Life imitates comic art at unconventional fair

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 July, 2007, 12:00am

More than 127,000 people packed the Convention and Exhibition Centre yesterday - a record daily high - for the comic book and computer game fair, many dressed as their favourite characters.

Yesterday's record crowds bring the organisers closer to reaching their hoped for attendance of 550,000 visitors during the five-day fair.

The extension of opening hours, to 11.30pm, was also expected to swell the crowds, with more than 38,000 guests showing up after 5pm.

Among the thousands who thronged the aisles yesterday were the ever-present cosplayers in their outlandish costumes - some came just because they liked dressing up as their favourite characters, but others were in it for a serious competition.

Tam Yuen-chi, 16, and graphic design student Lau Pit-yan, 20, were among 27 cosplayers vying to win a contest to select the most popular and best-costumed character at the Ani-com and Game Fair, which began on Friday.

Yuen-chi, dressed this year as Princess White Rose of the Sony PlayStation role-playing computer game Saga Frontier, said she had spent almost HK$2,000 making her costume.

'It took me a month to find appropriate textiles and accessories in Sham Shui Po,' she said.

She explained that she combined her love of cosplay with a passion for sewing, and creates all her own costumes, spending more than a week sewing her White Rose costume for the contest.

'It is really satisfying to role-play my favourite character and make the outfit myself, since not many young people know how to sew nowadays,' said Yuen-chi, who attends cosplay events once a month.

She has been cosplaying for four years and it is the third consecutive year that she has entered the competition.

Her first attempt to win the hearts of Ani-Com fans at the fair three years ago failed - she believes because her HK$3,000 costume was made of unsuitable material and due to her inexperience.

Ms Lau has made the finals of the competition for two successive years. 'Four years ago, I saw people cosplaying in the Ani-Com. I thought it was fascinating to dress up like that, so I started cosplaying, too, a year later,' she said. It took her a month with the help of friends to make the costume of a character called Myoubi in a Japanese comic called Alichino.

Visitors can vote for their favourite cosplayers during the exhibition and the winners of the competition will be selected on Tuesday, the last day of the fair.

More than 100 exhibitors are displaying their wares at the fair, with about 20 from the mainland. The fair includes the second International Animation Film Festival, featuring works from around the world.