Cosplay bonenkai organized by Gainax

Yamaga-san wearing a moe-moe armor

Little girls were the heroins of the appeal time.
Also Gainax organizes a bonenkai. It is, however, not a usual bonenkai, for Gainax is not a usual anime studio. I was very sorry I could not follow the invitation when I was invited to the Gainax bonenkai for the first time several years ago. I sent my daughter on behalf of myself because cosplay was her favorite hobby.
I hope readers of this article understand such words as anime, otaku, cosplay, kawaii and moe. Please check other articles in this site related to Gainax and bonenkai.
After coming back from a few years' stay in abroad, this year end was the first chance for me to participate in the Gainax bonenkai and I was happy to be there together with my family and friends.

The party was held in a hotel in Kichijoji. There was a reception desk on the seventh floor and large changing rooms were reserved for participants. When I entered the male changing room several minutes before the official start of bonenkai, it was already filled up with hundreds of young and old men busily taking off their usual cloths, making them up and putting on fancy costumes.

Compared with usual cosplay contests, their cosplays did not concentrate on anime figures and gorgeous costumes, but chose freer themes. In the earlier time - Gainax cosplay bonenkai has already a tradition of 15 years - participants paid more attention to the organizer and did cosplay of the characters appearing in the Gainax anime, explained me Takeda-san. But, nowadays people more freely made use of the occasion of getting rid of the daily life stress. This year cosplayers often took up social topics and in some cases simply animals.

"Chidejika" is one of the topical themes among cosplayers. "Chideji" is a Japanese abbreviation for "digital terrestrial television" and planned to replace analogue television by July 2011. But, very few people understand this highly technical terminology and the responsible TV stations are anxious if the transition can go smoothly. Therefore, TV stations invested a lot in the public relations. Unfortunately, the important TV personality for the promotion happened to be arrested by the police several months ago, because he got drunk, took off all his cloths and loudly spoke and sang in the midnight park near Roppongi and thus disturbed neighbors. The ministry had to suspend him from the promotion team for a while and created a manga-anime character "Chidejika" - a combination of "chideji" and "shika" (deer) - to replace him in the mean time. But, chidejika looked very stupid; its head with TV antenna was still acceptable, but its body fashion was really helpless. Therefore, chidejika became an ideal target for parody cosplay. In opposition to "Chidejika", "Anaro-guma" (analogue beer) was created somewhere on the internet and became a popular character. In the cosplay bonenkai, we could find both "Chidejika" and "Anaro-guma". (Place your cursor on the drawing.)

Akai-san cosplays wolf.

Takeda-san playing the bagpipes
Chidejika and Anaro-guma in drawing

Saito-san (left) and Fukazawa-san wearing oriental costume.
Most of the invitees were business counterparts of Gainax and their family members, I guess, and were not cosplay otakus. Therefore, they looked enjoying the cosplay bonenkai in their own style. Most people made their costume personally and to some extent cheaply, which made the cosplay really smile-provoking, though I cannot put here their photos as I haven’t acquired their personal permissions for uploading on the internet. For me the most striking cosplay was a huge dodo with thousands of feathers. An older gentleman carried a meter long warship on his head, which seemed to be Space Battleship Yamato. Two men colsplaying Thomas the Tank Engine and his friend caught eyes. On the other hand some guys looked very cold in their almost totally naked cosplay!

Yamaga-san wore an armor of samurai, which he had hand-made last year. For example black cords which connected parts were shoelaces. It looked rather normal from a distance. But, when I neared him, I discovered numerous moe-characters on the armor plates. That was indeed an armor of Gainax.

Takeda-san on the other hand wore a perfect Scottish costume which was professionally made on special order. In this costume he played bagpipe. As organizer of bonenkai, he said that Gainax celebrated this year's bonenkai more showy and luxuriously than previous years. In fact some 600 guests were invited and a huge variety of international foods and sweets were placed in front of all walls. Also various kinds of alcohol and non-alcohol drinks were available. "The worse the economy becomes, the more gorgeously we should celebrate our bonenkai festival, so that the goddess of fortune could throw us a glance."

Thomas and his friend stood out too much!
Saito-san wore an Oriental style costume and made excuses for not having invested much time and money on the costume this year, though I did not agree to her. Akai-san did cosplay of wolf. At least this year nobody from Gainax did cosplay using their own anime characters!

There was a 30 minutes lasting "appeal time", where people wanting to appeal to the guests could come on the stage and do something for 30 seconds. Some adults wanted to appeal their business and others announced to want jobs! Then, young parents wanted to shed light on their little daughters. Little girls were indeed the stars of this corner. Nobody could compete with kawaii innocent girls. When the time was nearly to expire, all waiting people were asked to come on the stage, including the noisy Thomas the Tank Engine.

Then a lottery took place. Although more than 100 prizes were prepared, we could not win any of them, as usual! We then left the party place while the price giving ceremony for cosplay contest took place. After the end of the party, another more informal party was to be held in a nearby izakaya.