‘Cosplay’ contest draws hundreds

by Minoru Matsutani

NAGOYA — Hundreds of people from across the world converged on Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, on Saturday to march as characters from animated movies in the Osu Cosplay Parade.

The parade, which featured Japanese and foreigners, took place just before the 2008 World Cosplay Summit Championship, which will be held at Oasis 21, a commercial complex in Nagoya, on Sunday evening. The annual championship and parade are on their sixth year.

Lee Vine, 33, and his brother Lindsay, 28, from Scotland, were dressed as the Green Ranger from the Power Rangers series and a batlike character, respectively. The two are taking a year off work to travel through Asia and do “challenging things,” Lee said.

“We are absolutely fascinated by ‘cosplay’ (costume play) in Japan,” Lee said before the parade. “We will absolutely have a good time at the parade. Japan is absolutely a crazy place.”

Tourists Jesus Alanis, 28, and his friend Martin Alanis, 23, from Monterrey, Mexico, also showed up for the event.

Wearing huge straw hats and having Mexican flags tied around their waists, the pair said their girlfriends were cosplay contestants Alin Nava and Torsa Garcia.

“We love seeing our girlfriends in cosplay,” Jesus said. The two men made some of the accessories their girlfriends will wear in Sunday’s championship, he said.

The parade, which drew some 300 people, is part of the Osu Summer Festival, a traditional Japanese “matsuri” (festival) local communities hold to share food and entertainment.

The parade and contest were organized by Aichi Television Broadcasting Co. and Central Japan International Airport Co. Three government ministries, Aichi Prefecture and the city of Nagoya also sponsored some of the events.