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World Cosplay Summit 2010, Nagoya

Costumes.... COSTUMES... COSTUMES!!!

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I must be wicked, I certainly don't get much rest.

After leaving Bali we flew back to the Kansai airport (where I got to feel very smug slipping past the huge queue of non-Japanese passport holders thanks to my re-entry visa), then I said goodbye to Haru and jumped straight on a train for Nagoya.

For a few years now Nagoya has hosted the annual World Cosplay Summit, making is a Mecca for costumed cuteness every August (and if there's one thing I can't resist it's costumed cuteness).

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... (for example).

The event is spread over two days and culminates with a big stage show featuring cosplay teams from around the world (15 international teams this year).

The first day in mostly focused around the Osu Kannon temple with food stalls, a music stage and a parade happening there. Basically though it's just about wandering around and taking LOTS of pictures. Athough it was concentrated into a fairly small area I was amazed to see so many cosplayers in one place. Everybody was really friendly and, as everybody was there to show off their costumes, they were more than happy to pose almost any way you asked them to. If I'm honest I only recognised a handful of the characters as I'm not that much of a Manga/Anime fanboy. I did recognise Cloud and Yuna from Final Fantasy, Gundam, and Porco Rosso at least. The only problem was that there were so many people in great costumes that I can't possibly put all the pictures I took here - so here's some samples and a link to the full first day's gallery (well worth checking out).

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Click here to see the full gallery for day 1

I stayed over night in what has become my regular Nagoya Ryokan only to discover that there was a small street festival happening in the covered market next door that evening. So, I hit the streets again to check out what was going on, and to be honest I'm still not quite sure. Still whatever it was it was quite fun, there were the typical food and games stalls, some very impressive decorations (big handmade models of popular characters hanging above the entire length of the market) and a weird collection of street entertainments; including a game for kids where they had to catch live eels by hand, various local dance troops and a performing monkey show. This all made an unexpected and welcome addition to the trip.

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Next morning, as the second part of the Cosplay Summit wasn't happening until later, I decided to visit the Nagoya science musum.

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There was something very familiar about the museum - it felt the same as the natural history museum in London; for example. That same feeling of a place past it's prime, lots of hands on stuff for the kids - but much of it slightly tatty and worn from years of use. Some things simply didn't work at all anymore. The information (as far as I could understand, as it was all in Japanese) was the same basic factoids you'd get anywhere.... this might sound very negative, but I actually quite liked it. While I wasn't blown away by anything really, the familiarity of the environment was quite comforting and homely.

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Plus, there was an insects exhibit that was interesting for me.

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There was also a planetarium, which I enjoyed not having been in one for years. Though I'd question the wisdom of giving the job of narrating what we were seeing to such a soft spoken man - his voice was way too relaxing and I could hear people all around the room snoring very soon. Actually if you look at the picture of the museum above you'll see there are two domes on the right, the smaller one is the current planetarium and the bigger one is the new planetarium which will open next year - and bloody impressive it looks too. Might have to go again then.

After a spot of lunch I made my way to the venue for the Cosplay finals. Again, there was an overwhelming amount of people in great outfits, so here another selection from the day and a link to a full gallery.

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Click here to see the full gallery for day 2

In the evening though it was time for the main event, which kicked off with Cosplay Karaoke. Contestents singing theme songs from anime shows in character. Bizzare and oddly fun, in particular when one singer lost his 'bald' wig mid song! This girl, whose picture I took on the first day, won a prize for her singing; a Wii karaoke set.

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The highlight of the day though was the international competition.

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Each country's team had to present a short skit in character and was judged on their costumes, skit content and performance - the winner would be crowned world cosplay champions. The rules stated that the characters must be from Japanese source material (manga, anime or game). After a few skits there were breaks where Japanese celebrities performed - I have no idea who these people where but there was a white girl singing in Japanese, a massive all girl group (SKE48 I think - a younger version of AKB48 who I saw in exactly the same place by chance about a year ago!) and some older Japanese rocker dude. Maybe you'll recognise them!

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Some highlights from the team skits included the French team doing a magical (almost circus like) fairy routine, the Italians doing a funny Zelda skit and the Korean's pulling off back flips and kung-fu moves in full glowing mech suits during their fight routine (the crowd went wild for that), but in the end though it was the Italian team who won... something :-)

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Then it was all over, the crowd slowly dispersed and there was time for one last round of pictures, including a few nice ones from the roof Nagoya's night time skyline, and then time to say goodbye and head for the train station.

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Despite the rush I had to make to get there after Bali I'm glad I made the effort as it was great fun and really unlike any other event I've been to... and damn it costumes are sexy! Yes, the costumes, not the girls wearing them... I realised that they often aren't so pretty, but the costumes still really attract. Of course, if you can get that great combination of a nice girl IN a sexy costume then... hmmm... Excuse me, I have to go and talk to Haru about something....

See, y'all next time :-)

Posted by DKJM74 23:25

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