I was recently given the opportunity to visit Tokyo this past September with my dad on a business trip. While in town, after first hearing about it from one of the curators who attended Animazement this past summer, I knew I had to go check out the Tokyo Anime Center!
I really didn’t know much about it except that I knew it was a place that provided a venue for anime industry professionals and fans to come together to celebrate anime and educate people about the art of anime and manga (and buy some cool merch, of course). I still didn’t know exactly what I was in for, but I knew I had to go!
Using Tokyo Station as my main origin point, it’s almost directly to the north west, on the other side of Chiyoda/the Imperial Palace grounds in Shinjuku. It’s across a bridge and down the street from the subway and JR line, so it was relatively easy to find.
You’ll enter the building on the second floor where there is a cafe and bookstore area. Upstairs was currently closed (that’s where they host events, classes, lectures, etc) but downstairs is where their anime exhibition hall is located.
They do exhibitions on roughly a month-long rotation, and the current exhibit going on when I was there was for Golden Kamuy! They had a big screen projecting the series’ opening and ending songs, a plethora of life size cutouts of the series’ characters, a bunch of actual genga from the show (couldn’t photograph those, sadly), high quality printed art on the wall, and a collection of displayed merchandise from the show, as well as limited edition merch you could buy right there (like file folders, keychains, etc).
It was a really nice, walk around exhibit that I spent a good 45 minute perusing, including the character goods section where they had art books, prints, posters, keychains, and other merch available for sale. It wasn’t very crowded and it was especially nice to be able to spend some time looking at the genga for the show. Getting to see the actual paper and pencil drawings from a show is always awe inspiring.
I wasn’t able to get any pictures of it, but they had a miniature shooting range set up themed after Golden Kamuy. It had a snowy, woodland back drop and little cut-outs of various animals that you could shoot down with a cork rifle. I watched a lady play while I was there and she was having a blast!
If you’re an anime fan at all and you happen to find yourself in Tokyo, go see the Tokyo Anime Center. No matter what the exhibit is, looking at the exhibit is totally free and I guarantee you will enjoy yourself, and don’t forget to stop for some tea or coffee and snacks before you leave!
If you want to hear more about the Tokyo Anime Center and their “100 Years of Anime” project, listen back to one of our bonus episodes from Animazement where we recorded producer Masuo Ueda’s panel about the 100th anniversary of anime and what role the T.A.C. played in that.