It’s the time of the year where the biggest Japanese festival in the UK “Hyper Japan” returns to the Earls Court exhibition centre for everyone to celebrate Japanese Culture. This year, the event was held in a bigger and more spacious hall compared to previous events and I believe it was more organized and had a wonderful range of guests to entertain the crowd as well. There was a lot on show for all kinds of attendees, From singers such as Yanagi, Anna Yano, Yakiniku to game publishers showing off their latest titles, to the premier of the Aoi Vocaloid Opera. Throughout the day, you could hear music played from either the Main, Hyper-Fringe or Hyper-Kawaii stage and see the big crowds queuing up to play games or try out the delicious food available at Hyper Japan
Hyper Game & Anime Park
The gaming area this year was dominated by the presence of Nintendo and Bandai Namco. Their games were a successful hit to the audience which had gamers queuing up to have a chance to play the exclusive games before public release. Nintendo had a much larger booth this year compared to the last event and were showing several upcoming titles, including Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS, in its first publicly playable appearance in the UK. The 3DS version was available for anyone to play after queing up. If you proved yourself worthy in a 4-player match on the 3DS version and took 1st place, you would qualify for a tournament match played on the Wii U version on a giant screen set up on the stage at the Nintendo booth.
Not only was Super Smash Bros. was dominating the day, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors and Mario Kart 8 were available for the public to play as well with tournaments and events taking throughout the day for gamers to have a chance to win prizes. The winners of the Super Smash Bros. tournament matches would each win a copy of the game for 3DS at launch, so loads of people were ready to take a shot at winning that prize. The Nintendo 3DS section was filled with people wanting to play some of the current 3DS games like Pokemon Art Academy and Tomodachi life as well as upcoming games like Sonic Boom, Theatrhytm and suprisingly Persona Q! It seemed that Persona Q may have been a last miniute addition to the booth as the demo was all in japanese, but it still gave us a chance to check out the game and have a look at how it plays.
Opposite Nintendo in the gaming area, Bandai Namco was also present with their selection of games. The booth may have been smaller than Nintendo’s but it was definitely easy to spot, thanks to the giant Tony Tony Chopper inflatable looming over the stand. Gamers were given the choice of the playing the new and upcoming Tales of Xillia 2 as well as Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution, One Piece Unlimited World Red and Pac-Man & the Ghostly Adventures.
We previously reviewed One Piece Ulimited World Red and also previewed Tales of Xillia 2 and Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution earlier in the month. All the games were pretty popular, especially Naruto, which always had a crowd of eager players and spectators watching the battles taking place onscreen.
Guests at Hyper Japan
Each year at Hyper Japan plenty of guests are in attendance representing many different aspects of Japanese Culture and this year was no exception. This year’s list had a large concentration of popular cosplayers, models and fashionistas forming the ‘Hyper Kawaii’ section of the event as well as singers, artists, Japanese wrestling icons and more appearing on the various stages around the show floor. The singers Yanaginagi and Yano Anna, who have sung songs for several anime series, both had live shows on stage, which proved to be popular among fans. We even met these singers during the event and asked a few questions in two interviews.
The food court this year had it’s own big area which was crowded through out the day, especially during the midday when everyone was getting very hungry. The aroma of food ranged from Katsu curry, Takoyaki, Yakisoba, Tempura and many more. Aside from the food, drinks were also available for consumers. Bubble tea, Japanese beer and even shave ice was available to try, though one dessert caught my eyes which was the frozen beer. However it was so popular that they had to make another batch of it which I wasn’t patient enough to wait for. Maybe next time.
Addition to the food court, cooking demonstration was available for the audience to watch. People who love Japanese food and cooking will love watching the demonstration. Sake and sushi tasting was also available but separate tickets were required in order to take part.
Aoi Vocaloid Opera
At Hyper Japan, the Aoi Vocaloid Opera was first premiered in world at UK first which was a special privilege to see the amazing act before any other country. Vocaloid is a voice synthesis software developed by Yamaha and most people who know of Vocaloid may know the digital idol, “Hatsune Miku”. Opera Aoi uses the Yuzuki Yukari Vocaloid in a new an innovative way, to tell a story in an Opera using traditional Japanese Bunraku Puppets.
The story of this opera is based on the ‘Tale of Genji – Aoi Chapter’ which revolves around deep love and jealousy. The Aoi Vocaloid Opera uses the same story however with a twist. The story is remade in a modern-day setting and utilizes Vocaloid as a character and the narrator and singer for the opera. We had a chance to talk directly with the creators of the vocaloid opera in an interview to lean more about what it’s all about.