Tokushima embraced Machiasobi, one of the biggest seiyuu and talk show events, this Golden Week. The event also featured small outdoor concerts, all for no cost. The community and volunteers were all supportful, considering the fact that the town doesn’t usually deal with such a large influx of people and traffic. The eateries were booming, the night was lit up with the colorful glow of concert lights, cosplayers were cosplaying and everyone enjoyed over 12 hours of events from Thursday to Sunday night. One of the final events was a wonderful cosplay red carpet march, typically found at anime events in Japan. The creator of the Occulus Rift was also present, with his significant other, sporting a sunburn and a stomach full of an event packed weekend.
Make way established international events, this stealthy, but growing trend is breaking its way to become one of the biggest annual events in the 21st century. The 12th annual World Cosplay Summit took place on August 1st. While certainly, there have been events that fade to fad-om, this summit is here to stay. Nagoya is not a city known for much, except for Toyota and former military production centers. However, the former mayor has made it important to put Nagoya on the map, as the 3rd biggest city in Japan, Nagoya finally has an event Osaka and Tokyo would die for.
Beginning with only 3 countries in 2003, the World Cosplay Summit has risen to 26 countries as of 2015. When the WCS finally hit 7 competing countries in 2005, they began to hold Championship events for prizes. Brazil and Italy are tied for 1st with 3 wins each respectively, while Japan comes in a close 2nd. France and Russia have one title respectively. I had the chance to see Italy win in the previous years and had to agree, they deserved the title for their brilliant performance in 2013.
Who’s turn was it to win this year? Anime, manga and video game themes filled the Oasis21 lobbies and Osu parade. Most were just fans dressed up, but the professionals stood out with their homemade, colorful and in some cases gigantic weapons and armor. What contestants wore looked better than anything one could buy from any shop, these people were professional tailors and prop makers at heart. I had a chance to cosplay in 2013 and this year as well, but my store bought clothes came nowhere close to their heart-filled efforts. This years event was slightly different from last year, as it would finally be held indoors with air conditioning. Previously years had contestants wear their costumes in 35 degrees weather and in humid conditions, which combined with stress and exhaustion is quite dangerous! However, if people didn’t want to pay for tickets they could still watch it outside for free.
The most popular winners in previously years had cosplayed and performed as the Legend of Zelda characters. The cosplayers, had to put on a play which best represented the characters they were dressed as. Creativity,dress, authenticity, and design were key in winning. Therefore, it was no surprise that another Legend of Zelda team won this year. This time it was from the Legend of Zelda’s Majora’s Mask. However, the biggest surprise this year was that the winners this year would be a latino country! Before they announced the winners, Mexico had secured the Nico Nico Live stream award. Then they were in tears as their name was read out for they had won Mexico’s first ever WCS grand prize. They were filled with unbelievable joy for they were not only the North American champions, but the World champions as well!
My favorite performers were different, I preferred the Gurren Lagaan performance by Hong Kong. They combined real life and manga flawlessly, their battle and costumes lit up the room. The way they brought people back to the series won them loudest cheers. As I exited my press seat and the building, I learned that there were many fans happy to pose with them outside. I didn’t have the chance to take great pictures outside the actual event, but I did take many at the Meijimura cosplay event one week before hand and the Osu parade. This year, it was incredibly more crowded than previous years for anime, manga and games continue to rise in popularity in Japan and world wide!
Attending the 2013 Cosplay Summit, was a no brainer for someone with a new lens, so I set about a small photo walk to see what I could find. The greatest shots available this year were groups shots, especially from Final Fantasy and Attack on Titan. There were great individual cosplayers, but teams were just too great!
Visual Art’s, known for publishing the visual novels Kanon, Air, Clannad and several other big titles, celebrated their 20th Anniversary this weekend. To celebrate they held a concert at Yokohama Dome and invited all of the big name artists related to singing the opening themes and ending themes to these titles. Outside the arena were cars decorated in Visual Art’s characters for people to snap pictures of. Around the side were hour long line ups for Visual Art’s goods, the most popular T-shirts were sold out quick. Inside they checked our bags for any forbidden goods, and handed us a gift package which included a free CD with 2 tracks! We were welcomed in by two giant characters which stood a few dozen feet tall. It was amazing to see the singers of your favourite game up close and personal, even though I sat quite a ways from the main stage. What was even more amazing than the singers themselves were the fans. The fans were synchronized with the singers using many of glow sticks in one concert, and in some cases a glow stick for every finger! This was my first time at such a large concert hall in Japan. The only other concert I had been to was LiSA’s GIRLS DEAD MONSTER concert on a smaller stage in Nagoya and that one didn’t have seats like this one, but seats would become important for this concert would run for over 5 hours! The concert started with Kotoko and I’ve singing a variety of songs I knew, but others that were before my time. The first song I recognized was “Close to me” by Kotoko, and it sounded much better live. The artists would usually introduce themselves and Kotoko told us that unfortunately Mell couldn’t make it to the concert for certain reasons. However, just to see Kotoko was definitely nice since she had a big impact in my life when I started getting into Japanese music. Afterwards, a few artists I didn’t recognize came up to stage including a boy band and during that time I made my way to the bathroom and some of the exhibits outside, including a room with all the Visual Art’s game to demo. After a few more unknown names the concert was in intermission.After the intermission came a video that previewed a new Visual Art’s game, a sequel to Rewrite. There would be a few commercial in between artists, the best one however was the first trailer to the Little Buster’s anime by J.C. Staff. There were also commercials that featured their past games, which also sent chills, these definitely got the crowd going.After the commercials came one of the best parts of the concert, GIRLS DEAD MONSTER featuring Marina and LiSA. Marina would sing Alchemy, and LiSA would sing a couple other songs, before another artist sang Ichiban no Takara Mono. Afterwards, a few more unknown artists came on to sing and I used this chance to use the bathroom, and thankfully I did because there were no more intermissions. One of the unknown artist included a new member of the singing staff and she asked us to give her our support. Rita, the singer to the opening of Little Buster sang Ecstasy, and another song. The most disappointing thing was that Eufonius only sang one song! She was one of my favourite singers, but she didn’t do as many songs for Visual Art’s compared to her work for anime. She did however record a song under the name Riya called Love Song, and it was definitely a beautiful CD and It was disappointing she didn’t sing anything from it.However, as the concert came close to ending Lia finally appeared! I was getting sad that I didn’t hear any of the songs to my favourite anime and game openings, but she came in and gave us exactly what they wanted, singing Tori no Uta. She would also sing Dango Daikazoku, and My Soul, Your Beats! All of the songs were so much more powerful live than on CD, especially Dango Daikazoku. The bass that shook the room sent more chills down my spine, it was almost like a dream listening to it. She was definitely a show stealer, and the applauses she got definitely proved she was a top quality singer. Her English was also fluent and fantastic as she described the musicians behind her. The concert finished with two songs sung by I’ve, who came out together in a group and sang Last Regrets from Kanon, asking everyone to sing along with the karaoke on screen. Before they sang the last song, they introduced their president of the company, and proceeded to sing Orpheus, the theme song of the concert, before saying their thanks and ending their 20th anniversary celebrations.
Summer is here and this is Tanabata weekend. The people celebrate Orihime’s love story, which is of course myth, but is still loved by and celebrated by many here in Japan. At these events you can find traditional and modern performances and dances, as well as a lot of food booths and games for kids. This year appears to be bigger than the previous year as there were many, many more floats! Thankfully, I live nearby where the event took place, and I always bike home around here. The discovery was fortunate because if you weren’t a local of this area I’m not exactly sure how one would know about this wonderful festive event, which spans a dozen blocks!
A lot of floats seemed to be based off of traditional and newer manga, anime and game characters, for example Kirby, Mario, and some newer ones like Naruto, Yotsubato and Natsume Yuujinchou. While other ones were original, for example the giant one with seafood! There was of course Takoyaki, chocolate banana’s, and meat on a stick. There was even a live monkey on stilts performing.
With the last chapter of Umineko no Naku Koro Ni finished @ Comiket 79, and the English patch for chapter 8 from Witch Hunt near completion, 07th Expansion has their new guns ready for you in the form of Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni. The series name is a departure from the “When they cry” title featured in Higurashi and Umineko. From insects, to birds and now to flowers.
The trailer for the new mystery/murder game, which is currently serialized as a manga, will speak for itself. The opening art for the trailer is the manga art while the first opening (below) follows the traditional 07th Expansion style. The Unforgiving Flowers Blossom in the Dead of Night, seems to be the english name the group is going with, and with Dai returning as a composer, the music is sure to be as wonderful as it has been in the previous games. Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni Episode 1, will be available for purchase at Comiket 80 this month, from the 07 Expansion booth. It will be available in retail stores after the Comiket event.