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Photo Essay: The eye candy and edible snacks of Anime merchandising

One of the highlights of the Anime Milwaukee convention for 2018 was the shopping experience, as venders sold hard to find items from Japan and unique related products to hobbyists and collectors.

In the old days of anime imported to America, circa 1980, fans had to know someone in Japan who could physicall ship over artwork, VHS tapes, video cartridges, or the peculiarly satisfying snacks. With the rise of the internet in the 1990s, online stores popped up and streaming services became popular in the years that followed. But even though so much is now available to be shipped instantly at the click of a mouse, a hands-on shopping opportunity is still important experience for those who enjoy the genre.

For the anime industry, the bulk of its revenue comes from merchandising. Anime goods, such as figurines, have helped drive revenue from licensing popular shows. Japan is incredibly skilled at bringing anime characters to life as high end collectables. To enthusiasts, the figures are works of art and emotional touchstones with their favorite TV series, Manga comic book, video games, and well-known illustrations.

Usually made of PVC or Polyvinyl chloride, a synthetic plastic polymer also known as vinyl, the statues are highly detailed. They are usually scaled to a fraction of the actual perceived height of the character, often ⅛, 1/7 and ⅙ scale, or only 7-9in (18-23cm) tall.

This photo essay highlights the numerous products sold at Anime Milwaukee from February 16 to 18, as more than 10,000 guests swarmed the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee and Wisconsin Center for the 11th year to celebrate and share a love for Japanese culture and entertainment.

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