Aoki Ume Exhibition in Aomori

Hello everyone and welcome to Tiro Finale. Last time, we promised you an inside look at the ongoing Aoki Ume exhibition. So today, we are going to do just that with as many photos as we are allowed to take inside and outside of the exhibition itself. If you are reading this, you are probably already familiar with Aoki Ume-sensei's works. But for those who do not, you may recognize from her famed works including Hidamari Sketch and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. 

The exhibition itself is currently being held in the Aomori Art Museum located in the city of Aomori. From the city center, it is approximately a 30 minute bus ride from the Aomori Station. Walk into the compound of the art museum and you are immediately greeted by this giant painting of Kyubey's face which perfectly matches the museum's white walls. Immediately, any and all doubts of the venue are immediately resolved as fans flock around the wall to get a photo of it. As this is Japan, you can be certain that everyone did so in an orderly fashion making sure to not block any of the other attendees for the event. 

Buses to the art museum are every half hourly from the station. Even then, taking the first bus in before the exhibition opened its doors at 9:30 am saw the bus already filled with eager museum goers. Some of which have attended the previous Aoki Ume exhibitions held in the past too! But arriving at the event venue is one thing while, reaching the exhibition floor itself is a completely different story. 

Despite going as early as we could on the first day of the exhibition, the line had already stretched to the main entrance of the museum. This line was made up of attendees who had already purchased advance tickets beforehand. Anyone walking in without one were most certainly allowed to enter too but, they would first have to purchase tickets from the museum's ticketing reception before joining the line. Moreover, those who purchased tickets on the day itself did not have the special printed tickets as those who has purchased theirs in advance.

Once inside, photo taking opportunities were very, very limited as with most Japanese art exhibitions. Only particular sanctioned exhibits could be photographed. Which in this case, was the name plate for the Hidamari Apartments and Yuno's apartment. 

Apparently, Yuno's apartment was replicated to scale with each room and piece of furniture represented perfectly in their manga form. Speaking of Yuno, art pieces were not the only form of interaction attendees would be in for as there was even a drawing area. Attendees would all be given a piece of paper each to draw Yuno via a tutorial video by Miyako. Below the drawings, one could also write their messages. This was a really nice addition to the exhibition which certainly helped add more fun and flair to the event. 

One thing that caught us by surprise is the sheer scale of the entire event. To be fair, the only other temporary exhibition I had ever attended prior to this was the Nisio Isin Exhibition in Ginza, Tokyo. While that one was fairly sized, Aoki Ume's exhibition downright dwarfed it with exhibtions beginning all the way from her works as a child, a large section dedicated to Hidamari Sketch, another large room dedicated entirely to Madoka Magica and the final section encompassing her more recent works.
Among manga artists, Aoki Ume is probably one of my favorite attributing to her unique art-style and versatility. Her art-style is so instantly recognizable and unique that it since gone on to be known as the Aoki Ume-style especially in regards to her "round-face" and hand-drawn eyes look. Moreover, her versatility also shines through with her ability to be work as both a manga artist and character designer. It is no wonder that she is often sought after by Shaft to do the end cards of many of their anime(s).

If you are familiar with the Hidamari Sketch series, this cork-board is probably one of the most important features of Yuno's room where she pins up photos of their previous memories together. Immediately after Yuno's room are several television screens showing Ume-sensei's art process and a short walk down is the Madoka Magica section. Of all the rooms, the Madoka Magica room was probably the most creative with their usage of hanging exhibits.

After the Madoka Magica exhibition area, comes the area focusing on Ume-sensei's other works and collaborations with other anime. Most notably her work in drawing end cards for various popular anime. Strolling at a casual pace, one could probably finish the entire exhibition in 2 hours before reaching the final area, the merchandise floor. From clear files and notebooks to medallions and scarves, there were no shortage of exclusive merchandise for the event. Rest assured, that too would be covered in a separate post. So, stay tuned for that too!

For the first day of the event, Aoki Ume herself was also in attendance for an autograph session. One hundred advance ticket purchasers would be selected beforehand by lottery. Regrettably, we were not one of the lucky hundred but, that was fine because the entire event more than made up for it. This may the fourth year running for this annual exhibition but, for first time visitors, the charm of it is almost inexplicable. So if you are a fan of Ume-sensei's works and happen to find yourself in Japan from now till the 12th of December, I would strongly recommended you pay the event a visit. If not, despair not as you can always attend the next iteration of the event!

Well, that has been all for this event coverage of the Aoki Ume Exhibition in Aomori. If you have any questions or opinions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. We would love to hear what you think. Until the next time, thank you so much for reading and have yourself a wonderful day ahead!


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