Imagine the surprise of visitors who were expecting just another normal day at Meiji-mura today, as hundreds of cosplayers flocked through the gates instead.
To celebrate their 50th anniversary, the Meiji-mura Museum in Gifu, Japan, decided to embrace Nagoya’s desire to make Aichi the capital of cosplaying, and show the world that the anime, game and manga subculture is here to stay.
Some of the regular visitors embraced the cosplayer’s attention with their cameras, while others casually enjoyed the lake, museums and gardens on this crisp, sunny day, uninterrupted by the polite crowds that quickly moved on after posing and taking pictures.
Being one of the earliest visitors to head in, and arriving for my first solo cosplay shoot with my friend, I became worried that the park was ill-prepared for a such a big cosplay event.
There was no reason to be worried, however, because the support of everyone was wonderful all throughout the event. I also got swept away in cosplay fever, and came dressed as a member of the Survey Corps’ from the widely popular manga, anime, and soon to be live-action movie Attack on Titan. Although I got dressed in my car, they had plenty of space for people to get changed in their event building, which also provided easy underground access into the park.
The staff members were always at the right places at the right time. When I lost my cape a staff member immediately found me to hand it back. Clearly, she knew about Attack on Titan!
There were always plenty of staff to guide the foreign cosplayers around the park; unfortunately, some cosplayers got more staff and media attention than others, as naturally tends to happen during these events.
Cosplayer’s ages ranged from the teeny-weeny offspring to middle-aged business men and women.
Today, everyone got to see which characters had the strongest influences world-wide, from the samurai of Sengoku Basara, to the beautiful ladies of Love Live, Kancolle, Sailormoon and Fate/Stay night series. Plenty of classic cosplayers blended into the environment – it was sometimes hard to tell who was cosplaying and who was simply there to enjoy the event!
There were checkpoints and signs made especially for this event to help cosplayers get around and make their way through the park. The buildings and natural beauty inspired some cosplayers to wear environment-appropriate clothing, but in general there were backgrounds to suit all genres of cosplayers: from fantasy and sci-fi, to simple slice-of-life. Unsurprising was the lack of horror genre characters, even though there was a ghost house event currently trending at the park. Classical western influenced buildings, strange artistic architecture, bridges and old fashion tram cars and trains brought cosplayers to the best of Aichi prefecture’s past.
A stage event, which followed near the end of the day, provided those new and experienced a chance to look at the nations and teams that will compete this weekend on Stage at the Aichi Arts Centre.
One of the best parts of Meiji-mura were the abundance of sweets, and frozen treats and rest stops. One could pick up a sundae, shaved ice, refreshing Japan only beverages, and even omelet rice (pronounced “omu-raisu”) stuffed with ice cream! I accidentally ordered omelet ice, (“omu-ice”) instead of omelet rice, and ended up eating 2 deserts and no main course that afternoon. All par for the course, however, as the best part of that lunch was the atmosphere of a welcoming event, and of course the much desired air conditioning, which charged us for the second part of our exploration of Meiji-mura.
The only complaint I had was the traffic, which, most of the time, was a single lane road filled with trucks, farm vehicles, and general traffic. The area, being mostly rural, was surrounded by rice paddies and other crops, leaving little room for many to arrive on time.
That was the only downside to this amazing day, however. I, for one, am really looking forward to see the teams again, when they’re competing for the big prize, on Saturday.
Till then, have a great day and keep your eyes peeled here for more updates from the event!