Thousands make their way into Taipei Comic Exhibition
Tens of thousands of comic book and anime fans pushed and shoved their way into the 2015 Comic Exhibition in Taipei Thursday to seize limited-edition products at the annual expo.
Large crowds of mostly students sprinted into the venue at the Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall 1 as soon as the doors opened at 10 a.m., knocking over portable railings as they dashed toward the more popular booths.
Comic book fan Vincent Chiang said he and over a dozen friends had taken turns camping outside the venue for a week so that they could buy limited-edition gift boxes from the action anime “Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works.”
“I like the special effects and the portrayal of human nature in the anime,” the 17-year-old high school student said.
Chiang and his friends almost cleared all of the “Fate” gift boxes from the shelves. The boxes, each priced at NT$650 (US$20.52), consist of posters, notebooks, project folders, signatures of one of the voice actors and other items.
One fan who did not manage to get a box was heard begging others to spare him one.
Another comics fan, 25-year-old Yen Tzu-fa, purchased NT$3,000worth of products related to the bestselling Japanese manga “One Piece.”
Yen, who was planning to spend NT$5,000 at the fair, said he likes the manga because “it is passionate and the story is touching.”
As of noon Thursday, the fair had already attracted around 50,000 people, according to initial figures released by the event’s main organizer, the Taipei-based Chinese Animation and Comic Publishers Association.
Over 70 publishers have set up 610 booths at the fair, a 15 percent increase from last year, according to the association.
A total of 50 graphic artists, authors, voice actors and animation producers from Taiwan and Japan will hold 34 book-signings and other events at the fair, now in its 16th year.
Among them are Japanese authors Chise Ogawa and Ryo Takagi and Taiwanese light novelists Yanghane, Yu Wo and Mao Luo.
A booth featuring “Star Wars” products is being set up for the first time at the fair. Heads were turned when several people dressed as “Star Wars” characters Darth Vader and stormtroopers marched into the venue to open the fair, with the “Star Wars” theme song playing in the background.
Although Typhoon Soudelor is expected to bring wind and rain to Taiwan in the coming two days, Roger Kao, secretary-general of the association, said the exhibition will not be canceled or postponed and will continue as planned.
Safety measures have be taken and fans will be asked to queue indoors instead of outdoors, he said.
Last year, the fair attracted 601,000 visitors and generated around NT$260 million in sales, according to the association. It will run until Aug. 11.