TGS 09: Cosplayers and booth babes

The booths are closed, the fans have gone home, and now there’s nothing to do but sit and wait for the inevitable blitz of games to arrive this holiday. This was a transitional year for the Tokyo Game Show. Major companies, like EA, were missing, new game announcements were far and few, and show attendance was lower than previous years. Some developers openly talked about the death of the Japanese game industry. Others simply viewed the show’s low turnout as a sign of Japan’s changing role in the global games market. Makuhari Messe (the convention center in Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo, where the show is located) seemed more sedate than it had in years past.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom at this year’s TGS. Thankfully, once the general public was allowed in, it was apparent that one thing hadn’t changed at all: costume play is still king. From innocent Kingdom Hearts cosplayers to metal masked booth babes, TGS is still a hotspot for game-themed accoutrements and detailed costumes crafted by hardcore fans. So check out what you missed below.

Above: Kigurumi cosplayers are usually men. But that’s not always the case

The two men, shown above, are wearing kigurumi masks and costumes. Kigurumi is a special kind of cosplay, in which the practitioners dress up as super cute anime girls, complete with masks and appropriate body molds so no skin can be seen.

Above: This, on the other hand, is not kigurumi

Above: Freya from Final Fantasy IX

Above: Rydia the summoner

Above: The Final Fantasy crew

Above: Rinoa from Final Fantasy VIII

Above: Yuna and Lulu

Above: Beatrix from Final Fantasy IX

Above: Yes, there is a real person inside of this detailed Marlboro monster

Above: Fans who take pictures of cosplayers are called "camera-kozo." People who take pictures of people taking pictures are called "weird"

A man photographs a young woman dressed as Hatsune Miku, a popular virtual idol. People who take pictures of cosplayers are called camera-kozo. The cosplayers get attention and the photographers get photos. Camera-kozo often create websites where they document their collection and promote their favorites. Despite the attention they receive, cosplayers are often careful to keep their true identities secret and rarely divulge their true names or any identifying personal information.

Above: A mob of camera-kozo

The cosplay at TGS is limited to a relatively small section of the venue. This designated area quickly filled up with so many photographers that it eventually made photographing the actual cosplayers nearly impossible.