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What is Animate Girls Festival (AGF)? Part 1

A guide to Japan’s largest event celebrating anime, manga, otome games, BL, merchandise, voice actors, theater and cosplay!

Animate Girls Festival, also known as AGF, is Japan’s largest event that focuses content for female fans including anime, manga, otome games, BL, merchandise, voice actors, theater and cosplay. Every year it revolves around a theme, and this year’s theme is “party.”

AGF2019 Board
©yura ©AGF2019

It is usually held in the second weekend of November in Ikebukuro. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, it was held last November 9 and 10, 2019 from 10 AM until 5 PM at Sunshine City, its main venue, as well as other parts of Ikebukuro such as the East exit area of Ikebukuro station, East Ikebukuro Central Park, Toshima Ward Central Ikebukuro Park, performing arts theater Hareza Ikebukuro harevutai,Toshima Civic Center, WACCA Ikebukuro shopping mall, and of course, Animate Ikebukuro Flagship store.

©AGF2019

This year, a record-breaking 100,333 visitors joined the festivities around Ikebukuro while 40,438 visitors came to the main venue in Sunshine City, where 127 exhibitors sold merchandise, held events such as meet-and-greets, talk and autograph sessions both in their booths and at the Fountain Plaza located on the first floor of Sunshine City. Animate was allowed Manga Planet to cover the event so here’s a simple guide to AGF along with our photo report!

 

First, how does I join AGF?

To get into the main venue, you need to purchase tickets in advance, which are usually raffled off three months in advance, at the earliest. There are three types of tickets: 

  • “Fast” tickets, which allow you to enter at 9 AM. Entrance is not first-come, first-served, since tickets are numbered so attendees will know their location when falling in line. Attendees are also required to show their ID when entering the venue to avoid scalping of tickets.
  • General tickets, which allow you to enter the venue in the morning. General ticket holders are divided into three groups: the A group, who can enter from 10 AM, the B group, from 11AM, and the C group, from 12 noon. Similar to “fast” tickets, entrance is number-based, and IDs are checked.
  • Afternoon tickets, which allow you to enter from 1 PM. Entrance is first-come, first-served, so fans who are after exclusive goods usually take the first train to arrive early at the venue and fall in line.

Aside from the tickets above, there are “bundle tickets” which come with a hotel plan by tour agency JTB, or goods from tie-up titles. This year, popular title Utano Princesama, voice actors Wataru Hatano and Takuma Terashima’s radio show Hatano・Terashima Radio 2DLOVE, upcoming anime about rugby number24, and Event ENJOY Shoulder, a shoulder bag specially made for fans by ACOS, Animate’s shop that specializes on costumes.

Due to the event gaining popularity in recent years, it’s become more and more difficult to win a ticket.

 

I got a ticket! What do I do next?

Congratulations! You get to enter the Otome Wonderland! Lucky you! Make sure to check the map beforehand to know which area goods of your favorite characters will be sold, and the timetable to see when your favorite title(s)’ stage events are going to be held.

Once you arrive in Sunshine City, you need to get a wristband to enter the venue. Make sure you arrive during the assembly time indicated in your ticket and find your number group.

  • AGF Information Board
    Fast and general ticket holders proceed to the left, afternoon tickets to the right

AGF’s main venue is divided into four areas: Red on World Import Mart Bldg.’s fourth floor, Green on the fourth floor of Bunka Kaikan Bldg., White on the third, and Yellow on the second.

Since this is AGF’s 10th Anniversary, AGF tied up with popular series TSUKIUTA. and set up the TSUKIUTA. Illumination Tree at the East Ikebukuro Central Park, which lit up at night during the weekend. Manga Planet attended the lighting ceremony held in the evening of November 8. Kuroda and Shiroda also graced the event with their presence.

  • TSUKIUTA. illumination Tree

 

I’m in! Where do I go first?

Red Area will be the first area you will see when you enter the venue (don’t forget to receive a goodie bag if they are handing them out!). 

  • AGF Red Area Entrance
    The entrance to the Red Area

This year, there were 29 booths in the Red area, which include popular multimedia titles such as Ensemble Stars!, and Stand My Heroes, mobile game app WORLD END HEROES, upcoming game titles such as HELIOS RISING HEROES, Mahoutsukai no Yakusoku (Promise of wizard) as well as toy makers ensky, SEGA Interactive, amiami and KOTOBUKIYA among others. Services focusing on voice actor content such as RADIO TOMO and Seiyuu Grand Prix were also there.

  • AGF Ensemble Stars!
    All star live at the Ensemble Stars! booth
AGF Red Area
Go gaga over the Ensemble Stars! x Utano Princesama Shining Live Dream Star Live lifesize standees

 

Happy Elements and Cacalia Studio’s new mobile game HELIOS RISING HEROES to be released in 2020

 

  • coly's new mobile game Mahoutsukai no Yakusoku (Promise of wizard) to be released in November 2019

 

  • AGF Square Enix
    Mobile game app World End Heroes celebrating its First Anniversary at the Square Enix booth
AGF ensky
Toy maker ensky booth flocked by fans for their Ensemble Stars! goods

 

AGF Stand My Heroes
Booth of popular puzzle and otome game Stand My Heroes by Colynic

 

AGF RADIO TOMO
Fans lined up for goods at the Web radio station RADIO TOMO to get a chance to join the meet and greet of voice actors scheduled later during the day

 

I’m done shopping in Red Area! Where off to next?

Red Area is located in World Import Mart, one of the buildings in Sunshine City. To move to the other areas, you need to take the stairs to move to Bunka Kaikan Bldg., where the Green, White, and Yellow Areas are located.

 

After moving to Bunka Kaikan Bldg., you will first see the entrance to the Green Area.

  • AGF Green
    Entrance to the Green Area. Notice the Nintendo Switch ads.

31 booths are located in the Green Area this year, including companies Nintendo , Aniplex, Cygames, and Voltage, as well as titles THE KING OF FIGHTERS for GIRLS, KING OF PRISM, and Onmyoji. Here are photos of some of the booths that we took.

  • AGF King of Fighters for Girls
    "Do you like a strong man?" The otome version of King of Fighters is here!

 

  • AGF 8P
    Male voice actor project 8P celebrating their 3rd Anniversary with this huge booth

 

AGF Green
Kudos to goods shop eikoretto for (almost) not selling blind items. Buying blind items and trading them for your favorite character is a common fan practice in Japan.

 

  • AGF Voltage
    Otome game company Voltage was giving away huge paper bags with illustration of characters from Ayakashi: Romance Reborn, Anidol Colors and Tenka Touitsu Koi no Ran ~Love Ballad~

 

AGF Onmyoji
Fantasy strategy game Onmyoji went modern with their school-themed booth. An anime adaptation has been announced and will air in 2020.

 

  • AGF Aniplex
    Aniplex selling goods from titles Fate/Grand Order, The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II, Given and Demon Slayer.

 

AGF Hanako-kun
Toilet-bound Hanako-kun booth’s display with character standees signed by their voice actors

 

AGF Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch promoting their otome game series. Lite covers signed by voice actors and the idols of Utano Princesama were on display inside the booth

 

Okay, I’ve looked around and bought some stuff in Green Area. I’m running out of money!

Already?! We haven’t covered White Area and Yellow Area yet! Stay tuned as we walk you through these two areas and other activities in another report. Meanwhile, you can look at the following sites for information on the multitude of activities held during the weekend:

Animate Girls Festival 2019
Official Website: https://agf-ikebukuro.jp/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AGF_info

Have you attended AGF before? Share your experiences with us on our Twitter account!

If you are interested in manga and anime events in Tokyo, be sure to read our articles on JUMP Festa 2019DEVILMAN crybaby SABBATH SHIBUYACheese!’s Ikebo x Shōjo Manga Genga-ten, Land of the Lustrous Exhibit at Yurakucho Marui, Kizu Natsuki at Manga10Yoneda Kou’s Op: The Colourless Days of Yoake Itaru Book Fair@Shosen and Himouto Umaru-chan Exhibit.

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