Wednesday 26 April 2017

Juli and Conan find love at Ireland's biggest anime convention

Juli Neeson (pink hat) as Sakura from Cardcaptors, Rachel Ralph (light blue hair) Kirenshi Cosplay as Hatsune Miku and Saturn (purple hair)13 Cosplay as Rei Ayanami from Evangelion. Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
Juli Neeson (pink hat) as Sakura from Cardcaptors, Rachel Ralph (light blue hair) Kirenshi Cosplay as Hatsune Miku and Saturn (purple hair)13 Cosplay as Rei Ayanami from Evangelion. Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

It was a case of 'anime instinct' for cosplay enthusiast Juli Neeson when she attended Ireland's largest anime convention Eirtakon seven years ago.

The graphic designer from Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, met her husband Conan while wondering around the stalls and stands.

"He was working and I was a guest, now we go together as a cosplay couple," she said.

Cosplay coupling is when real-life couples dress up as fictional couples from the anime world and attend conventions.

Ireland’s largest Anime Event Eirtakon. Photography: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
Ireland’s largest Anime Event Eirtakon. Photography: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Juli refrained from dressing up in Cosplay on her wedding day "although I did have Legend of Zelda place settings," she said.

Next month, other cosplay enthusiasts can try and find Mr and/or Mrs Right when they attend the three-day event.

Cosplay blind dating is one of the events on offer at the convention - which takes place in Croke Park.

Attendees can also take part in console tournaments and gaming workshops. Care assistant Rachel Ralph (20) from Dunboyne has been a cosplay enthusiast for several years.

Pictured in Dublin’s Croke Park Stadium are Andrew Mahon as Marvel’s Captain America, Juli Neeson (pink hat) as Sakura from Cardcaptors, Julia Vasiljeva (black hair) as Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke, Rachel Ralph (light blue hair) Kirenshi Cosplay as Hatsune Miku, Saturn(purple hair)13 Cosplay as Rei Ayanami from Evangelion, Stephen Lynch as Red Power Ranger, Michael Abrahamson-Mr Balloonatic with a balloon Pokemon. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
Pictured in Dublin’s Croke Park Stadium are Andrew Mahon as Marvel’s Captain America, Juli Neeson (pink hat) as Sakura from Cardcaptors, Julia Vasiljeva (black hair) as Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke, Rachel Ralph (light blue hair) Kirenshi Cosplay as Hatsune Miku, Saturn(purple hair)13 Cosplay as Rei Ayanami from Evangelion, Stephen Lynch as Red Power Ranger, Michael Abrahamson-Mr Balloonatic with a balloon Pokemon. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

"My character Hatsune Miku was originally a singing synthesizer application but then she was given a design," she told the Herald.

"We're a big community. It's a great way to meet people. It took my family a bit of time to get used to me dressing up the whole time but now they're really supportive. They see all the friends I've made so they think it's great."

Cosplayers can spend up to €500 decking themselves out in Japanese cartoon-inspired costumes.

"I make all my costumes myself," Rachel said.

"My mum taught me to sew so she helps me sometimes."

The guests of honour at Croke Park are voice-over artists Luci Christian and John Swasey.

The organisers will also host a League of Legends Tournament.

Children's entertainer 'Mr Balloonatic' will attend the convention.

Eirtakon is also hosting the International Worbla Awards - a costume and fashion show for costume designers and cosplayers.

The event runs from November 4-6 and is now in its 12th and final year.

According to organisers the convention simply outgrew itself.

The event is supporting Jigsaw - the national Centre for Youth mental health.

Tickets cost €25 for the day.

Herald

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