BEIRUT: Enthusiasts of anime, movies, cartoon books and stories spent their Halloween Sunday this year at Multiverse Games in a venue filled with board games on surrounding shelves and ghosts and zombies hanging from the ceiling among other scary Halloween decorations and people dressed up as their favorite cosplay characters.
Some of them even let their creativity take the wheel to come up with a new character and create costumes using different materials. “I used papier mache for my horns and dice for my crown and necklace, the rest I just put together on my own.," said one participant.
Diversity in costumes was evident. Attendees showed up dressed up characters from Mario Kart, Harry Potter, Twilight, Pokemon, Disney movies and many more. People of all ages came prepared to take part in the cosplay competition after enjoying food, drinks, and board games. Cosplayers were talking about their costumes, trying to guess who their friends are trying to mimic and appreciating the effort put into making the costumes.
Cosplay the word, as most millennials know, is an amalgam of the words costume play, and can be used as both a noun - cosplay as an art - or a verb, cosplay the performance, which in many ways is the key part. The art and the performance never lack for enthusiasm when fellow devotees meet.
""I find out about anime events by chance, I think this is only my second time attending such an event,” said a cosplay participant. “I am dressed up as a Japanese spirit, my costume was improvised.”
During her performance, she danced a fairy-like choreography with hand fans enchanting viewers.
Acording to Yahya Bahlo, a participant who was cosplaying Edward Cullen from the Twilight movie series, “Positivity was haunting the place, we had a lot of fun and made new friends.” He added, “The costumes were remarkable! I felt nostalgic when songs from my favorite anime series were being played. There should be more events like this from time to time.”
Three judges sat together to evaluate the participants based on how well they imitated their favorite characters and how close their costume was to the fictional characters. Competitors introduced themselves and who are they imitating. Most of them said catch phrases by their characters, some of them gave a performance. Everyone encouraged the participants and gave them a round of applause when they were finished.
One of the judges was dressed as a fan of made-up character from Mario Kart. Her character’s name is Bowsette who is a gender-bent version of Bowser.
Yet another anime patron who was dressed as actual Mario figure Booette and one fan made a character who is a hybrid of King Boo and Princess Peach said that “the character is a trendy meme right now among the fans.”
It’s important to note that fans started creating new Nintendo characters after the introduction of the Super Crown mechanic into Nintendo lore. “The crown allows characters to transform into something else,” said the Booette cosplayer. And thus other fans started creating female versions of their favorite Mario Kart characters.
Places like Multiverse – a board gamers paradise where one can play or buy - in Lebanon are rare and both game and cosplay fans usually find it hard to find places where they can meet people with the same interests. An adjacent room filled with tables and chairs was available for groups of friends who wanted to enjoy a board game together.
Wissam Klink, one of the organizers of the event said that it took a month-and-a-half to plan it. “It was hectic, but we had a lot of fun.” And as for the turnout, Klink said that “I am very happy with the turnout, although there are slightly fewer people than last year, more effort is put in the cosplay this Halloween.”
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