FRIDAY the 24th
HJ2012 started at 3pm on Friday, had the idea to go as JACKY from Virtua Fighter ,i assembled some some clothes and got the desired look , after this I made my way to Earls Court , by the time I got there the show was well under way .
After picking up my Press pass I scoured the hall for who and what was there.
Though Brompton hall is not over large it was a better venue for the event ,as last years Olympia 2 though having a nicer ambience about it ( Brompton hall can seem a bit dingy) ,is narrow though on two floors.
Having a peruse it seemed many from last year where there including big boys Nintendo and Bandai Namco ,Nintendo where showing of the new ZELDA on Wii and another death-match style game set in a medieval setting ( just think of a modern version of 'HEXAN' ) , Look quite good though. On 3DS they showcased some video footage of movies on 3DS as well as the new Resident Evil game which utilizes the 3DS Extra analogue stick add on . Also on 3DS was the new TEKKEN game in 3D which I wasted no time in getting to grips with (even with my current injured right arm) , but what's a stabbing pain in your arm when you got to play Tekken., ouch that hurt for real.
So now I had aggravated my arm I thought it best to move on , Bandai Namco where pushing the new SOUL CALIBUR game with some ten or twelve TV’s set up for people to have a go ( I had already purchased the game being a big SC fan). Other titles they had were a new Dragonball and Naruto games as well as a new Ridge Racer (which seemed impossible to get on unless I wanted to stand there for eternity. Any way I had to rest my arm.
After checking out the food ,trinket an media stalls ,which included a MANGA video stall and Third Window films ,both stalls where small with Third Window films having a similar selection to what they had at last years show . Manga though offering more varied selection had a stall a fraction of the size of their MCM expo one,hence other then Anime there was little else for non Anime fans. But as I do like a bit of Anime i had a peruse and went to see if anything was taking place on stage.
Well I was just in time for the appearance of Japanese pop sensation Natsuko Aso. Who after being introduced arrived on stage to a rapturous applause by the many waiting fans . She gave a great performance of her current songs while enticing the crowd to get down with it and take part.
She definitely has lots of energy and seemed really glad to be there playing to a crowd of about say 300 if that (at Japan Expo France she played to 8000) , so this was a intimate performance which made it ever so more special.
After the songs she was interviewed and even played ROCK,PAPER SCISSORS with the audience where the remaining 3 audience members would get a prize from her.
Ending on more songs ,it was marvellous ,a mini concert had happened and all just for your entry fee to the whole show, Value for money and mesmerizing. Natsuko is just 21 years old and has found fame through performing songs for many Anime in Japan ,when asked if she thought this was restricting to her career ,she replied no way with Anime being so large in Japan ,but then when you think of it UTADA HIKARU got much recognition from doing music for Sony's Playstation game Kingdom Hearts in both Japanese and English and now is considered one of Japan's biggest stars ,though she is on a few years hiatus since last year now.
So you knows maybe the likes of KODA KUMI and AYUMI HAMASAKI better watch out.
It was close to the event closing now till morning and i went back to the Manga store to purchase some Japan Anime for my evenings viewing .
All in all a good start to the show , I new I best get home to rest as the following day was going to be a long one.
SATURDAY the 25th
Now a early start was on the cards ,as Saturday was the main day for the Cosplay event at Hyper Japan ,with the Cosparade ( for those who had made their own costumes ,not manufactured ones ) and the WCS and ECG preliminaries where winners will get to go to the French Japan expo and the top prize to go to Japan for the big Final.
Any way after donning my Final Fantasy VIII Class Zero school Girl uniform I made my way to the venue ( in a long coat of course ,I was on the train) though my tights and boots where showing. Didn’t get to many looks though . Now arriving at the event I could see the cos-players where out in force and I was quite glad as I handed my coat to the cloakroom revealing my legs and skirt and red scarfed top ,putting on my cosplay wig I was set for the day as SEVEN from FFVIII .
It was quite funny I had been on the Nintendo stand playing some games and as I passed by later on the guy and girl stopped me to ask me some gaming questions as they had noticed me earlier. The young lady asked if I dressed up often ,when I told her no it was the first ever time cos-playing (or in my case cross-playing) ,she relayed no really,how do you like the freedom around your legs ?,i said well quite good really .
After a lengthy discussion about gaming I moved on (great group of people over at Nintendo,very friendly) ,now the day was getting under way and and many cos-players where still arriving .
Even Mario was There!
I spotted a young girl dressed as Ayane from the 'DEAD OR ALIVE'' video game , I had to get a picture of her and with her ,she gladly obliged as did her friend taking the snap of me and her together. I thought this was so cool all these people are as crazy as me ( in a nice way of course) as I wandered I saw more great looking characters ,many which must have spent a lot of time and money creating their look. Quite a few posed for a photo. The Naruto guys where cool ,they worked well together.
Kacela from Cosplay Island as Ayane from ''Dead or Alive'' (above)
ON stage the Lollita and Japanese street fashion event was under-way , I rallied over to the stage for a few shots , was tricky as the area was rammed. Having a arm injury, raising the camera to take shots was a painful experience ( but hey when it comes to K.I.T.G. No pain No gain).
My arm would give me more problems when I decided it was food time, after choosing who to give my dosh to I chose a cuisine which ended up being something not what I thought ( wanted chicken ,ended up with fishy ) ,now these fishy things which where covered in sauce ,seaweed,onions and consisted of round balls with fish and other fillings which to be honest I did not know. The problem was the two small toothpicks I got given to prod them with where proving difficult to master as the soft inner of the balls would just collapse (remember my right arm has very little manipulation ,especially fingers which are inoperable due to nerve damage.) Now people where smiling at me as I tried to eat ,whether my inability to feed my self or the fact I was wearing a school girl uniform was the reason ,or maybe even both.
It's a bit like ,hey look at that guy in the skirt who can't eat! Haha
I got there in the end ,but to be honest the food was OK and filled the gap.
After this I headed over to the stage area , I knew the Cos-parade would be on with the WCS and ECG preliminaries so I got a seat near the front , three o'clock came and Helen Mc'Carthy appeared on stage ( Helen is the UK's leading authority on Manga and Anime and the writer of many books) What I did not know was her background in cosplay ,with which she gave a history of cosplay ,showing slides and setting the crowd up for the forthcoming show.
Though the wait was a little while ,once the hosts where on stage and the parade started it was cool, the audience had swollen to a mass crowd with people sitting on the floor around everyone else.
Before the start of the competitions we had a performance by cosplay group ''DOT DOT 3'' who danced along to a selection of 'AKB48 tracks''. They where really good and set the crowd in a happy mood. Things where hotting up!
''DotDot 3'' in action ,video at the bottom of the page.
For the cos-parade members had to have constructed their own costumes ,showing their attention to detail of the character they where portraying. There where some really cool costumes on show, contestants had to come on stage and pose in three different areas on stage ,all in front of judges who had come from around the world. Nerve racking for some ,while others really got into it.
Of course when this was over it was the turn for the entrants of the WCS and ECG to strut their stuff, Saturday was the turn of the group contest (SUNDAY would be for the solos).
But their task was more difficult, no simple posing for these guys , no they had to perform as the characters they where portraying, and would be judged on appearance ,detail and knowledge of the character in question.
Some of the weapon props people had made where huge ,how did they make them ? And how did they get them to Earls Court (not on the Tube I'm guessing). My favorites where the SOUL CALIBUR V pair , and as they where last on ,my camera had died by the time they got on stage , lucky I had seen them earlier and they had posed for some shots.
It was getting on now ,i had been there all day ,so after another mozy around I decided to call it a day ,even though the event was still open to 8 o'clock that night. But saying that I got home after seven anyway.
Another cool day and I was bushed .
More Cosplay stills below and on the Cosplay page.
Sunday the 26th
Now Sunday was the day that JUDO Champion Maki Tsukada would appear on stage, and the solos contest for the cosplay competition.
I did not know what to wear ,as my wig for SABER had not turned up, I felt I wanted to go as someone, now I had another wig I had originally purchased for Seven (now not in use,though slightly darker then Saber's hair and style I thought it might suffice).
Decisions ,do I just put on casual clothes or what,do I attend as Seven again. Well nothing like tossing a coin ,well three for that matter , three tails – slightly casual with a hint of cosplay
two heads - Dress as Seven again or three heads – Dark Saber .
Any way it was three heads , so now I had to get ready , Now unlike slipping on a skirt and top ,this was a costume with components, there is of course the main white tiered dress ,then over this a Black over jacket with a high collar , add to this a tie up corset and not forgetting the tutu for under the dress to give it bounce. I now know why you see in films woman asking their partners to zip them up ( hard or what ,then the corset ,getting out of it was hard but that’s another story), right I'm in ,lucky my long coat covered all ,packed my wig and prepared other items .
Arriving at Sunday's event with little time to spare before Maki Tsukada was due to appear , I still had to get my wig on ,my coat off and camera out, you would never seen a guy in a dress move so fast to get to the stage .
Any way getting to the stage Maki Tsukada was in action ,quickly getting some shots , I was so glad, after a short interview and question and answer session, a moment where they dressed some audience members in Judo GI's and said about how you fold a Gi, ( though their method seemed a sport orientated way of doing so, I will post a video on site how it's done ) . Maki originally wanted to get some audience members on stage to throw about ,but insurance and safety issues where at stake. Now if not for my injured arm and the fact I was wearing a flamboyant tiered dress I would have volunteered no problem.
After this Maki and her UKE performed a short demo ,which was a another chance for some action shots.
Maki Tsukada in action on Sunday the 26th
Now there is another area where small demonstrations where held, like Japanese tea ceremony and other cultural rituals, but at three o'clock they had the JODO association doing a half hour demo on the JO ,Sword and stick.
So with about a hour to go I had a wonder around , looked at some more films ,played some games and captured a few shots of other peoples costumes.
What I was surprised was when I was asked on a number of occasions for a photo , my outfit was attracting some attention ,i even got one lady to take a picture for myself with my own camera .
Any way three o'clock was approaching so I headed to the mat where the demo was getting started. The art is Kendo based ,but without the use of all the heavy padding, using mainly wooden weapons the Master and his students performed a series of Kata's and moves for the watching crowd which had swelled immensely. The art is one of technique over speed though as students progress the Kata's get faster.
A selection of shots of the British Kendo Association in Action
At the end the Master and one other performed a Sword Kata .
It was quite interesting to watch ,having done Japanese Bo staff ,Chinese Bo and Philippine short sticks it showed another variant of the wooden weapon arts, as I get older it may be a better style for me, I took a leaflet and am looking into it.
Another attraction I took footage of was the Solo competition for the Cosplay ,which was really cool.
I had another wander got asked for another picture ,purchased some more Manga and set about getting home , I left about a hour before the event closed as to miss the big exodus.
So HYPER JAPAN ,how was it , after last year, I thought It had improved ten fold ,the venue was better for the amount of people attending , their was more variety for non Manga /Anime or cosplay fans.
But if your into all of that then this was a rounded show, I noticed none of the crazy queues like last year ,so it shows organization was improved a lot.
And as I wanted to cover more on the cosplay this year ( more so after attending the MCM EXPO last year) , I thought the only way to know why people do so was to do it myself, and being slightly crazy I thought ,lets not beat about the bush and went for it full on ,choosing to Crossplay was fun ,though I was a little apprehensive ( but once you purchase something ,you gotta use it) I thought my small frame would suit the idea and I was right.
So here's to the next HYPER JAPAN ,which I believe may even be before the year is out, time to get prepared for my next outing as Saber and any other character I take a fancy to.
But for now I need a couple days rest.
This is The Snake
28th February 2012
Saturday the 25th
Soul Calibur V (above)
The Demon Blade / Kongiku and Yuzuruha (above)
Sunday the 26th