Tokyo Big Sight - April 29, 2003

Personally, this was the big day for me!  I'd talked to the cosplayer Nonone Karin a week before, and I was gonna get to meet her at the show... and of course she was gonna cosplay Cammy!!  There were actually 4 different shows that day at the Tokyo Big Sight.  All 6 East Halls were taken up by a HUGE doujinshi show.  We didn't even know that was happening until we arrived.  When we walked up from the station (Kokusai-tenjijo), we saw literally thousands of people in line.  The picture to the right shows maybe the last 1/3 of the line.  Doujin shows in the East Halls easily pull over 60,000+ people a day.  There'll be more on that later, because I went to another show the next weekend.  Anyhow, I never made it over there because there was more than enough stuff in the West Halls to keep me busy the entire day.
The World Hobby Festival had a ton of incredible garage kit models, and other people who were selling toys and stuff.  Unfortunately, there were almost no game characters (except for a few DoA girls), but there were of course a whole buncha Ah! My Goddess figures (but no Urd!).  In case you didn't know, Ah! My Goddess rules the garage kit world.  And at one booth, in the middle of a buncha pretty Ah! My Goddess figures, there was one really strange figure that I just had to take a picture of ^_^.  Japanese people have a strange sense of humor!  Anyhow, some of the coolest figures from the show are in the gallery to the right, so see for yourself.  The only one I end up getting was that first Skuld figure.
There was also a Character Festival, but that wasn't my kinda thing.  It was just a show for a bunch hentai video games and crap like that.  However, there were a few cosplayers outside of the hall, and I did get to take pictures of them.  Most exciting was Suzune dressed as one of the Sailor Moon girls.  She's one of my favorite cosplayers.  I tell you, she's incredibly beautiful, especially in person, but at the same time she's so cold and seemingly emotionless.  Her eyes have always really stood out because they're so intense, and it was quite intimidating having 'em looking at me!  Other than that, there was nothing at the show for me.
I spent most of my time at the World Cosplay Festival, but I headed in and out most of the day.  Early on, there wasn't much happening, but I did get to meet and take some pictures of Wakana Ruri cosplaying as Rikku from Final Fantasy X-2.  Rikku was probably the most popular character at the show, and I thought Wakana Ruri did the best cosplay.  There was another girl there dressed as Jill Valentine, and I wanted to get pictures of her, but she was just wandering around early on, and then I never saw her again later in the day.  
For me, the whole day was about Nonone Karin, but wasn't at the show until a little later in the afternoon.  So in the meantime, I took some pictures of other cosplayers, and I headed in and out to the other shows.  BTW, there's an entrance fee of about $8.50 for each show, but once you get your ticket (usually a program guide), you can go in and out as you like.  After my buddy and I got back from lunch (Subway at the nearby mall), guess who was finally there... Cammy!  I ran over to get in line for pictures.  There wasn't enough room for a gather 'round and shoot cosplay show, so everybody had to wait single file.  She was actually about to cut the line and take a break, but when she saw me, she extended it a little longer.  Guess she figured out that I was the American who said he'd be there to see her (since there were only about 5 total foreigners at the show, and I was the only one close to 2 meters tall).  Anyhow, I finally got my turn and said hello.  We'd talked via e-mail a few times, but this was the first time we'd met.  I took my pictures and then let her go on with her business.  Right after that she headed over to a corner where there was some kinda professional photo studio cosplay picture thing going on.  A little bit after that I checked the pictures in my digital camera and noticed that there were all blurry!  At first I thought "Holy crap, was I that nervous?!" but then I noticed that the camera setting got screwed up when I took it out of my pocket.  But believe it or not, I wasn't all that mad... most important for me was getting see and meet her in person, so I was still quite happy.  Luckily, a few hours later, she was posing for pictures again, but this time she'd changed into a green Delta Red suit (first was a brand new pink Delta Red suit).  This time I got some more pictures, and I made sure that everything was set up correctly!  By the way, for pictures of Nonone Karin, check out her brand new gallery on the Cammy Cosplay page!
I never did really hang around and talk to Karin too much.  I could have spent all day talking to her about Cammy and cosplay, but she was really busy with her friends and other fans.  One of the best things about seeing her in person was seeing how much fun she was obviously having while cosplaying Cammy.  Some cosplayers are all business, but she was all fun... and I think that's how it should be!  There's not much that makes me happier than seeing other people get the same kind of joy out of Cammy as I do.  
By the end of the day, I had taken pictures of almost all the cosplayers I wanted to.  The only ones I missed were the girl cosplaying RE1 Jill, a bunny girl in fishnet stockings, a Mai Shiranui, and one particular FFX-2 Rikku.  Another one of my all-time favorite cosplayers was at the show too.  Her name is Maki, and she's twice dressed as Cammy.  Here's one picture.  But at this show she was dressed as some kinda tennis player (I think from The Prince of Tennis anime).  Anyhow, I would have taken pictures of her, but I never saw her posing... just walking around with friends.  By the way, it was a pretty small show because there wasn't much room inside, and it was too windy to really do much outside.  On a side note, I did see about 10 girls have their skirts blown up by the wind, so I  was kinda happy for the weather.  Unfortunately, I never was fast enough with my camera to get pictures for you all ^_~.  
Another side-note about the show is that there were a buncha guys dressed as girls.  I don't get that.  It's not cute, and it's usually not funny... especially when so many dudes are doing it.  There's one freak in particular that I remember from the Tokyo Game Show a few years ago, and this time he cosplayed as a bright yellow and pink Lilith.  Wanna see a picture?  Hell no, I didn't take one!  It's bad enough that the foul imagine is still burned into my mind... no way I'm gonna create physical evidence on top of that!  Talk about UGLY!!!  BTW, it doesn't say so in the comments, but if you look around the Cammy cosplay galleries (check Delta Red White) and find the ugliest Cammy cosplayer... that's him/her/it!  Anyhow, it was a great show, and I had tons of fun!  This kinda stuff happens in Tokyo all the time.  I'm glad that I got to see it.  I was surprised that there were only about 4 other foreigners at the shows (most from some goofy European film crew).  If you ever go to Tokyo, check out the English Tokyo Big Sight homepage for a listing of shows and directions on how to get there.  There's almost always something going on, so check it out.
After all that, my buddy and I met up with 2 of his friends in Harajuku, and we just hung out for the rest of the night (where did I find the energy?!).  All in all, it was one of the greatest days of my life.  Whenever I go to Japan, it seems like I have a lot of days like that.