Japan Tourism witnesses boost thanks to its animation industry

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Singapore, Dec.8 (ANI): Nowadays, Japan's animation work is attracting many eyeballs. At the recently held Anima Festival Asia Singapore 2016, the stall of Sword Art Online attracted many visitors. "Sword Art Online", a 2009 Japanese light novel series has been extremely popular with not just the Japanese, but people worldwide. Its cumulative sales exceeded 19 million worldwide. The novel is set in next-gen VRMMORPG called "Sword Art Online", where the protagonist fights to survive. Owing to its popularity, the series has been adapted into two animated series as well as in several games, comics and merchandise. Not just this, its movie adaptation, "Sword Art Online The Movie - Ordinal Scale" is all set for a theatrical release in February 2017. Needless to mention, its fans worldwide are eagerly waiting for the movie to hit theatres. Shinichiro Kaniwada, Producer, Aniplex Inc., while talking about the items related to Sword Art Online displayed at a booth in the festival, said the theatre version of it would be released in February 2017. "In the booth, various attractions that represent the value of Sword Art Online are on display. When entering the booth, it feels like logging in to play a video game," he said. In addition to it, there is a huge bird cage that plays an important role in the story. One of the visitors seemed to be very excited and was of the opinion that it is "the best anime he has ever seen." Another visitor appreciated the storyline of the series and expressed his wish to visit Japan for a tour. "It has a very good storyline. I'd love to go to Japan to have this tour. Do check it out! It's a very good itinerary, be sure to check it out," he said. Catching the opportunity at a time when online popularity of the series is escalating, the tourism agency HIS has rolled out campaigns to promote inbound tours to Japan. An exclusive official Japan tour related to the movie will be organized. With having 230 branches in about 140 cities in 66 countries around the world, H.I.S. International Travel Pte Ltd hopes to assist "Sword Art Online" with their PR activities and also organizing Japan tours. The tours will aim at giving people original, special experience of SAO. "H.I.S. has also opened an information center for OTAKU guests (term used in Japan for experienced Japanese animation (ANIME) fans) from overseas," said H.I.S.'s Hyde Li. "The information centre caters about 300 visitors, mainly from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. The centre also enables its visitors to experience cosplay," he added. Throwing more light on the Centre, Hyde Li told that occupying 320 tsubo (approx. 960 square meters) of area, it is the largest in Japan. "Its uniqueness is that all the anime-related information is available in one place," he said Making the centre more fancy and attractive, Hyde Li also mentioned about a special service provided by it. "There is also KOE-PURI, which is a service that takes pictures by a seal printing machine with a famous voice actor's voice in the background," he said. The Centre also has a rest area, designed to look like OTAKU's room, where, the guests can read and enjoy their popular comic books. Akihito Kojima, Branch Manager, Osaka Tourist Information Center, H.I.S. CO., LTD confirmed the growing interest of people in famous anime places. "During today's campaign, we received many inquiries on famous anime places and where to purchase Japanese animation products, etc." Telling about companies' future plans to grow the number of such information centers he said, "We look forward to roll out more of this type of tourist information center all over Japan." Besides Japanese, the staff at OTA BASE can also converse in English, Chinese, Korean, and Thai, for the convenience of its guests. OTA BASE is aiming at further developing OTAKU tourism. (ANI)