Ken Matsushiro cosplay + Fan Expo 07
Why is that man so angry? Because he is Ken Matsushiro – master baker – and your French bread has dairy in it!
Ok, no. That’s my latest cosplay, the manager of a local Pantasia bakery in the awesomely ridiculous anime Yakitate!! Japan. I decided recently that I’m only going to cosplay characters I can pull off really well – and I just don’t have the patience and skill to do complex outfits. Thankfully, Ken here is an easy cosplay (except for the huge muscles) and a wicked character.
This outfit was easy: I found the racing gloves and belt buckle in Toronto’s Kensington Market and the afro wig was a joke gift years ago. Out of the box, the afro was too big, so I had to give it a bit of a trim to get it just right. And no, I didn’t bake the bread.
The most satisfying part of this cosplay was not what I had expected: almost no one knew who I was. Is there an “obscurity” prize for cosplay? I was constantly passing people saying “that guy has a loaf of bread!” Yes, I managed to freak out the freaks at a sci-fi convention.
Thankfully, a handful of people did recognize my character and they got super excited. And even though it was sad to only have my picture taken a half dozen times, it was strangely satisfying to stand in the middle of all those costumed fans and raise my baguette proudly in the air – making me just that much stranger than them.
The place where I raised my bread was the 2007 Fan Expo here in Toronto. It brings together the five pillars of nerdom: science fiction, comics, horror, gaming and anime. You can check out my Flickr photoset here. You’ll notice something right away: there ain’t many pics. The reason why is one of the convention’s fundamental flaws that make it pale in comparison to Anime North.
My main problem has to do with the location: the ass end of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. They used to hold Fan Expo in the front hall, which was bathed in natural light and had a central meeting place for cosplayers and their fans. The back hall, although much bigger, is dimly lit (due to the high ceilings) and on many levels, so the cosplaying is spread out, a constantly moving target – and thus hard to photograph.
But my disappointment goes beyond the layout.
This is going to sound snobby and oh, so otaku, but anime fans are different from the rest of the nerds at this convention. Our passion is not mainstream, like video games and horror movies. Our costumes are not recognized by most people and don’t have any of the associated cultural power – even non-nerds get excited by Darth Vader. Anime fans are outsiders, even at this event. And yet our passion is the loudest and our aisles the fullest. Also, as far as I can tell, each of the five tribes pretty much keep to themselves.
But perhaps I shouldn’t take it so seriously: it’s just a big convention, held by huge companies, to sell stuff. And occasionally, a tribe member might cross over and expand their nerdverse just a little bit.
Regardless, I can’t wait for next year’s Anime North.