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Ketholeno Neihu
Date of Publish: 2017-07-20



The July monsoon is intense yet there is no stopping for young enthusiasts to swarm The Heritage, Kohima for an event much awaited. This July 8 and 9, thousands of people from Nagaland came and witnessed what is popularly known as the Nagaland Anime Junkies Annual “Cosfest”.

“It is now in its fifth year of such annual event since its inception in 2013 with a few hundred visitors and participators to now thousands of fans and followers both in events organized and social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook,” says Biebe Natso, the founder of NAJ.

While to those people unfamiliar of the word “Cosplay” the word is an affix of ‘costume’ and ‘play’. An art form of dressing up as a character from a film, play, or video game drawn from the Japanese genres of ‘anime’ or ‘manga’ and other inclusion of pop-culture events. This totem of the Japan’s anime influence has become a hobby and admiration of many which is not just for the kids but an entertainment to adults too.


This year’s event with the vibrant theme “Back to the future” witnessed anime lovers cosplaying characters like Naruto, Samurai, Ao No Exorcist, God Eater, Wonder Woman, Dragon Knight and many more. Cosplay competition, Cultural cross over challenge, Ultimate Ninja tournament, selfie contest are among the highlights of the event. The first ever Kohima Beatbox battle was also held here.

The two day event also featured artists to showcase and sell their products ranging from creative arts, toys, collectible card games, badges, printed t-shirts, make-up merchandises, comic and food stalls. All trilled the visitors thronged to purchase the products and Yes! A thumbs up from the artists who exclaimed their exhibits on good sale.

In a conversation with the founder, she shared her inspirations drawn from the first Comic Con in Delhi. It has become a hobby of many and so also encourages cosplayers to inculcate creativity and passion in getting costumes ready. An avid cosplayer, Chelo whose character was Ikkaku Mandarame said it took him three years to get the whole costume ready which ofcourse through fervent handwork was made from common materials such as hard paper, paint, thermocol etc.

A young teenager also expressed that her dress was sewn by local tailors with much reluctance and that her wig was imported. A dragon, as a centre piece of the event was made from scratch using EVA foams by the organizing team.

This art form of escapism has drawn the interests of youngsters from teenagers to the age group of 20s and much of its popularity is evident in social media sites. Amid the crowd, the visitors took an opportunity to capture pictures with the “cosplayers”. Akhrie, an enthusiast, acclaimed, ‘It is one in a lifetime opportunity to take a picture with the “cosplayers” because their costumes are so defining and unique.”

Yet with so much of attraction that the youngsters has drawn to this pop-culture, an observant, Kenei, lamented that Nagas living in Nagaland are more drawn towards other culture influences as the Koreans and Philippines or the now Japan Anime while our own traditional cultures are merely known in the society.

Pele, whose long stay in Delhi has made him realize that instead of promoting other cultures so long its popularity is, a tinge of our culture is very important and therefore suggested that while events as “cosfest” are organized, the inherence of our culture presence will popularize and draw more people from across the country and the world.

Nagaland is a hub of cultural events, “Cosfest” is one in its rising popularity. The Nagaland Anime Junkies has a facebook and instagram fan followers of more than 16000 people. When asked why the team has not used media platforms to announce events, Biebe expressed the team itself is self financed, very informal and yet social media has been their platform and moreover word of mouth spreads faster among the kids who are all acquainted with the advantage of technology.

Ketholeno Neihu

( Ketholeno Neihu is a student of M.A. ( Second Semester) at the Centre for Studies in Journalism and Mass Communication, Dibrugarh University. This feature has been produced as part of her Summer Internship at NEZINE)

Photographs used in this feature were taken by Ketholeno Neihu


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