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Montreal's 8th Otakuthon; Next Level Cosplay

Posted by Bryan / August 28, 2013

cosplay is for amateurs.pngIn the past few years, it's been considered "cool" to be a geek. Because of shows like "The Big Bang Theory", everybody who knows the slightest thing about Wolverine or saw a few Batman movies can say "lol I'm such a geek/nerd". These people, well, know nothing.

(Guest post by Mathieu B.)

I always considered myself a geek, but even within my own people there are subdivisions, subcultures, and areas of specialty. Some people prefer Star Wars to Star Trek, but science fiction is still their forte. Others prefer the Lord of the Rings and other medieval fantasies, and there also others that prefer video games. Then again, most geeks tend to be fans of all the above.

But those are only superficial attributes to what a geek is. There are other things that characterize what a geek is: passion for their hobby, a love for things off-beat, and most of all, open mindedness. You see, I know nothing of mangas or animes. My knowledge of these is pretty much limited to what most 90s kids grew up with, such as Pokémon and Dragonball. Hardcore fans of Japanese pop culture go beyond the love of a mere show or comic book: they LIVE their passions in a way that no other subcultures do. To understand this, all you have to do is check out Otakuthon.

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The 8th annual Montreal Otakuthon took place this year from the 16th to the 18th of August. It's the largest event of its kind in Quebec, drawing about 13 000 fans. It's a sort of Japanese Comiccon: it's about movies (animes) and comics (mangas), only from Japan. However, there is one major difference and it was super obvious during the BBQ at the house of the Japanese Consul General: the cosplay. Some people like to say that there is a lot of cosplay happening at regular comiccons, but throughout the barbecue at the Consul General's beautiful home in Westmount, I came to understand that comiccon cosplay is for amateurs.

"We've been cosplaying for about 4 years" says a gang of cosplayers all dressed as different verions of Assassin's Creed. "We all chose a different one...and hers isn't even out yet!" Upon further inspection, they are right: one of them cosplayed as the assassin from the upcoming Black Flag chapter of the series, due later this October.

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One of them doesn't look familiar, though... (left) "It's a bit of a fan art. I imagined what it would be like if the game took place in a more samurai setting." He has the familiar white cowl, but he is also equipped with samurai armour and a (fake) katana. "The only things we didn't make are the blades". While saying that, he lifts is arm and pops out a little foam blade from under his wrist...exactly like in the game. The amount of work that has gone into those costumes was mind-boggling. For instance, in this costume, that's actual metal on the shoulder guard. That arm guards is all fashioned leather. That broidery along the side and on the chest? All hand-made.


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Others that have been invited weren't dressed in the same costumes they wore at Otakuthon, like a group of girls that had originally dressed up as female characters from Mortal Kombat (above). Only Sonia Blade was "present", since it was the simpler costume to wear. All six costumes were made by Alexandra Riendeau, who was dressed up as Mileena (purple) at the convention. This takes an incredible amount of dedication that is rarely seen anywhere else.

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The entire Japanese consulate in Montreal is obviously very much flattered by the love of Japanese culture in Montreal. The consul himself, Tatsuo Arai, has only been in Montreal for less than two years, but it was obvious that he not only really enjoyed Otakuthon, but that he was quite taken by the city. CTV's Mutsumi Takahashi was also there and enjoyed hanging out with young people dedicated to practicing this hobby.

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