Costume play, or better known as “cosplay,” is a favorite pastime of many convention goers or fanatics. Many otaku spend months creating intricate costumes that will hopefully set the apart from other con-goers. Some costumes range from store bought to homemade creations. Either way, a good costume will get you noticed at an anime expo.
As I ventured through the exhibition halls, there were cosplayers claiming their spots so that strangers could have their pictures taken with them. Other cosplayers proudly marched through the halls explaining their characters to those who were not quite a knowledgeable. While the expo was focused on anime, there were many costumes based on characters from video games, manga, or comic books. It was so diverse!
While cosplaying is completely optional, there were a few panels and events where you could have some fun with cosplay. Read on and find out what the Anime Expo had to offer!
Who doesn’t like a nice maid in anime? The Maid Café is a ticketed event so you will have to make sure you buy your ticket ahead of time. Also, make sure you get there at the right time. The café is only open for certain hours during the day. It is not an event where you can just walk in and sit down.
There aren’t many maid cafes in America, so if you are curious about the experience, you can come down to the one held annually at the Anime Expo! While there is food, it is an extra fee. The maids, on the other hand, were very friendly and energetic. The maids are dressed in proper maid attire, which can be quite the fantasy for some fans, don’t you think? Each group has a maid and they play games with you. The maids even put on a show and dance for the patrons. It is quite clear how much work the maids put into this event.
Butler Café (Host Café)
A new event that premiered this year was the Butler Café. Just like the Maid Café at the Anime Expo, this is a ticketed event so you may want to get your tickets fast before they sell out and do not forget to check the schedule! While it has been called a Host Café, as well, it is not really the same concept as a host club in Japan. Nothing explicit happens here! The concept of the Butler Café is very similar to the Maid Café. The butlers, dressed in proper butler attire, are very engaging and fun. Don’t expect anyone like Sebastian from Black Butler, but they are perfect for their roles. Just don’t go falling in love with your butler!
The butlers engage in mini games with patrons and perform a special dance number. Since it is a new event, the butlers seemed to put a lot of effort into their work to make sure it went well. It was an interesting experience. Don’t forget your ticket when you go to check it out!
Now, if you happen to be hanging around the convention hall later in the evening even after all the fun earlier in the day, you are a serious trooper. Add in some more fun to your AX experience by attending the Masquerade. My first thought was that it would be some sort of fashion show where people walked down a catwalk in their cosplay. I do not even know why I thought that way considering most masquerades are dances, but this was an entirely different experience.
The masquerade at the anime expo is something you are definitely going to want to check out. Individuals or groups from all over get together to put on a great show for all to see! Most acts had videos to introduce the acts playing. It was perfect for a Sailor transformation!
What was really surprising was the addition of children in the show. Who knew that child cosplayers would do something so daring? Maybe it is to breed a new version of show moms. Either way, it is quite refreshing to see children taking an early interest in cosplay! I happened to catch the chibi Hatsune Miku in the exhibition hall and she is adorable!
Of course, everyone did a really good job at cosplaying this year. At the masquerade, Sailor Moon seemed to be a popular theme either in the performance or in the costumes. There was a special performance by Buzzfeed Motion Pictures’ Try Guys, who tried cosplay for the first time and their performance was truly a bold one as they gender bend the Sailor Scouts! They seriously know how to put on a proper show for their fans, don’t they?
Of course, there was a halftime show for the Masquerade featuring IA and WagakkiBand. It was definitely an experience. There were so many different skits making it close to impossible to pick a favorite. I think a major favorite this year was the Pokemon proposal! Now, how’s that for a surprise?
Cosplay Panels and Shops
If you haven’t cosplayed or are an amateur cosplayer, there are a few panels to teach you about the craft! There are panels with information about how to make weapons from materials like worbla or how to start making your costume. It’s not only amateurs that want information, at the Anime Expo, there was a discussion forum with some pro cosplayers about what people are interested in when it comes to cosplay. The pros wanted information too! No matter where you are in your path, there is still so much to learn about the craft.
Of course, there are so many nuances to consider when it comes to cosplaying. Luckily, if you need wigs or weapons, they have them for sale in the exhibition hall at a discount! It makes it so much easier to add to your collection. Remember to bring cash, but a lot of vendors are starting to take credit cards, too.
Cosplaying can be a lot of fun for spectators and cosplayers. Anime Expo had a lot to offer for everyone interested in cosplaying or any type of cosplay fun!