Cosplay Odyssey: Japan 2012

WCS Day 8 – Red Carpet Parade and…..World Cosplay Summit Championship!

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Today was the day we had all been waiting for – the World Cosplay Summit Championship final! Everyone got up super early as in the afternoon the teams would be taking part in a red carpet parade along Nishiki-dori, the main street of Nagoya.

That morning we were joined by the representatives from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Hong Kong and Taiwan are the World Cosplay Summit’s observing countries – that means their representatives join everyone for the last few days of the summit and take part in the parades and other activities, but they can’t compete in the Championship since both countries are part of the Republic of China which already has a team taking part. They more than deserved to be here, though – their costumes were incredible!

The mood seemed nervous backstage, as we waited for the parade to start.

Half the street had been closed off and a giant red carpet rolled out. One side of the street was packed with press, public and TV crews who were all here for the parade. The parade kicked off with a traditional dance troupe and people dressed as samurai and characters from Japanese mythology.

Then an up-and-coming boyband wowed the audience with a sword fight and dance performance! Sorry, I don’t know the name of this band…

Next, it was time for the main attraction – the cosplayers! Each team walked down the carpet as anime songs played loudly in the background. The atmosphere was so exciting, with cameras flashing everywhere! I had to sprint up and down the street, just to get these few photos.

After the parade, the teams took a few hours to rest and get into costume; then it was time to head to the Championship!

When we arrived at Oasis 21, it looked like a totally different place – the whole centre was packed out with cosplayers! I bumped into Goldy, who was with his Evangelion group.

Luckily we had plenty of drinks, pizza and a big shaved ice machine backstage this time, so the cosplayers could refuel. After setting up some slightly chaotic preparations, it was time for the main event to start.

It was wonderful to see everyone’s costumes and performances on stage – this is what everyone had been preparing for during all these months. Performances ranged from Germany’s funny Ranma ½ performance to Indonesia’s acrobatic mechs (yes, he did just do a backflip in that Patlabor suit). China did a beautiful  dance performance combining fans, parasols and floating sakura petals.

Our personal favourite was Mexico’s exciting Soul Calibur fight scene with two giant versions of Soul Edge and Soul Calibur!

Team USA’s performance was an impressive Black Swan inspired ballet performance based on Princess Tutu. Their performance was supposed to include an impressive two-way mirror effect which unfortunately didn’t work due to the lighting conditions, but we were still blown away by Diana’s superb acting and Katie’s elegant footwork.

As for costumes, this was definitely Year of the Mecha, with most teams including at least one mecha in their team. We especially loved Spain’s Tiger and Bunny costumes and Korea’s super cute Sgt Frog mecha! France, Australia and Denmark had some beautiful ballgowns too. Team Thailand made a whole variety of large mecha and props, earning them top points for craftsmanship.

Of course Team UK did incredibly well as they performed as D and Doris from Vampire Hunter D. I was nervous that it might be difficult for them since this was the UK’s first year entering, but I really had nothing to worry about. They created a tense dramatic atmosphere on stage with some impressive acting and their fight scene went smoothly – combing whips and swords into one fight is a lot harder than it looks! I was so proud of the girls!

Half way through the show there was the ‘Cure Cosplay Collection’ where Japanese cosplayers, past WCS contestants and last year’s Brazilian winners, Monica and Mauricio had a chance to show off their costumes on stage.

This was followed by a concert by none other than the voice of Sheryl Nome herself, J-pop superstar May’n!  All the representatives even had the chance to get up and join her on stage!

After such an amazing show we couldn’t wait to see the results. This year, as it was the 10 year anniversary special, there was a different judging system with the audience helping to decide the results. Everyone was waiting nervously backstage.

And the winner was……….. Japan!111!!!1

Second prize and the Brother prize for craftsmanship went to…….Singapore! Very impressive costumes and props.

Third prize was………Indonesia! Very well deserved, especially since it was their first year!

Brazil won the Cyperous Prize for best wigs – some nice styling and colouring there.

And Italy won a prize for the best “fidelity” for their accurate re-enactment of a scene from Evangelion.

Phew! After so much preparation and tension, everyone could finally relax. We all retired to the hotel for one or two (make that a lot more than two) drinks.

Many thanks to Chris ‘GaMeReVX’ Langdin and the WCS USA organisers for the on-stage photos. Used with permission, please do not copy.

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