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World Cosplay Summit to hit its climax in Nagoya

by Maaya Konagai

Staff Writer

Last week the London Olympics kicked off with no shortage of spectacle. However, if it’s visual delights you’re looking for then it might be better to turn your eyes toward Nagoya instead of London. This event is all about cosplay — the very essence of spectacle.

The World Cosplay Summit (WCS) began on July 28 and will continue until Aug. 5. While Nagoyans may have noticed some colorful characters in their streets already, the main events of the summit will be held this weekend.

“Cosplay” is a Japanese word derived from the English words “costume” and “play,” and it means to dress up as characters from manga, anime and video games.

The two highlights will be the Championship on Aug. 4 at Oasis 21, and the 10th anniversary concert on Aug. 5.

Much like the Olympics, WCS is a global event. It launched in 2003 as a way to spread Japanese youth culture abroad, particularly the country’s thriving manga and anime cultures. When it began there were only three other countries participating: Italy, Germany and France. That number has increased and now representatives from Japan and 19 other countries will compete for the top prize. This year, participants from Britain, Indonesia and Russia will compete for the first time. Last year’s champions were a team from Brazil.

The other big activity at WCS will be a concert held on Sunday. The 10 Shunen Kinen Anison Live (10th Anniversary Anime Song Concert) is set to feature JAM Project, an anime music supergroup that was formed in 2000 by theme-song composer Ichiro Mizuki. The group’s style leans toward rock and heavy metal, and they’ve toured abroad many times. Milky Holmes, Natsuko Aso and other artists who specialize in anime theme tunes, will also perform at the concert.

Another concert, featuring Visual-kei bands Alice Nine and Golden Bomber, and hosted by music magazine Music Japan Plus, will be held Aug. 3 with tickets costing ¥ 5,250. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. and takes place at Geijutsu Gekijou DaiHall

Even you are not interested in cosplay, this kind of event is fascinating to watch. The lengths that cosplay practitioners go to in order to look like their favorite characters deserves at least a gold medal for effort.

The World Cosplay Summit runs through Aug.5 in Nagoya. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.tv-aichi.co.jp/wcs/2012.