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Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
Manga convention hopes to get a crowd of fans jumping with joy
By TOMOHIRO OSAKI
'Friendship," "endeavor," and "victory" are three main concepts underpinning a slew of popular manga stories that constitute the long-running weekly magazine Shukan Shonen Jump. As the titular word shonen (boys) suggests, these themes are precisely designed to intrigue fantasy-prone, thrill-seeking young boys.
However, the anthology boasts of robust support among the female demographic, too, with half of its readership reportedly comprised of young women. Perhaps that is the reason for its phenominally more than 3 million circulation nationwide.
Little wonder, therefore, that an upcoming festival at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, titled "Jump Festa 2013", is expected to attract a massive turnout from the weekly magazine's broad-based fandom.
Besides Shukan Shonen Jump, three spin-off magazines, V Jump, Jump SQ, and Saikyo Jump, will also have their own contents at each of their booths lined up for the two-day event. Highlights include some of the early manga from the most prestigious Shukan Shonen Jump, including "Haikyu!!," a story of teen volleyball players striving to revive their school's prestige in the sport. The series is yet another testimony to the persistent popularity of a genre called supokon, a reference to its characters' admirable sportsmanship and courage. Another highlight is "Ansatsu Kyoshitsu," which features an unlikely teacher-student relationship between an octopus-shaped extraterrestrial creature and his teen students turned "assassins." It reportedly received the same level of publicity that the now popular "One Piece" manga enjoyed.
Talkfests featuring some famous voice actors and actresses are also planned, with guests including Junko Minagawa and Masako Nozawa, who both play leading roles for the largely popular "The Prince of Tennis" and "Dragon Ball," respectively.
"Jump Festa 2013" takes place at Makuhari Messe in Chiba on Dec. 22 and 23 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; free admission). For more information, call  3230-8439 or visit www.jumpfesta.com.