Thursday, April 26, 2007

TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS 7: German cosplay and the international power of shojo

We're here at the final dispatch of our series of Europe posts, based on things I encountered in Dublin, Berlin and Frankfurt last fall. Happily, these posts have sparked some super informative discussions and shed light on stuff we knew nothing about prior to seeing it firsthand.
To recap, here's what we've covered to date:

1. Things we recognize, but this time in GERMAN!
2. Dark Horse and non-crumbling Museums of Terror
3. A preponderance of Maruo
4. Jeff Smith and his Bone in deutsch
5. German gem, Insekt by Sascha Hommer
6. "Judith Park is the most famous manga-ka in Germany"
7. German cosplay and the international power of shojo

Sadly, the commentary segment of my brain is rattled and foggy today, as it's now been more than 6 months since these photos/videos were taken. As mentioned previously, the main attraction for me at Frankfurt Book Fair was the Comics Pavilion in the German hall, which was the de facto manga fangirl/fanboy meeting place. Cosplay ground zero, if you will.

Things really picked up on the last two days of the fair, in which cosplay kids basically took over the entire pavilion, waiting in long lines to meet Anike Hage, Judith Park and, to a lesser degree, dudes like our new buddy Sascha Hommer and Mr. Jeff Smith. The split between females and males was about 90/10, and I heard from some of the kids that they had taken the train in from all over Germany, just to hang out with their friends/fan community and meet their favorite creators.

In a very savvy move (that I have trouble imagining happening at a US book fair), the Frankfurt Book Fair offered free admission to anybody that showed up in cosplay on Sunday, and held a 'Cosplay Masquerade' talent show in the afternoon. Germany cosplay cultural cross-pollination?!? You know I had to attend and document this. In lieu of repeating thoughts from the Judith Park post, and in the spirit of getting to the point, I present you:

The girl on the right was officially the scariest/awesomest person I saw in Europe.

You'll notice I don't recognize who most of the cosplayers are dressed up as. An eyebrow-less Victorian chambermaid? Fill me in via the comments.

German teenagers meet their friends, get their make-up & accessories just right.

The boys in attendance were rare goods

Frankfurther Buchmesse PPT slide: Big-in-Japan, Cosplay 2006!

The 1-hour masquerade was hosted by a nurse/doctor duo.

WHOA! Check out how many freakin' kids attended this event!

What character is this? I don't speak German but the crowd was laughing their asses off at her skit. Channeling Malifacent?

Just a normal day in Frankfurt, seated behind Rei fron NGE

Oh yeah, and she was carrying an electric guitar.

I was very out of place in the audience, dressed in a shirt & tie, and looking like a narc.

Cosplayers from across Germany mix and mingle.

Man, this guy was the most popular dude I saw-- German tweens were all over him!

I have no idea which character this is...

Quite possibly the BEST PHOTOGRAPH EVER TAKEN? My 4 favorite cosplayers together in one shot.

Surveying the crowd during one of the various skits.

The reference is lost on me, but I still think these kids are rad.

Capturing candid shots of the audience as we exited the Cosplay Masquerade.

Various kids mulling around, with a final shot of white-haired cosplay dude.

That's it for our Europe manga commentary... for now! There is always Frankfurt 2007, and Sascha promised to take me out properly next time I'm there!


Anonymous said...

I think I might be able to help you with who some of the cosplayers are! The girl on the right in your first picture w/the stretchy mask is Kyo the lead singer from the Japanese band Dir en Grey. Here he is wearing it in their video "Obscure" (this is the uncensored version):

I don't really know much about horror comics & have only started visiting your blog recently but the images in the vid remind me of the stuff you've posted before. Maybe you'll be able to recognize if any of it are direct references to something or if they were just influenced by horror manga.

Then further below (the pic. with your four favorite cosplayers) the girl with the blonde hair & long black tie looks like she's also being Kyo from Dir en Grey. Here he is wearing a similar outfit in their video "Cage"

I know I've seen live vids of him wearing a more exact replica of that outfit she's wearing with the tie but I can't seem to find it now....

That vid isn't as creeptastic as "Obscure" but it still has some creepy stuff in it!

Okay, I'm probably stretching a bit on this one but the maid girl's outfit looks like the one Mana from Malice Mizer (another jrock band) wears in their vid "Shiroi". He's a pretty fella.

Not sure if she meant to cosplay him but hey, they're wearing the same outfit and I just thought I'd like to mention that!:D


I'm not sure my comment went through the first time so I'm trying again and hopefully this won't be posted twice.

Anonymous said...

The odd and eyebrow-less girl appears to be cosplaying the character Suiseiseki from the series "Rozen Maiden".

Picture [url=]here[/url]

Unknown said...

The black-and-white dress after the introduction of the masquerade is probably Yuko Ichihara from various CLAMP works.

Anonymous said...

Ryan, you know how certain writers return again and again to specific events in their life, a la Kurt Vonnegut and Dresden? That's like you and the Frankfurt book tour. In a good way.