Hello! Please excuse the lateness of this report. It was hard to find time and write this. I will try my best to be much speedier with my future reports.
And just to introduce myself…
My name is Louisa and this is my first post with Elite Cosplay. My main purpose is to provide readers with convention reports. Residing in New York, most of my reports will be East Coast based. I’ll try my best to make my reports as entertaining as possible so I hope you’ll enjoy reading them.
Now onto the report…
AnimeNext is a yearly convention that is held in Somerset, New Jersey during the month of June. If you couldn’t tell from the title, it is a convention that is heavily based around anime. Cosplay is obviously a big part of this con and same with its masquerade. In addition to that, AnimeNext has never disappointed me with their musical guests. This year, FLOW graced the main stage along with ELISA. But due to time constraints, I was only able to cover FLOW for this article. Being as it may, it is a local con so I had no excuses to skip out on this.
Friday: FLOW concert
With my friend driving, we arrived at the convention center in the afternoon. It was ridiculously hot and humid that day so we stayed in our hotel for awhile before heading out again. (Thank goodness for air conditioning.) The FLOW concert was the main event that night and needless to say, it was hard to keep us in the room for long. I took my first walk around the dealer’s room and then I photographed a lovely Natsume cosplayer some time before the concert:
Time went by quickly and before I knew it, I was standing in front of the main events stage. You could feel the energy extruding from all the fans waiting for their band to come out.
FLOW is a jrock band consisting of five members: Kohshi & Keigo as vocalists, Take as lead guitarist, Got’s as bassist, and Iwasaki on drums. They are well-known for providing some of the most popular opening and ending themes in anime history. Examples include, but are not limited to: ‘GO!!!’ from Naruto, ‘Days’ from Eureka Seven, and ‘Colors’ from Code Geass. I’ve been familiar with their music since I was a kid watching adult swim so you could imagine how I felt to see these guys perform. I knew it was going to be a great concert but I didn’t know it could end up being such an amazing performance. They played all their popular songs and the crowd went wild. Keigo and Kohshi were excellent with encouraging the crowd to jump up and down and clap their hands. They would run back and forth across the stage while throwing their arms up in the air. There was one song where they even had the audience do the human wave. It was a live that involved a lot of movement along with FLOW’s upbeat melodies and it was a good example of how a concert can be a lot of fun even for concert scourges. I don’t know how anyone could’ve stayed still during such a fun and lively concert.
Even though I attended as a photographer, I still sang along to all the songs I knew and moved my body with the poppy beat of their music. I’ll admit I went a bit crazy during ‘GO!!!’, ‘Days’, and ‘World’s End’ since those are my favorite songs. And unregrettably, I screamed out the chorus during all those songs. Imagine me, wearing my heavy-ass Nikon around my neck while waving my arms left and right amidst my “singing”. (At least I made enough of an impression for them to recognize me at their autograph session.)
My favorite part of the concert was when Take came out during his solo with light-up shutter shades and a hoodie trimmed with an LED strip. Everyone was in awe when the stage lights dimmed and his apparel lit up. And being the goofball that he is, Take stood there on the stage like a supermodel while enjoying the crowd’s cheers laced with ironic laughter. When he suddenly picked up his guitar, he resumed his role as the band’s lead guitarist and showed off playfully. Another great surprise was when the band covered ‘Guren no Yumiya’, Attack on Titan’s first main theme and ‘CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA’ from Dragonball Z.
Overall it was a very memorable concert that left me full of feels. I would recommend anyone to go see FLOW if they ever get the chance.
Saturday: Fashion Show
Saturday was a long and busy day, as it normally is. My schedule started with the fashion show and ended with the masquerade. However, I’ll only be covering the fashion show. Designer Naoto Hirooka was the star and his h.NAOTO STEAM and FRILL clothing lines were being featured. If you aren’t familiar with Hirooka, he is known for his brand, h.NAOTO. It is a brand which incorporates punk along with Japanese fashion subcultures such as gothic lolita and visual kei. Since the birth of h.NAOTO, he has branched out as a designer and come up with unique clothing lines. h.NAOTO STEAM is a mixture of steampunk and victorian flair while FRILL combines country lolita with a gothic touch. The show was split into two parts with STEAM presented first, followed by FRILL right after Naoto-san’s short Q & A session as intermission.
During the Q & A, the audience had some great questions. One that stood out was, “Is ‘Attack on Titan’ an inspiration to your STEAM line?” My neck craned in curiosity as Naoto-san nodded and said that the series was a piece of his inspiration and that he was a fan of the series. I found it very cool that a renowned fashion designer would use anime and manga as inspiration for their fashion designs. Another person asked him, being that steam punk culture didn’t seem as prominent as it used to, how he felt about it. Naoto-san used lolita as an example of subculture that started off small and is now loved by everyone today; if more people could support steam punk in the same way, there could possibly be a revival. I thought that was very inspirational and if this revival were to take place, I would be glad someone like Naoto-san was the one who spearheaded it.
Here are some cosplay photos from Saturday:
I didn’t do much on Sunday so I won’t report on that. We basically went home after hanging out for a bit. All in all, I had an excellent con filled with valuable memories. Thank you for reading my report and I hope you’ll read my next one.