When university students turn into anime characters

(From left) C2AGE special guests Lexiikat, Kaotsun, Pugoffka-sama, Stella Chuu, with 501st Legions director Krennic (David Brown), cosplayer Lau Siew Yien, and C2AGE founder Murali Rajaratenam. — Photos: S.S. KANESAN/The Star

Hundreds of cosplayers dressed up in intricate and flamboyant costumes of Japanese anime and American comic characters swarmed the grounds of HELP University in Subang 2 for the 10th anniversary celebration of the C2AGE X-treme 2017 cosplay, comics, anime and games exhibition.

The event, organised by the university students, was made merrier with the presence of international cosplay stars, the holding of an Overwatch tournament plus an array of performances and impressive exhibitions.

Initially an idea by two foundation students and a lecturer to run a cosplay cafe in 2007, C2AGE snowballed into an internationally known animation, comics and games (ACG) event.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s C2AGE, HELP University vice-chancellor and president Professor Datuk Dr Paul Chan said, “C2AGE is a platform for people to gain better insight into Japanese subculture, and subsequently learn to appreciate it,” said.

“It has acted as a platform to bind people regardless of age or culture," he added.

Japanese Embassy counsellor Hiroyuki Orikasa, who was also present said, “It’s amazing to see this success story unfold since 2007, starting from a couple of young students.”

At the exhibition area, an impressive Lego display set up by Synergy Lego Users Group was definitely a showstopper.

C2AGE participants browsing the booths at the exhibition area at the event.
C2AGE participants browsing the booths at the exhibition area at the event.

Other exhibitors included D’Mara Hot Wheels which showcased Hot Wheel models from the 1970s onwards, Macross Malaysia which also organised the Cosplay Cafe at the event, Pla-Zone, and a NERF firing range run by Monkee Mods.

Meanwhile, members of fundraising and volunteer organisation 501st Legion Malaysia Garrison put on quite a show parading the campus grounds as Star Wars characters Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Director Krennic and some Stormtroopers.

World famous Indonesian photographer Edy Hardjo of Hrjoe Photography was also invited to display his works at C2AGE.

Hardjo’s photographs went viral on social media as he put action figures in funny and unusual human situations, making them a hit with Marvel comic fans.

There were more than 80 booths in the main hall selling artworks, action figurines, toys, comics and anime merchandise.

Besides organising a wide variety of competitions, C2AGE held workshops carried out by exhibitors, and famous cosplayers such as Stella Chuu and Pugoffka-sama.

“This is my first time in Malaysia and I’m really happy to be here. I don’t get a lot of opportunities to go to Asian conventions, so I’m really grateful for this opportunity,” said Stella Chuu, a cosplayer from Los Angeles who has appeared in major conventions like Anime Expo and Anime Matsuri.

C2AGE has come a long way, from having just 20 cosplayers and 80 participants in 2007, to having an online fanbase of 12,000 today.

HELP University lecturer and C2AGE founder R. Murali Rajaratenam said it all started off as a class project for his students to pitch a business proposal.

“I thought why not take it a step further?” said Murali, who did not leave the job of cosplaying to the students alone as he came dressed up as Deadshot from Suicide Squad.

“Hopefully we will be recognised as one of the biggest ACG events in the Asia-Pacific in the future,” Murali enthused.

C2AGE X-treme 2017 was organised by a committee of around 30 HELP University students from across all courses, with the help of 70 student volunteers.

It is the university’s hope that the students who participate in the event or attend as cosplayers and gamers, can gain confidence through the experience.

HELP University faculty of university foundation studies dean Dhanesh Balakrishnan said, “Some foundation students are generally very shy and softspoken. C2AGE helps in transforming them to be confident and creative.”


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