The summer of 2013 welcomed the 11th installation of the World Cosplay Summit held in Nagoya, Japan. With its inception in 2003, the WCS is the longest running international cosplay event and boasts the greatest global reach of any similar gathering the world over.
If you have ever been to a Japanese cultural event or anime convention you have probably seen fans attending in some form of costume. The word cosplay is a portmanteau of the English words ‘costume’ and ‘play’. It has grown to be a hobby enjoyed by passionate fans the world over and holds a distinguished position in the anime and manga fandom of Japan. 24 countries and regions from around the world took part at WCS2013 – 20 as participants and 4 as observers. Representative teams are selected at partner events in a number of countries and larger nations such as Brazil, China, Mexico and the USA hold regional rounds which lead up to the national finals. In all a total of over 1,000,000 fans of Japanese culture attend WCS related events over the year. National representatives come to Japan to take part in over 20 separate events and the final championship final is held in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture.
This year the WCS took place from July 26th until August 5th. Some of the events included a parade and stage show in Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, and the Nishiki Street Red Carpet Parade in Nagoya. The parade in the Osu Kannon shopping district is a highlight event and drew approximately 1000 cosplayers from around Japan and abroad who were cheered on by a crowd of thousands more as participants snaked through the covered arcades. The championship itself was held in the center of Nagoya at the breathtaking semi outdoor venue Oasis 21. Cosplayers gathered at the venue early to take photos and enjoy the festive atmosphere before the championship started up in the evening. The event culminated with the championship and Italy was crowned victor for the 3rd time in history with a passionate performance from the classic Mazinger Z series.
With its inspiration found in the 2005 Aichi Expo, the World Cosplay Summit is a unique event dedicated to the enjoyment of costuming characters from the video games, manga and anime of Japan. Fans of cosplay or those looking for a summer festival that is a little different from the standard fare are heartily invited to take in the spectacle while in Japan. The championship weekend falls on the first week of August every year but the event runs for over a week at various locations leading up to the grand finale. There are plenty of opportunities for fans to take part for free, cheering the participants on in 3 different parades, a plethora of stage events and even a photo opportunity on the Sky Deck at Central Japan International Airport – all accessible without the hassle of buying a ticket. The championship itself is the climax event and there are tickets available for seating in front of the stage or lots of free viewing space around the venue to take in the spectacle. Taking a shot from the floating lake rooftop of the Oasis 21 venue with the Nagoya TV Tower in the background would fittingly complete a memorable trip to this very special summer event.