Wonder Festival: One of the largest festivals for sculptures/figurines

Wonder Festival is one of the largest festivals for sculptures and figurines. Before the festival begins in February 2024, let’s learn about what to see and do at the festival.

Do you know Wonder Festival (or “Wonfes” in short)? For those who don’t know, it is a sculptures/figurines version of Comic Market (or Comiket), which focuses on the sale of “doujinshi” (meaning “self-published works”). Participants bring their garage kits to exhibit and sell them. It is a huge event that attracts as many as 50,000 people or more both from Japan and overseas.

The main visual for Wonder Festival 2024 [Winter], which will be held on February 11.

By the way, a garage kit is not a ready-made plastic model. It is a handmade model kit made by first creating a mold using an original model, then casting synthetic resin into the mold to create copies. The festival allows creators, whether they be professionals or amateurs, to exhibit and sell their kits that they made with the best of their abilities, and you can get to see countless works made with their passion. It’s an amazing event where works of a variety of genres, such as pretty girls, robots, machines, animals, monsters, creatures, dolls, and military, gather at one place.

Basically, many of the works sold at Wonfes are neither painted nor assembled. So, as with commercially-available plastic models, people can experience the fun of breathing life into the works they purchase by assembling and painting the kits by themselves.

The venue is crowded with many people.

Another amazing thing about Wonfes is the “one-day copyright” system. Participants can use the system by applying for it in advance, which means that, only on the day of the event and only at the venue, they are allowed to sell kits of copyrighted characters whose sale is normally prohibited. So you might find rare kits of your favorite characters that are not commercially available at ordinary shops.

Moreover, there are many other fascinating things such as new items and limited items made by professionals, as well as one-of-a-kind sculptures. Just for your information, kits made by amateurs come in very small quantities and may never be available again in the future, so make sure not to miss out on the opportunity.

Also, many of you probably think of cosplay when it comes to events like this. Wonfes of course has cosplay areas. Cosplay props such as large weapons are restricted at major cosplay events, but they are allowed at Wonfes! That makes Wonfes even more appealing because you can see fully-equipped cosplay costumes that you can’t usually see at other events.

The festival also features many anime-related stage events too. Furthermore, only at this coming Wonfes will it be allowed to sell one-day-copyrighted works of Fist of the North Star, which is a popular manga that celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2023. To hype up the mood even more, the coming Wonfes will also feature a special exhibition titled “I Have No Regrets in My Creations”!

People are already getting hyped up ahead of the big event. Wonfes is held twice a year, in summer and winter, and the next one will be on February 11, 2024. The venue, Makuhari Messe, is about 50 minutes from Tokyo by train, so you can get there fairly easily. If you are coming to Japan, it would be a wonderful idea to go to Wonfes and find your favorite works and characters.

■DATA 『Wonder Festival 2024 Winter』 Date: February 11 (Sun.), 2024 Opening hours: 10a.m.- 5p.m. Venue: Makuhari Messe International Exhibition Hall 1-8      2-1 Nakase, Mihama-ku, Chiba-shi, Chiba 261-8550 Organizers: Wonder Festival Executive Committee / Kaiyodo Co. Official website: https://wonfes.jp/specialsite/

(Information as of December 2023)