Team TokuNet news hound Carly Kennedy attended Otakon 2019 in Washington DC, where fans of Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, Power Rangers, and Metal Heroes gathered.
Otakon is an annual 3-day anime convention held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, just blocks away from the National Mall. This was their 26th year celebrating Japanese entertainment and culture.
This year Otakon had a new designated cosplay coordination space in the Marriott attached to the convention center. The space was divided into areas for groups to queue up and organize ahead of their allotted time slot. Convention staff were on hand to provide logistical support.
The tokusatsu cosplay gathering was organized by Heaven’s Gem, a regular at East Coast tokusatsu fan gatherings who has been involved in organizing the tokusatsu cosplay meetup at Otakon since 2016. The lively event started with full group photos as well as breakdowns by series, then moved on to everything from Daiki Kaito stealing treasures to a group attempt at the “Que Boom! Ryusoulger” dance.
Everyone in attendance enjoyed celebrating their favorites with other fans. GokaiGetsuya fell in love with the Space Sheriff Gavan suit after watching the Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie; this was his second time wearing the suit. “I always notice there aren’t many fans of tokusatsu at cons but meeting fellow fans is always a positive experience. Otakon was no different.”
Yarezawa, an Umika Hayami cosplayer, described the gathering as “filled with a lot of heart and plenty of fun!” She loved how some series gags became photo ops. It was her first time attending the gathering at Otakon and she looks forward to attending in the future.
“I was a bit nervous showing up but ended up having a super fun time!” said Dawn, cosplaying Daiki Kaito. “Thank you to the people who had me steal their toys for some photos, hehe!”
Jen Harvey arrived in Kamen Rider Den-O Sword Form armor for her first-ever tokusatsu fan gathering. “It took a few months because I couldn’t quite get the sizing right, along with the fact that it was my first time using pepakura and making a helmet.” She said the meetup was insane, and the compliments she received felt amazing. “The most memorable part was when the Gavan cosplayer came up to me after the shoot and wanted a picture together!”
Not all of the attendees were cosplayers: the gathering attracts a variety of tokusatsu fans. Yael, a young student attending Otakon and seeing a tokusatsu cosplay gathering for the first time, said, “It was really cool and fun. I liked seeing how everyone did their costumes and how the Den-O gal made it all by herself and other people wore the belts.” Mara, Yael’s mother, also loves seeing all the different cosplayers. “I love seeing the range from ‘I have this belt and it’s super fun!’ to ‘Holy cow, how did they MAKE THAT?’”
I noticed more excitement about tokusatsu cosplay from general attendees than ever wandering the halls of the convention center. Thank you to everyone for attending and sharing your love of tokusatsu. It’s always a heartening experience when our community is able to converge.
All photos taken by Keychain Photography. Please do not repost or alter in any way without permission and proper credit.