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Tuesday August 20, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Tuesday August 20, 2013 MYT 10:06:24 AM
by arnold loh
Dressed to impress: Cosplayers striking a pose for the press at the Culture Japan Convention.
STRAITS Quay in Penang turned into a haven for lovers of fun and fantasy when cosplay enthusiasts brought to life hundreds of fictional characters.
The participants arrived dressed in costumes which perfectly depicted their favourite heroes and heroines.
One cosplay fan even came in a purple suit, green hair, white face and the world famous Glasgow smile — depicting The Joker character portrayed by the late actor Heath Ledger in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.
A few others came hefting ‘gigantic swords’ and clad in futuristic battle gears.
The enthusiasts happily indulged in their fantasies at the two-day Culture Japan Conven-tion (CJC), organised by a team led by Japanese pop culture icon Danny Choo, who is the son of renowned shoe designer Datuk Jimmy Choo.
Danny said he chose to hold the inaugural CJC in Penang to honour his father.
“We have a mission to make Japanese culture more accessible worldwide through these conventions,” he said.
Cosplay, short for ‘costume play’, is a hobby that is catching on among youths, where they strive to make their own costumes to bring their favourite fictional characters to life.
More than 3,000 cosplayers and otaku —Japanese anime or manga fans — packed the convention.
The main event was held at the Straits Quay Convention Centre while the ground floor entrance featured cars decorated with anime stickers.
Many cosplayers walked about the shopping area and entertained shoppers’ request to have their photos taken with them.
Graphic artist M.K. Rul, 30, who arrived in his custom-made Solid Snake’s battle dress, said being a cosplay enthusiast gave him a chance to express what he enjoyed and indulge in his fantasies.
Student Dekes Chong, 19, attracted the crowd, thanks to the sword of Cloud Strife (main character of Final Fantasy VII), balanced on one shoulder.
The sword measured about 150cm long and 30cm wide. It was made of wood, carefully sanded and carved, and painted to resemble stainless steel.
“I fell in love with this sword in the movie. Then I started googling for tips on carpentry, bought woodworking tools and made this sword myself,” Dekes explained with a smile.
Among the girls who wooed the crowd was mass communications undergraduate Christy Chow, 21, who is better known as Yuki Christy among her fans and has been a cosplayer for over five years.
She went to the convention in the battle dress of her favourite character — anime heroine Mirai Suenaga, and brandished Mirai’s long translucent orange sword — Millennium Blade. Incidentally, Mirai was created by Danny in 2007.
Christy said she began cosplaying when she was 16, and over the years, she had produced nearly 100 costumes of about 40 characters.
“I took up sewing and bought many books on it. I also learned complex cosmetic techniques because besides the costumes, we have to create our characters’ faces too,” she said.
She added that cosplay was something she did to relax.
Danny, who is the founding director of Culture Japan, said he was astounded by the response of the inaugural convention.
“I was born in Britain and lived for many years in George Town and Butterworth.
“I fell in love with Japanese culture and
saw a vision to share it with the world,” he
Danny’s father also arrived at the convention, in a black Mirai T-shirt.
The convention featured booths selling anime merchandise, games and memorabilia.
Japanese illustrators Ikkyu and Shirahane Nao, and anime voice actress Asakawa Yuu also shared professional tips on anime creations while cosplayer Maridah from United States and Angie from Kuala Lumpur shared tips on cosplay fun.
Japanese band Vividblaze, which created the music themes for Culture Japan, also gave a performance.
Tags / Keywords:
Lifestyle, Travel, Northern Region, Lifestyle, Travel, penang, japan culture
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