If you build it they will come, someone once said, though I believe he was referring to a baseball field and not an eroge expo. People attended Dream Party Tokyo Spring 2007 yesterday regardless, and one of them was me. It was my first time at the event, so I didn’t know quite what to expect; I was both underwhelmed and pleasantly surprised, but to find out why I’m afraid you’ll have to continue reading. There are pictures of crusty policemen!
The obligatory “approach to the Big Sight” shot
What is Dream Party?
Dream Party is a bishoujo game convention held in both Tokyo and Osaka twice a year (in the spring and in the fall). Its Tokyo iteration takes place at the venerable Big Sight, and is the largest event of its kind solely devoted to the exhibition of bishoujo games and related goods. These “related goods” include an affiliated cosplay event, a series of live performances from anime and game seiyuu and idol singers, and industry booths from other bishoujo goods companies such as Cospa and Onsen.
The primary purpose of the event is to act as a big hype builder and fund raiser for bishoujo game companies, who bring all the goods (games themselves, telephone cards, drama CDs, towels, hug pillow cases, etc. etc.) they can carry and cram into their booths, parking hired cosplayers out in front to press flyers for their latest game releases into the hands of the (not so sweaty in yesterday’s beautiful weather) otaku crowding between them. In almost every way Dream Party is a clone of the Comic Market industry booth section, only with the addition of the stage for live performances and a more structured (costs 500 yen to photograph, must register your camera, there’s an actual contest for prizes) cosplay event.
only the manliest of men can direct you to Dream Party.
Party of Dreams
Dateline: May 3rd, 2007, Isesaki City, Gunma Prefecture, Japan, 4:30 AM
I got up, worked on some as-yet unposted figure reviews, was out the door at 7:15 and on a slow train bound for Tokyo at 7:40. Disembarked at the Big Sight at 10:42 sharp, had some confusion as to which line to stand in as the venue was being shared by Comic City, but eventually found the right spot. I was in the hall by shortly after eleven, after paying my 1,000 yen for a really weeny 12 page “event pamphlet”.
I went there for a few primary reasons:
- First, professional and hobbyist curiosity. Being in the business of adapting these games now I was curious what the event that is ostensibly their biggest commercial presence looks like; it turns out to look exactly like the Comiket industry booths, which was a bit of a disappointment. If anything the production values at Dream Party were slightly lower than Comiket, and several of the major players (TYPE-MOON, Nitro+) that usually attend Comiket weren’t there (the full list of exhibitors can be found here). Lots of big lines nonetheless, especially for the Alchemist, Minori, and Age booths.
- Second, to check out the new Goodsmile and Max Factory figure action; the most valuable bits of blogable information came from there, and were thus the first to be posted. Yay Iroha!
- Thirdly, in search of the legendary Rance-series Hanii plush. I do not collect stuffed toys, but this called to me like no other… review coming soon.
That said, I was mostly there to scope out the territory and get a feel for the event. After an hour or so of scoping I felt I’d had enough, but while taking a break near the stage and contemplating my next move I heard an announcement from over the wall separating the stage from the rest of the event hall: MOMOI HARUKO.
Myself and a few dozen other fans raced around the wall to the stage area just in time to see Wonder Momoi herself come onto the stage and unleash an enthusiastic greeting upon the fans. She was there to plug her participation in a 5pb. album, the recently released Fami-Son 8BIT / momo-i, from which she sang two songs: L wa Lovely from The Kabocha Wine, and Kimi wa Hoe-Hoe Musume from Idol Hakkenden. This surprise Momoi live was definitely the least expected and most satisfying part of the day for me.
It turned out that MOSAIC.WAV would be performing later on as well, but after scoping out the cosplay situation and not feeling like going to the trouble of registering my camera I decided to beat an early retreat. I made my way to Akiba, met up with Animaestro after his day at Queen’s Blade Masters, bought a laser printer for my own doujin construction purposes and hopped a train for home.
I did not go to Comic City yesterday, despite their large and impressive signage.
On a scale of eroge otakuhood from one to ten, with a one being the guy in the Gundam SEED cosplay laughing snidely at Momoi fans from the back of the auditorium who I wanted to punch so very badly and a ten being the guys led in synchronized dancing by a gang of Puredols nearby, I discovered yesterday that I rank somewhere around a “four”. I engaged in only minor line-standing, didn’t buy much of anything, and wasn’t willing to be stranded in Tokyo for a night in return for catching Mosaic.wav live.
otaku and the lines they stand in (click for annotated guide)
Still, an interesting and generally rewarding event, and I’m glad I went this once to see what it was all about. Possibility of attending again in the future is only fair to middling, though I’d recommend it at least once to bishoujo game fans and cosplay enthusiasts more devoted than myself.
Anticipated Questions and Answers
Q. Why don’t you have any pictures of (x where x = anything inside the event hall)?
A. The staff would have taken away the flash memory if I took my camera out. I can’t afford to lose that memory stick, it’s the only one I have. ;_;
Q. You said the event was like the Comic Market industry booth section. What is that like?
A. Picture any trade show or anime convention dealer’s hall you’ve been to, in a space the size of an aircraft hangar and with a lot more scantily clad 2D girls, professional cosplayers, and saccharine denpa theme songs cluttering the air. Picture endlessly long lines of Japanese men. That’s about it.
Q. What are bishoujo games / eroge?
It’s tough work, policing a party of dreams…