Fullerton, CA — It was a perfect spring day outside, complete with blue skies, comfortable temperatures, and a gentle breeze that smelled of all things fresh and naturey. So not only was it a perfect day to be out, but a perfect day to attend the 2010 SoCal Cosplay Gathering! Craig Regional Park in Fullerton was the destination to be for over 500 Cosplayers, photographers, and those who just wanted to have a bit of fun. The park was insanely crowded, with parking virtually non-existent, but there was color and laughter to be found everywhere.
The vast majority attending were dressed to the nines. Though there’s no rule against street clothes, attending the gathering costumeless is definitely not recommended (photographers excepted, of course)! Even a simple panda hat or cat ears would have made one feel part of the crowd. Despite the warm weather, there were several truly extravagant costumes, full-body, head-to-toe cover-ups that looked nightmarishly hot from a distance. Most of the crowd kept their costumes simpler. The popular faves – Naruto, Hetalia, Kingdom Hearts and multiple versions of Final Fantasy – were represented. Two different Pokemon groups competed to “catch em all.” Metal Gear Solid, Mortal Kombat, Half-Life 2, Pixar’s Up and a fair number of original costumes put in an appearance, as well.
The park’s main shelter was a bustle with activity throughout the afternoon and into the evening. The sounds of Rock Band was a constant, unmistakable buzz except during official events – the costume contest and Iron Cosplay. A barbecue pit was a cornucopia of tasty burgers and hot dogs. Pink Lemonade, provided by Anime Los Angeles’ Chaz, kept everyone hydrated. There were even a few pets at the event, a beautiful husky puppy and an adorable, 6-week old kitten, though neither bothered to don a costume. There was certainly something for everyone to enjoy, and it seemed like everyone did.
The first official event of the gathering was the costume contest. There were a fair number of entries, all of them first-rate, but only the best could take home the prize. The best in this case was Russell from Pixar’s Up!, but Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion came in a close second. Of course, even the runner up in third had an amazing Doctor Horrible Cosplay. Yet a much rowdier competition came next in the form of Iron Cosplay. Hosted by local Cosplayer, Maguma, the competitors were broken down into two random groups. Each group was given bundles featuring the same Cosplay elements (various colored cloth and cardboard) and were told to put together their best effort at a new themed Cosplay outfit. The first costume theme announced was Mecha. Each team had 3 minutes to come up with the most outstanding representation they could muster. Team B broke away with an early win, but eventually lost to Team A who won the follow up costume themes – Ninja and Magical Girl. All contestants received perfectly themed gift cards to Joann’s Fabrics, whether they reveled in the thrill of victory or not.
Away from the roar of the Cosplay crowd, the park’s beautiful trees provided provided shade and photo opportunities. At any one time, many a Cosplayer could be found posing for the mass of roaming photographers. Five photographers from the Con Yearbook team were among them, snapping away, collecting some of the most well-designed, intriguing, and just plain fun Cosplays for the publication. Look forward to enjoying these great shots in the 2010-2011 edition of Con Yearbook!
As the sun slowly dipped toward the western horizon, the crowd began to thin and photographers with ever fewer lighting options packed their bags. Costumes were swapped with day clothes, talk turned from anime and costuming to where to go for dinner. As always around the close of these events, many hugs and goodbyes were exchanged with the promises of seeing each other at the next conventions or gatherings. Another year, another gathering and for the 2010 SoCal Cosplay Gathering it was all said and done, but the memories will linger and the photos last forever.
~ Con Yearbook