Anime Film Festival Tokyo 2017: A History-Making Weekend [Event Report]

Anime Film Festival Tokyo 2017: A History-Making Weekend [Event Report]

2017 is the 100th anniversary of the creation of the very first Japanese anime, a 3 second clip called “Katsudo Shashin,” meaning “moving pictures.” In honor of this anniversary, a special project called Anime Next 100 has begun. The goal of this project is to support the anime industry so that it can continue for another one hundred years and beyond, first by setting concrete goals to meet by 2020.

The logo for Anime Next 100, designed with the character for “100” on the Japanese flag.

One of the first steps Anime Next 100 has taken is to begin Anime Film Festival Tokyo, an anime festival that was held this weekend in various theaters in Shinjuku! We were able to attend the opening ceremony, which had a great line-up of guests such as seiyuu Nakagawa Shoko and music composer Tanaka Kohei.

The ribbon is cut to begin Anime Film Festival Tokyo 2017!

The first anime film ever released was Hakujaden in 1958, then called a “manga movie.” It was released on October 22, and as a result, the Anime Next 100 has officially made October 22 “Anime Day,” with festivities starting this year as the first day of Anime Film Festival Tokyo. Miyagawa Yasuo, the CEO of Sunrise Inc., brought up the influence of the anime industry going beyond simply creating anime; it includes merchandise, games, novels, magazines, events, and, of course, music.

Sunrise Inc. CEO, Miyagawa Yasuo, making his opening statements.
A shot from Hakujaden.

Because anime songs (“anisong”) have great influence on international fans, Tanaka wrote a song called “Tsubasa wo Motsumono ~Not An Angel Just A Dreamer~” that was recorded by 39 artists.

A group shot from the commercial for “Tsubasa wo Motsumono ~Not An Angel Just A Dreamer~”.

The special guests were just a few of the artists that participated in the song, and they spoke passionately about how they felt about the project. Mizuki Ichiro in particular discussed how early in his career, anisong and the anime industry in general was not respected by the Japanese media, but now, thanks in part to international influence, the industry has grown to being a major player in Cool Japan. It is because of the fans that projects like “Tsubasa wo Motsumono ~Not An Angel Just A Dreamer~” are able to be completed, and it’s a song for fans all over the world.

Singer Mizuki Ichiro making a comment on how the industry has evolved throughout his career.
Seiyuu Nakagawa Shoko passionately discussing how anisongs and the industry at large have connected her to people all around the world.

You can find a commercial for the song here!

This year’s Anime Film Festival Tokyo included showings of beloved classics like episodes of Cardcaptor Sakura and Tiger and Bunny as well as all-night showings of trendy favorites like Osomatsu-san and selections from the Fate series. The showings weren’t limited to series; they also showed films, such as Kuroko no Basket: Last Game and the world premiere of Yowamushi Pedal: Re: GENERATION. They also had two special “anime heritage” showings honoring the history of anime, one featuring Hakujaden and another featuring the first episodes of Astro Boy, 8 Man, Wolf Boy Ken, Big X, and Space Ace.

A shot showing a step in the animation process of Hakujaden.

The festival didn’t stop at just screenings: there were also talk shows with seiyuu and directors; live concerts featuring the artists who participated in “Tsubasa wo Motsumono ~Not An Angel Just A Dreamer~”; tie-in cafés and pop-up shops; and original goods were produced for the event.

The guests are all smiles looking forward to the future!

If you weren’t able to make it out this year, don’t worry! They plan to hold the Anime Film Festival Tokyo next year as well. Next year’s dates will be announced right here on TOM News, so make sure to keep an eye out. Hopefully this event will continue to grow until it becomes a major player in film festivals around the world!

For more information about the Anime Film Festival Tokyo, check out their homepage.

For more information about Anime Next 100, check out their homepage

This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article with photography by Hara T.

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