Whatever else anime conventions may be, they are a good way to see what industry professionals consider marketable in way of anime. When you read seasonal blogs and chat with your 3 friends, you can fool yourself into thinking something like the Promised Neverland was a smash hit beyond anyone’s expectations. And then find out no one has really heard of it.

Fun inside baseball, I lent the manga to my boss’ kids. They love manga and it’s a way for them to learn English. If I remember correctly the oldest is 13 and the youngest is either 9 or 11… They love it… The fact that I’m not fired yet is probably a good sign their parents haven’t read those books. I live in fear.

When I went to Otakuthon recently, I was intrigued which titles both retailers and artists had decided to represent in their various booths. Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive measure. I do think the Promised Neverland did quite well for itself and some day I will create a measuring tape with Isabella demarcations. Bit it does still give me an idea of what the perceived popularity of different shows is.

And what do I do with this information…absolutely nothing. If I was a better blogger I would jump on trends or something but we both know that’s a lost cause….

wow – by Romain Jouandeau

5. The Big Classics

Even though it’s been years there are some shows that stick in the collective consciousness of the anime community. I saw a pretty good spread of various merchandise relating to Cowboy Bebop, still considered one of the all-time favourite classics of the modern anime era and in my opinion, with good reason. The narrative construct is just as influenced by European and western genres such a noir, pulp and hard-boiled crime drama as it is by eastern favoured compromised hero’s journey epic. I should stop before I make this a Bebop post. There’s a reason I’ve never written one. My little heart struggles.

But you also had a lot of Evangelion which makes sense, Sailor Moon (and you know what, Sailor Moon rocked. For all it’s cheesy naiveté I still enjoy it to this day) and Fullmetal Alchemist. I got this great Pride print:


Jojo's bizzare adventure
by Tojosaka666

4. Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure

It’s no secret that Jojo is a popular anime and it eclipsed a lot of other beloved shonen such as Hunter x Hunter or even One Piece. I think part of the reason for its great presence at such a convention may in fact be due to the fun outlandish character designs.

Most of the dealers room was dedicated to the artist alley, it’s where we spent most of our time and what we paid the most attention to since more established dealers all have online shops and similar merchandise which you can order from the comfort of your own home, often cheaper.

I noticed that a lot of creators seemed to have fun adding on even more detail and kitsch to the various cast members of Jojo which made for some creative and eye-catching pieces.

Shin.Megami.Tensei .PERSONA.5.full.2301789
by Pixiv Id 6201306

3. Persona 5

The game has been out for a while now and although Royal has been announced (yes I will buy it and play it – I’m a sucker) it’s not even out in Japan yet so I was surprised to see the game represented with such fervour.

In fact, there was an isle where every single booth heavily featured some type of persona merch, to the point that I started wondering whether the artists had been somehow grouped by theme. They had not… Persona is just that popular. There were also quite a few cosplayers to enforce that as well. I got a standee.

Since we’re on the subject of video games, there was a decent though far from abundant amount of Danganronpa merch as well. That made me happy. I’m sharing it with you!

demon slayer wallpaper
I couldn’t find the original – it’s a wallpaper

2. Demon Slayer

Once again, the cosplay also showed the audience interest in this show. Probably the most recent anime to be heavily featured at the con and boy did we see a lot of it. Demon Slayer looks pretty great so I understand that artists would want to try their hand at those designs. Who could resist creating their own version of adorable Nezuko after all.

It was a bit of a reality check. Crow and I are enjoying our watch-a-long of this series but I know a lot of readers and bloggers seem to be *over it*. Citing mainly Zenitsu and Inosuke’s more annoying tendency as a reason for their waning interest as well as a formulaic story line. As such, it was great to see that there are in fact still a lot of fans that seem to be having fun with this show just as I am.  It’s good to get out of my bubble once in a while.

by Pixiv Id 1734923 

1. My Hero Academia

The winner by a mile though was My Hero Academia. MHA as far as the eye could see. You could not turn your head without seeing a print, figuring AND cosplayer from the series. If you had told me this was a My Hero Academia convention, I would have believed you. I know it was popular but this blew it out of the water. In fact, I think you would have been hard pressed to find a booth without some type of MHA merch.

I’m not against it. I like the show. Apparently so does absolutely everyone else. By the way, if you were at the con in a full hero costume Kirishima outfit – you looked awesome! I was too shy to tell you at the time!

As you can see, the action shonen genre is still king of the marketable anime. This said, there was also a lot more Yaoi representation than I’ve ever seen before, for the first time easily beating out Yuri. As the genre is primarily marketed to women (regardless of who is actually enjoying it), this makes me think that the industry is considering a demographic shift, ironically marketing their more wholesome properties to boys and men while keeping the smut for the ladies.

Drooling Rini
I’m o.k. with that…

Have you been to a con lately? What type of merch did you see there? Did you buy anything, can we see it???

16 thoughts

  1. FWIW… Working the county fair (I work the photo contest) last month, saw two people in anime gear – one girl in a Ochako Uraraka t-shirt, one girl wearing a U.A. tracksuit top.

    There was also one guy who entered the contest whose photo titles came from Bebop episodes…

  2. I think Persona 5 has currently 2 games out: Dancing in the Starlight and Persona Q2. Persona tends to be a persistent, genre-spanning gaming franchise. (Do they have an installment of the Arena fighting game line already?)

    MHA will have season 4 soon, and I doubt that’s going to be the last.

    Eva, I think, has gotten a recent netflix redub and the fourth rebuild movie is in production and scheduled for a 2020 release.

    And so on.

    To be honest, the thought of the crowds at cons always frightens me a little. I don’t think I have what it takes to brave that kind of crowd anymore.

  3. FWIW, Netflix’s live action Cowboy Bebop is currently in production and has been in the news, so that’s probably behind some of the original’s push. I don’t really go to many cons (last one was in early 2017) so I’m not too good a judge of what’s trending then or now, other than that Love Live was obviously hot back then – there was a ton of Love Live cosplay at that show, including lots of outfits from the School Idol Festival mobile game. Other than the Love Live stuff, though, the only three costumes from the last con that I still remember vividly (besides the people I went with) were the lovely Sakura cosplayer who sat in front of me at a CLAMP panel, a guy dressed as one of the tanks from Girls und Panzer (kinda like this, only bigger and more elaborate), and somebody roaming around in a huge full-body Snorlax costume.

      1. If you mean the tank guy, you should’ve seen him trying to use the escalator. His gun barrel was fairly long, so he always had to make sure his turret was turned just right so that he wasn’t either impaling anyone riding on his side or clotheslining the people on the other side!

  4. Fun Fact, Persona 4’s basic story is basically the same as JoJo Part 4. Students use their ghost powers to fight weirdo adults and find a mysterious serial killer stalking their quiet town.

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