Taipei International Comics & Animation Festival opens in Nangang

Crowds pack convention center for manga, performances & games

Cosplayers at Taipei International Comics & Animation Festival

Cosplayers at Taipei International Comics & Animation Festival (By Central News Agency)

Taipei (Taiwan News) -- The fifth Taipei International Comics & Animation Festival opened at the Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall on Feb. 2. The crowd of mostly youths showed up to the event to buy comics and animation-related products as well as to watch performances by Japanese singers.

In addition to the manga and collectibles vendors, there were some VR displays for attendees to experience, including "Resident Evil" from Sony PlayStation, and digital drawing pads from companies like Aery. There are also interactive games for attendees to play alongside staff dressed as game characters.

There were even walls with markers for attendees to show off their drawing skills and write messages.

Performances, the most popular of which are hosted at the Ichiban Japan Stage, include Rio Hiiragi, X21, STARMARIE, Girl's Bomb!! and Callmasters. There are also performances of Chita Musume on a smaller stage.

The majority of the larger displays at the exhibition are from Japan, which produces most manga and anime sold in Taiwan, though Taiwanese distributors of Japanese manga are also represented at the event. The festival opened following the success of Makoto Shinkai's "Your Name." (Kimi no Na wa) anime, which hit theaters in October and became the highest-grossing Japanese film in Taiwan.

Domestic companies represented at the Comics & Animation Festival include 台灣角川 KADOKAWA, Taiwan Tohan Co. and Tong Li Publishing Co.

The Taiwan comics market is valued at about NT$2 billion per year, according to the Chinese Animation & Comic Publishers Association, but that excludes animation and peripheral products. The market value includes Japanese-licensed comics as well as domestically-produced ones. In contrast, Japan's anime industry market was worth NT$505.7 billion in 2015, according to the Association of Japanese Animations.

In 2013, the event drew 582,000 attendees; that number fell to 409,000 in 2014 but with an increase in revenue. Last year's festival drew 96,000 people on opening day.

The majority of attendees to the festival stood in line to enter various company shops for manga and related products, including figurines, pillows, posters and even anime contact lenses.

The Comics & Animation Festival runs until Feb. 6. Admission is NT$120 for one day or NT$550 for all five days. Visit the official website for more information.