As the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks prepared to do battle in Super Bowl XLIX, Columbus also saw its’ own big game, as thousands gathered to celebrate Japanese pop culture and animation at the fourteenth annual Ohayocon. The three-day event turned the Greater Columbus Convention Center into an epicenter of Japanese pop culture, including animé (Japanese animation), music, and entertainment.
While at Ohayocon, many attendees like to dress up as their favorite characters from an array of shows, movies, and manga (Japanese comic books). In keeping with the year’s theme of MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games), many cosplayers came dressed as characters from hit games, like “Sword Art Online,” “Final Fantasy,” and “The Legend of Zelda” to name a few. However, one of the most popular cosplays features characters from the popular animated series, “Attack on Titan.” Ashley Yume, an avid cosplayer, chose to dress up as “Attack on Titan” character, Mikasa Ackerman (Second photo in our Slideshow). What makes her cosplays unique from other Mikasa cosplayers is that is what is called a “kigurumi cosplay,” which consists of a costume, flesh-colored bodysuit, and a mask designed to look like the character you are dressing up as. “Kigurumi allows me to become the closest to resembling the character as humanly possible. The mask has been specially made to reflect the essence of the character being portrayed and it seems that the attendees find it both adorable and a bit shocking. I would certainly say I do stick out from your typical “Attack on Titan” cosplayers.
While Ohayocon is about coming together to celebrate Japanese culture, it’s also a time to give back to the community, and one way that it does that is through its’ annual blood drive. Throughout the weekend, the American Red Cross was on hand to collect blood from attendees; many who came to donate dressed in costume. John Williams, the head of the Ohayocon Blood Drive, says that blood drives, especially ones with large turnouts like the convention’s, are very important and that they are able to meet the high demand for blood transplants that thousands of hospitals across the country perform each year. “The outpouring from the attendees at Ohayocon has been really great. We love to have blood drives from any company or organized event, like Ohayocon, that are willing to put the effort to bring donors in to help us meet our normal needs. One donation of blood can save three lives, and all it takes is a little time and effort.”
For those interested in attending next year’s Ohayocon, which will mark its’ seventeenth installment, plans are set for the event to take place on the weekend of Jan. 15, 2016.