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Anime Expo 2014 Brings Crowd of Cosplayers From All Over the World

Kenisha Reyes-Gahol (left) and Jordan Gahol (right) dressed up as traditional Japanese in kimonos at Anime Expo 2014. Daniel E Beckham Photo.

Kenisha Reyes-Gahol (left) and Jordan Gahol (right) dressed up as traditional Japanese in kimonos at Anime Expo 2014. Daniel E Beckham Photo.

By Daniel E Beckham   This past Fourth of July weekend many gathered in Downtown Los Angeles for the Anime Expo while millions across Southern California were making deviled eggs, grilling steaks and watching fireworks displays. The four-day convention drew over 200,000 anime, manga and Japanese art fans from all over the United States and other countries.

Cosplay, for me, is like a badge of pride. Growing up, I was often told to be ashamed of my interests and that I needed to fear not acting enough “like a girl” or that it was a phase I would eventually grow out of and learn to be ashamed of. Instead, I learned to embrace fandom as part of what makes me who I am, and cosplay is a large facet of that. It allows me to wear my interests on my sleeve and be proud them. Sure it can be a challenging, frustrating hobby, but for all the hard work watching the costume and the character come alive is really a reward in itself,” said Kaitlyn Montague, a Nor Cal native. Cosplay is short for “costumed role-play” and originates from various Japanese fashion subcultures and countercultures. In short, to cosplay is to dress as a character from a Japanese animated TV show or a video game, and to act as that character.

Caption: Deadpool Cosplayer poses for HMG-CN at Anime Expo 2014. Daniel E Beckham Photo.

Deadpool Cosplayer poses for HMG-CN at Anime Expo 2014. Daniel E Beckham Photo.

Cosplayer Jordan Gahol said, “We have been going for the past five years and have thoroughly enjoyed the cultural basis of this event.”  “Much of my time throughout the year is spent researching the newest anime and preparing for the following years Anime Expo.” Cosplayers from all over the country and world gathered at AX to compete for a top prize of $3,000 at this year’s convention’s masquerade competition. “I’m always pumped to go to these events because I can show off my masterpieces while taking pictures with beautiful girls dressed up as my favorite anime or video game characters,” said Jeffrey Williams, of Glendale. Many were dressed as their favorite characters such as Luffy from “One Piece” (Wan Pīsu), Grell Sutcliff and Angelina Dalles from “Black Butler” (Kuroshitsuji), the Colossal Titan from “Attack on Titan” (Shingeki no Shinju) and their favorite Pokémon characters. Even Elsa from “Frozen” made her way to the event although she is considered a Disney character to fans. Anime Expo lasted four days and brought in a large diversity of crowds from all over. The wigs came out and many organizers had promised to push the cosplay quotient at the annual anime and manga festival. Many fans filled the convention with bizarre costumes and a wide assortment of wigs from pink to light blue. Staff from other conventions also attended Anime Expo to invite Cosplayers to attend their upcoming conventions within the next few months. Anime California will be holding their convention on August 22nd-24th, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency in Orange County. Sakura-Con will be held April 3rd-5th, 2015 at the Washington Convention Center located in Seattle. Anime Los Angeles will be held in Gardena from January 9th-11th, 2015.