The Otaku get up early. I brought my dog with me as a photographer’s assistant to see who would show up at 9 a.m. Taking advantage of Chinatown’s Asian pastry shops, they came in groups, cosplay gear at the ready. Throughout the day, Palais de Congrès thronged with cosplayers and fans of Japan’s many niche cultures. They milled around the main hall, snapping group photos of one another’s gorgeous costumes. I over heard conversations too.
“How did you make your wings?”
“Broomsticks from the dollar store and foam.”
If your costume went awry, or you happened to pick up a new wig, the cosplay room provided an opportunity to repair or adjust a costume. I watched the delicate hands of one cosplayer as she stitched her crocheted teddy’s face. Another woman trimmed a jagged fringe onto a blue wig.
Inside, Otakuthon panels and workshops attracted crowds. I stopped in one on Lolita culture and listened as a panel of five lavishly dressed women talked about the changes in costume from the 90s until now. They radiated the attention to detail that makes this sweet, lacey style so fascinating. I caught another on Megaman and how this too has changed over time. Best attended, though, were special presentations on Japanese arts, such as flower arranging or music.
The Gundam room was set up with tables where those interested in building robots out of plastic pieces could get help getting started or modding (modifying) their own models. Along the walls were collections of different Gundam, from fighter jets to robots to bears.
The special guest autograph lines stretched long, as did those waiting to catch the comedy troupe, the 404s.
At this time of day, watching the anime itself wasn’t the priority. Nonetheless, a few took refuge in the darkness to watch subtitled anime from Japan.
The manga library was open for business, though here too, there were only a few people at this time of day. As the day continued, I saw more people heading this way to read and relax.
The video game room was full with the Montreal Pokemon League, people trying new games, and of course, tournaments.
Merchandise of all kinds was available in the exhibition hall. You name it — cards, gundam kits, models, cosplay material, and of course, artists who would draw on demand.
I can’t wait for tomorrow!
Otakuthon Photo Gallery Saturday Morning