Nipponbashi Street Festa 2014, a feast for the Otaku heart.

Every anime fan’s dream is probably to go to Akihabara, But for those who live in or visit Osaka, the next big thing is Nipponbashi, mostly known as “Den Den Town” or the electric town. This long beaten down street is filled to the brim with everything and anything an Otaku can dream of. From used retro games to maid cafes, it’s all there (Yes I mean ALL).

And what would an Otaku haven be without a bit of cosplay. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, cosplayers don’t just wander around the streets of Japan, not even in areas like Den Den Town. The most I had seen there on normal days were maids and Lolitas advertising the different themed cafes (If you go to Amemura, you will see the Visual Kei themed people, but that’s about it for strangeness).

However, once a year, during spring break, cosplayers are free to show off their talent, humor and whatever else they want to show off. This day is known as “Nipponbashi Street Festa”, a carnival of colors, characters and Otaku delight. And contrary to the popular belief spread by people on the internet, Japanese cosplayers don’t always compete for the most obscure characters, as you will see in the next pictures. (The fact that people outside think they may be obscure is due to the difference between what anime/ manga are popular in Japan compared to other countries)

I found out about this event when I was wandering inside Mandarake (I tend to do that sometimes, especially in their cosplay section). Cosplayers who wanted to participate, had to pay a fee and receive a silicon band (but I had seen many cosplayers without one.) there were also some kinds of idol shows, booths advertising about different shops, food stands, and lots of fun.

Disclaimer: There were more cosplayers that I wanted to shoot, but due to the huge number of people in the crowd it wasn’t really that easy, but that didn’t mean they weren’t all great in their own ways.

Between cosplayers and watchers, it was this crowded all along.

Kneel! The avengers are popular in Japan, and this was one of the first cosplayers I cam upon and could shoot. (I saw a Luke Skywalker, but couldn’t take a picture)

The group also had a Black Widow, along with some other characters. (including a Hulk)

The cutest Eevee evolutions you will see today.

Miku found a job advertising a shop 😉

Ayato and Laito from “Diabolik Lovers” (if you know what that is, I don’t know what to think of you)

Animate shop clerks in “Attack on Titan” cosplay.

If you read RocketNews24, you probably know who that is. If you don’t go here and here to read about it. (I have to say that I was so embarrassed he noticed I was shooting him and smiled)

Animate cashiers were also in cosplay. And the shop was more crowded than I had ever seen.

Suddenly Captain Jack Sparrow (With extra Nami appearance)

Even the creepy goldfish plants from “Hoozuki no reitetsu” made an appearance. (the girl inside was so cute, too bad I couldn’t see her)

Speaking of “Hoozuki no Reitetsu” this Hakutaku had the attitude down right. (Too bad I didn’t see a good Hoozuki to shoot, since he’s one of my favorite characters)

This must have been one of the coolest Final Fantasy groups that day.

Lady Mario and Luigi were also so cute with their little mushroom friend.

Johnny Depp x Tim Burton characters are more popular than you think. (Left to right, the Mad Hatter, Edward Scissorhands, Willy Wonka)

Madoka Magica group cosplay.

Korosensei from Ansatsu Kyoshitsu (Assassination Class)

Grell Sutkiff form Black Butler (it had started to rain, but she still posed for me)

Erwin and Levi ready to strike (Attack on Titan)

Mikasa and Sasha (Attack on Titan)

Junko Enoshima and Chiaki Nanami??? from Dangan Ronpa animation/ games. (I am really sorry, if you know who the other characters are, please post it in the comments, I haven’t seen or played Dangan Ronpa yet)

It suddenly started to hail, causing everyone to run to the sidewalks.

And everyone started hiding under shop shades.

Yoko Littner from the Gurren Lagann series. It was hailing at the time, but that didn’t stop people from stopping in the crowd to take photos of her.

*bad dubbing voice* It’s a Gundam!!!

This Dandy (Protagonist of Space Dandy) nailed the attitude. The hair? Not so much (I was surprised there weren’t more Dandy Cosplays though, it was what I wished to cosplay myself)

I think this Turkish family sold more food that day than they do most of the year (considering I always find the shop closed on normal days)

Zack Fair and Cloud Strife were gathering a nice amount of attention.

Then, since the walkways were sometimes ushered by policemen, I found myself in the next area, which is usually a parking lot, but was transformed into a display area for “Itasha” or anime themed heavily decorated cars.

Most of them were so colorful, I wonder how come I have never seen them in other places.

Haruhi characters with Vocaloid car, my mind will explode from the kawaii

Blue Rose from the “Tiger and Bunny” series, which is surprisingly still so popular, at least in Osaka.

And then Dante (Devil may cry) appeared.

Nyanko Sensei/ Madara (Natsume Yuujinchou) could not get any cuter.

Snow Miku with Miku car, gathering photographers like nothing else.

I finally managed to find a way out of the car parking (but couldn’t take photos of the Touho project cosplayers inside) and things were starting to wrap up.

This Brook (One Piece) cosplayer even had something to alter his voice.

This Mondo Owada (Dangan Ronpa) crossplayer wasn’t offended that I didn’t know what anime she was from, Or that I was interested in her coat because it looked like a biker’s coat (I later discovered that this character was a leader of a biker gang.)

Not all the friends came in group cosplays. leading to weird combinations like these. Levi and ???

Sanji is still wanted. Also people with the same cosplay seem to like taking photos with each other.

You don’t see Dante Fighting Sephiroth everyday (That is the same Dante from before, but not the same Sephiroth)

This old man had the best Gintoki (Gintama) hair I had seen all day. The cosplay wasn’t that bad either.

While I was going home, I ran into Pip Bernadotte (Hellsing) and that filled me with delinght, because I wasn’t expecting any Hellsing characters, since the manga has fallen into oblivion. I had to stop him to pause for me.

And so my trip to Nipponbashi ended (and so did my camera’s battery) and I went on my way. I really regret not taking more pictures, since there were so many great and humorous  cosplays all along the way. I hope next year I may be able to take part in the parade myself (Not sure what cosplays would be relevant by then tough.)

Please leave a comment with your favorite cosplays or questions about the existence of certain cosplays. (Before you ask, Sailor Moon is still so relevant and so is Naruto, but Bleach isn’t)

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Dotonbori hotel, WTF Japan?

I usually walk to places which are withing walking distance, and this makes for some random sightseeing, since I live near the city center.

So, on the first time I went to Mandarake, I passed by this thing, and to tell the truth, I don’t even know how to describe it. So see for yourself.

 

I don’t really know how these guys are comfortable hanging around the huge heads. These things are just creepy.

I don’t really know who those four faces are, but the hotel’s website provides this explanation.

From the left, “ Asian, African, Arabian, Western”. They were created with a desire to welcome guests from all over the world to our hotel. We think head carvings on the pillars undoubtedly leave a strong impression. Please take a look at the back of pillars, too! You will see the different buttocks for each.

Wait… WHAT? Now I have to go and look at their backs…. or not.

 

Mandarake, a weird otaku heaven

A place like Mandarake (まんだらけ= mandaraké) isn’t really for everyone, and depending on your interests, it could be very interesting or insanely boring. To begin Mandarake is a chain of shops that specializes in used anime, manga and game goods. They also have an area for cosplay costumes (Not used) and they are one of those shops known for its retro merchandise (but of course the hardcore gamers of the internet argue that it’s not that good at it.) but for a regular person like me, their collection of retro games and consoles sent me on a trip down memory lane.

There are two Mandarake shops in Osaka, but I have only been to this one in Shinsaibashi (Since I haven’t been to Umeda yet). The only thing I hate about this shop is that the isles are so narrow they can’t even fit two normal people (which is also the case with Donki)

(I know that it is lame to include apologies in blog posts, but taking photos isn’t allowed in shops so some of the photos are blurry)

Rows are rows of manga, for two floors, one of them dedicated to female audience… if you know what I mean.

Used games for every console, and I found stuff as recent as Pokemon X and Y. The prices vary according to the condition of the product though.

When I said every consoles, I meant EVERY consoles

Retro games need retro figures, there were many of these, ranging from Doraemon to Gundam and everything in between

This is the buy back counter, people bring their old stuff around, but I don’t know how it exactly works for things other than game consoles (because I only asked about those)

Okay, there is also a cosplay floor, but I couldn’t take pictures, because they had a sale on some stuff on the same floor (I fancied one of the Kotetsu figures from Tiger & Bunny) so it was crowded (also the phone ate some photos up).

Another thing is that there are many salespeople are in cosplay especially on the cosplay and Female Audience floor.

 

 

 

 

MUCC mini concert

How do you promote the final live of your tour? By making a mini free live for everyone to see your act. At least that’s what MUCC thought, when they decided to throw a free mini concert in Shinsaibashi. It still beats me why a band as old as MUCC, that many people know and love need to do this, maybe to gather new fans.

I like MUCC, and when I found out about this concert, I decided to go check it out. It wasn’t so far away, and the weather was good so I took a walk to the alleged triangle park.

Yes, it’s a small space, but it was packed, I could only take this pic when people have cleared out.

That panel that says MUCC rose like a curtain to reveal the band inside the first floor.

Now, The concert was so short, it only had four songs, I learned later that the police had stopped the show, because the crowd was threatening to security (Triangle park is so tight), so I don’t know how long it was intended to be. (I admit that I didn’t expect the MUCC fan base which is mostly girls my age or older to be this hardcore, complete with jumping, headbanging and a mosh pit in the back)

This is as good as I could get with the phone camera, but I really enjoyed myself.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to go to the concert they were promoting, I was going to, until Kiyoharu decided that his concert was going to be on the same week, but that is a story for another day.

Here is MUCC’s latest single “World’s End” which is also the opening to the anime “Meganebu!

The Nightmare Before Christmas…

Is “the Nightmare Before Christmas” a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? Well, why not both?

I never met anyone who doesn’t like or at least know this popular stop motion animation about Halloween Town and a pumpkin king called Jack.

The nice thing about Den Den Town, is that apart from the huge amount of Anime goods, you would find goods from popular western animations and movies (Mostly things that have become very popular and sometimes iconic). I found this pic in one of my folders.

The picture doesn’t show how big they really are, about 120~130 cm high. And I’m lucky I didn’t get caught, because of the “No photography” sign they had

Art in the street

Many people ask me if the manhole covers in Japan are art pieces, I have seen them before on the internet and I know they existed, but when I came to Osaka, things were confirmed, most of the manholes are pressed with an embossed drawing of the Osaka castle, which is pretty to begin with, but next to an expensive mall, they decided to go the extra mile and do this.

It’s not like they looked bad to begin with.

Let’s take the subway

This is the first time I get asked to post about something (although the requester didn’t use the request page, but it was my first request) I decided to talk about the subway station. The subway lines in Osaka aren’t as complicated as the ones in Tokyo, but they still reach many places. The example in this post is the station near my school, and since it only has one line passing through it, it is a little more simple than the others.

First off, there is a map of the subway stations in every entrance of the station, with your station highlighted, and the prices to other stations. Each line had a different color and when you have a station with many lines, the colors are always used to indicate the lines on gates and other signs.

Since you know the prices already. You get your ticket by inserting the right amount of money (or more) in the machine and picking the value of the ticket that you need (unfortunately at this time I used my train pass, the one I lost once in this post. so I didn’t buy any) Also since this is a fairly quiet station, there are only 2 machines.

The platform with 2 ways. the screens indicate if a train i coming, and so does the sound system (I don’t know what happened to this picture).

The subway is here (shutter was a little slow, that’s bad)

The sound system announces which train is coming to which station, and in the bigger stations they announce in Japanese and English.

The electronic gates (since my phone ate the other picture), and then since this is one of the bigger stations (we arrived to my home station) you will find these signs telling you which line is from which gate. as well as the way to the gates.

Well, Somehow the phone ate the other photos, but this station opens into an underground mall.

Not all stations are created equal, this work is found in Ebisuchou station (the one that leads to Den Den town)

And this pillar too, though I couldn’t make out what they were selling.