The lively event was hosted by the Japanese Pop Culture and League of Legend Clubs
By: TRICIA MCCANN
Wigs assembled and gaming controllers in hand, students attended IU South Bend’s very first Cosplay Con. Hosted by the League of Legends Club and Japanese Pop Culture Club, the event celebrated gamers and Japanese pop culture fans alike.
The event began in the Grill at 6 p.m. and went on until 11 p.m. Student Life helped supply cotton candy, nacho and popcorn machines while the Student Government Association funded the pizza and soda provided to attendees.
“League of Legends came up with the idea,” said Kristen Pritchett, president of the Japanese Pop Culture Club. “They were like ‘Hey, do you do cosplay?’ And we were like ‘Uh yeah.’ So we went from there in literally two-and-a-half weeks.”
Cosplay, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime.
It was suggested that students also bring in a non-perishable food item to donate to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana.
“We are actually, the League club and Japanese Pop club, taking part in the campus wide food drive going on right now that is hosted by Tri-Beta, so this is kind of our way to get our stores in and contribute to that” said Elaine Jackson, PR representative for the League of Legends Club.
Throughout the night students took part in a cosplay costume contest, a Super-Smash Brothers tournament and Dance Dance Revolution tournament. The Cosplay contest was judged by Kristen Pritchett, Brian Davis and Mike Moran. Criteria for judging included how much of the costume was home-made, the craftsmanship and detail as well as the resemblance to the character each student was portraying.
Each tournament was a double-elimination and based off of the student’s skill level. Students played in each tournament until they were eliminated and the final contestants fought for first place.
Winners of the events were Leah Downey for her cosplay as Grell Sutcliff, Sean Lovejoy in Super-Smash Brothers and Gary Grosz for his dance moves in DDR. Each winner was able to choose a prize from items donated to the event.
“All [prizes were] donated from the individual clubs. League of Legends had some stuff and the officers do a lot of panels at conventions so we had prize stuff on hand,” Pritchett said.
Prizes included DVDs, anime posters, gaming guides, Call of Duty items from Game Stop and more.
“We were really excited to work together,” Jackson said. “The two of us made a lot of friends and we are hoping that will bring people who maybe don’t come out to a lot of campus events and are interested in not so popular stuff to come out and have a good time.”
IU student Heaven Shull, who dressed up as Link, said she’s in the Japanese Pop Culture Club because she enjoys cosplay and hanging out with her friends.
“I also get to show off my costume,” she said.
Both clubs are looking forward to hosting this event again sometime in the near future.
“We are really looking forward to making this an annual thing and expanding it every year, getting other clubs involved and outside sponsors,” Jackson said.
Not to be confused with the Japanese Club, the Japanese Pop Culture Club, according to Pritchett, “celebrates more of the popular culture aspects of Japan, such as anime, manga, music, video games, that sort of thing. And Japanese Club tends to do more culturally related events. But it is co-existing.”
The League of Legends Club is centered around the online game “League of Legends,” a multiplayer online battle arena video game.
“We started earlier in the spring and are looking to make more of like an online gaming club in general so we were really excited to host this event and get more people out and maybe learning about League of Legends, our club and what we do,” Jackson said.
The League of Legends Club meets every Wednesday in the Northside Basement computer lab at 5:30 p.m. and the Japanese Pop Culture Club meets every Thursday at 5 p.m. in Northside 0044.