All Dressed Up, Somewhere to Go: Cosplayers Return Downtown for Tokyo Convention, OK | Books

Eye-catching costumes should make downtown Tulsa even more photogenic this week.

Tokyo, OK — formerly known as Tokyo in Tulsa — is an established pop culture convention with a flavor all its own. This is a fan convention focusing on Japanese anime, Japanese culture, and Japanese pop culture. Mission: To educate and build community through entertainment.

Tokyo, OK 2022 will take place Friday through Sunday with programming at multiple downtown venues including the Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Place, 17West, Courtyard by Marriott and Aloft Tulsa Downtown. For tickets, go to tokyointulsa.com.

Con’s activities will kick off with a themed charity ball (Magical Girls vs. the Undead Horde) at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 28 at the Promenade Ballroom inside the Hyatt Regency. Admission is $10 for the ball, which benefits Art4orms.

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A local success story, Tokyo in Tulsa began as a Halloween block party for a local anime store. The block party drew around 500 people – enough to spin the wheels for the creation of a convention. The scam has experienced jumps in attendance of 30 and 40% in some years. By the time the event celebrated its 10th anniversary at the Cox Business Convention Center in 2017, attendance was close to 10,000.

Tokyo to Tulsa became Tokyo to Broken Arrow (in geography if not in name) in 2019. The con moved to Broken Arrow and shuttles were used to transport attendees to and from venues.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no Tokyo in Tulsa in 2020. The convention returned to downtown Tulsa in 2021 with the Hyatt Regency serving as the con HQ. The organizers of the show remain vigilant in the fight against the pandemic. Learn more about the con’s COVID-19 policy at tokyointulsa.com.

Amber Lee Connors, Cole Feuchter, Barry Yandell, John Swasey, Kent Williams, Kiba Walker and Wendy Powell will be the guest voice actors at the convention, which will feature over 300 hours of anime, games (console, arcade, PC, LARP, CCG, laser tag, tabletop), Japanese culture, Tulsa culture, art, writing and music.

Tokyo, OK partners with local companies such as Warguts E-sports and Dice Addiction for electronic and tabletop games.

Zac Murphy, director of public relations, partner services and technology at Tokyo OK, said Warguts will offer prize-based tournaments, all of which will be broadcast live, as well as free games and pop-up matches. Murphy said Dice Addiction will feature tabletop game demos, pop-up matches, and an event-wide Pokemon match, with Gyms at most event locations for battles with willing challengers.

One of Tokyo’s most popular attractions, OK, is a shopping bazaar, a sales hall with merchants from all over the country. The commercial bazaar is open from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The Opening Ceremony is at 2 p.m. on Friday with events throughout the day. Programming includes a Pokemon panel (4 p.m.), K-pop Olympics (5 p.m.), a panel on the past on fandom culture (6 p.m.) and an 18+ panel on stories of con horror (9:30 a.m.). For a full list of Friday’s lineup, head here.

Programming and panel topics on Saturday will include Figure Collecting (1:30 p.m.), What Video Game Tune is That? (2:00 p.m.), Cosplay for Beginners (3:30 p.m.), Anime 18 Year Old Family Feud (6:00 p.m.), and An Avengers Dating Game (9:00 p.m.). For a full list of Saturday’s lineup, head here.

Sunday’s lineup will begin with fandom lip-sync battles at 11 a.m. For a full list of Sunday programming, go here.

The competitions are part of Tokyo, OK. Video contest entries will be viewable in the Hyatt Regency’s Oklahoma Ballroom at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. In addition to an amateur art contest and a Gundam modeling contest, there will be cosplay contests. Prizes for cosplay contests will be awarded during the cosplay show, scheduled from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency.

In addition to a main cosplay contest and a sketch cosplay contest (where entrants are judged on their performance), Tokyo, OK offers a room cosplay contest judged solely on photos taken at the booth. cosplay check-in located in the performers and vendors area. Entrants will be judged on how well they and their costumes photograph, so they will need to “strike a pose” for the best presentation possible. One entry per day is allowed.

Tokyo, OK is great for photos and photoshoots, according to cosplayer Nikki Moriarty. Be aware of this: while costumes are photogenic, a cardinal rule of cosplay etiquette is to ask permission before taking a photo of a cosplayer.

Some participants invest a lot of time in developing and creating the costumes – plural – that they will wear in Tokyo, OK.

Moriarty, who is from the Shawnee area, prepared five cosplays for the convention, and she has been planning them for almost a year. She will be Swimsuit Mitsuri and Idol Misturi on Friday, Paladin Pidge and Casual Pidge on Saturday, Blue Bunny Sonico on Saturday night, and My Melody on Sunday.

Moriarty said it took him two to three weeks to put everything together for Swimsuit Mitsuri (the wig takes him 8 to 10 hours to style), and Idol Mitsuri took two to three months.

“It took a lot of trying to figure things out and constantly rethinking both the idol and the original vibes,” said Moriarty, who also took the time to memorize a dance that she will perform.

Paladin Pidge took the least prep time for Moriarty as the costume was borrowed. Casual Pidge, made mostly from different parts put together and repaired to fit the character, took three weeks to complete. Blue Bunny Sonico also took three weeks. The helmet is made by hand. Moriarty spent around two weeks working on My Melody. She designed the outfit herself.

“I love Tokyo, okay, because it’s a fun place for nerds,” Moriarty said. “You can easily find people who like the same fandom.”

Moriarty likes being able to buy anime products there “without waiting forever” to buy similar products from another seller. And then there’s this: “Tokyo, OK, that’s the only scam my cousin can go to, so it’s a place to spend some family time.”

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