Cosplayers rule at CharaExpo

Ms Evelia Tan (centre) won the CosStage cosplay competition dressed as Guildmarm from the video game Monster Hunt 4. With her are second-place winner Leila Rhoda Tan (left) and third-place winner Chen Zong Ren (right).
Ms Evelia Tan (centre) won the CosStage cosplay competition dressed as Guildmarm from the video game Monster Hunt 4. With her are second-place winner Leila Rhoda Tan (left) and third-place winner Chen Zong Ren (right).PHOTO: CHARAEXPO 2015
Famed Japanese cosplay stars (from left) Tatsumi Inui, Sin Izumi and Kaname were part of the judging panel for the CosStage competition.
Famed Japanese cosplay stars (from left) Tatsumi Inui, Sin Izumi and Kaname were part of the judging panel for the CosStage competition.PHOTO: CHARAEXPO 2015
Besides anime card game tournaments and appearances by renowned manga creators, there were also Japanese wrestling matches (above).
Besides anime card game tournaments and appearances by renowned manga creators, there were also Japanese wrestling matches (above).PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Mr Roy Alamon’s costume is a combination of Dante from the video game Devil May Cry and Ken Kanekie from manga series Tokyo Ghoul.
Mr Roy Alamon’s costume is a combination of Dante from the video game Devil May Cry and Ken Kanekie from manga series Tokyo Ghoul.PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

It was a riot of colours and costumes at the two-day manga, anime and cosplay festival

Girls in red dresses and long blonde wigs giggled and stared as Roy Alamon walked past.

Shoulders back, with his lithe, bare chest proudly on display, the 23-year-old cosplayer strutted through the crowd at the CharaExpo 2015, a two-day manga, anime and cosplay festival held at Singapore Expo over the weekend.

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

But with strict regulations against photography during concerts and of famed animators such as Akio Watanabe, the stars of the convention were the local cosplayers, with attendees crowding around to snap pictures of their favourites.

With silver sword in hand, costume guns in his back pockets and a ghoulish black mask across the lower half of his face, Mr Alamon had 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.

Complimented on his outfit and asked to pose for pictures, Mr Alamon appreciated the attention.

"Compare this with work where people treat me like a nobody. Here, I'm treated like I'm Brad Pitt," said

Mr Alamon who, by day, is an entry operations crew member for a marine life park here.

As of noon yesterday, 11,000 people had attended CharaExpo. Organisers said 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 this month alone, with at least 10 such events taking place here this year.

As cameras flashed around local cosplayers, walkways between booths were packed. Attendees were enthralled by pop concerts and loudly clapped and cheered at New Japan Oro-Wrestling matches, the league's first appearance in Singapore.

Mr Takaaki Kidani, chief executive officer of Japanese producer of collectible card games Bushiroad, which is the organiser of CharaExpo, was thrilled by its reception. He said: "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 the number of entries and quality of cosplay at the convention.

The trio - along with illustrator Mel Kishida - were judges of the CosStage cosplay competition last Saturday.

Ten finalists, selected from hundreds of entries, took turns on stage, each given two minutes to display their creativity, handiwork and to personify their character.

Despite stiff competition from other intricately designed and detailed costumes, Ms Evelia Tan, 22, a student at SIM Global Education 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 Tokyo 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, said Mr Kaname.

Dressed as Guildmarm in an elven-green shorts suit, Ms Tan bumbled around on stage, knocked her head and dropped her props before handing out "quests" on pieces of paper to the judges.

"Guildmarm is really clumsy and nerdy, but also bubbly and helpful. I can relate to her and I tried to bring the character to life on stage and add some fun factor," said Ms Tan.

Her theatricality impressed the judges. Mr Kaname said: "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."

vlydia@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2015, with the headline 'Cosplayers rule at CharaExpo'. Print Edition | Subscribe