary Subway sandwich, Pepsi and a t-shirt. Finally, around the time the exhibition floor closed for the last time, several dealers came by and bought up a lot of MangaGamer’s remaining stock, including a large pile of KIRA KIRA discs.