A sea of colourful heads sprinkled with glitter and bands with luminous stars faced towards the Hyper Japan stage in anticipation on the 24th of November as the crowd were gathered excitedly together to watch the CosParade, one of the festival’s main attractions.
This featured the hugely popular Marble Collection, which was originally showcased in Shibuya, Tokyo in July 2011. The Christmas special of Hyper Japan was proud to present the fashion as it featured elements of different cultures (such as Harajuku or Kawaii), including the latest trends from Shibuya and Akihabara, through vivid multicolour dresses and accessories.
Said Junya Yamada, creative director of the show: “I’m so glad we had this opportunity to display our energy and pure gems which are created and inspired through anime.”
He went on by placing a strong accent on the fact that his models, consisting mainly of singers and actors, must visualize themselves to the fullest potential before going on stage to an audience of thousands. Yamada’s words continued to laud a sense of unity within the now very experienced Marble Collection team, this being illustrated to the Hyper Japan crowd as his beautiful models and creations assembled on stage.
“We must keep a strong sense of identity and character, which applies to the entire Marble Collection”.
Yamada exclusively expressed his future plans for Marble, as the flurry of anime and a mix of different Japanese cultures flamboyantly took to the stage: “Our visual ideas must continue to reach beyond the border in each country we visit, and to incorporate their concepts of fashion into our own. To not only use anime as the original inspiration but make it personal by the influence we get from each country.”
As the Marble Collection reached its lively finale, the crowd started to get restless, filled to the very limit with excitement. They knew what would follow – the cosplay competitions!
Cosplay, literally translated to Costume and Play, has become a global phenomenon. Starting out in Tokyo, it has slowly worked its way into many other cultures. Hyper Japan was proud to present the UK selection of the European Cosplay Gathering (ECG), which has been successfully running for 3 years in 11 countries all over Europe. The selection was made based on how accurate and detailed the individual’s outfit was and of course, ECG showcased some of the continent’s very best designs that kept the crowd in awe.
The winner of ECG, on the 24th November 2012 was a tough one to pick, but creative duo Lettie Shiels and Claudia Maw won the main prize – an all-expenses-paid trip to Paris to represent the UK in the 3rd European Cosplay Gathering in early July, at Japan Expo – with their great reproduction of a ‘Lord of the Rings’ scene.
Here are some more cosplayers that took part in ECG…
World Cosplay Summit (WCS)
Hyper Japan Christmas also presented the UK preliminary selection of the World Cosplay Summit (WCS); organized by TV Aichi, this huge competition has been running for 10 years and unites 44 cosplayers from 22 countries and 5 continents. The winning pair would have the chance of a lifetime to represent the UK at WCC 2013 held at Nagoya, Japan, courtesy of proud sponsors British Airways.
Benjamin Hunt, who has been performing and representing Cosplay for 8 ½ years now, was one of the judges. “The stage in Paris, it’s huge but it’s the perfect place to showcase your talents and impress!” he said.
Finally, the founder of WCS, Takumaru Oguri, took to the stage to oversee the superb anime and manga inspired costumes. He opened the WCS competition to the enthusiastic crowd who were beyond themselves with joy. Oguri himself, excitement all over his face visible, said: ”It has been 10 years now and the shows are getting bigger and better every year – I want this one to be the best of all! The Olympics of Cosplay this year!”
The winner of WCS was the amazing production of ‘Final Fantasy 4′ created by Erin Bower and Heather Lawrence. Both of the lucky ladies were chosen to represent the UK in the upcoming World Cosplay Championship in Nagoya, Japan. CUEAFS managed to speak to them after the award ceremony, and it was crystal clear that they were enjoying every bit of what they were doing – “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity!”. We sure hope not, girls! Best of luck to you both!
CUEAFS asked Heather personally what she is most looking forward to once in Japan, and she excitedly exclaimed that, “It has to be the Japanese cuisine as well as the unique culture! Its going to be so different to anything Ive tried before!”
Erin happily said that not only was this the highlight of our day at Christmas Hyper Japan, but our friends and family have come to support us today and its thanks to them that we’ve won this also! The pair were over joyed and unfortunately had to hurry off for further celebrations.
Not only was the skill and craftsmanship in Cosplay on stage, it was also hidden within Hyper Japan, CUEAFS seeked out the best…
Written by Esme Spurling
Edited by Mihnea Gheorghita
All photos ©CUEAFS unless otherwise stated