Hyper Japan 2014 - Cosplay Special
London's popular Japanese Pop Culture event took place on the weekend of the 25th-27th of July 2014 at London's Earls Court.
The event has been going since 2010 and has grown each year to improve on it's last. And like 2012 this year the show returns for a second time in the same year with a Christmas special.
With a mixture of traditional Japanese culture including Martial arts, Music and dance to modern pop culture involving Video Games,technology ,Jpop and Cosplay.
Not forgetting cuisine and drink ,the event is the one stop shop for all things Japan.
With a program of main stage events , a dedicated Martial arts ,Kawaii and Fringe stages Hyper Japan had something for everyone.
Over the three days visitors would be entertained by J pop duo Yanakiku Hiroki the Masked Ninja ,though he did take of his mask...at some point.
Siro -A who featured at last years show returned giving three shows over the three days , but then you can't blame them it 's a great advert for their long running West End show.
Siro-A , Hiroki , Iaido, Yankiku , Minyo , Yanagi Nagi and Yun*Chi (left to Right)
More music came from Yanagi Nagi and One Not'e giving another dose of JPOP and Jrock for the fans.
For a more traditional from of entertainment ,Den Entertainmet gave a varied show of Music,dance,comedy and exciting swordplay feats on stage in their stage show ''The Sake''
Fans of Martial arts also had a varied program of demonstrations of Jiujitsu,Karate,Iaido and more .
In-between all this you could browse the stalls ,buying all sorts of goodies ,have your make -up done or dress up in a Kimono and have your picture taken,.
Nintendo and Bandai Namco kept visitors entertained between stage events
Or even visit the huge gaming area where Nintendo and Bandai Namco showed of their latest and forthcoming games across various systems..
Nintendo ran a couple of competitions for Mario Kart 8 and the forth coming Smash Brothers for 3DS .
One thing gaming does is influence cosplay , dressing up as your favourite character ,whether it be from game,comic or Anime and film is fast becoming one of the biggest past times in the West , with so many Pop culture events running now all across the country Cosplay over the past ten years has grown and grown and has no signs of slowing..
Cosplay at the show is a key part of Hyper Japan, with cosparades over the two days and the Sunday playing host to the ECG ( European Cosplay Gathering) competition , the entrants to this competition would have to step up their cosplay ,not just having to make and construct a good costume that portrays the finest details of the character they have chosen , they would have to perform a showcase that captures the spirit of the character in question.
Friday was low key for cosplay ,with some visitors choosing to turn up in cosplay ,but the venue was not brimming with the common Zombies,Robots and Ninjas that often roam these events..
Saturday we new there would be a barrage of cosplayers turning up in costume , some in outfits they have made ,others in pre-made manufactured outfits.
Cosplayers where scarce Saturday Morning ,but i managed to hijack a couple
I personally chose to cosplay on both Saturday and Sunday , I have a few outfits that I have had from popular cosplay manufacturers, each tailor made to fit ..
Now one thing about doing cosplay is the getting to the venue and then changing putting the finishing touches to your costume can be a chore.
Being as London was having a heatwave I thought I just don't want to carry loads of bags ,and being we where doing a feature on site ,i had to bring my cameras and such anyway..
So after much thought I thought what the hell, I will just get ready at home and just go in cosplay, now being as I was crossplaying a school girl from popular Anime and Manga Yumerio Patissiere I thought there's a challenge ..
So dressed as Kato Rumi in my St Marie Academy school outfit I drove to the station and then got the tube to Earls Court ..
Saturday played host to a cosparade for entrants who had constructed their costumes, ,there where many visitors in various costumes ,some hand made ,others pre -bought.
You have the popular ones which many turn up as, Naruto is a popular franchise with many dressed as various characters from the Anime and Video game.
The sailor style of school girl outfit is very popular in many Manga and Anime series and every where you look there's another school girl character .
Sailor Moon and Naruto cosplays
Sailor Moon and Soul Eater feature other popular characters people portray.
But apart from this there's also the Lolita style street style that is also in vogue at these type of shows.
Lolita and Kawaii fashion at Hyper Japan
The Kawaii stage played host to fashion shows and interviews with popular Lolita fashion gurus.
It was the afternoon on Saturday that the cosplayers really started to turn up ,being as the day was a double session day with visitors needing a ticket for each session. Many turned up for the later session, particularly as the cosparade was in the afternoon.
With the cosparade staring at 4.30pm we got into position and waited to see what wonders the entrants had come up with. With each entrant getting about thirty seconds to a minute on stage to strike their poses at key points on stage , with each new entry the crowd got more excited as to who would steal the show..
From the popular entrant who is a fan of the Sonic series of games ( he has portrayed Sonic and Metal Sonic in the past) this time choosing to appear as Sonic's friend Tails to the delight of the crowd.
Tails flies in ,Sonic won't be pleased him stealing the limelight
I have said it before and I will say it again, and not just about Cosplay at Hyper Japan but all of the events that feature cosplay, How much of a problem would putting a ramp or slope at each end of the stage so that some of the entrants who have constructed large and cumbersome outfits don't have the risk of completely destroying their costumes before they get on stage...
One entry in a well crafted Gundam Mech outfit nearly came a cropper ,but with some leverage and assistance managed to get up on stage to rapturous applause ..
Hooray he made it up the steps, Just as well , he might have attacked
Fear got the better of everybody when the Executioner from Resident Evil appeared dragging his mighty axe.
Hope he cleaned that AXE before arriving - The Executioner
There where some really cool looking costumes appearing one after the other ,Link from the Legend of Zelda of course gave the Nintendo fans their fix, the entrant had constructed a marvelous looking shield.
Link from Zelda
Now I do wish I had a bit of help but as not all my crew turned up ,it did make taking photos, video and making notes at the same time impossible.
I have quite a good knowledge of characters from video games, but my knowledge of Anime and Manga really is limited to series or films I have viewed . Anyway not being able to take notes ,i must admit I can not remember each of the characters portrayed.
Another four cosplayers hit the stage
Maybe if you visit the page you can leave a comment about any characters you do know ,then I can at least update to mention the characters portrayed.
But anyway after a few more entries that where very impressive, I spotted a couple a I could remember. First up was a young girl dressed as Esther Blanchett from Trinity Blood. , another really cool looking costume. Then the Penguin from the Batman franchise, this was done really well and I'm sure it's the same guy that was at MCM in May..
Trinity Blood's Esther Blanchett
It was not a overly long cosparade and a couple more entries and it was all over, I managed to get a few snaps of the some other cosplayers that had been watching the parade afterwards as well.
Batman's arch enemy the Penguin
It seemed after the cosparade everyone seemed quite buzzed with such a good showing of cosplay, even my self got quite a bit of attention being asked for pictures and posing with a few visitors, one girl even tracked me down twice due to her first photo with me not coming out to well,
I'm sure the outfit I was wearing is not that well known ,the series in question is really only available on streaming sites . But I suppose a Japanese school girl costume is pretty much of a muchness ,maybe they just wanted a picture with the guy in a skirt , but it's very surreal when you suddenly get bombarded for photos ..
Yes myself as Kato Rumi with one of my fans
But hey what ever the reason ,i never mind obliging if asked .
The next day was a bit of a later start , another hot day and again I chose to crossplay, this time as Chrome Dokuro from Katekyo Hitman Reborn, leaving my Trident at home though, for two reasons, it's not quite finished and needs some work to get right and the fact that I did not want to carry a five foot trident about ,especially on the train , as I would most probably got into trouble anyway .
I need to find a way to make it so it's come apart into three sections and can be fixed together at the venue , also I would like to work out some kind of back holster for it,so I could mount it on my back ,something to work on then.
Anyway getting ready took a while , but it come quite apparent when leaving your car and going to the station that the skirt is quite short ,together with the boots and top Jacket ,there's not much to it.
Hey but I arrived in one piece. But got quite a few stares waiting for a train on the platform.
Chrome Dokuro and Pikachu
Sunday was the big cosplay day with the ECG competition and another cosparade.
Siro-A - Catch them if you can
First we viewed Siro-A doing their light and illusion show, which attracted large crowds, , with a bit of gaming time and another wander it was not to long before the Cosplay show.
With attendees all seated and waiting, I managed to get a place on the floor at the front of the stage to get some good shots, with two sets of judges on hand ,one for the ECG ( European Cosplay Gathering ) competition and another set for the cosparade it took a while to get started and ECG contestants do have to perform a set to a soundtrack ,many using some quite large props for effect.
Our Hosts (above)
With the ECG judges announced ,who came on showing how it's done and to get the crowd ready for the main event everyone sat with excitement.
With solo and pairing prizes to be awarded the judges had their work cut out, as did the entrants.
With each entry announced the crowd was treated to a show piece in cosplay , some of the detail was amazing from the representation of Raiden from the video game Metal Gear Revengeance to another Trinity Blood tribute with three participants portraying Esther,Crusink and Cain ,again attention to detail was brilliant with some awesome weaponry and a decapitated head ( not real of course) , but with each new entrant appearing on stage it looked like impossible to choose a winner..
One entry that gave a very good technical performance was the guy who portrayed Kirito from Sword Art Online. ,he put a lot of work into his swordplay.
Kirito from Sword Art Online
The Princess Tutu trio gave it all ,but then from what our commentators said about their training it was expected that they would perform well.
It all seemed to pass quite quickly , no sooner had it started that it was over and the after some debate the judges where changed over and the cosparade was under way, but it was apparent that time was a factor as the cosparade contestants did not get the time the previous days entrants had, I did over hear someone about how time was short and their friend was in the parade and they where told about the time constraints ..
Basically each cosparade contestant had very little time to pose and play to the audience , a shame in a way ,as they had waited so long to come on stage, though quite a few gave it large and the announcers where announcing the next contestant before the previous had left the stage.
I must admit I had trouble getting shots of some of them as it was all so fast , but I think I did quite well considering, but one things for sure as to what Anime,Manga or other media many where from escaped me for most part, but I did of course know the ''Attack on Titan '' entry and of course video game icon Lara Croft ..
So please if you know the characters from any of the cosplay picture montage please leave a comment as to who they are and from what source ,ie : Anime,Manga,video Game or film.
It can be quite hard with Anime and Manga to recognise all characters ,unlike when going to a more Western orientated cosplay show where your see popular film characters like Batman,Thor or the umpteenth Spiderman jumping about..
The London Okinawa Sanshinkai perform (above)
We still had a bit to see at the show after wards and caught the London Okinawa Sanshinkai perform on the Martial arts stage , they performed some traditional dance to some pounding drum beats and more. Definitely a crowd pleaser.
We returned for the award ceremony where winners of the ECG Solo and group competition picked up there prizes along with the cosparade winners from both Saturday and Sunday getting a mammoth goody bag .
Of course the ECG winners get to go to the final in Paris to and represent the UK .
Congratulations to the winners who where the Lords of Vermillion duo Nomes and Altira for the group win and Shirak for her Portrayal of Lydia from Beetlejuice
Runners Up where the Trinity Blood trio for the group competition and Clockwork Dandy Noodles as Christine Daae from Phantom of the Opera.
Our last hours spent at the show we scoured the stalls and took a few more shots before catching the stage show ''The Sake by Den Entertainment . Which for intent was a fun filled mix of music and offbeat comedy, it was good way to end our Hyper Japan weekend..
The Sake by Den Entertainment (above)
Of course Hyper Japan is back at Christmas in November , this time their hosting the WCS ( World Cosplay Summit ) preliminaries where the shows winners will win a trip to Japan to take part in the WCS cosplay competition.
Where be there to capture the excitement , before then where be getting our cosplay fix at the London Film and Comic Con Winter show and the MCM Comic Con at Excel ,both of which fall in October.
Where also be attending the Eurogamer Expo , now known as EGX in September where cosplay is getting more and more part of the show .. Hopefully where have some cosplay photos from there to ,but where there to mainly cover the forthcoming video games for the Holiday season..
Thanks must go to the Hyper Japan Team and Spreckley Partners for the Press passes for the event ,which without we would have not been able to cover the show to the degree we have.
Article date August 2014