I was quite surprised by the numbers that showed up for Diversity in Cosplay. There was quite the line for the panel. It was pretty neat that there were people who were interested in the topic. It was put on by the cosplay group Chocolate Covered Cosplay. It’s a cosplay group largely comprised of African-American members. They talked a lot about their personal experiences being told that they can’t cosplay largely white characters. There was also some sharing from people who had experienced racism in cosplay. One girl’s friend asked if she were going to be cosplaying the black version of those characters. When she ran into her friend at the con and she was cosplaying as Jack Frost from “Rise of the Guardians”. Her friend had the audacity to ask, “Are you cosplaying as Jackson Frost?”
I was surprised by that. I also realized that the person telling that story is the same person
(and their other friend, not the racist one) that I ran into in the entry of Fanime and stopped them to tell them I love their Kuroshitusji cosplay. At the time I had thought that they seemed overly alleved and had wondered what they had dealt with before. Because they seemed so happy to hear some words of appreciation that didn’t qualify by race. After hearing her story, I realized that I think she really did appreciate someone who liked their cosplay and didn’t use a qualifier.
The group that ran the Diversity in Cosplay panel also managed to make it to the biggest cosplay masquerade competition in the US. They managed to make it in to the top 10. That is quite the impressive feat in and of itself. The
fact that there was no additional statement responding to their race was impressive. They made it there on their own merit. While I’m sad to hear that there are still people who seem to think that cosplay is entirely allowable for a minority of races, it was awesome to see that not everyone thinks that way.
Right after (and thankfully in the same room) was a panel called “Navigating Tokyo”. The panel was done by Gilles Poitras (the same guy who did “The Sex Trade in Anime and Manga” and the Gundam panel I saw last year). He gave a lot of pertinent information about walking around Tokyo. He mentioned a lot of things I wouldn’t have thought of (like getting to an
ATM in Tokyo is not nearly as convenient as it is here). Another interesting fact is that Discover card is widely accepted in Japan.
Since I’ve been thinking about visiting Japan (and particularly Tokyo), this was a panel for me to see. They covered things that I wouldn’t have thought of (though, granted, a majority of my traveling has been in the western world, more specifically the US and Canada). It also made it very clear to me that while I knew quite a bit about Japan, there’s
still so much more for me to learn. There are a lot of things that are different because of different cultures (like you don’t tip at restaurants, tipping would be considered rude).
My final panel for the day also was in the same room. This time it was a panel that was a Q&A for the voice actor Darrell Guillbeau. He is better known as being the English language voice for Mikado on DRRRR!!!! It was interesting to be a part of this kind of Q&A session. I learned a lot of things about voice acting that I hadn’t known before… like it’s possible to be incredibly shy and still be a voice actor. He was very personable and was willing to do fun things for fans including signing stuff and pictures after the panel.
He also brought a lot of stuff to give away to the people who were in the panel. It almost reminded me of when we went to the Prism Comics panel at Comic Con. Everyone got a raffle ticket. And if your number was called you won something. It may not be awesome, but it was something (though free food is pretty awesome). Also like the Prism Comics panel, I managed to win something. So, that was also cool.