Saudi Arabian fans of Japanese popular culture are flocking to a festival of animation and comics in the capital of Riyadh.
The Anime Expo that opened on Thursday is the first of its kind. The kingdom has long restricted people's access to entertainment through its strict interpretation of Islam.
But the pursuit of economic growth has led to an easing of some restrictions.
Yoichi Takahashi, the creator of the anime series "Captain Tsubasa" appeared in a talk show on Friday.
The series has a following in Saudi Arabia and is known in the Arab world as "Captain Majid".
Takahashi was visiting the country for the first time. He said he has come to realize football is a global sport, and that's one reason his football-focused series has attracted many Saudi Arabians.
He said the message behind Captain Tsubasa is about working hard to make one's dreams a reality.
Some restrictions remain. A "cosplay" or costume play contest exclusively for women was held behind black curtains. Participants dressed as popular anime and video game characters.