Posts tagged cosplay
When we left off last Saturday, Shannon and I were walking around Evangelion World at Fuji-Q Highlands theme park near Mt. Fuji in Japan.
Damn, my life IS kind of cool.
After touring all the other display rooms, we wandered into MAIN attraction: the 1:1 scale Evangelion Unit-01 head. It was built to look like the body was submerged and that you are, in fact, in the hanger where it is stored – just like the series/movies.
It’s BIG! About every eight minutes (or so) a video plays on either side featuring Misato talking to NERV staff. There were no subtitles, but I *assume* she is talking about activating the Eva unit. At one point, above the Eva’s head, a small window lights up and you can see Gendo looking down over the situation. I wasn’t able to get a photo of this due to lighting restrictions/timing/my lame skills.
Once the Eva unit “activates,” the lighting in the room changes and you can see the eyeballs move in that creepy kind of like a giant human anime way. The Eva roars, the room gets loud with alarms, and the experience becomes very immersive. It’s amazingly cool.
Here’s me in front of the GIANT HEAD. You can see the screens on either side.
While walking around, Shannon and I noticed three JAPANESE COSPLAYERS who had come to take photos in front of the Eva Unit.
Seriously. We were totally in Japan now.
Being as American as we could be, we approached them and asked to take a photo. They were thrilled at the prospect and I wound up taking the same photos with their cameras, too. So here you go: Shannon with Japanese cosplayers in a theme park with Neon Genesis Evangelion stuff.
ANIME NERD WIN.
They were all very nice, polite, and didn’t understand a single damn thing I said. We loved it!
Next post: the End of Evangelion (World) and back into the park.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
You can credit the South Florida radio talk show The Love Doctors with my reading this book. “Doctor Rich” Dickerson would constantly bring up A Confederacy of Dunces as an influence in his life, so I figured I might as well dedicate some time flipping through the pages.
I’m glad I did.
I bring a unique perspective to this book as a self-proclaimed pop culture geek. It’s from that mindset that I realized that this book is (wholly by accident) about the genre convention stereotype: “the fanboy”. The main character, Ignatius Jacques Reilly exhibits the following qualities:
1. Socially awkward to the point of being overly social. You know the type.
2. He dresses outrageously and is never without his mismatched hunting cap (much like cosplayers out of costume.)
3. He gets into long winded nonsensical arguments with about random things via letters (very much akin to online “flame wars” on fan forums.)
4. He cites Batman comics as the only impactful literature of the time.
5. He still lives with his mom while in his thirties.
A Confederacy of Dunces is a satire that depicts the ridiculous antics of various folks in New Orleans on the 1960s. It is profounds in its biting commentary on people and essays have been written about the book and the deceased author (if you haven’t read the story behind him, DO IT) – yet none that I have found point out the obvious (at least to me) connection to current stereotypes in fandom culture.
If you’ve ever walked the around San Diego Comic Con or Dragon*Con, I suggest you take some time to read this and see how alive and well Ignatius is in today’s society.
So I recently scanned in some OLD photos from yesteryear of me at my very first Star Trek convention. It was an event called Trekfest that took place (I think) in West Palm Beach, Florida. My friends John and Eric went with me. Eric drove (John and I didn’t have licenses yet) and John dressed up in the costume contest with me.
(Back then, no one called it “cosplay.” It was just “wearing a costume.”)
We won the costume contest as “The 5th Guys”: the security officers who always beamed down with Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty only to die some horrible death. Our AWESOME prize for winning? A Dick Tracy movie poster and $20 in cash.
That’s big money for teenagers in 1990. We spent it well in the dealer’s room. (You can see a couple more photos here.)
The guest at that convention was George Takei. Years later, I’d tell him about meeting him at “my first con” over drinks:
(Sorry for the delay in getting this up. September is the last month of “convention season” for myself and the Wasabi Anime team, so writing again should get much easier. Allegedly.)
In part one, I pointed out the awesomeness that was Dragon*Con 2010. My friends and I had a great time, met some new people, and even fit in some Man vs. Food meal location goodness.
Even the best events, though, have their shortcomings.
BACK STORY: In 2007, the girls from Wasabi Anime decided to take one of the numbers from our Wasabi Animusical and enter it into the Dragon*Con Masquerade. The Masquerade (read: multi-genre cosplay contest) has been a major draw at Dragon*Con for a number of years with some AMAZING costumes making appearances. The show is as much a tribute to great fan costumes as it is an entertaining stage show.
Or, at least, it used to be. I’ll get more into that in a moment.
In 2007, the girls entered on won Best of Show with this number:
In 2008, the ladies returned with a new number with new costumes and won Best of Show – Masters:
The first year was anime. The second was comic book characters. The year after that the girls did an American cartoon. In 2009 they presented a stage number in the style of the previous two featuring the Powerpuff Girls to “When I Grow Up” by the Pussycat Dolls.
The girls didn’t win… which happens. You win some and you lose some. Costumers and cosplayers who compete and win on a semi-regular basis look forward to be “dethroned” from time to time because that means someone came along and did something newer and even more original. The best cosplayers I know enjoy seeing great costumes and performances as much as they enjoy making and performing for themselves.
Thus, the loss shouldn’t have been a big deal… except for the fact that the winner wasn’t new or original.
Before I go on, I would like to note that I don’t bear the person who won ANY ill will. He is a competing costumer and has had success working within Dragon*Con’s Masquerade rules. It’s the rules that are to blame… and the staff that continues to fail and see that it is killing the originality of the show.
In 2005, an original costume called Dragon Rider made by a man named Brian Burke took Best of Show. Once you win Best of Show, you are forever restricted to the Masters category. Thus, when Brian entered again in 2009, he competed against the girls… and won again… with the same costume he used in 2005.
Sure, he made some adjustments to improve it, but it was the SAME COSTUME HE COMPETED WITH THE YEARS BEFORE.
This year he won the Masters category again… WITH THE SAME COSTUME. This time, he made a smaller version to have a child (his?) join him on stage to compete.
Which brings us to the failure of the Dragon*Con Masquerade: THERE IS NO RULE RESTRICTING THE USE OF THE SAME COSTUME OVER AND OVER AGAIN IN THE MASTERS CATEGORY.
If someone wins Best of Show it’s a safe bet that he/she/they are a creative bunch of folks that can contribute new and exciting things each year. The girls of Wasabi Anime did it for three years in a row. Previous to them, the fine folks from Making Mischief produced some amazing costumes that won each year: Wallace & Gromit, Where the Wild Things Are, and many others.
Making Mischief and Wasabi Anime both created NEW costumes to compete to keep the show ORIGINAL and ENTERTAINING. That is what makes for a great show. That greatness is something the Dragon*Con masquerade has lost.
So “the bad” of Dragon*Con? The moment I saw that a person competing with the same costume year after year won the Masquerade for a third time… and the producers of the contest just don’t seem to give a damn.
The other MAJOR difference in American fan conventions and Mexican? SUNDAY IS THE BUSY DAY.
I took more photos over the weekend of some amazing cosplayers including:
It was busy as soon as the doors opened and we spent the time watching the hoards of people pile in. The air conditioning couldn’t take the load, though, and eventually everyone began to get sweaty.
Mexican fanboy funk kicked in.
Needing a break, Troy and I took a walk to the local market to buy some authentic fake Oakleys (because I left my sunglasses at the hotel.)
it was there that we encountered our first Mexican drug dealer. Here is what we said to us almost verbatim:
Hey guys, you looking to buy something? I got everything. I can get you weed. Cocaine. Prices cheaper than Kmart, man.
Troy and I both came to the same thought: “They sell cocaine in Kmart?!” I mean, we DID see hard liquor in Walmart. LOL
Needless to say, we said no gracias and made our way back to the convention center.
Back at ExpoComics Cancun, Chris bad befriended a unique flavor of fanboy: Gears of Wars Cosplayers. Imagine a group of manley men in manley GOW2 costumes walking around in a group after a tournament chanting “GEARS OF WAR! GEARS OF WAR! GEARS OF WAR!”
Now add in the Mexican accent.
These guys were some crazy motherfuckers. No more so than their American counterparts, but they were dedicated to their fandom in the best possible way. After the Gears of War 2 tournament, the cosplayers all approached Chris and gave him one of their foam gun replicas… “for our number one favorite Gears of War fan!”
Great fans and great people.
Saturday in Cancun was our opportunity to answer the ago old question: Are the Mexican geek conventions like American geek conventions?
After sleeping in and waking up to the ocean outside our balcony, we began prepping for our first day of ExpoComics Cancun. The event, produced by Ecreativo, is an anime and comics fan convention that takes place annually in Cancun, Mexico.
A convention center event (it takes place in the Cancun Center) as opposed to a hotel based convention, the show opened its doors at 11:00 AM with a dealer’s room that doesn’t close until 10:00 PM… a far cry from the the event’s American cousins.
- Mexicans love to cosplay. Check out Mexican Sailor Moon:
(click here for other Mexican cosplay photos I took)
- Even though we couldn’t understand what they were saying, it was easy to read body language and actions. Thus, we were able to spot practically every stereotyped attendee: shy goth girl; socially awkward girl who talks in a funny voice; Narutards; dressed-to-sexy fifteen year old girls; screaming and running fanboys trying to glomp people; girls that think they are cosplaying if they wear cat ears; etc.
- Different dealers but the same exact merchandise. We looked long and hard for some uniquely Mexican anime merch and came up pretty much empty handed.
- Panels, costume contests, and the usual batch of events. Ever heard a Mexican with a Spanish accent singing in Japanese during karaoke. There is no difference in how painful it sounds.
- Con funk smelled the same.
- Mexicans don’t assume that the convention is a day care. We saw a number of young attendees, but they were with (shocker!) their parents.
- Attendees seemed more respectful of each others’ space. This is hard to describe in detail, but it all came down to a different “vibe” from attendees.
- Where American conventions find cosplay guests amusing, Mexican convention attendees see them as bona fide celebrities. I watched the girls from Cosplay Deviants sign more autographs than many voice actors at local cons.
- While not a standard at all American conventions, it is common to have a convention guide or even a schedule offered to attendees. The only schedule at ExpoComics Cancun was posted on a large banner at the entrance of the con (and on the website.)
- The Mexican voice of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons (aka Senior Burns). Check out this video from the convention. It is excellente.
Hey kids! You think your weirdness of going to your local fan convention is unique to your generation (or the young adults of the 1990s)? Think again! This video shows an event called the Sci-Fi X-Po from 1983. That’s right – some of you weren’t even born. As a matter of fact, some of the people dressed up in this video could be your parents…
If your parents lived in the Seattle, Washington area in 1983.
NOTE #1: Why does no one cosplay as Judy Jetson anymore? That was awesome!
NOTE #2: This video taught me what we’re missing at fan conventions of today: sparkling curtains for stage backdrops.