Tens of thousands flood Taipei comic fair on opening day

Taipei--Tens of thousands of comic book and anime fans poured into the 2017 Comic Exhibition in Taipei on Thursday to snatch up various limited-edition products at the annual extravaganza.

Large crowds of mostly students sprinted into the venue at the Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall 1 from various entrances as soon as the doors opened at 10 a.m.

Just minutes later, many could be seen carrying bags of merchandise related to popular comic books, anime or online games.

"I waited in line since Aug. 7," said 18-year-old anime fan Lo Yun-jung (???), who was among the first to enter the fair.

Lo said he came to the exhibition to purchase limited-edition hanging scrolls of the Japanese anime "Frame Arms Girl," which come with entry to a rare autograph session with the anime's voice actors.

There are only 150 of the hanging scrolls and he purchased three of them, each priced at NT$580 (US$19), Lo said, adding that he planned to purchase NT$30,000-worth of products at the exhibition that day.

Another comic fan, Jimmy Tsai (???), came to the fair to buy products related to the Japanese science fiction manga series "Assassination Classroom," which follows the daily lives of a yellow octopus-like monster teacher and his students.

"I like the manga. Koro-sensei, the main character of 'Assassination Classroom,' is a teacher who is considerate to his students," the 17-year-old said.

The exhibition's main organizer -- the Taipei-based Chinese Animation and Comic Publishers Association -- estimated that the five-day fair could attract more than 500,000 visitors this year.

Over 70 publishers have set up 620 booths at the fair, which will run until Aug. 14.

Over 60 graphic artists, authors, voice actors and animation producers from Taiwan and Japan will hold book-signings and other meet-and-greets at the fair, now in its 18th year.

Huang Hsin-chien (???), head of the Chinese Animation and Comic Publishers Association, said the fair includes an Augmented Reality (AR) booth for the first time this year, allowing visitors to play AR games on their mobile devices.

The government-funded Korea Manhwa Contents Agency has also set up a booth for the first time, featuring South Korean webcomics, he said at the opening ceremony.

To boost Taiwan's comic industry development, Deputy Culture Minister Ting Hsiao-ching (???), announced at the opening that her ministry will inaugurate a "comic base" located in renovated buildings on Taipei's Huayin Street at the end of the year or the beginning of 2018, to serve as a place for comic artists and fans to meet and organize events.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel