It was that time of year again for me to make my merry way to the bi-annual gathering at Hyper Japan, and each time the venue just keeps getting bigger, grander and more spectacular. For the first time they have surpassed previous years’ attendance records with over 62,000 visitors over the weekend. Which just goes to show how popular this event has become and the general interest that the British public have in Japanese culture compared to a few years ago.
This year Hyper Japan was held at Earls Court 2, which if I may add has some of the worse lighting of any venue I have ever had the misfortune of attending for the sole purpose of taking photos. The whole site was blanketed in an array of orange and yellow lighting, which changes intensity when moving from one point to another.
At first I thought: “Oh My God! Everyone is Cosplaying as Umpa-Lumpas from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory!” Much to my disappointment, this was not the case and I had to accept that we were all suffering from a vitamin C overdose instead. However this didn’t stop me from achieving what I was sent out there to do, so with a few quick adjustments to my camera settings every time I moved ten meters or so, I was good to go.
The first agenda of the day was the Cosplay fashion shoot, which took place out side of Earls Court 2. The attention we received from everyone queuing outside to enter the venue was staggering, as members of the public were all asking for pictures. I notice that this can be very daunting for first time Cosplayers, so I introduced myself to a number of them to get everyone to settle in before proceeding to take a mixture of group and solo shots.
There was just too many great Cosplayers to pick and choose a favorite from this shoot but in the end I liked Mii-Chan & Tomochin from AKB0048. A combination of costume, hair, makeup, poses and overall look for the shoot made my heart melt like chocolate on a hot day.
Meanwhile back inside the Vocaloid team was taking the sub stage by storm, as soon as I saw the number of people taking pictures I knew I had to fight my way to the front and prey I didn’t get stomped on by other members of the public.
One couple did catch my eye; Cosplaying Kaito and Miku from Black Rock Shooter. They performed so well together that they where clearly my favorite from this series. The time and effort that went into making Miku’s gun and she is so tiny and yet carried this all around Hyper Japan, I was impressed needless to say.
The rest of my day was spent wondering between the crowds of people and stuffing my face with Takoyaki Ball’s* with one hand and stopping people to take pictures with the other. So if you ever see a photographer at a con with food in his hands and balancing in a strange way trying to take a photo that will even make Karate Kid envious, then it is most likely me.
I was having so much fun talking to everyone that I almost forgot about the main event, so my minion and me ran to the main hall to find out it was overflowing with people. What happened next I could only describe as a mixture of bumper cars, human pinball and crawling like a baby. When I finally emerged at the press pit I was so glad to have just made it in time for the ECG CosParade (European Cosplay Gathering). It was good to see some familiar faces from other events and I exchanged some pleasantry’s before the show began, and when it finally kicked off oh what a sight, it was great to see some of the people I met before during my scavenging missions earlier and also I was blown away by some of the others. The atmosphere was electric and the crowd was going wild!
When it was all over it was back to the hunting ground for more food and more photos, before I decided to call it an end to the day and make my way home to begin editing my photos. Overall it was an amazing experience, I met a lot of friends and made many new ones.
More Cosplay photos from Hyper Japan 2013
One finial word before I go, I’m in total admiration of the time, effort, sweat and tears it must have taken for everyone to put something so creative together. Unlike in Japan, according to Wizard Wand, where people can just buy what they need. My hat is off to all you cosplayers out there and I hope you all enjoy the photos that I have taken.
See you at EuroGamer.
Photo credits and review by William Man
Special thanks to the following people:
• Assistant Photographer: Jason Moon
• Thank You Emma and Charlotte for letting us shoot you at the end of the day and introducing me to Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.
* (Takoyaki is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion. Wikipedia)