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First Anime Expo mixes Japanese, Saudi traditions in Riyadh

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By EFE-EPA

The Saudi Anime Expo kicked off in Riyadh on Thursday bringing together fans and their favorite characters from the Japanese comic books.

A large figure of an anime character is installed at the Saudi Anime Expo held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 14 November 2019. EPA-(EFE/str / MANILA BULLETIN)

A large figure of an anime character is installed at the Saudi Anime Expo held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 14 November 2019. EPA-(EFE/str / MANILA BULLETIN)

Some Japanese people were clad in traditional Saudi clothes, including keffiyeh, black agal and long white ankle-length garments and speaking Arabic.

Some women wore niqaab while others donned the traditional Japanese Kimono.

At the center of the exhibit, the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia, a large figure of Japanese Super Robot Grendizer was on display, while smaller ones had been spread around the event.

A lot of people, mainly teenagers, attended the inauguration of the three-day event organized by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Entertainment, created in 2016 by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud.

Nearly all the 10,000 tickets allocated for the first day were sold out, one of the organizers told Efe.

A one-day ticket costs between 150 and 450 Saudi Riyal ($40-120), while a three-day pass’ price tag is between 350 and 1250.

The event, deemed by organizers as the biggest of its kind in the Middle East, included cosplay contests.

The schedule features two fancy costume competitions, on two separate days, one for men and the other for women, with a total of 20,000 Saudi Riyal up for grabs in prizes.
It also features anime-related music performances, including displays by singer Ichirou Mizuki.

The display will include movie shows, including Gundam Narrative and Evergarden Violet and will allow fans to taste the most famous Japanese foods which appear in the anime.
The event comes as part of the Riyadh Season that kicked off on 11 October and will last till 15 December, overseen by the General Authority for Entertainment, a government body presided over by Turki Al-Sheikh.

The Riyadh Season features more than 120 events across the Saudi capital, including music and theater shows and sporting events.

This comes as part of the Saudi authority’s efforts aimed at promoting cultural events, which both men and women have access to, including cinemas that had been banned until recently.

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