A new anime exhibition facility opened Tuesday in Tokyo's Ikebukuro district, with the three-story complex inviting visitors worldwide to view the metropolitan government's collection of anime materials and learn about the world of Japanese animation.
Jointly operated by the Tokyo metropolitan government and the industry group the Association of Japanese Animations, the Anime Tokyo Station, spanning a total area of around 1,300 square meters, aims to promote anime-based industry, culture, and tourism in the capital.
"It is our sincere hope that this facility, just like its name, will become a starting point into the world of anime and that people from all over the world visiting Tokyo will connect with these wonderful works," Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said at the grand opening ceremony Monday.
The facility's symbol -- a hanging montage composed of anime characters and iconic scenes from around 120 works -- greets visitors on the first floor, which is set to be used for events and workshops throughout the year.
Referred to as the "platform" level, this floor aligns with the facility's station theme, with remnants of train carriages displayed in the front windows, perfectly complementing the motif.
The basement, which serves as the archive floor, houses around 50,000 animation cels, scripts and other production materials in the Tokyo metropolitan government's collection, including those from the classic "Astro Boy."
The materials were entrusted to the metropolitan government by various anime production companies that were considering disposing of them, an official said.
"We have carefully preserved these cels until now, but we want to do more than just store them. By showcasing them, we plan to come up with various ideas and organize exhibitions here in the future," Koike said.
Meanwhile, the second floor exhibits popular anime on a rotating basis and has a gift shop. From Tuesday until Jan. 28, 2024, the area will showcase figurines and video games from the popular series "Naruto," with visitors also able to take a video of themselves doing the main characters' signature ninja "jutsu" techniques.
The new facility is expected to boost the Ikebukuro district's growing reputation as a mecca for anime and manga. Animate, one of Japan's largest retailers of anime and manga goods, renovated its flagship store in the area to reopen as a massive 10-story building this spring.
Toshima Ward, where Ikebukuro is located, is also home to the Tokiwaso Manga Museum, a facility built on the site of the apartment building where Astro Boy creator Osamu Tezuka and many other famous manga artists lived before it was demolished in 1982.