Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Otaku Expo 2015 Special Six

Comic Market or "Comiket" for short, is a very accomplished anime and otaku convention held in Japan, bi-annually in winter and summer. However this time around a special event called "Otaku Summit Special 6" was created to break the bridges between cultures and introduce international Otakus and conventions to Japan. 

This was one of the best experienced in Japan for me for many reasons, but I'll explain the two main ones:

1. Cosplayers from all over the world attended, from different cultures and speaking different languages. I met people who only spoke Spanish, others who only spoke German and of course Japanese,  yet somehow everyone's love of Japanese and otaku culture gave us common ground to express ourselves.
2. It was my first time professionally cosplaying and I got to cosplay alongside some of the best cosplayers in the world, it was not only a huge challenge, but extremely fun and a massive learning experience. 

The event was across Saturday and Sunday, however I also got to attend the reception on the Friday as a guest and got to meet the creators and producers of the event, alongside the other guests and various companies. I was there representing Hyper Japan, the UK based Japanese and Otaku culture event. This is an event that is very dear to heart as I worked closely with it when I lived in England and I made many precious friends and memories there. The Hyper Japan workers were all lovely and helpful too!

Cosplayers were selected from various countries to represent their specific Anime convention as guests. From left to right; America, Japan, Spain, Brazil, Italy, America, UK (me) and Hong Kong. 
Aren't they all amazing?!
The best part was everyone's outfits, styles and looks were completely different so we made a perfectly versatile and well-balanced team.The American girl Eileen cosplayed as a character from Jojo's bizarre adventures, the Brazilian cosplayed as Raiden from the Metal Gear Solid series, the cosplayer from Hong Kong (Dante K) cosplayed as a character from a Japanese Otome MMO and the other American guy cosplayed as a back-up dancer from a Para Para game!
I think this showed how richly Japanese pop culture has integrated itself in to other cultures and how varied it is.

Day 1 - The Reception

This was a party from the early evening, with plenty of free delicious food and drink plus many different members of the press and company representatives to launch the event, as well as government Diet members.

The cosplayers were called to the stage to talk about their countries and the aspects of Otaku culture that are popular there. My outfit for the reception was Blue Rose from Tiger and bunny, I posted earlier from when I wore this outfit first.

We introduced ourselves, our respective conventions and took a lot of photographs, and then in true Japanese style, everyone had a massive nomikai. I think the point of the reception was to get the purpose of the Otaku summit across: breaking the barriers between cultures.

Day 2 - Saturday at Otaku Expo

The event kicked off with the opening ceremony; the director of the event and also the government Diet members cut the red tape to signify the opening, whilst speeches were given about the purpose of the event, highlighting the focus on internationalism.

We did a lot of interviews and photoshoots that day, also I helped Hyper Japan on the stall to promote the event and explain a little bit about the event's purpose and what they do. I was surprised to meet so many people who had been to Hyper Japan before!

I debuted my Sailor Moon cosplay for the first time so I was a little nervous~
I actually got blonde extensions just for this cosplay; the "dango" buns were made from my real hair but the little twin tails were the extensions. I don't like the way a lot of the Sailor Moon wigs looked, so I wanted to try using my own hair, it actually felt like a success and this cosplay was very popular!

I am really pleased with this cosplay, but I want to do it again with some tweaking to the hair; such as adding the hair accessories. As Sailor Moon: Crystal has just aired, the outfit itself was more popular and I got to find some other Sailor Moon cosplayers!

Isn't Chibi Moon adorable? She was really tiny!~

These are my top cosplayer picks from the day;

A male Junko Enoshima cosplayer, complete with Monokuma.

Bu bu bu~

A super-sexy Levi cosplayer who was a GIRL. I pretty much tackled her for this photo.

I am playing the FFX HD remake right now so I was extremely pleased to meet this awesome Yuna and Wakka cosplay pair.

The Cure Cosplay show can be viewed in the video here; 

All credits go to the maker of the video!

Day 3 - Sunday and Closing ceremony.

I wore Blue Rose again and spent the day mostly working on the Hyper Japan stall. Me and Sano-san ( the Japanese Hyper Japan representative)  gave a speech about Hyper Japan, for example the location, target audience and purpose, but mostly we chatted with companies who were interested in coming to the event or setting up a booth there. Leo helped me a lot, especially with more difficult Japanese.

What really made it fun for me was these guys;

All the cosplayers, both international and Japanese were amazing. We all helped each other as it was confusing sometimes attending the cosplay shows as there were three stages in the event. Or if one part of our costume needed fixing, someone would fix it for you.
For example my Blue Rose cosplay was a little ~revealing~ and the Japanese official Comiket cosplayer actually tucked my panties in when they became exposed >-< I was really thankful!

My cosplay picks were;


These girls were cosplaying characters from the unreleased "Show By Rock" anime that will be airing soon as is produced by Sanrio~

I will update more photos as I get them; mostly these were taken from my phone, but I have seen my picture on BBC, Japan Today and Japan Times so I will do my best to track down some more professional ones >-<

As I said before; this was a very eye-opening and life-changing experience for me, as I saw first hand how incredible the cosplay community is both in Japan and overseas, as well as the power of Otaku!

There was a Closing ceremony with a live and final speech, I forget which speaker said it but his words really stuck in my mind:

"I fully believe that Otaku culture can break barriers between countries and bring peace"

Thank you for reading!~

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