Monday, August 06, 2007

Pre-Event Parade World Cosplay Summit 2007

As part of the Osu Kannon Summer Festival on Saturday there was a street parade for competitors in the World Cosplay Summit.This was a pre event for the annual World Cosplay Summit which would be followed by a competition event on Sunday in Sakae.
The parade was a very colorful event attracting both male amd female cosplayers.According to reports there were competitors from 12 countries including Brazil,Denmark and Germany vying for the competition crown.
The hour long march started off near the subway exit and wound round Osu finishing back at the stage near the temple.
The cosplayers provided a strange contrast to the more traditional taiko drum groups who were performing before them.

The word 'cosplay',is for you grammar gurus,a portmanteau word,i.e you join the start of one word to the end of another.For example,breakfast and lunch become "brunch".
In this instance cosplay comes from linking the words costume and roleplay.
Cosplayers,both male and female,wear their handmade creations based on characters from anime,manga,video games,movies,tv show characters and tokusatsu-Japanese superheroes such as Ultraman.

Simply stated cosplay is a hobby where fans dress up as their favourite animation character.Akihabara,a district in Tokyo, is usually cited as being the base for cosplayers in Japan with many shops and cafes catering to both cosplayers and their fans.In Nagoya one can see cosplayers in Sakae and Osu wearing their distinctive outfits.Also in Osu recently a Maids Cafe opened where the waitresses wear traditional maids uniforms.These cafes cater both for cosplayers as a venue to meet and also "otaku" or fans.

The nearest translation of otaku equates to nerd,geek or one source even suggested the British term 'anorak'.So roughly its someone with an obsessive interest in something.
There were plenty of otaku in evidence on Saturday ranging from scrawny adolescent boys posing,giggling with their costumed idols or older gentlemen packing expensive cameras and lenses jostling with each other to get a shot.My friend and I joined in the scrum to get the best photos and position.
At the time it seemed fun and harmless enough though theres certainly a Lolita, voyeuristic,exhibitionist aspect.Middle aged men snapping shots of girls in Sailor Moon costumes.Teenage girls dressed up in cat like outfits complete with tails.Or maybe I just imagined it.

One older gentleman approached me and my friend while we were observing the start of the parade and proudly proclaimed he was an otaku.He told us he'd come from Tokyo,actually a suburb next to Akihabara especially for the Cosplay Summit.He showed us the photos of some Maid Cafe workers he'd taken in a studio and was looking forward to the parade.Then he was off.He'd spotted a gaggle of Maids and was asking for a photo.


Anonymous said...

Looks like a lot of fun. I wonder what they actually do at the cosplay championships?

BTW, I have seen two maid cafe's in Osu. and the cute Alice in Wonderland cafe, which is not really otaku territory though.


tim said...

It was a lot of fun Michael.Not only watching the cosplayers pose but also the otaku and fans trying to get photos with their favourite characters.Evidently at the cosplay championships held at Oasis 21 the next day,competitors have to provide their own music and do a skit,dance or some performance related to their character.