2017 No.21

Japan’s Cutting-Edge Pop

World Cosplay Championship 2016

Cosplay: A Universal Language
International Players Gather in Nagoya

“Cosplay”: A combination of “costume” and “play”

The joys of manga, anime and games aren’t limited to reading, watching, or playing. They give birth also to the joy of “cosplay,” in which avid fans impersonate their favorite characters. Nagoya’s World Cosplay Summit (WCS) began in 2003 as a giant expo for “cosplayers” from all over the world.

Text: Tsuchida Takashi Photos: Suzuki Takuya and ©2016 WCS Inc.

I didn’t feel the language barrier at all. It’s awesome to connect with people from around the world about your favorite characters!

“It’s about how entertaining and appealing you can be onstage, as well as the fun in pursuing the original nuance and aesthetics!”

The 2016 WCS, which attracted over 320,000 people, was a great party that involved rental of an entire theme park for a photo session bonanza and a red carpet event attended by the governor and the mayor, as well as a fun parade that welcomed spontaneous walk-ins by cosplayers. This year again, Nagoya citizens showed wonderful hospitality to the crowd of international cosplayers.

© 2016 WCS

© 2016 WCS

I was very impressed with the high quality that exceeds ordinary cosplay.

The climax, as always, was none other than the World Cosplay Championship: the battle of all battles of finalists from participant countries and regions. This isn’t your average costume party—participants must pair up for a 2.5-minute skit impersonating characters from Japanese manga, anime, games, or SFX films. In 2016 there were 30 participating countries and regions. A new addition was the large onstage screen, which added an exciting touch to the performances.

The championship evaluates according to costume and performance quality. This means that technical and artistic aspects of costumes are taken into account as well as how accurately the original characters are portrayed onstage.

Indonesia “Trinity Blood”

© 2016 WCS

We’re overjoyed! What got us the win was probably the trick portion, which took many trial-and-error attempts.
Denmark “The Angel of Elhamburg” (Elhanburg no Tenshi)

© 2016 WCS

All accessories and details are exactly the same as in the original. We hand-sewed each and every single bead.
France “Love Live! School Idol Festival”

© 2016 WCS

We love this anime because the friendship of two main characters is wonderful!

Grand Champions for 2016 were Indonesian cosplayers for their presentation of light novel “Trinity Blood”. Judges and audience were highly impressed with their costumes, entertaining magic tricks when the woman seemed split in half, and the man flew at the end of their performance.

“All cosplayers representing their respective countries and regions were very friendly,” the champions said, “and we became like one big family throughout the event.” Cosplay has earned international status much like a universal language. It’s wonderful how this universality comes through when participants share a mutual understanding through their characters without understanding each other’s language. Everyone seemed to agree the high point was making friends through cosplay with people the world over.