Cos it’s great fun
Dressing up isn’t just for Halloween or kids. As the Nipponbashi Street Festa comes to town, join the weird and wonderfully fun world of costume play
WHAT TO WEAR
DO get some inspiration for your costume. Look at previous event photos, walk around Den Den town and browse the manga stores, pick up cosplay magazines Layers and Cosmode. If you want something simple and ready made, Animate, Loft and Tokyu Hands are worth a browse.
DON’T think that your cosplay has to be exclusively manga, or even anything Japanese. Love Chewy from Star Wars? Always want-
ed to be a walking Tetris block? Now’s your chance — be anything you want to be. There are no rules about how accurate or realistic your cosplay has to be, so get creative.
DO gender-bend. As The Kinks said, girls will be boys and boys will be girls, it’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world, and here you can get away with it!
DON’T buy a ready-made outfit without checking the sizes first. Sizes are usually clearly stated on the package, so it’s worth meas-
uring yourself up before you hand over the cash. If you don’t see a size, ask the shop staff if you can try it on.
DO consider going online for your costume, especially if you’re not a typical Japanese body shape and size. Some shops will custommake them to your measurements, but this may take longer to arrive, so get online well before the event.
DO have a go at making your own costume, if you have the time and the sewing skills. You’re sure to get a lot of attention for your originality and extra effort.
DO wear a wig if your chosen character has completely different hair. They’re light and comfier than you might think — and come in a wide range of colours and styles. They finish off an outfit perfectly.
DO try on your costume before the big day. You want to feel comfortable and confident so give yourself a dress rehearsal and time to fix anything needed. Can you sit down in your costume? Can you really walk in those shoes?
DO persuade a friend to join in — cosplaying as a duo is great fun and you’ll get double the fan attention.
ON THE DAY
DO check the weather and prepare to make adjustments to your costume if it’s rainy, or scorching hot. Comfort is a priority.
DON’T wear your outfit on the way into Nipponbashi. There’s a huge dressing area on site with toilets and a place to stow your bags. When you arrive, just ask another cosplayer where it is if you can’t see/read the signs. It costs ¥1,500 to use these facilities but you can come and go as you please to fix your outfit.
DO take some emergency safety pins, it’s better than coming undone.
DON’T brandish any fake weapons, however unrealistic you think they might look, on your way to the event. Carry them very carefully on the day and wrap them up safely when you’re not in cosplay.
DO make sure you take regular drink breaks. Walking around in a costume and wig in the madding crowds can make you super dehydrated, super fast, and fainting in costume, while dramatic, is not the best way to make your exit.
DO arrive early to make the most of your costume. The main event is from 11am to 5pm.
DO expect to have your picture taken. Video cameras are often roaming around the event too — so beware if you’re camera shy. But don’t forget your own camera, as you’re sure to see some amazing outfits.
NOT UP FOR IT YET?
A few tips for non-cosplayers
DO wear your favourite anime or manga T-shirt/bag/hat if you don’t want to do full-on cosplay. This is the event where others will appreciate it. If you haven’t got one yet, Uniqlo usually stock cheap and cheerful anime tees — or try J-List for bigger sizes.
DO ask to take cosplayer’s photos. Most cosplayers have a character pose that will make your pictures look better than a candid snap, and they feel flattered to be asked. So don’t be shy!
Just ask: “Sumimasen, shashin o tottemo ii desu ka?” Most will reply “Hai, dozo” before you’ve even finished the sentence.
DON’T grab or be rough with any cosplayers. If you want to hug a full-body character, ask first. Don’t pull or hit at any part of their costume, it might not be as soft as it looks!
DO be prepared to wait for a picture with popular characters. If large full-body characters seem to be ignoring you, it’s possible you’re just not in their field of vision. Clearly call “Sumimasen” and hold up your camera, and they should happily turn in your direction.
• Nipponbashi Street Festa official website
http://nippombashi.jp/festa/2011 (Japanese only)
• Animate (Costumes and accessories, manga and magazines — shops in Sannomiya Centre Gai and Osaka Nipponbashi)
• J-List (Japan/US web shop, great for larger size costumes and manga inspired clothing)
• Cosmates (Japan-based web shop for costumes)
• Cosmode (Japanese cosplay magazine)
• Layers (Japanese cosplay magazine)
• 21 March 2010 • Time: 11am-5pm • Where: Nipponbashi (Den Den Town) Osaka • Nearest station: Sakaisuji line, Ebisucho station exits 1A and 1B • Admission: Free, changing rooms for cosplayers ¥1,500