Hyper Japan Christmas Market 2014
Hyper Japan returned for a second time this year with their Christmas Market , held at Olympia in Kensington just a little over three months from their main event in July at Earls Court.
I did think that when announced that the time frame may be a little to short to arrange enough entertainment for the crowds to enjoy.
Yes it was a smaller show then the July one which was the largest they have done. But as far as having enough to appease the crowds I can thankfully say they managed to feature another three days of entertainment.
I suppose the one big thing not in-abundance was gaming , the main shows of Hyper Japan always have Nintendo and Bandai Namco showcasing their latest games.
Of course this time of year the games companies are spending their budgets on TV advertising or other forms of promotion.
But I must admit I think it was a bad move on Nintendo UK's part as the Wii U needs as much fanfare as it can get in the UK and after their show at Hyper Japan July they proved it was a good showcase for their products.
Also I feel if Nintendo had been at the event it may have attracted more visitors ,Nintendo fans will travel to see these showcases.
So in the gaming front it was left up to Square Enix who never actually showcase any games but just sell products on their stand , CAPCOM who attended had a small stand with about eight consoles with Street Fighter IV Ultra and Monster Hunter 4 on 3DS on a further few units.
Of course every gaming fan vying to get on so few machines caused some long waits to get playing.
The Christmas Market of course played host to many seller stalls and stands selling their wares , from Japanese delicacies ,Tea and sweets to clothing ,DVD's and cosplay weapons and accessories.
Our friends at Terracotta Film and Third Window films where their promoting there festival and selling Japanese,Korean and Chinese language films. ..
Funny really I actually bought a recent release of theirs , but a Chinese Film classic , which we will review soon . So a big shout out to Terracotta who showcase Asian cinema with their events and DVD releases.
Yes if you like cute and cuddly , this is the place to be
Now being Olympia the show was on two levels as the gallery was used for smaller trader tables , art demonstrations and a retro gaming zone with a few arcade machines and some retro consoles where you could play some classics from Mario Kart on SNES , Crazy Taxi and more.
Also upstairs was the Martial arts stage where various Japanese orientated martial art schools gave demo’s of their art.
Martial Arts selection
Must admit I did not catch to much of the martial arts this time around , I saw a little on the Friday and some Juijitsu and Karate on the Sunday.
The reason for this was the main stage events which really kept us busy for the weekend.
Friday we where only there for a short while due to other commitments but had hoped to catch a couple of stage events but got held up. But it gave us time to do a quick overview of the show and see what we wanted to see over the following couple of days. .
Main Stage event on Friday
With a a main stage and a sub stage at the other end of the hall which showcased a fringe based series of acts ,though some of the main stage acts did smaller sessions on the sub stage as well..
Kelsey Ellison on the sub stage on Friday
For Saturday we chose to attend just the afternoon session as much of the main stage acts where repeated in the afternoon and the fact that I new we where going to be there all day on the Sunday from open to close.
So our first stage event to view was Anna Yano J-pop live and J Style collection fashion show.
With a host of young models in Lolita and Japanese fashion inspired outfits from the Harujuku shopping district.
J Style Fashion with Anna Yano on Saturday
Anna Yano a ambassador for the style sings J-pop themed songs which also feature in Japanese Anime. Though her set was small she definitely entertained the crowd and is a returning performer for Hyper Japan .
Anna Yano performs on stage on Saturday - Video bottom of page
Saturday also played host to a cosparade where cosplayers could showcase their costumes which they had made themselves . Cosplay has become so huge in the UK over the past few years that the events covering the pastime keep on growing.
The lucky entrants would also be in with a chance of winning some goodie bags for the best of show.
A Cosplay Judge shows how it's done
There where some really cool entrants from Anime ,Video games and Film. All where really good but there's always a few favourite ones that catch your eye. Like the Dragon Ball Z group which where really cool.. One thing about Hyper Japan cosplayers seem to more attend in more of course more Japanese costumes and there fore your privy to quite a few less well known characters .
Attack on Titan cosplay in Saturdays Cosparade
There be more on the cosplay at Hyper Japan Christmas Market in our sister sites cosplay special which will cover the cosparades from both Saturday and Sunday as well as the Sunday World Cosplay Summit UK Preliminaries to see who will go to Japan to represent the UK.
Cosparade entrants on Saturday
Staying stage side we waited for the appearance of Diana Garnet , a young American Girl from Washington who through the love Japanese culture and music , actually went to Japan and entered the equivalent of the X-Factor there and won.
Diana Garnet wows the crowds
Singing songs from Anime and traditional Enka style in Japanese so fluently that if you closed your eyes you would swear she was Japanese.
I like my Anime and I find the music very uplifting and then on the other end of the scale the Enka style and more traditional style songs similar to the music by Japanese singer and film star of the seventies Meiko Kaji who has one of the most mesmerizing voices .
I never thought I would hear a Western singer pull of those type of songs to the point of perfection until I saw Diana Garnet on stage .
This vibrant young lady who now lives in Japan and is a house hold name will totally blow your mind with her talent as she sings her heart out.
It's may sound quite crazy that a Westerner singing Japanese songs could achieve such goals in Japan , but in contrast if you think back to Japanese singer Hikaru Utada who was raised in the USA and failed to make it in the USA music industry and ended up going to Japan to find her fame.
It seems it's easier for the Japanese to accept great talent regardless of the persons ethnic origin then it is for Americans to accept great talent regardless of their ethnic origins.
To sum up if your into any kind of Japanese J-pop or Enka style music , then Diana Garnet is a must to check out.
After her performance Diana sat in as a judge on a small amateur singing contest which featured just four acts. Consisting of three girls and one boy who gave their own renditions of Japanese songs .
And only one of the four was of Japanese origin , which meant that there's a lot of people in the Western World that can sing in Japanese.
As I said before I like my Japanese music and probably know some of the songs to sing a along to in part. But then I don't actually know what I am saying as I don't speak Japanese. But the same goes for all the Korean and Chinese songs I like. I suppose I don't concentrate on one countries songs as I just get into everything.
The four brave souls who performed
So I was impressed by these four candidates who got up and gave it all. Well done to them.
Saturday was drawing to a close and we caught the beginning of the NeM Fushion Band , but decided to call it a day as we new we had a early start the next day.
Sunday was another fun filled day and a full one , starting of with the Akari Mochizuki and Hibiki Ichikawa who performed Enka and Folk music .
Akari Mochizuki and Hibiki Ichikawa
Akari and Hibiki have been regulars at Hyper Japan and always entertain the crowds with a varied set of music and songs.
We caught some of the Japanese Juijitsu upstairs in the gallery by the Mizu Juijitsu school , we did see them in July and thought they put on a good show, they had a fewer members taking part this time around but gave a good demo of the art.
Jiujitsu a art for all
With just enough time to get a drink and get seated for the Ryu Okada Sake Cocktail mixer , where Ryu would mix up some Sake based cocktails and audience members would try them out. Ryu Okakda was the winner of the Hyper Japan Sake Contest back in 2013.
Ryu Okada mixes it up on stage - Sake that is!
Now not moving position as the next act was up and for the third time Siro A the popular Japanese act of light,Techno music and mime where about to dazzle the stage with a sample of their Christmas show which is now playing in London at the Leicester Square Theatre .I must admit I did wonder how it would all work as if you Know Olympia it has a big glass dome which lets in the light , and one thing the Siro-A act needs is darkness to get full effect.
But I was surprised with some alterations to their previous sets at Hyper Japan they pulled it off and showcased some of their new work which was good to see. They really are a must see and the crowds proved that at Hyper Japan as always .
Siro-A gave another impressive performance
Siro-A did a performance each day at Hyper Japan so all who attended had a chance to see them .
By the time it ended it was lunch time , so we partook of some Japanese cuisine from one of the food sellers. Though we did have trouble opening our drinks , which involved a bottle with a marble in which we had open with a plastic implement .
My colleague whose big time into Green Tea , stocked up at the Wagashi Bakery stand where they where most helpful explaining the different teas.
Japanese teas and biscuits and more at Wagashi
Heading back to the stage to catch the next act we wanted to catch which was Koike Miyu J -Pop idol , who is the embodiment of super cute Kawaii , A hit on the Indie scene before going professional Miyu is a popular talent in Japan.
Time for the party to begin - Koike Miyu on stage
The twenty year old singer who has more energy then most performed a number of songs which where all uplifting and fun to listen to. And all while she bounced about on stage dancing to some intricate choreographed moves and all whilst singing live.
The Liveliest person around - Koike Miyu
The second liveliest person around , he new all the moves , so maybe her instructor?
Miyu has a very comical nature and you can not help but love her as she coaxes participation from the audience.
So what next , well of course the World Cosplay Summit (WCS) and Sunday Cosparade was about to get under way , after a short delay , it all got started. The judges where introduced and the contest started, It consisted of four finalists who are a group of two. Using props and music and recorded sound they performed a piece from there favourite anime,Game or film or Manga .
The winners would get the chance to compete at the World Cosplay summit finals in Nagoya Japan. Which can open many doors for sponsorship and so forth.
WCS entry - Duece
I must admit I was not overly familiar with the entrants characters , so can not comment on who was more authentic ,but all gave a great performance making it tough for the judges.
Of course there are other factors like construction of their costumes which come into play which the judges look at prior to the stage show.
The cosparade was next and like Saturday this a low key fun event for any cosplayers who have constructed their own costume. Ones that stood out to my self was the Soul Calibur and Guilty Gear entrants whose costumes and props where impressive , well to me anyway.
A alternative set of judges had the pleasure of judging the cosparade and all results would be announced at the end of the day.
As always the stage area was crammed with people for the cosplay events , as they prove so popular.
This left the last act to close the show which was a team up of J-pop with Naruto singer Joe Inoue Diana Garnet who brought a more dance orientated set of songs to the stage , the set was fun and Diana proved once again her versatility in her music range.
Joe Inoue on stage
Joe Inoue had a lot of Girl fans in the audience who he played to for reaction, I viewed most of this from the upstairs gallery as I needed to get some tea ,but did get by the stage for the end to get some close up shots of the pair on stage.
Joe Inoue and Dina Garnet bringing the house down
I did feel this would have been better if they had removed the chairs from in front of the stage as it was more upbeat and our performers looked like they wanted a bit more movement from the audience . Maybe some thing for the future.
All that was left was the results for the cosplay and to see who would go to Japan.
The winners where the Deuce duo , Noa and Tarka who portrayed characters from Fushigi Yugi, congrats to them .
Hyper Japan over for another year , there returning for the summer of 2015 , where as of yet is undisclosed as well know Earls Court now hangs in the balance. With many shows moving to other venues .
But Hyper Japan have confirmed next years Christmas Market show which again takes place the end of next November at the new venue of Tobacco Dock in London.
Our Thanks to the Hyper Japan Team and Cross Media for the Press passes .
For us at K.I.T.G. This is our last event coverage until next year now .
Till next time , Be Safe, Train Hard and above all enjoy life.
Don't forget to check out the Cosplay special feature on our sister site Cosplay Heroes.
Cosplay Heroes - Hyper Japan Christmas 2014 Cosplay Special