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Tens of thousands of fans flock to Taipei comic fair on opening day

2018/02/01 19:19:04

Taipei, Feb. 1 (CNA) Tens of thousands of people poured into the annual Taipei International Comics and Animation Festival on Thursday to vie for limited-edition collectibles from their favorite comic book and animation series.

Large numbers of fans, mostly students, sprinted into the venue at Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall as soon as the doors opened at 10 a.m.

Sunny Huang (黃晨恩), 15, told CNA that she had been lining up outside the hall for three hours before the opening time order to purchase limited-edition items in her favorite comic and anime series "Is the Order a Rabbit?"

"I like the series because it has a laid-back plot and a healing and soothing effect," Huang said.

The Japanese comic series focuses on the life of a girl named Cocoa Hoto and her friendship with a group of new friends, whom she meets at a café called Rabbit House.

Huang said she spent NT$2,000 (US$68) on products that included a wool blanket, a speaker and a laptop bed tray.

(Sunny Huang)

Jeff Cho (卓煒傑), 15, said he was attending the annual fair for the first time and was there to buy products related to the Japanese anime series "Sword Art Online."

He said he bought a computer keyboard, mouse pad and other items for a total NT$1,760.

(Jeff Cho (right))

Suzy Huang (黃詠雪), chairwoman of the Taipei-based Chinese Animation and Comic Publishers Association, the main organizer, said the festival this year highlights a growing focus on Taiwanese comics.

Taiwanese comic artists will hold 20 autograph sessions at the festival this year, more than Japanese artists, she said.

Huang said she hopes the Taiwan government will focus on promoting not only paper comic books, but the entire anime, comic and games (ACG) industry, which she said will create much higher output value.

"In the past, we published comic books in the same way we published other books, but if we can create online games, animations, or tabletop games out of these comic characters, the entire output value will be massive," she told CNA.

In response, Chen Chi-ming (陳濟民), secretary general of the Ministry of Culture, said the government's "forward-looking infrastructure development plan" includes a plan to boost the ACG industry in Taiwan.

For the first time, the ministry has allocated a special budget to promote the ACG industry, Chen said.

Furthermore, in June, the culture ministry will set up a "comic base" on Taipei's Huayin Street, which will serve as a meeting place for comic artists and publishers, and for artists to seek legal advice and other services related to the publication of their work, Chen said.

The culture ministry and the Taichung City government have also signed an agreement to build a national comic museum in that city, he added.

The Taipei International Comics and Animation Festival will run until Feb. 5, featuring 500 booths operated by 55 exhibitors.

A total of 40 comic artists, authors and voice actors from Taiwan and Japan will participate in 35 books signings and other activities.

The participants include Kappei Yamaguchi, a Japanese voice actor best known for his role as Shinichi Kudo, the protagonist in the popular anime series "Detective Conan;" and Japanese light novelist Dachima Inaka, who wrote the award-winning "Do You Love Your Mother, Whose Normal Attack is a 2-Hit All-Attack Combo?"

The participating Taiwanese include comic artists Wan Wan (彎彎), Selena Lin and MAE, and light novelist Yu Wo (御我).

(By Christie Chen)