Tiffany Chen was the early catalyst to the 2023 cosplay season as she was the winner at the first major anime event of the year, Daisuke! Chapter II, held February 25 at the Campion College Auditorium in St Andrew.
Her character, Xie Lian, from Heaven Official’s Blessing, captured the attention of the judges and the audience.
“I’ve been into manhau a lot lately and I saw this character recently. He’s a very interesting character, and he’s very sweet, so I wanted to portray him,” said Chen.
Manhua is the Chinese equivalent to Japanese manga, both are illustrated works.
“I’ve been dragged back into competitions again, so I’m going to be competing a lot this year,” she said.
Chen previously won a cosplay competition last year for her original character, Grim, at ‘Anime Picnic 8.0: The Kimono Edition’, put on by the Anime Nerds of Jamaica. The win salvaged the year for her as she had been too ill to attend AnimeCom Fest. This year she plans to go all out to make that event and hopefully represent Jamaica at the regional level in cosplay.
“The ultimate goal is to represent Jamaica in the bigger competitions, especially with Trinidad coming up with theirs, and they’re hard hitters, so gotta work on it.”
Cosplays tend to be a solo effort, so the first runner-up was actually runners-up, the unique sight of twin sisters Xaria and Zayairre Patrick decked out as Rem and Ram of Re:Zero. The two combining to complete the cosplay of their dreams and having more success this time out together rather than individually.
“We chose them because when we were young we wanted to do a cosplay of them as we were twins. It was a twin cosplay we could do with some success and that was easy to do. It was very comforting to be in a cosplay with each other, which was what steered us towards doing Rem and Ram,” they said.
Second runner-up was Justine McKenzie as Taiga Aisaka.
“My character is Taiga. I took her from a romance anime called Toradora! I didn’t make the costume myself. I had it made by a dressmaker and bought the wig, then put it together with some other clothes to make the whole character costume. I chose her because she’s similar to me and I really like her attitude in the anime,” explained McKenzie.
The amount of cosplay entrants did surprise Ashley Smith, of event organisers AnimeYado, who had felt going into 2023 that cosplay was on the decline. She was happy to have herself proved wrong, technically. While many fans made their appearance at the event in costume, the majority stayed on the floor, out of the competition, but there were enough entrants to show that interest in competitive cosplay in Jamaica hasn’t faded out of style as yet.
For those that didn’t wish to participate in the cosplay competition, and regular patrons, there were still lots of other competitions in which they could take home cool prizes. Daisuke! Chapter II featured musical chairs, a scavenger hunt, and random trivia from the assorted vendors. For couples there was a ramen eating contest, while those wanting to couple-up, blind speed dating. Dance lovers had two options – watch Pop Dynamix on stage, or show off their own moves in the Just Dance video game competition. Less agile video gamers had the upper mezzanine to themselves with a Smash Bros. competition and virtual reality games. Then there were the vendors themselves. Asian pop culture items ruled the day, from figures, to clothing, to art, to food and drink, it was all there in spades for patrons to indulge their desires.
“Within the next few months we’ll have our second event which is Neko Maid Café in June. Announcements will be made which day in June, but you can look out for that as well as our Halloween event. We may have something for the summer, but we may just come to a different event and support them since AnimeCom Fest is scheduled for summer,” said Smith.
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AYDaisuki_Chen: Tiffany Chen, winner of the Daisuke! Chapter II cosplay competition as Xie Lian, from Heaven Official’s Blessing.