The 2013 Japan Finals for the World Cosplay Summit were held today 16th June 2013 at Toshima-ku’s Ikebukuro West Exit Park, to coincide with Cossan — an open-air gathering and dance party for cosplay fans. The event is free and accessible to the public, with the option to pay for admission to the cosplay dressing rooms as well as the seated section fronting the stage.
The event hosted five teams from all over Japan. Previous winners of events held at Tokyo Anime Fair, Nico Nico Chou Kaigi, and as well as teams selected via online voting comprised the five finalists. The Finals were judged by representatives from the sponsors, as well as last year’s WCS champions Team Japan (Shimotsuki Yukari and Kaito), and last but not least — veteran voice actor Sugita Tomokazu (Sakata Gintoki, Kyon, etc.).
The crown eventually went to Team Sakyuu, who cosplayed Dracula and Alucard from “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night”. The pair hand-built an elaborate set — with fake stained glass windows and a throne, which stood up to the less-than-ideal weather conditions of the open-air event. The pair’s finale was also extraordinary, employing a disappearing act possibly inspired by Breaking the Magician’s Code.
Honestly speaking, the Japan WCS Finals at Cossan were not what I was expecting. Having gotten used to the spectacle of AFA, Cosplaymania, and even Tokyo Anime Fair, the event was a simple affair — more a casual gathering of fans than a spectacle full of LED screens and smoke effects. So yeah — as far as pageantry is concerned, Manila’s own events certainly do not disappoint.
Another thing that’s different from my perspective is the attitude of the fans. With nothing more than a thin rope separating the paid from the free areas, participants respected these barricades and did not attempt to gatecrash (unlike some Philippine Toy Con participants whose shenanigans were caught on Facebook).
Cosplayers and participants also respected each others’ personal spaces — permission was asked and given prior to photos being taken. Guys kept their hands to themselves when having photos taken with female cosplayers. And male cosplayers who were cosplaying female cosplayers did so with reverence and respect — going as far as wax off body hair and wear nylons (some crossplayers in Manila unfortunately see crossplaying as a joke and do not bother with these niceties).
Attending new events are always a revelation, and we just love how Japan’s WCS Finals turned out. Hopefully, we can attend the World Finals in Nagoya soon — and accompanying the Official Competitors from the Philippines, not just token observers at that.