This year's Tokyo Game Show is making a bigger push for cosplay and cosplayers. The changing rooms, which have been typically, in the bowls of the the convention hall have been moved to a nice, air-conditioned area. That's not all.
For this year's Tokyo Game Show, somewhere between 50 and 100 foreign cosplayers flew out for the show. In years past, foreign cosplayers have of course participated in show's "cosplay alley". However, it was not an organized effort on the part of show organizers. Is this the year that TGS cosplay truly went global?
The check-in booth for cosplayers invites overseas (and domestic) cosplayers to put a gold star on a world map to denote where they are from. Red dotes might be easier to see! There seems to be a good showing of American, Taiwanese and Chinese cosplayers as well as South Korean, Malaysian, European and Australian cosplayers.
Show organizers have been inviting international cosplayers and giving guest passes so that they can attend TGS free of charge as well as stipends. The stipends apparently range anywhere from ¥5,000 (US$58) to ¥30,000 ($349). Famous cosplayers have flown in from abroad.
"They want it to be an international event," says 27-year-old Nick Hawkins, who cosplays as Final Fantasy XIII's Sazh Katzroy. Out of costume and off-duty so to speak, the South Carolina native notes that this just one way organizers hope to make the Tokyo Game Show more global. Hawkins, who lives in Japan, did not fly in for the event. He isn't alone.
"I was spotted at Comiket by TGS organizers," says fellow Japan-resident Dan Lemoine, who cosplays as a chemist from Final Fantasy Tactics. "They gave me their business card and told me to contact them."
Organizers selected three cosplayers as guests: One from America, one from Europe and one from Asia. "This is the first year they are inviting cosplay guests," American cosplayer Adella blogs, "and I am selected as the United States cosplayer."
Separate from the efforts of show organizers, Konami invited guests of its own. Earlier this year, Hideo Kojima judged costumes at this year's Comic-Con. The first and second place winners have been flown out to the Tokyo Game Show to appear at the company's booth. According to Crystal, who won the MGS cosplay event at Comic-Con, it's been a wonderful experience. "They put us up at a nice hotel," she says, "and have been showing us around."
Don't just think of them as international cosplayers, think of them as international cosplaying diplomats. They are building bridges — one wonderful costume at a time.