No Mao suits here这里无极限
There is cash in Chinese comic-book conventions
Aug 6th 2011 | HONG KONG | from the print edition
The Economist finally reveals the identity of its editors
THE violet and turquoise eyes, the blue wigs, antlers and angel wings all remind you that this is not the queue for the supermarket. The 1,100 people with the most striking costumes were spared the HK$30 ($3.85) admission fee to Hong Kong’s Ani-Com & Games convention, which lasted from July 29th to August 2nd. The result was a riot of Chinese opera, Japanese anime, French maids, Conan the Barbarian and Star Wars.
Some 700,000 people crammed into the convention centre to gawk at comic books, see the latest games and watch their fantasies strut by. That number has more than trebled since 1999. Ani-Com has grown racier, too. A company called Gameone hired a dozen models to dress as characters from its electronic games, including a Japanese porn star. The first 40 visitors who filled out a special registration card each received a hug.
There were 170 exhibitors. More would have come, but the organisers insisted on widening the corridors after last year’s gridlock. One small firm selling figurines based on Hollywood films is said to have taken in HK$5m. Microsoft’s installation for its Xbox console was twice as big as last year’s, yet the crush to watch games unfold on large screens was still impassable.
The organisers have created two similar fairs on the Chinese mainland: one in Guangzhou, the other in Shenyang. These fairs are popular, but tightly controlled. Censorship is stricter (so there is less sex and violence). Cartridge-style computer games are illegal, a rule that conveniently shuts out Microsoft’s Xboxes. Even games sold over the internet are limited—a few big portals have a lock on the Chinese market. That leaves only toys and comics. One day, perhaps, the imaginations of mainland Chinese will be allowed to roam free. In the meantime, there is Hong Kong.