On December 8, fans stormed Makuhari Messe, the impressive events venue in Chiba Prefecture, for a weekend of all things pop culture. This was Tokyo Comic Con 2023, one of the Japanese offshoots of the famed American convention. From kimono-inspired Star Wars cosplay to replica DeLorean time machines, here’s everything we saw at Tokyo Comic Con 2023.

Tokyo Comic Con 2023The Tokyo Comic Con-iverse

Comic Con’s origins date back to 1970s San Diego when it was known as Golden State Comic Book Convention. Today, Comic Con represents an event that encompasses pop culture and technology with exhibitions in Japan, Singapore, Mexico, Brazil and several more locations.

This year’s iteration came with an impressive Hollywood-studded cast. Opening the ceremony were none other than Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future), Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, Fantastic Beasts), Pom Klementieff (Guardians of the Galaxy), Temuera Morrison (Star Wars), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Ewan McGregor (Star Wars), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange) and Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones). Not to be forgotten is Tokyo Comic Con 2023 ambassador, Mackenyu, who found international fame following his portrayal of Roronoa Zoro in the Netflix One Piece live action. In true Japanese fashion, the a-listers broke Comic-Con-themed sake barrels to commemorate the opening of the weekend.

Tokyo Comic Con 2023

Comics and Merch Galore

Collectors were in real luck if they attended Tokyo Comic Con. There was a plethora of official booths open throughout the weekend, ensuring fans had access to exclusive merchandise not usually available in Japan. Marvel and DC both had impressive booths, housing figures, prints, wearable merch and more of their respective characters. House of MinaLima, the design studio behind the graphic props of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films, was also present, providing distinctive graphic designs and beautifully bound books from the wizarding franchise. For a truly Japanese twist, Marushin, a store specializing in sukajan jackets (retro Japanese bomber jackets) presented their work with characters such as Casper the Friendly Ghost and Felix the Cat adorned on the patchwork.

Tokyo Comic Con 2023

Candid Cosplayers

Cosplayers, often a mainstay at subculture events, outdid themselves at this year’s Comic Con. Two rows of intricately dressed cosplayers formed down the main event hall aisle to welcome early attendees. Fans got to see plenty of Spider-Man in all of his different forms, a rogue Dumbledore and even terrifying clown Pennywise joined the mix. Our personal favorite had to be the classic Stormtroopers and Jedi from the Star Wars franchise.

A Star-Studded Artist Alley

One of the best parts of any convention is undoubtedly the artist alley. This year’s Tokyo Comic Con saw the space bustling with activity as fans circled looking for truly one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Heavy hitters were present, such as Andrew Lee Griffith (Star Wars, G.I. Joe) and David Angelo Roman (Rick and Morty) offering prints and also custom artwork. It was also exciting to see Lukey McGarry in the flesh, outlining panels and characters with his vibrant art style. Also on display were Australian artists @snowbons and @puffiestudio, sharing adorably cute art and stickers.

Tokyo Comic Con 2023

A Celebration of Fandom

Subculture often remains on the periphery or hosted at smaller venues. However, it is events like Tokyo Comic Con that give fandom members a space, front-and-center, to share their passions with others. A heartwarming showing over the weekend was the presence of the members of Japan Ghostbusters, the Japanese branch of the ghoul-hunting franchise. The crowd reaction to seeing these custom-designed costumes and heavy-duty proton packs both around the event and at their booth was priceless. In a similar vein we were just as impressed with the works of Droid Builders Japan, a community that crafts Star Wars droid replicas from various materials.

Part of the beauty of living in Tokyo has always been the presence of subcultures both big and small. Whatever you’re into, there’s probably an event, club or weekly meetup. Tokyo Comic Con remains a significant part of subculture and provides an avenue for Japanese fans to feel closer to their favorite comic series, actor, TV show and film. Once the stage shows have concluded, the merchandise has been purchased and all of the celebrity autographs are signed, what’s left is a general warm feeling of community love for the shared experience. Hopefully, events of this kind will continue to thrive and grow alongside the communities they represent.

Related Posts