One of the largest anime fairs in the world will open its doors in Tokyo on March 25, with organizers hoping to surpass the record 129,819 people who attended the 2009 event.
The four-day Tokyo International Anime Fair (TIAF) 2010 is being staged at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center, with 231 anime companies and organizations signed up to take part.
Such anime conventions can trace their roots back to Comiket, which attracted around 700 people when it was held in 1975. Since then, dozens of similar events have sprung up around the world - including Anime Expo in California and Canada's Animethon event - but TIAF remains arguably the most popular and attracts fans from across the world.
It is helped by the fact that it is staged in the country that gave the world anime.
Supported by the government of Japan and the local city authorities - Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara is chairman of the executive committee - the event incorporates business symposiums, press conferences for the release of new anime products and awards, as well as the trade fair.
Welcome to the Space Show, the first full-length anime movie by renowned director Koji Masunari will be highlighted during the event, while there will also be a charity auction of rare anime items and a competition for the best letter written to an anime character by children.
Characters from the movie Pretty Cure All Stars DX2 will perform on stage, with the film to be released in Japan on March 20, while there will also be a screening of the 3-D action anime Garo - Red Requiem.
A theme song has also been composed for this year's event and will be performed by the pop duo EriYuka.
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, by legendary director Hayao Miyazaki, won last year's Tokyo Anime Award, with the 2010 winner to be announced at a special awards ceremony on March 27.
Tokyo International Anime Fair
Business days: March 25-26
Public days: March 27-28
Hours: 10 am to 5 pm on business days and until 6 pm on public days.
On business days, admission is free for anyone who has registered through the website in advance or Y1,000 (€8.26) on the door.
On public days, admission is Y800 (€6.60) in advance for adults but Y1,000 (€8.26) on the door and Y800 (€6.60) in advance for children or Y400 (€3.30) on the day. Elementary school children and senior citizens can enter free of charge.
Venue: Tokyo Big Sight, 3-11-1 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0063 Tel: +81-3-5770-5581.