The shift of the Japan Content Showcase event from Odaiba to Ikebukuro received a mixed reaction from buyers and sellers. Local Japanese executives appreciated a higher degree of convenience, but many foreign visitors were disappointed by older, cramped facilities at both the market and the designated market hotel.

The market was held within the Sunshine Center, part of a gigantic shopping mall, and was spread across two floors and three different areas. Screening facilities were a mix of temporary screens and theaters in a nearby multiplex. The market is scheduled to stay in its new location until 2020.

The move was predicated on keeping together the different film (TIFFCOM), music (TIMM) and anime strands (TIAM) that make up the Japan Contents Showcase. Doing so has kept visitor numbers growing. Exhibitor numbers increased from 356 in 2016 to 371 in 2017. Buyers increased from 1.539 last year to 1,549 this, according to organizers.

The Ikebukuro area is central, hip, and bustling with entertainment facilities. Inside too, the TIFFCOM corridors were busy, especially on the first day. But opinion on the venue and equipment divided participants.

Those most enamored were Japanese locals, who found the site to be closer to their offices and transport facilities. Several visitors from further afield felt it to be shabby, industrial-looking, and a throwback to a different era.

“The Ikebukuro seems popular with the Japanese attendees as it is easier to get to than Odaiba. And, there was a good turnout (on opening day). But the venue and the hotel seem like stepping back in time,” said one executive from Hungary. “Before I came, I had to have a series of email conversations about getting a bed big enough, and in a non-smoking room. In the end I slept very well.”

“It seems very convenient for the Japanese. But I’m not enjoying the venue’s low ceilings, and the lack of daylight,” said one Hong Kong distributor. “There’s no wifi. How is that possible these days?”

“The Japanese companies seem happy to come visit me here, as many have offices nearby, more so than they did in Daiba. So, I’ve done a lot of meetings that I don’t have to do next week at AFM,” said the Asian representative of a European sales agent.

“The booths are small and cramped, and you can see wires hanging from the ceiling,” one Japanese seller told Variety. “The hotel-based market in Daiba was nicer.”

“The lights are too bright — the glare hurts my eyes,” said one American festival programmer.
Hearing this comment, his female colleague added: “I don’t how to make up in these bright lights. It’s kind of embarrassing.”

“The Ikebukuro area is quite interesting, full of restaurants and entertainment. But first you have to find your way out of the mall, which is a maze.”