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jcarlton
09-03-2009, 08:52 PM
I went to C3 last Sunday and I saw something that stuck me as odd. I got to the show late because of some problems and the crowds of early buyers had disappated. The people who were left didn't seem to be buying anything. Many of the people seemed to there for the show, which featured anime voice actors or idols; I'm not sure which. To me, that is very odd. When I go to the big train shows here in the US, buying goes on throughout the day. Not at C3. I was only buyer for the kits that I bought and the various booth guys were obviously happy that i was buying even with the language difficulties. There were many more people taking pictures of the kits than people buying kits. Or even PVC figures.

Another thing that surprised me was the complete absense of any of the stores that support the hobby. Nobody had a booth selling paint, tools, bases, airbrushes, Roman Albums or any of the things that people need to actually build stuff. When I went to the big train shows there always vendors selling supplies and tools. In fact I tend to spend more money at the tool booth than buying any actual model trains. None of the major general hobby stores from Tokyo had a presense at the show. No HLJ, No Asobit City, no Tokyu Hands.

One problem is that there is nothing to keep the heavy buyers at the shoe after the Saturday morning rush. Once the popular kits are gone there is no reason to stay. That's a shame. The railroad guys here in the states have solved that problem by offering hobby related activities all day. There are clinics on model construction techniques, painting and weathering, and scenery techniques. There are operating layouts, big ones, with trains running on them in every possible scale. Also there are no non hobby related stuff going on like say movie stars showing up to boost attendance. Not that the Amherst show in Springfield MA needs anything to boost attendence.

C3 and probably Wonderfest have lost focus. Somebody had the "great idea" to bring the idols to boost attendence an the show has lost focus. I imagine that Max Factory and Bandai don't care, but in the end this approach is self defeating. Even if the major companies are just making PVC figures(a mistake, I think) they need the GK guys to provide them with talent. The GK guys have to be able to sell stuff or they won't keep it up. According to the book "Outliers" it seem to take 10,000 hours of effort to become GOOD at what you are doing. Garage kits are a way to pay for that 10,000 hours. So no garage kit,no figures. Everybody loses.

What could be done to address the problems that I saw? The organizers should offer, say HLJ, a heavily discounted booth if they come with supplies and not figures. The organizers could offer a very low priced kit for the show and actually have lessons on how to build them. Hobby Japan and Dengeki Hobby should offer various modeling contests with judging on Sunday afternoon and real prizes, like Iwata airbrush set ups. The big figure companies could offer a series of clinics on modeling and painting figures and offer the clinics as DVD that could only be bought at the show as prerelease. And lose the idols.

Just some thoughts about what I saw at C3. I had a good time and even bought some great kits, which I will post later. Sunday afternoon was a surprise. I expected the massive crowds that were longer there. A very good day in my Japan trip

Tsunamidelta
09-03-2009, 09:56 PM
Aye indeed that is different from a model orientated show here in the states. I agree with your synopsis, and chances are it would help the hobby. I'm glad you got to check that out!

telemarq
09-03-2009, 11:20 PM
I've been to a Hobby Complex and Treasure Festa over the last couple of years and noticed some of the same things as you. But for many different reasons, they don't do things the same way that works for us. If thats what works for them, that's what they will do and are not likely to change.

For one thing, I noticed that Japan has a lot more LHS type stores than the US. There is not really a need for them to be at the big shows to sell paints, tools, and whatever. Also, they have hobby superstore departments like what is in Yodobashi Camera. If you haven't been to the one in Akiba yet, (5th or 6th or 7th floor, I can't remember) go tomorrow or before you leave. Amazing, nothing like I've ever experienced. BTW, Asobit City with its 7 floors is my favorite.

As I understand it and I could be wrong, C3 is mostly related to things from the Gundam world. The Hobby Complex I went to at the Big Site in 2008 had sculptors and lots of individual vendors selling all manor of goods, but not many supplies. I loved rummaging through the tables or boxes of stuff on the floor to find those kits that you could never live without. The Treasure Festa I went to this year was also at the Big Sight. Lots of sculptors and companies like Griffon and Good Smile, but not as many independent vendors like at Hobby Complex. That is just my observation.

Its easy for us to think that we have a better way of doing things, but the Japanese culture doesn't always think that way. They do things for a reason, whether others understand why or not.

And I love it! :smile: