My World Cosplay Summit 2017 Adventure: First Stage and OSU Cosplay Parade
The World Cosplay Summit is a series of events that take place over a week, culminating in the stage competition that determines the winning team. There are two stage events. The first stage is all the competing countries performing their skits, followed by a concert and the winners of minor prizes. The next day is the second stage, where only the top countries compete. This is also followed by a concert and then they announce the winners. The other events are photoshoot parties and hangouts for people to dress up in cosplay, some events are ticketed and others are not.
Visiting the WCS was only one part of our vacation, so I decided to only attend two events: The World Cosplay Summit first stage and the OSU cosplay parade. This post will detail those events.
We spent the morning at the Nagoya Science Museum, but if I were to go back and do it again I would definitely head down to the event area earlier. On the way to the Aichi Arts Center we passed Oasis 21 where it seemed the real party was happening. So many cosplayers were hanging out and taking pictures! There was also booths set up downstairs by a stage with a huge screen. If you don’t have a ticket to the show, there is still a lot to see and do in the area.
For this event I dressed up as Lucoa from Dragon Maid. I chose to cosplay her because of how cool and casual the outfit was; I was able to wear most of it during the day and avoided having to find a changing room. I carried the hat and wig in my backpack, it was easy to pull them out and throw them on at the event. If you want to wear something more elaborate you’ll need to change in the area, I detail how to get a changing room ticket in the OSU Cosplay Parade section below.
When we first got to the Aichi Arts center it was a little difficult to find where we were supposed to go. There wasn’t any WCS signage that stood out. It was the uniformed people standing in front of some large doors that signaled that we were in the right place. There was an information/ticket desk near the doors as well. It didn’t seem like the Aichi Arts Centre was very large, so it should be easy for you to navigate.
I bought the First Stage tickets through Ticket Pia, through a link posted on the WCS website. These tickets are digital and need to be displayed on the Ticket Pia app. We were directed to show them at the ticket desk. They checked the digital tickets and then presented us with the printed tickets. These were used at the large doors to enter.
Going in we got a brochure and a sheet of shiny tattoos. We were then brought in and shown to our seats by one of the staff members. We were a little late to the show but the venue wasn’t too large so we had a pretty good view of the stage. I was expecting there to be way more people inside watching the event, but it was surprisingly bare. Especially when compared to the mass of people outside and something like 70,000 people watching the NicoNico livestream.
The performances were awesome to see live! All the costumes are gorgeous and all the performances were incredibly impressive. The teams were grouped into three blocks. They would run through the performances of each block and then we were given a short break to use the washroom and stretch our legs. I lucked out and got to sit near some fellow Canadians, who were also there to support Team Canada. During one of the breaks we had a chat and they hooked me up with a WCS Canada and Fellowsheep Cosplay pin.
After all the performances, while the judges make their decision, it switches to a concert. It felt like an instant transition! It got dark and a bunch of people in the audience stood up and broke out their light sticks! If you plan to stick through the concert, come prepared.
During the concert, the boyfriend and I decided to check out what was going on in the area. In the lobby of the Aichi Art Center they were selling band and WCS merchandise. Outside, it had gotten dark but the cosplayers were still going. It had the feeling of a casual convention or cosplay hangout. A bunch of cosplayers hanging out, talking, getting their pictures taken, shopping in the nearby stores and just having a good time. For me, it felt really familiar; I loved it.
WCS First Stage Tips:
- If you pre-purchased tickets online, download the app and have your tickets ready before entering.
- Go down early, there is a lot going on!
- You don’t have to buy a ticket if you just want to hang out in cosplay, but you get a great view of the stage if you do.
- If you bought a ticket, be prepared for *party mode* and bring a lightstick for the concert.
- If you don’t have a plain-clothes cosplay you’ll need a changing room ticket to get dressed for the event.
- If you want to take pictures, be prepared for bright sun during the day and low light at night. You may want an external flash.
OSU Cosplay Parade
The day after the first stage was the OSU shopping arcade parade and a new experience for me: getting a changing room ticket and getting dressed at the event.
After grabbing breakfast at the hotel, we headed out to find a Family Mart. It is really easy to find convenience stores in Japan, or at least in the cities we were in, because they are EVERYWHERE. They are also really convenient, selling food, snacks, umbrellas, sunscreen, backup shirts and just about anything you might need. Some also have terminals where you can buy event tickets, and that is what we were looking for.
Buying a Changing Room Ticket
Using the terminal was intimidating. I can pick out the odd hiragana or katakana character but my boyfriend and I really can’t read Japanese. We got to this point by using google translate and guessing based off limited English, and luckily the terminals in the subway for purchasing tickets had an English language button. The terminal at family mart did not. Luckily google was able to save us again and I found a guide online here:
We had trouble typing in what we were searching for so we pulled up a list of events, and looked for the name of the venue. Among the Japanese characters, X-HALL stood out. The next issue was when it asked for a phone number, since it didn’t accept either of our phone numbers. We ended up using the phone number of the hotel, so make sure you have the number for your hotel or airBnB handy. Once you’re finished a receipt will print out. You show this to the cashier at the front, pay for your ticket and receive your printed ticket in an envelope.
The Changing Room
The next mission was changing into costume. I chose the X-HALL changing room because it was closest to the OSU Shopping Street, and was a reasonable ticket price. When I got to the location I just had to present the ticket. They ripped up the larger part and gave me the smaller tab to hold onto for re-entry. Then they directed me to their changing room.
It wasn’t quite what I expected. It was a large room, similar to my experience with green rooms behind a stage, and didn’t have any mirrors, dividers or seats. There were a lot of cosplayers getting ready in the room, mostly just sitting on the floor and using their luggage to hold mirrors and wigs. I am so glad I had my leggings on under my jeans because I would have found it super awkward to try to get them on in front of everyone while sitting on the floor! The rest of my costume was packed in a box that fit in my backpack, so I pulled that out and got changed quickly. I didn’t have much issue getting the costume on, I planned for it to be easy to put on but I didn’t expect the room to be mirrorless and I didn’t know if my wig was on properly. I ended up asking a random girl if I could use her mirror and she let me, so thank you random girl!
Changing Room Tips:
- There may be no mirrors (and no phones allowed) so you’ll want to pack your own.
- There may be no seats
- There are people and there may not be dividers
- Change rooms are divided by male and female, so if you have a complicated costume you will need someone who can go into the change room with you to help put it on
- There weren’t lockers in the change rooms, you will likely have to carry your clothes with you after changing
- There isn’t any fix-it station or water, it is just a change room not really a lounge (but some people were just chilling there.)
Changed and ready to go, I meet back up with Kevin and we try to find where the parade starts in the Shopping District. There were a lot of people around and a lot of cosplayers sprinkled throughout the crowd. Unfortunately there was no signage for the WCS and we couldn’t really figure out where the parade was supposed to begin, especially since cosplayers were wandering freely and didn’t seem to be meeting up in a specific place. Luckily the parade found us. We crossed the street and noticed a bunch of people were standing along the sides of the road with cameras and thought we were getting closer. Then I heard the sound of the marching band leading the event and we got stuck standing along the side. It ended up being a pretty great view!
The parade looked similar to the Zombie Walks I’ve been a part of: the cosplayers moved slowly and stopped to pose for pictures before moving on. Once the parade had finished I followed the parade and crowd to the Osu Kannon Temple where it finished, and they were handing out cold tea. From there, we shopped and explored the area. The temple was a really cool photo shoot spot and there were food tents and a stage with performers. Cosplayers roamed around and were happy to pose for photos!
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