Cosplay sets sail in Asia

Cosplay sets sail in Asia
Civil servant Zephyus Chou and IT executive Maria Sim (both above) role-played characters from the Japanese novel series Vampire Hunter D to win a trip to the World Cosplay Summit in Japan this month.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The first cosplay cruise will set sail from Singapore in January, indicating how popular the hobby of dressing up in the costumes of fictional characters has become here.

Cosfest Sea: The Rising Tide will be held on a Royal Caribbean ship over three nights with a stop at Port Klang. There will be photo shoot areas and various cosplay activities on board. It is expected to cost about $420 a person.

The cruise is organised by the same people behind Cosfest Asia, a long-running home-grown cosplay festival, which made the announcement during this year's event at Downtown East on Sunday, to loud and raucous cheers from the audience.

"We are already into our 14th year and we wanted to create a different kind of experience for our loyal supporters, so we decided on this," says Cosfest Asia show organiser Stephanie Loh.

Cosfest Sea is the latest cosplay event to join the line-up in Singapore; there are at least 10 happening here this year.

These include new events such as CharaExpo2015 and longstanding ones such as Anime Festival Asia and the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention, which drew a 40,000-strong crowd at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre in September last year.

Cosplayer Kimberly Aw, 21, still prefers Cosfest, though.

The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts student, who rented a booth to sell stickers and hand-drawn sketches she produced herself, says: "Cosfest is a cosplay-focused event and it is really about the community. Some of the other events are all about selling official merchandise."

Over the weekend, Cosfest Asia saw 25,000 visitors.

When Life visited the event on Sunday, droves of teenagers jostled for space alongside cosplayers dressed up as characters from comics, computer games and films. Ninjas clad in balaclavas posed for selfies with robots and warrior princesses sporting neon wigs of every colour.

Many crowded around the stage to watch short cosplay skits put on by three teams vying to compete in the finals of the World Cosplay Summit, which will be held later this month in Nagoya, Japan.

The winners were civil servant Zephyus Chou, 31, and IT executive Maria Sim, 30, who role-played characters from the Japanese novel series Vampire Hunter D.

Ms Sim says: "We spent two months preparing our costumes, props and routine. I'm excited to go to Japan, but I'll be mostly focused on the competition to try to win something for Singapore."

This article was first published on July 14, 2015.
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