Archive for cosplay

Greek Cosplay Wishes 2013

Posted in Errata, Events with tags , , , , , , , on December 29, 2013 by speedxgrapher

It has been literally years since I last posted anything here. There were a few ideas, still less time and procrastination of epic proportions. Recently (that is to say, over the last year, or even two years), the concentrated efforts of Cassiel, an otaku I consider among “The Old Guard”, based in Greece’s Katerini and Salonika, have prompted me to reexamine a scene I left under considerably bad terms (those who know, know – for the rest, let us just say I could crunch a sopa opera book series out of the events of that time).

At any rate, repeated contact with new (and some seasoned) cosplayers over the course of Comicdom Con, meeting the great people behind Greek Otaku Radio, as well as the aforementioned activities and some discussions with Cassiel, I am considering whether there is a point in reviving this blog. The jury’s still out yet, but as a token of respect for Cass’s work, I will share with you a video he made, encompassing wishes for the coming year from cosplayers and people involved in the scene in other ways.

If you watch it all the way through, you will also see me, in a photo from much happier times (The Maid Cafe at the Athens Mall fnac in 2009 – the fnac has since become a Public, but in the photos you can also see Cassiel cosplaying as one of our shared favorite characters, Captain Harlock), accompanied with a text I sent for the video, since I could not get a camera to record my message in time. Now, all the video is in Greek, but you still get to see many cosplays and much Christmas  lunacy.

It has been a hard year (hard 3-4 years, come to think of it) for most people in Greece. Let us hope this year treats us better and sees this rotten government fall.

Peace,

Speedgrapher

The J and Halloween in Paris

Posted in Otaku no Tabi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2011 by speedxgrapher

Hello again readers, whoever you may be, for I no longer have the faintest idea on that account. It’s been a dog’s age (August 4th in fact) since I last wrote anything in this blog but I am glad to see that my past endeavors still draw some readership. It is a special and unforeseen occasion that I have something to put on here, after so many months.

Recently, my father decided to take the whole family on a 5-day trip to Paris which, besides everything else (entailing a LOT of walking), meant I would be able to visit Rue Dante, Paris’s main geek artery. During one of my forays there, I stumbled upon a group of French cosplayers, who decided to celebrate Toussaints (All Hallows’ Eve or Halloween, although in France it’s a week-long holiday) by dressing up as DC characters from the BATMAN menagerie and visiting comic shops up and down this very special street – “Album”, “Pulp’s”, “Little Tokyo” and a number of other shops were happy to receive them. Evident;y, I could not stand idly and not photograph them.

On another note, while tracking down the itinerary I had written for my two heroines in Paris, over the course of “Culture Pop” (included in the detective story collection DANGER ENTRANCE, sadly only available in Greek), I stumbled upon a Manga Café on Rue des Carmes, the owner of which kindly let me take some photos as well. It’s not much: seven photos in all, but two for two in the space of such a small stay is pretty indicative of wonders waiting around every corner.

That is all for now. There’s some more stuff from France I want to show you, but I’ll take care of that ina couple of days.

Cheers,

Speedgrapher

Oni Market #26: So, What’s Cosplay Then?

Posted in Oni Market with tags , , , , , , on December 17, 2010 by speedxgrapher

No, I have not had an accident which deprived me of my memory, nor is it an early onset of Alzheimer’s, or even one of my usual failing-cosplay-quality-in-Greece rants. No, actually this whole cosplay business (and rather charged discussion) got me wondering: what’s cosplay like elsewhere? Furthermore, what is cosplay to the people of different countries and even more importantly, to those whose country birthed it? (Well, actually birthed it retroactively, since the term was coined by Nobu – often written as “Nov” –  Takahashi in 1984, after seeing trekkies dressed up as the crew of the Enterprise in Los Angeles Science Fiction World Convention). At any rate, the cosplay culture (you could even say “movement”, since Visual Kei and by extension, all the “Kei”, are essentially costume plays targeted at varied but not necessarily different audiences) was born in Japan and integrated into the everyday life of its youngsters (up to the age of 25, mostly), whether as a past-time (the Harajuku Sunday Outings), a commercial tool (advertising of manga, anime, games and along the way, anything from ramen to love hotels) and even a full-time job (whether it’s sewing, modeling or photography, or a measure of all of the above put together).

Night Elf Cosplay by helloloveducks of deviantArt. Simple materials, elegant result.

Now, if you google “cosplay”, “cosplay photos” etc. you will get something in the area of 40000000 results, so this is not really a good way to go about looking for cosplay around the world. However, I stumbled on a thing called 2leep, which is an online application for associating blog content (and ultimately augmenting site views) an following a trail of “associated clicks” (and annoying pop-ups) I found a few interesting things. It’s mainly photographic material but it illustrates in an excellent manner some of the things that Tomodachi (affectionately or derisively known as the “Mother of Greek Cosplay”) has been running her mouth dry about: creative care, posture and (glaringly) physique.

Isaac Ferdinand von Kaempfer of Trinity Blood by Cytanin of deviantArt.

On the other hand, I found some articles and interviews (a good number featured in the newly established COSPLAY GEN Magazine) which illustrate the views of the people involved. One was a particularly interesting (though short) interview with a Chinese cosplayer, explaining why she chose the 1925 version of Hatsune Miku, one of the Vocaloid characters (the Vocaloid phenomenon being interesting and frightening in many different ways but that is a discussion for another time). It is also interesting that, although Chinese, in this case being a cosplayer transcends the rivers of spilt and bad blood between the two countries. Another, featured here (unfortunately in French), explains how Harajukers are gradually breaking with the Sunday Outing tradition, because they have had enough of tourists taking pictures, finding new locales unknown to non-natives. Now, in my mind, bizarre though these people may be, they treat this dressing up as part of their lives and not some excuse to indulge in camera whoring.

Hatsune Miku 1925 Version from COSPLAY GEN.

The things I have mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg: there are tons of sites, articles and photographs out there which, though serving different purposes, all underline one fundamental truth about cosplay: it’s an art celebrating one’s favorite characters, into which goes a great  deal of work and should be treated as such. On the other hand, cheap antics and poorly thought or executed dress-ups often become the subject of Failblog and Demotivational Posters. What follows is a small compilation of sites, posts and pages, which I believe one can find useful in truly understanding what cosplay is about and how people go about it on a global scale.

Tokyo Game Show 2010: cosplay in its natural environment.

51 Sexy Cosplays: because sexy doesn’t mean slutty or trashy. Good examples of attention to physique.

New Fashion Exploration – Cosplay: cosplay overview in a design blog. Note the variations, both of the cosplays, as well as of the character canon.

Pein Sexy no Jutsu by Cytanin of deviantArt. Not canon, yet exceptional (and I don't even like Naruto).

COSPLAY GEN: the magazine’s official site with tons of interviews, tutorials and other interesting material.

Doodles: a Singapore communication artist’s site which includes cosplay photography and her inspirations.

Dhalsim Cosplay: perhaps the best ever example of attention to physique.

Cloud Strife 8-bit Cosplay: the perfect example of cosplay not looking uber-cool, yet being celebrated as an authentic trip down memory lane (and I don’t even like FF7).

Living Cosplay 1: I think the photo and text will be self-expletive.

Living Cosplay 2 and above: this is a bit marginal, since Star Wars and Star Trek dress-up existed long before cosplay itself, but you get the idea.

So, what’s the conclusion? Well, there isn’t one apart from everything I have already said. All that remains is for aspiring cosplayers to browse through the info and get creative, or just drop the matter if they think it’s too much fuss. For the record, since I often hear the excuse “Japan is their home ground” or “you can’t compare stuff from conventions”, only one link is from a convention and of the photos posted here, none are Japanese (even though Hatsune’s cosplayer is Chinese).

Somewhere out there,

Speedgrapher

(Bent-out of) Shape of Things to Come

Posted in Errata, Events with tags , , , , , on May 16, 2010 by speedxgrapher

I think we are rapidly reaching, if we have not already reached, the lowest point concerning otaku culture in Greece (well, to be fair, in Athens). Now, before I explain how I have reached this seemingly dire-sounding conclusion, let’s rewind just a little: as you have obviously noticed, I don’t come to the parties anymore, not even occasionally (with the exception of Sakura Syndrome’s last, where I remained for all of half an hour – and then again only because I was in the neighborhood). Some of the reasons are already known and have been analyzed at some length (both here and inside CHORISSU). A couple of days back, I met some people who frequent the parties and one asked me why I never come by any more. My answer was that, besides all else, I am bored to death: the parties have reached a point where they are an endless repetition (the Harajuku Street Party being the only recent exception) of music, of things that happen, of highs and especially lows, with the whole affair having turned into a noisome, kindergarden cosplay catwalk. At least, until recently, there was the ingenuity, care and variation which characterized a great number of said cosplays.

Until recently…  Although I don’t show up, I keep myself informed and I browse through the pictures that people upload in a number of places on the internet.  Before moving on, let me state clearly that I will not name people, exceptions or whatnot: I don’t know if it’s the fault of the people taking the pictures or of the people featured within them, but there has been a steady decline in the visual value of the parties which, in my opinion, hit rock bottom at the J-Horror event. The (vast majority of) the cosplays I saw in the pictures were so badly made, so mismatched and ill-presented (simply, if harshly put, so ridiculous and ugly), that they do not even measure up to the very first cosplays at KABATZA. Note that, of course, this opinion is based on the pictures I saw, which made my eyes bleed (again, I have no way of knowing if this is the fault of the pictures themselves or their subjects).

Take a breath, let it sink in…

I realize you will probably hate me for this opinion, maybe even stop reading this blog altogether. Some who can keep a more cool head, may reason that perhaps this was the case in a single party or perhaps that I have not seen enough material. Could be: nothing’ s impossible – merely improbable. If you really believe so, retrace your steps in time with the photographic material that’s been posted all over the place (including here) and I am sure you will notice how the majority of cosplayers change for the worst, whereas a few exceptions not only give it their all, but raise to even greater levels. However, they really are isles in the ocean and I cannot help but believe that when they are fed up, they will just stop.

Now, you may ask, point out, accuse or whatever else fits as a reaction – certainly enraged and outraged – that “Who are you to talk? You never cosplay! Do you know how difficult… blah-blah-blah”. I never said (and in fact, neither did anyone else) that you MUST cosplay just for the fuck of it and “shame on you for not doing it right”. I don’t cosplay because I am not good at it and more importantly, I am not built for it. The anime / manga / game characters for which I could plausibly pass can be counted on one hand, if even that. You must simply realize that, sometimes, it’s OK not to cosplay, if you won’t (or can’t – no shame there either) put your mind and heart into it. It won’t be the end of the world… It’s certainly better that turning what used to be something creative and fun into a “pat-me-in-the-back” freakshow.

What I see, is something that I used to love, turned into a dying trend and if it doesn’t do itself a favor and die out, in its current form it’ s simply too ridiculous to be worth the effort. Therefore, I will not be posting any more party announcements (as I did not post the Akai Panda Anniversary), until I feel there’s something to it again. Of course, it’s entirely possible that there won’t be something to it again… Mind you, this is not some kind of threat, condition, whatever – I have been updating the blog only sporadically and really, it’s not like my decision will affect your lives in any significant way (if it does, however, I am honored that you think – or have thought until now – so highly of me). There’s still photographic material in my backlogs, as well as other Japan-related things that I intend to post, when I have the time. I am simply releasing myself form the self-imposed obligation to be consistently up to speed with the various J-parties and giving you some food for thought.

Whether you chew on it or not, is your decision.

Speedgrapher out.

Oni Market #23: Cosplayers & J-fans @ Comicdom Con Athens 2010

Posted in Events, Oni Market with tags , , , , , , , on April 29, 2010 by speedxgrapher

Hello again dear readers. It’s time for some glorified voyeursim yet again– err, I meant a new photo gallery containing cosplays and featuring some friends from the J-Events. I shall not tarry with pointless chit-chat and will just say two things: first, CHORISSU is on its way to Salonika as we speak and soon I will have more news as to where you can get it, both there and in Athens and second, I would like to congratulate Helen Trigatzi for her Silk Spectre depiction, as well a thank her for putting some of my photos up on her very interesting Deviant Art page. Go and have a look – you will be amazed!

That said, we can move on to the photos. Note that they are an assortment from all three days.

Well, that was it – I did warn you they were just a small assortment, but fun all the same I suppose.

See you around,

Speedgrapher

P.S. [WordPress can go fuck itself because it lost my captions once more. I am too bored and busy to rewrite them. Gomen…] I did rewrite them after all.

Time Capsule Files: Cosplay & Maid Café @ fnac – The Mall Athens (22 – 24/10/2009) – Day 3: Part 1

Posted in Umi & Sora with tags , , , , , on February 17, 2010 by speedxgrapher

Well, it seems I finally found a (very) small niche to post some photos from 4 months back (wow, its been THAT long). Looking at this event in retrospect, I am very happy we had the opportunity of doing it and also feel a bit pessimistic about modern J-culture in Greece. Why? Well, it’s really simple: while I have not come at a cosplay party for some time, news do reach me and I do tend to see the connections between things. At this moment in time, modern J-culture in Greece is becoming a rapidly fading trend. It is centered exclusively around the parties and then again to a great degree around cosplay. Make no mistake, the crowd IS thinning (the Carnival season does not count – it’s the only time of the year when cosplay is widely accepted in Greece, after all) and at some point not in the far distant future, if things do not change, everyday life will take its toll and you will have done this one too many times to find it interesting anymore.

If you do not believe me, you only have to look at all the other imported cultural (subcultural in Greece) trends of the past and see that I am right. Those who did not manage to find a sense of community, a REAL sense of community, faded into obscurity and vaguely remembered fun times. Which brings me to the main problem: there IS no community, in that there is no sense of purpose or direction and with the exception of a very few people, J-culture is not treated as a whole but segmented in its various aspects, the various followers of which are even hostile to each other (again, if you do not believe me you only have to open your ears, check backlogs in forums, remember discussions, have a look at widely publicized fights and ask people who thought there was a community and rapidly found otherwise). Each has their own agenda, each seems to think “they are right”, “they are the Keepers of J” and in a number of variations “cooler, wiser, better dressed than thou”.

Now, I will be the first to say this is just a hobby (for which opinion I have also been criticized) and as such, it is supposed to be fun, to take the mind off problems, not create more for someone to solve or even be aware of. As a hobby, it is also supposed to be creative. Sure, cosplay IS a really creative process for some but looking at the pictures, there is the evident presence of a peak and the beginning of a decline, not only (or even at all, all things considered) in quality but mainly in the choice of character, the roleplaying and slowly, even the physique. It’s becoming a habit, instead of something special. At any rate, what I witnessed at the event in fnac was a good start, an opening to something that could maybe survive the trend’s death, that could inspire a different way of thinking, a sense of… COMMUNITY. Sadly, it’s not happening and rest assured, the way the economy is going, soon our troubles will outweigh the remaining fun value of the parties, which will end up not being worth the trouble.

Sound bleak? Yes, I know it does and I assure you that I thought long and hard about this before writing it here, knowing full well I might become unpleasant. My inner demons are not for public consumption and I would never entertain the thought of basing anything I posted here on them. So after you entertain yourselves with the following photos, stop for a moment and think what this whole modern J-culture means to you, what it is and what it could or even should be. On the other hand, don’t: it won’t be the end of the world and I am sure something else will eventually replace “the J”.

On with the show…

Well, I hope you enjoyed that little bit of time-travel (there are, of course, tons more which I have no idea when I will be posting) but more importantly, I hope you will take a moment and think about what was different there and how it can be accomplished again.

From the depths of oblivion (no, not the game),

Speedgrapher

February 2010 Events

Posted in Akai Panda, Events, Sakura Syndrome with tags , , , , on February 15, 2010 by speedxgrapher

Well, hmm… ho-hum… Actually, both these events have already taken place, the second one on Sunday, which was Last Carnival Day / St. Valentine’s Day 2 in 1 (excuse me while I barf on account of the latter). I have been… out of touch, to say the least and still, things won’t be looking up anytime soon. I had some thoughts about coming over to Akai Panda’s most recent party (even had some prodding from Kyoshiro, who attended despite the broken arm, as well as Mai-chan) but a misadventure including my PC, sparks and smoke set me back a few days and I could not really afford to wake up when I would, today,  had I come by (there is no such thing as leaving early from these things – not for me at least).

So obviously, my posting these here is just me feeding my case of OCPD and need for complete records.

Starwave Records Vol. 1

Valentine's Cosplay Party

Some people have been asking after me (or even asking me, concerning my absence) and I thank you for your concern. As Dr. Greg House would say, “it’s complicated” and take my word for it. I have, for the most part, no idea when I will untie some or all of the twisted knots currently plaguing my life and mood but when I do, you’ll know what to look for (unless I have completely mutated into something tentacled by then). There will be one or two other posts in the very near future, although I cannot be more precise and I believe the content of at least one will be some food for thought.

That’s all for now,

Speedgrapher

P.S. An amazingly funny thing, among the (mostly not funny) ones that reached my ears. I have a girlfriend! Not only that, but she hangs out at the Japanese parties (so she is probably really cool)! Only problem is, I haven’t left my cave in ages, my contact with the rest of humanity is currently limited to a (very) few friends with whom I watch movies or play table games and I have not flirted, much less dated since before the Summer (nor am I terribly inclined to). So that leaves two possibilities: either someone should get their rumors straight (although they do amuse me to no end), or I have been really, REALLY insensitive towards my sweetheart, so if she could please identify herself, I will rectify that post-haste.

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