The 2012 Jump Festa, Merchandising on Acid

A few years ago I remember seeing some Facebook pictures of a friend’s visit to Tokyo’s Jump Festa back in 2008. I remember seeing these gigantic floats of the frogs from the Naruto anime that I like so much. I have missed the Festa every single year, but I finally made the time to go. I know it’s 2011, but the actual event is called the 2012 Jump Festa, I guess maybe because they’re showcasing things that are coming in 2012.

I went…and I don’t know any other way to say it…I was disappointed. I couldn’t understand it. I was trying to get into the grove, because I am truly an anime fan. If you’ll pardon the expression, I felt like I had anime impotence. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but the Jump Festa didn’t really do anything for me, I didn’t get excited about it. I am 200% certain that some people may disagree with me.

I think the main reason I was turned off was that there were just SOOOOooo many people there. This is coming from a guy that’s fresh off of going to the Tokyo Motor Show. I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess the Jump Festa had more people. When I arrived at the Festa, it took about 15 minutes just to walk to the end of the line; I’m really not kidding. It took about an hour to get inside, and once we were inside, all Jump Festa attendees were queued into these sectioned areas to sit on the floor and wait for another 30 minutes or so. It kind of seemed like holding cells of 150-175 people. It was pretty uncomfortable. In addition to the sheer number of people, the event just seemed like one gigantic, over-the-top, marketing ploy. Of course things are going to be sold at events like this, that’s quite normal, but the balance of cool things to see vs. items being sold seemed way out of balance (favoring the sales/marketing side of things).

If we look at it from a business standpoint, though, the Jump Festa was truly brilliant! I can only imagine the millions of dollars that this event pulled in. There was no admission charge, but every person who came was given a paper and a corresponding guide. Before going into the event everyone filled out these papers to purchase JUMP-related merchandise. I couldn’t help but sneak a look at some of the tallies around me. It looked like the average person in my section purchased between 2,000 and 3000 yen worth of goods. I don’t know if there was a minimum purchase or anything, but EVERYBODY was buying! If we say that was the average and you multiply that by the 1500 hundred or so people that were in the Messe Makuhari Convention Center at the same time I was, that works out be 3 million to 4.5 million yen! That’s before people even go inside the actual event! We then have to consider is that these holding areas proabably filled up mulitple times over the event’s two days. I wouldn’t be surprised if over 50,000 people attended this event. That’s crazy!

I won’t say the Festa was all bad. I was able to see all kinds of cool anime art, more of the larger than life, anime character floats, costumes, cosplay (the Japanese name for when a person dresses up in a costume, usually of their favorite character), trading cards, and the like. For people into the Pokemon trading card games, there was a large area sectioned off just for people to play the trading card games. I’ve never really been into these kinds of card games like Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering, or Dungeons and Dragons, but all of these games have an incredible following! All of the big-named anime and comics were represented: Bleach, One Piece, SK8 Dance, Psyren, Toriko, Dragonball, and more. Some major video game companies were there, too: Nintendo, Sega, Capcom, Konami, Bandai Games, and more.

I didn’t end up staying at the festa very long but at the very least I can say that I went. I may try again next year, and hopefully I’ll have a different take. Uggh…I can’t believe I wasn’t feeling it. This is probably one of the biggest anime conventions in the world! And I was just “blah” about it. Has anybody else been to the Jump Festa? What were your thoughts?

See you tomorrow!

Donald Ash


The following two tabs change content below.
  • kurt

    I shared this page with my son Zac, who has somehow managed to get me to watch Death Note, Cowboy Bebop, and part of One Piece. Check out his quick sketch of Luffy…

    • Donald Ash

      Whoa! Your your son’s sketch is pretty freakin’ sweet. I’m glad to hear he got you onto the good stuff!

  • Joshua Shibata

    Nice post as always Donald! FYI the pix of the 2 cosplay people that you thought were maybe Fullmetal characters are actually the main characters of a manga called D. Grayman!

    • Donald Ash

      Thanks, Joshua. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me, who they were. Guess I need to brush up on my anime knowledge a bit.

Read previous post:
The 12 Days of Christmas, Japan Guy Style

I didn’t want to write a regular post today. With Christmas less than a week away I figured I’d do...