Hello! This is WCS staff Kitamura.
The preliminaries for WCS 2019 Belgium Representatives have been held at Made In Asia, a Japanese pop culture event taking place in Brussels.
This is my report about the event venue and its contents!
From Narita to Brussels !
This time I was flying with ANA (which is a co-sponsor of Belgium Selections event Made in Asia)
By the way ANA’s safety demonstration video has been redesigned to show characters in Kabuki fashion !
We can feel that 2020 is approaching !
There was a documentary about Printpac broadcast in the plane.
Printpac is a service which sales are always increasing since its foundation in 2003. They provide a quick, high quality and affordable service and WCS has been much obliged to them since quite a long time.
Even if the print demand has been decreasing a lot since the past years, it is amazing that in spite of this Printpac sales are still increasing.
Th flight lasted for 11 hours…
Honestly, it was so long !
It made me feel very relaxed to look at Belgium landscape from above
At the airport Remy, a staff from the event Made in Asia, was waiting for me and he drove me to the hotel.
This is the Berlaymont Building, EU headquarters.
I was surprised to learn that EU headquarters are located in Belgium !
As Belgium is located in a very practical spot in the middle of Europe,
It seems that it has been the headquarters of several organisations even before the EU.
This is the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, a Roman Catholic church.
It seems that is becomes very crowded on Sunday mornings (around 9:30).
This is a figure shop in the city of Brussels.
Beer and mussels
We were served 1kg of mussels, and I was told that it is the usual ammount for a meal. Quite a generous amount !
The seasoning tasted like a salty soup and had a strong taste of seafood.
Brussel people are all using those scooters.
The city seems to recommend their use to prevent car pollution. And by looking at it, it seems that it is okay to leave them as-is after using them.
There were also rental bycicles everywhere.
We went to the venue by metro.
I heard that in Belgium a lot of people are already wearing their cosplay when they take the train to the venue.
But as the population density is not as high as Japan, it would not cause trouble people around even if cosplayers wear their outfits outside of the event area.
At 9:30 we arrived at the station close to the event.
People were hurrying towards the venue for the opening at 10:00.
The event venue :
The building has big halls connected sideways just like the Makuhari Messe in Japan.
The building has big halls connected sideways just like the Makuhari Messe in Japan.
It seems that it was used as the main venue of the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958.
Besides the venue stands the Atomium, which is represented on the logo of the team WCS Belgium.
It was also built for Brussels World’s Fair.
There are escalators inside and a restaurant at the top of the building. That is impressive !
On Belgium team logo are reprensented the Atomium, beer and fries.
The colors are well balanced and have a pop feeling. This is one of my favorite team logos.
The venue entrance was very crowded.
Props that were considered as dangerous were seized at the entrance.
I was surprised that not only swords but also props like canes were also seized. They do not seem dangerous, but I heard that the organizers recommand to not bring that kind of long props in the first place.
Report on the venue :
The pamphlet of the event.
The schedule of the stage performances.
WCS Belgium domestic selections will be from 13:00 on Sunday.
The shopping booth area :
There was a lot of booths divided by theme in various areas such as Pop culture, analog games, vieo games or cosplay furnitures.
They were also selling a lot of cosplay making tools.
There was also a mahjong trial corner.
Pokemon cards were also very popular.
A quiz contest on Japanese animation was held on the mini stage.
The question seemed to be about Professor Agasa from Detective Conan.
The video games booth area :
There was a training center to try become a Jedi.
The asian food both area :
The tuna onigiri were as good as Japan products.
But as it costed about 10€ for 3 onigiri, it was quite expensive !
The live performance of the Japanese heavy metal band Fate Gear.
Belgium preliminaries will happen on this stage on Sunday from 13:00.
There weren’t that many ONE PIECE cosplayers at the venue, but it seems that ONE PIECE itself is very appreciated in Belgium and is considered as a major series.
This group was the most popular at the venue.
As a proportion there were more people wearing bits of cosplay as fashion rather than fully cosplayed people.
For exemple there were many people wearing Luffy’s straw hat !
Around 20~30 people around the venue.
A father and son cosplay of Piccolo and Son Gohan.
It was heartwarming to see them share their love for cosplay.
I also spotted an enemy character from Dragon Ball.
I noted that cosplayers of series from the Shueisha were the most numerous.
I was first wondering if that was a cosplay of Kyubey (from Puella Magi Madoka Magica), but after searching later I learnt that it was in fact a character called Mitty from Made in Abyss.
Someone was inside and was moving the costume using a trolley.
It would be impossible to do such a thing in Japan as conventions are very crowded and the use of a trolley would be potentially dangerous. But there people seemed to enjoy the sight of this character and were laughing happily.
Bulle Japon was in charge of WCS Belgium preliminaries for this year.
They are also Switzerland organizers, and they are also taking care of the Belgium preliminaries starting from this year.
In the backstage the staff was checking the props right before stage time.
Everyone was feeling very nervous before going on stage.
The handsome man standing in the front is a well-known Swiss cosplayer, Stylouz. He will also be one of the judges of the preliminaries.
I was very happy when he told me “Actually I am participating to the One Piece Cosplay King Grand Prix !”.
This is his submission. He applied during the early stage of the contest, so it was quite a coincidence to meet him at the preliminaries !
By the way, because he is also participating to the ECG (European Cosplay Gathering) it seems that the timing was difficult for him to try joining WCS preliminaries. That is why he hasn’t been a representative yet.
Then Belgium preliminaries finally started ! The organizers were taking the role of moderators (it seems to be this way for most of the european preliminaries).
They also broadcast the trailer of WCS 2019.
The view of the stage from the judges seats. It made the observation easier.
The audience area. It was super packed all the way to the back.
The performance of the first team of candidates was from NieR：Automata (there is anoother report with the video data of the performances)
A performance from Yuri!!! on Ice. I found it very creative and enjoyable, but unfortunately they couldn’t become representatives (as a result of the after stage costume examination).
After all the performances the 6 team of candidates were gathered on stage.
From the left : characters from Little Witch Academia, Yuri!!! on Ice, The Seven Deadly Sins, Resident Evil (Biohazard), NieR：Automata and Fire Emblem Fates.
Costume examination. On the picture WCS 2018 France representative Annshella is evaluating a sword.
They unfortunately can’t be seen clearly on the picture, but the two representatives of WCS 2018 team Belgium also took part to the examination.
We were a total of 5 judges with Stylouz and me.
The way they were attentively observing and touching the costumes for the evaluation reminded me of the examination during WCS championship in Nagoya. Because the judges themselves are WCS alumni and have aquired experience in Nagoya, they are able of wholeheartedly check the quality of the costumes to chose the next representative.
The score distribution was decided on the same basis as the main championship, but the final decision was entrusted to the agreement of the five judges. Because everyone had preferences and critera, we argued a lot until we could all agree on the result.
However, we were arguing to be sure that the final decision wouldn’t be a compromise on the winner, but the result of a real and severe examination reflecting everyone love for cosplay.
After discussing for about 2 hours, everyone agreed and settled on one team as the next representative.
In the end, the team who presented cosplays from Little Witch Academia was chosen as WCS 2019 Belgium representative.
I only realized it after the interview made once the stage performance ended, but Marinou (standing on the left) is very fluent in japanese. During the costume examination their presentation was very well done and they sounded as very positive persons, so I think that this summer they will have no problem getting along with the other representatives !
On the right, the team who performed characters from Resident Evil have obtained the second place.
(Reporter by Kitamura)