Konnichiwa! The Alt Entertainer team invaded Hyper Japan 2014 at London’s Earls Court to review this awesome celebration of all things Japan!
We had never seen anything like the live performance of Siro-A, dubbed Japan’s answer to the Blue Man Group. They cleverly use digital projections combined with the movements of the men on stage to create uniquely mesmerising and often humorous effects. Well worth a watch, and you can still catch them playing in London until January 2015.
Masked cartoon character Ninja Hiroki was in-the-flesh and showing off his considerable ninja skills, including opening a champagne bottle with nun-chunks – he made it look so easy!
There were plenty of musical performances too, and we danced along to super-cute J-pop acts Nagi Yanagi and the enchanting and colourful Yanakiku duo – their encore hit ’Hello World’ is our new ear-worm!
Cosplay parade and Kawaii
The cosplay parade was the big highlight of the day, the most impressive being robot Gundam 00, so real we thought an actual robot had invaded the stage, closely followed by The Penguin from Batman Returns (complete with penguin-bomb!), and the terrifying Executioner from Resident Evil. But the award for most adorable has to go to the sweet little girl who dressed up as Kyary Pamyu from Fashion Monster.
Off-stage folks were dressed up in their finest traditional Japanese kimonos, cutting-edge Japanese fashions or Lolita-style – sparkly pink wigs, pastel flairs, frills and all.
We nearly passed out from cute overload in the Hyper Kawaii area, selling all manner of adorable soft squishy things (especially Alpacas!) with big puppy-dog eyes, as well as wearable ears and unicorn horns! Our best stall pick was Genki Gear, selling cute and funny cartoon tees and prints.
Food, games and the rest
Getting hungry, we took ourselves over to the food court where we gorged ourselves on ultra-fishy octopus-balls, complete with fish-flakes! We also nommed some delicious Katsu curry, green tea lattes and (of course!) tasty sushi from Feng Sushi in London.
For gamers the Nintendo area had impressive big-screen demos of Mario Kart 8 and other yet-to-be-released games – as well as a giant friendly Pikachu bumbling around! Women in Domo shirts belted out Aladdin’s ‘A Whole New World’ to promote a new Karaoke game, and we discovered the Askew clothing stall which had some great gamer tees – Hyrule Coffee, anyone?
Although more hidden, traditional Japan was represented as well with stalls selling stunning bonsai trees, swords, Japanese wooden puzzle boxes, traditional artwork and clothing. For a price, you could even be dressed up by ladies-in-waiting in full Japanese kimono dress, and photographed.
Overall Hyper Japan was a weird and wonderful day out. With so many stalls and performances throughout the day, we were never stuck for things to do and were constantly entertained. The cosplay parade and checking out attendees amazing outfits was the big highlight for us.
The range of Japanese interests represented were truly eclectic, however the range of food available was a bit of a let-down, and the crowds made it difficult to try any gaming demos without a significant wait. On the whole though Hyper Japan is a brilliant day out – see you there at Christmas! Sayonara!
If you can’t wait until Christmas for more Hyper Japan awesomeness then watch our video montage below.
Words by Catriona Kinney, video by Michael Barnes and Catriona Kinney and photography by Michelle Stannard.