CharaExpo 2015 lands in Singapore, with cosplay, wrestling and star appearances

Local cosplayers like Klei, 18, were star attractions at CharaExpo 2015.
Local cosplayers like Klei, 18, were star attractions at CharaExpo 2015.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Local cosplayers like Klei, 18, were star attractions at CharaExpo 2015.
Local cosplayers like Klei, 18, were star attractions at CharaExpo 2015.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Mr Roy Alamon, 23, turned heads at CharaExpo 2015 with his costume which is a combination of Dante from Devil May Care video game and Ken Kanekie from Tokyo Ghoul.
Mr Roy Alamon, 23, turned heads at CharaExpo 2015 with his costume which is a combination of Dante from Devil May Care video game and Ken Kanekie from Tokyo Ghoul.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Famed Japanese cosplay stars (from left) Tatsumi Inui, Sin Izumi and Kaname, at the CharaExpo 2015 at Singapore Expo, on June 20, 2015.
Famed Japanese cosplay stars (from left) Tatsumi Inui, Sin Izumi and Kaname, at the CharaExpo 2015 at Singapore Expo, on June 20, 2015. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Ms Leila Rhoda Tan, 28 (left) and Mr Chen Zong Ren, 26 (right), took home second and third place of the CosStage cosplay competition. Top prize went to Ms Evelia Tan, 22, for her costume and characterisation of Guildmarm of video game Monster Hunt 4.
Ms Leila Rhoda Tan, 28 (left) and Mr Chen Zong Ren, 26 (right), took home second and third place of the CosStage cosplay competition. Top prize went to Ms Evelia Tan, 22, for her costume and characterisation of Guildmarm of video game Monster Hunt 4.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Ms Leila Rhoda Tan, 28 (left) and Mr Chen Zong Ren, 26 (right), took home second and third place of the CosStage cosplay competition. Top prize went to Ms Evelia Tan, 22, for her costume and characterisation of Guildmarm of video game Monster Hunt 4.
Ms Leila Rhoda Tan, 28 (left) and Mr Chen Zong Ren, 26 (right), took home second and third place of the CosStage cosplay competition. Top prize went to Ms Evelia Tan, 22, for her costume and characterisation of Guildmarm of video game Monster Hunt 4.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Ms Leila Rhoda Tan, 28 (left) and Mr Chen Zong Ren, 26 (right), took home second and third place of the CosStage cosplay competition. Top prize went to Ms Evelia Tan, 22, for her costume and characterisation of Guildmarm of video game Monster Hunt 4.
Ms Leila Rhoda Tan, 28 (left) and Mr Chen Zong Ren, 26 (right), took home second and third place of the CosStage cosplay competition. Top prize went to Ms Evelia Tan, 22, for her costume and characterisation of Guildmarm of video game Monster Hunt 4.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Girls in red dresses and long blonde wigs twitter and stare as Roy Alamon walks past.

Shoulders back, with his bare chest proudly on display, the 23-year old cosplayer struts through the crowd at the CharaExpo 2015, a two-day manga, anime and cosplay festival being held at Singapore Expo on June 20 and 21.

It features a cosplay competition, anime card game tournaments, Japanese wrestling matches, pop concerts and appearances by renowned manga creators, illustrators and Japanese cosplayers.

As of noon on the second day, 11,000 people have attended the event, and organisers say they are on track to reach their target of 15,000 attendees over the two-day convention.

It is one of three large-scale festivals of Japanese pop culture held in Singapore in June, with at least 10 such events taking place here this year.

As cameras flash around local cosplayers, walkways between booths are packed and attendees cheer at concerts and New Japan Pro-Wrestling matches, the league's first appearance in Singapore.

With silver sword in hand, costume guns in his back pockets, a ghoulish black mask across the lower half of his face and eye patch half hidden under a shaggy blonde wig, Mr Alamon has been attracting attention all day for his unique costume; a combination of Dante from the video game Devil May Cry and Ken Kanekie from manga series Tokyo Ghoul, two of his favourite characters.

Complemented for his outfit and asked to pose for pictures, Mr Alamon appreciates the attention.

"Compare this to work where people treat me like a nobody. Here I'm treated like I'm Brad Pitt," says Mr Alamon who, by day, is an entry operations crew member for a marine life park here.

Mr Takaaki Kidani, chief executive officer of Japanese producer of collectible card games Bushiroad and the organiser of CharaExpo, is thrilled by the reception.

He says: "CharaExpo builds on our vision for growing the anime community and the interest that we have received is overwhelming. We are proud to be bringing in fresh content from Japanese illustrators as well as introducing rising Japanese artists to new fans within the region."

Famous Japanese cosplayers Tatsumi Inui, Sin Izumi and Kaname expressed pleasant surprise and appreciation for number of entries and the quality of the cosplay at the convention.

The trio - along with illustrator Mel Kishida - were judges of the CosStage cosplay competition on June 20. Ten finalists, selected from hundreds of entries, took turns on stage. Each contestant was given two minutes to display their creativity, handiwork and to personify their character.

Despite stiff competition against other intricately designed and detailed costumes, Ms Evelia Tan, 22, a student at SIM Global University of London, took home the top prize of an all-expenses-paid trip to The Tokyo Game Show, a video game expo held in September.

She won for her costume and characterisation of Guildmarm from the video game Monster Hunt 4. What set her apart was her ability to go beyond the character's aesthetics and give the audience a sense of the character's personality, says Kaname.

"She entertained well and had a fresh flair. I was surprised by her performance. It was not the shy, reserved or quiet approach most contestants take when showing their characters. It was something I haven't seen before."