Friday, July 17, 2015

Fans Take Selfies & Chat with Cosplayers at ICEXPO 2015


"Can we take a photo together?" a fan asks Luffy. The Hong Kong cosplayer happily obliges and strikes a cute pose in her cosplay of Kousaka Honoka, leader of school idol unit Muse from the anime Love Live. "I'm so happy to meet you!" the fan exclaims. "I really admire your cosplays." Luffy flashes a smile and thanks the fan for his compliment before extending a handshake to the surprised fan, much to his delight.

The inaugural Icexpo was held at the *SCAPE Ground Theatre on Saturday, 11th July

It was a common scene at the first Icexpo 2015 held last Saturday. Many ecstatic fans could be seen engaging in light-hearted banter with the guest cosplayers as others snapped away selfies with their cameraphones. The atmosphere in the *SCAPE Ground Theatre was very relaxed and laid-back. The guests took their time to interact with and get to know the attendees better, making the experience more meaningful rather than it being just a meet-and-go session.

Fans turned up in large numbers on the morning of the event

Guests posing for pictures and chatting with attendees freely at Icexpo

The XDantheManX Online team was with local photographer Roaming Dog together at Icexpo over the weekend and that was the one of the main things we observed during the cosplay exchange held on the first and second day. The turnout was rather massive, with large crowds packing the hall and many attendees having to wait for their purchased cosplay merchandise to be delivered.

Attendees collecting their paid merchandise at Icexpo

It is a new and novel event conceptualised by the previous organisers of the Cosmo Youth Parade, with the main aim of giving cosplay fans an opportunity for a meaningful interaction with their favourite star cosplayers and we were interested in what they had in store.

Hong Kong cosplayer Siutao as Hoshizora Rin from Love Live!

As prominent cosplayers with thousands of fans, it is often difficult for the eight guests- Misa, Luffy, Sakuya, Shibuki, Siutao, Olivie, Arisa and Shiraga- to give their undivided attention to their avid supporters. Often, meet-and-greet sessions at commercial anime events and conventions consist of a few sentences uttered hurriedly, accompanied by a handshake and maybe a photo before the next fan is ushered in.

Taiwanese cosplayer Misa in her cute Hoppou-chan cosplay

*sound effect of airplane flying past*

Fans barely have anytime to feel a personal connection with the cosplayer they admire, and vice versa. Some are contented with just being able to interact with them for the short period of time while others desire something more. Nevertheless, there is something which many of us yearn for, all the more so when meeting a famous person- to be noticed and acknowledged. It is a part of our human nature and we thought that was something that the Icexpo organisers had noticed and made considerations for.

Japanese cosplayer Shibuki striking a pose

Japanese cosplayers Sakuya and Shibuki as popular browser game Touken Ranbu's characters

The concept of the event was simple. However, the experience you could get from it was much more. Many happy fans were able to get their hands on the cosplay guests' merchandise which were usually not sold in Singapore-photo books, posters and postcard- and have them signed.They were also able to talk to the guests about anything under the roof, from what they had for breakfast to their hobbies during the cosplay exchange sessions.

Hong Kong cosplayer Luffy taking a picture with one of the attendees

This is Sakuya's second time in Singapore, after coming for Funan Anime Matsuri last year

There was even a surprise performance at 2pm by guests Luffy and Olivie, to the delight of many of the attendees. Fans were treated to a full-costume performance of two Love Live! songs- Kaguya no Shiro and Angelic Angel by the two members of V-Project, Hong Kong's well-known cosplay dance and performance group. V-Project is one of the top Love Live! cover groups in the world and we would expect nothing less than a flawless performance from the two cosplayers, and they delivered.

ICEXPO Olivie and Luffy
ICEXPO Olivie and Luffy CosplayerRecorded on 11/07/2015Kaguya no Shiro and Angelic Angel
Posted by Roaming Dog on Wednesday, 15 July 2015
V-Project members Luffy and Olivie performing Kaguyo no Shiro and Angelic Angel at Icexpo

With an impressive stable of guest cosplayers gracing the event, Icexpo had their main attraction. The next thing to deliver was their promise of having meaningful interactions with the cosplayers. From what we observed, there seemed to be sufficient time for the cosplayers to interact with everyone. Some fans even queued up several times to meet the same cosplayers while others were able to meet every one of the guests.

Cosplayer Olivie signing on the Icexpo poster

Granted, there were some unfortunate hiccups in the initial exchange sessions such as some of the cosplayers' photo books selling out very quickly due to their popularity. Some members of the public were dissatisfied with the lack of timely updates and information. Queues were also rather disorganised initially although the situation gradually improved towards the afternoon.

Shiraga signing as vampire queen Krul Tepes from Owari no Seraph

Nonetheless, we hope that everyone had enjoyed their time and had a meaningful time of interaction with the guests at Icexpo. It must have been really taxing for the guests to be signing and chatting for a long six hours, all the way from nine in the morning to three in the afternoon so we really take our hats off to them too. They deserve our deep respect and we hope they had an equally wonderful time getting to know their fans better.

V-Project cosplayers Luffy and Olivie before the start of Icexpo

In all, we thought that the event was a breath of fresh air in the increasingly-packed schedule of anime events in Singapore and we are looking forward to another Icexpo in 2016. We feel that they could have more activities such as stage performances to keep the attendees entertained throughout the entire event though and offer more bang for the buck for the tickets.

Hong Kong cosplayer Arisa as Nishikino Maki from Love Live!

The organisers have mentioned that they will be planning more of such pop culture events too so do look forward to them in the future!

Look forward to more events from the Icexpo organisers in the future!

If you like reading our articles and want to receive the latest updates, please like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter! Check back for our highlights from the Icexpo Street Showcase on Orchard Road and the Love Live! themed Amai Sweet Cafe on Sunday in the week ahead!

Singapore's Love Live! cover group A-LIVE performing at the Icexpo Street Showcase on Saturday

Guest cosplayers at Amai Sweet Cafe on Sunday

Article by XDantheManX Online
Photos by XDantheManX Online and Roaming Dog

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Japanese Film Festival Singapore 2015
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