Monday, August 06, 2007

Otakuthon 2007

Last week-end, our whole family, including the ex, attended the Otakuthon 2007 organized at the Guy Concordia University Campus []. It was a blast. Tons of fun. I’ll have to make sure to attend next year convention.

What is an Otaku? Otaku is derived from an honorific Japanese term for another's house or family (otaku) that is also used as an honorific second-person pronoun (roughly equivalent to usted in Spanish). The term was popularized in the English speaking world in William Gibson's 1996 novel Idoru, which has several references to otaku. In particular, the term was defined as 'pathological-techno-fetishist-with-social-deficit'. In modern Japanese slang, the term otaku refers to an overtly obsessive fan of any one particular theme, topic, or hobby. Common uses are anime otaku (one who sometimes enjoys many days of excessive anime watching with no rest) and manga otaku (a fan of Japanese graphic novels), pasokon otaku (personal computer geeks), gēmu otaku (playing video games), and wota (before referred as "idol otaku") that are extreme fans of idols, heavily promoted singing girls.

I didn’t participate in all or even most of the Okatuthon events. One that I regret missing was the Masquerade. What is a masquerade? According to their official site [],
the Otakuthon Masquerade is an amateur costume competition for anime/manga costumes, gaming costumes and costumes related to these medias. It is an opportunity to see cosplayers show off their spectacular costumes, craftsmanship and creativity.

Two types of entries are presented: skits and walk-on. Skits are short theatrical performances of up to one minute in length in which participants wear costumes and perform a skit based on their favorite anime or manga. These presentations may be funny or serious, parody or action and may use characters from only one show or many, but they are always creative and entertaining.

What are cosplayers? Cosplayers (kosupure), a portmanteau of the English words "costume" and "roleplay", is a Japanese subculture centered on dressing as characters from manga, anime, tokusatsu and video games and, less commonly, Japanese live action television shows, fantasy movies, or Japanese pop music bands. However, in some circles, "cosplay" has been expanded to mean simply wearing a costume.

In Japan, "cosplay" as a hobby is usually an end unto itself. Like-minded people gather to see others' costumes, show off their elaborate handmade creations, take lots of pictures, and possibly participate in best costume contests [].

Thanks to a blatant display of nepotism, I was able to attend the Saturday Night Dance, where the J-rock band Sukoshi Yoshi (where my son Asparagus was the drummer and dj) gave an electrifying performance, with a breakdancing demonstration by B-girl Lynx and B-boy W.D. Forty (my other son Derrell) that brought the house down. Many cosplayers were at the dance and graciously posed for the above pictures.

Final comments :

1.- I was blown away by the careful details and the fine craftmanship of the costumes, down to the wigs and the accessories. I was told most costumes were hand sewn/hand made. You have to admire the dedication.

2.- All the otakus, orientals, caucasians and blacks alike, seem to know by heart the lyrics of the songs played by the band, mostly anime soundtracks. They sang along, flashed hand signals and danced geekily but with great passion.

3.- I was really surprised by the high number of black otakus. I'd never imagine that they would be interested in geeky stuff like anime and manga. Aren't blacks supposed to be the coolest race? Hip hop, yes. Otaku, who knew?


kca said...

I was really surprised by the high number of black otakus

C'est le genre de truc qui me fatigue, lorsqu' un noir a des ecouteurs dans le oreilles, on lui demande s' il aime 50 cents, lorsqu' on le vois en bascket, on lui demande s' il fait du sport, et lorsqu'on le voit au Vietnam on lui demande avec quel club il a signer un contrat?

kca said...

je te critique Bella, je souligne juste que je ne comprend pas wue ca puisse etonner que les noirs s interressent a autre choses que du poulet et du rap

Buddhist with an attitude said...

Toute généralisation a ses pièges et ses exceptions. Si j'ai fait celle pour laquelle tu me critiques, c'est parce que le gouffre entre noirs et jaunes est pour le moment bien plus vaste que celui entre blancs et jaunes. Il y a par exemple, un nombre négligeable de noirs bouddhistes par rapport aux blancs et bien sûr aux jaunes. La culture otaku étant encore super-spécialisée et particulièrement "autistique" dans son caractère anti-social, il est normal je crois de s'attendre à voir émerger d'abord des fans blancs dans la catégorie des non-nippons. Ceci dit, dans quel club ou dans quel hôtel as-tu un contrat? Ne te vexe pas KCA, moi on me demande tout le temps si je sais faire du sushi et pourquoi je ne porte pas de ao dai.

kca said...

Quoi tu fais pas du karate???
Enfin c'est mieux que vendeur de poulet (check ton email)