Japan Expo Paris 2014

Japan Expo was at the start of July! It was my first time visiting and compared to other events it was crazy. Compared to the UK, it’s like London Expo but on a much bigger scale, with so many more people attending and so much to do and see.

I had a simple lineup this year for costumes and helped out with some Bandai Namco “Tales of” events over the weekend!

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As it turns out I didn’t bother wearing Madoka at Japan Expo for the heat, so it was a nice laid back event for me. I didn’t cosplay every day which was a nice change and meant I could see things at the event for myself instead of worrying about wrecking my costume. And a pleasant surprise was that the venue provides on-site changing rooms (!!!) so I could get changed anytime I wanted!

So how was Japan Expo?


TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY

For the first two days me and Arphrial spent some time wandering around Paris and sorting out our room. We didn’t have tickets until Thursday onwards so it was nice to take a break.

Our hotel was the Ibis Budget which is pleasant but pokey and around 20-25 minutes walk from the Parc des Expositions where Japan Expo is hosted. Our room was tiny with no wardrobe and a shower that’s next to the bed. But it did the job and was clean! It was hard to find space for my costumes without putting them on the floor, but I was kind of past caring as long as we had somewhere to sleep.

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Our wander around Paris was nice but good grief it was warm. The unpleasant British “why is it so hot and clammy” kind of warm. I’m usually good with heat but it was really humid and a bit gross, but at least the sun was nice!


THURSDAY

The first day was the busiest for me as Thursday was the Tales of Ambassador competition, one of the main reasons I attended! I made Alicia from Tales of Zestiria and surprisingly got into the top 3!

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Photos by Ferune

The competition was brilliant. Easily one of the most enjoyable competitions I’ve ever been a part of, and everyone else involved was absolutely lovely! Unfortunately I was an idiot and left my audio at home so I had nothing to practice to so my performance was a bit of an embarrassment, but it was great fun anyway.

Before going on stage everyone got to hang out backstage and chat. The judges also came backstage and asked each entry different questions about their costumes. Their approach was nice and casual, which was a pleasant change from how formal some competitions are, where the judges are people you’re afraid to talk to.

The format for the competition is really unusual too. First you go on stage and do an “up to 1-minute” performance to show off your costume and character. For me it was a bit hard seeing as the game isn’t even out in Japan yet, and not much is known about her personality. Some of the other entries were really fun, upbeat and some were really cute, but the nicest thing is that from the performances alone it was obvious that everyone involved loved Tales.

The top 5 entries were then picked and take part in a question round with true/false statements, multiple choice and open questions. Each of us won points for correct answers and then the top 3 were picked. Between the 5 of us I made it into a tie-breaker with Wonderchef. We had a quick-fire elimination round of naming summon spirits, which on the spot is hard, but I managed to pull through and got into the top 3!

The top 3 then get taken on stage and have to deliver a few “speeches”. The speeches we were asked to deliver were “Why did you choose your character”, “Why you love Tales of”, and “Why do you think should you be Ambassador”.

Lex Cosplay delivered an amazing, inspirational speech and became this year’s ambassador as Pascal from Tales of Graces. As soon as the was announced everyone launched into a group hug on stage to congratulate her. I met Lex online last year after the previous competition and she completely deserves it, her enthusiasm for Tales is huge and she’s absolutely lovely! I can’t wait to see what she gets up to as Ambassador!

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Stage photos by N8E

One of the nicest things about the competition is that no matter what place you come you get Tales of goodies just for entering, and of course, you get to meet more Tales of fans from Europe on the day! And if you’re crazy like me, it’s a nice excuse to make a new fancy costume!


FRIDAY

On Friday I was meant to wear Madoka, then got in a bit of a tizzy and decided to take it easy and just wear casuals instead. Friday was actually quite uneventful, so aside from wandering around the hall the only other thing I got up to was watching the French WCS Preliminaries.

It’s so strange watching competition preliminaries in a different country – the number of entries compared to the UK was impressive on it’s own, but seeing how a different country ran the preliminaries was really interesting. There are some themes that seem common in every country, and it was interesting to see how easy it was to understand performances in a different language.


SATURDAY

We did our first Tales of stage performance on Saturday, a Tales of Cafe! Myself, Lex and Lumis.Mirage already had a Tales of Vesperia maid group planned which we adapted into a fun stage skit with some of our friends, Shiina, Jessica and Chris as part of our group Tales of Cheesia. There’s a video of our performance here!

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The performance was super fun (even though I messed up and looked like a total dork..), and it was really well received! The staff at Namco were absolutely amazing too even though we had some issues they helped us out in every way possible and were really nice to work with!

After the performance it was time to prepare for the ECG Finals. The queues were absolutely huge everywhere and the atmosphere was so amazing!!

I’m planning on doing a more in-depth report for ECG later, but for now I’ll post the obvious congratulations to all of the winners, especially to Cosplex, Laura Sindall and Enja Cosplay who took first place in solo and group for the United Kingdom!!


SUNDAY

Our second Tales of stage performance was on the Sunday morning and this was probably my favourite part of the whole weekend! Myself, LexLumis.MirageShiinaJessica and Chris as part of our group Tales of Cheesia put on a Bachelor Show live on the day and it was absolutely hilarious to be part of. There’s a video of our performance here!

For the Bachelor Show my secret costume was Karol’s “Girly” costume from Tales of Vesperia, a costume I’ve always wanted to make and the result was hilarious. It’s an awful costume but everyone loved it and it was perfect for the performance.

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In the afternoon I went to watch the ECG Preliminaries for France, which again was absolutely amazing. My favourite performance was the Beauty and the Beast performance, but the Injustice qualifier was amazing too. It was such a cool show to watch live and has given me a ton of ideas for the UK’s ECG qualifiers this year (and lots of nerves!)

The worst part of Sunday was having to say goodbye to everyone. After a few days everyone became such good friends and I was really sad to have to leave everyone at the end of the day, even the organisers and helpers were lovely. Everyone was so welcoming too considering I’d never been before and was totally confused!

Overall I really enjoyed Japan Expo but the event was super busy, which had me on edge a lot. It was also frustrating not being able to understand anything but that’s my fault for being terrible with languages. I also struggled with the heat, so next time I’m hoping to take more light costumes like Rita and Karol because they were so much more comfortable to wear.

But for all I complain, I really loved it and hopefully I’ll be back next year!

 

Posted on July 14, 2014 in Competitions, Cosplay, European Cosplay Gathering, Musings
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