Japan Society's 2nd Annual Cosplay Party Grows with a Movie Screening, Music, Costume Contest and Prizes Galore

Cosplay Party 2.0

Saturday, May 15, 2010, 3:00-8:30 pm at Japan Society

New York, NY -- In 2009 Japan Society hosted its first-ever cosplay (short for "costume play") party—a smash, sold-out event that drew nearly 500 revelers who created and paraded costumes of their favorite characters from anime, manga, and video games, and shared in their enthusiasm for Japanese culture.

On Saturday, May 15, Cosplay Party 2.0 is set to best last year's inaugural event. The day-long festivities include New York City's first-ever big screen presentation of the anime film Evangelion 1.11, nonstop musical entertainment by cosplay DJ Ruby Red, a photo booth, free admission to Japan Society's current exhibition Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters, and a full-blown costume competition with prizes from Kinokuniya Bookstore, hosted by Uncle Yo, and judged by World Cosplay Summit 2009 Team USA. Throughout the day, cosplayers and their coterie are welcome to enjoy a variety of sweet & savory snacks with Japanese and western drinks while relaxing in Japan Society's j-Lounge.

In addition, Japan Society's mangaka (comic book illustrator) artist-in-residence, Hiroki Otsuka serves as a guest judge for the costume competition. In the early part of the day, participants can meet and observe Otsuka as he creates an original comic book based on Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters.

Cosplay Party 2.0 is held in tandem with the exhibition Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters: Japanese Prints by Utagawa Kuniyoshi from the Arthur R. Miller Collection (through June 13). When asked how the exhibition relates to cosplay, Joe Earle, Director of Japan Society Gallery explains: "Kuniyoshi's prints are teeming with kaleidoscopic figures ripe for costume interpretation. From grotesque apparitions, tattooed warriors, and resplendent beauties to unearthly creatures beyond compare, the possibilities are endless. Kuniyoshi's love of complex narrative, his frenetic style, his powerful characterization, his inventive use of space, and his mass-market appeal all mark him as a grandfather of contemporary manga and anime. Even more than the first Cosplay Party, this event offers an opportunity to re-interpret looks from the past 150 years of Japanese popular aesthetics. We hope some intrepid cosplayers are up to the challenge!"

Schedule of Events:
2:00 - costume contest registration; film passes distributed (first come, first serve to tx holders)
3:00 - party starts; film screening begins and DJ spins
5:00 - cut-off for contest sign-up
6:30 - contest begins
8:00 - winners and prizes announced
8:30 - party ends

Contest Rules: In order to compete in the costume competition, participants must have a costume that fits into one of the following categories: 1) Anime/Manga/Film/US Comics, 2) Videos Games, 3) Original/Kuniyoshi/Other. Contestants must appear in some form of legitimate costume. Japan Society staff reserves the right to determine what constitutes a legitimate costume. No store-bought or rented costumes are eligible. Store-bought props and/or pieces are allowed. Participants may enter as a group. For a winning group there is only one prize presented to the group leader. Early arrival recommended. There will be a dressing area to change into costumes at Japan Society.

Prizes: 1st Place: $200 gift certificate to Kinokuniya Bookstore; 2nd Place: $100 gift certificate to Kinokuniya Bookstore; 3rd Place: $50 gift certificate to Kinokuniya Bookstore.

Tickets: $20 in advance/$15 members. The first 220 ticket buyers receive auditorium seating for the costume competition, after which ticket buyers can watch live on plasma screens in the foyer. Contest participants do not require a seat, but pre-sale is recommended for those wanting to compete. Film screening tickets will be released at 2:00 pm on the day of the event and are on a first-come, first-served basis to Cosplay Party 2.0 ticket holders. All Cosplay Party 2.0 ticket holders receive complementary admission to Japan Society Gallery for the exhibition Graphic Heroes Magic Monsters.

Cosplay (kosupure in Japanese) is a performance-based activity in which participants don costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea. Often drawn from popular Japanese fiction, favorite sources include manga, comic books, graphic novels, anime, live-action fantasy and horror films, and video games, as well as J-Pop stars and characters from classic novels. Inanimate objects are sometimes given anthropomorphic forms, and it is not unusual to see gender reversal with women appearing as male figures and vice versa. Cosplay is an international phenomenon with communities and competitions around the world. Cosplay sometimes involves role-playing in character.

Japan Society held its first Cosplay Party on March 28, 2009, in conjunction with the exhibition KRAZY: The Delirious World of Anime + Manga + Video Games (March 13-June 14, 2009). Over 450 attended, with most everyone in costume and some 78 contestants vying for prizes. The event was covered by The New Yorker, Artforum and Time Out New York, and is archived on www.japansociety.org with an image gallery and video clip.

For the first time on the big screen in New York City, Cosplay Party 2.0 presents the feature anime film Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone (2010, 100 min., in Japanese with English subtitles. Chief Director: Hideaki Anno. Director: Kazuya Tsurumaki . Character design: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto. Cinematography: Tohru Fukushi. Editor: Hiroshi Okuda. Music: Shiro Sagisu.) The stunning and latest rebuild of Hideaki Anno's anime masterpiece, arguably the most important work of the genre of all time is a mind-blowing film experience and an absolute classic of otaku culture. Evangelion 1.11 is extended and extensively enhanced from the 2007 theatrical release (based on the original 26-episode series was released in 1995), featuring never-before-seen 3D CG animation and 266 visual and audio upgrades.

Evangelion 1.11 takes place in the not-too-distant future. Tokyo-3 is still standing after most of civilization was decimated in the Second Impact. As the megalopolis endures a ceaseless onslaught by the deadly Angels, otherworldly creatures bent on eradicating the human race, the government constructs a fleet of towering humanoid machines--the EVAs--to combat the ruthless enemy. Tormented teenager Shinji Ikari is called into action and reluctantly takes his place at the controls of EVA Unit 01. Living a life of lonely angst, Shinji struggles to accept responsibility for mankind's survival, and finds himself fighting alongside the only person who might understand his plight, Rei Ayanami, the elusive and frail pilot of EVA Unit 00.

Japan Society's spring 2010 exhibition Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters: Japanese prints by Utagawa Kuniyoshi from the Arthur R. Miller Collection spans the career of woodblock print artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798–1861), whose vivid scenes from history and legend, wildly popular 150 years ago, include giant spiders, skeletons, and sea creatures; Chinese ruffians; women warriors; haggard ghosts; and ferocious samurai. Japan Society presents over 130 dramatic images by a graphic genius whose work is a major influence on today's manga and anime artists. The exhibition was organized by the Royal Academy of Arts in collaboration with Arthur R. Miller and The British Museum.

Established in 1907, Japan Society has evolved into North America's major producer of high-quality content on Japan for an English-speaking audience. Presenting over 100 events annually through well established Corporate, Education, Film, Gallery, Language, Lectures, Performing Arts and Innovators Network programs, the Society is an internationally recognized nonprofit, nonpolitical organization that provides access to information on Japan, offers opportunities to experience Japanese culture, and fosters sustained and open dialogue on issues important to the U.S., Japan, and East Asia.

Cosplay Party 2.0 takes place Saturday, May 15, 3:00-8:30 pm. Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th St. between First and Second Avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 and 7 subway at Grand Central or the E and V subway at Lexington Ave.) Tickets are available at www.japansociety.org or by calling the Box Office at 212-715-1258. For more information, call 212-832-1155 or visit the website.

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