5 Favorite Costumes From Saboten Con 2014 in Glendale
Japanese pop culture can often be a bit colorful and imaginative, to put it mildly. Maybe we're showing our gaijin (or foreigner) by saying such things, but it seems that much of what constitutes entertainment by denizens of the Asian isle -- be it video games, TV shows, movies, literature, or animation -- tends to be splashy, flashy, fanciful, or even a little weird.
Photos by Benjamin Leatherman Autumn Ivy, Heidi Wyatt, Samantha Adair, Dana Dodge portray a quartet of "BooBies" waitresses from Space Dandy at Saboten Con 2014 in Glendale.
So it stands to reason that an event like Saboten Con, the yearly event that's arguably the largest Japanese pop culture convention in the Southwest, would be just as colorful and imaginative. And it was, particularly the costumes worn by its attendees.
See also: Saboten Con 2014 in Photos
Thousands of Japanophiles and geeks in the otaku vein ranging from tweens to 20-somethings armed themselves with fantastical-looking faux weaponry and donned outfits inspired by anime, manga, video games, and other bits of J-culture for the three-day event over Labor Day weekend at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel.
We were also on hand for most of Saboten Con and witnessed the nonstop cosplay fashion show. While anyone who is willing to get their geek costume-wise is aces in our book, there were five standouts amongst the attendees that we'd like to spotlight because each caught our eye in some way or was flat-out fun.
Charles Brown as Afro Samrai (left) and Clarence Miller as Ninja-Ninja.
Few things in the history of ever have been as pimp as the voice casting of Samuel L. Jackson as an ass-kicking, katana-wielding bushido warrior in the popular anime Afro Samurai -- and local geeks Charles Brown and Clarence Miller would definitely concur with that statement. "Samuel L. Jackson and anime. That's all you need," Miller says. "That's a win right there." As such, both have been fans of not only the five-episode TV mini-series from 2007, but also its sequel Afro Samurai: Resurrection and the associated manga and video games. Oh, and they dig on gearing up as the titular character and his profanely ultra-talkative alter ego Ninja-Ninja.
"I've always liked how Samuel L. Jackson goes for the whole stoic warrior thing in the series," says Brown, who participates with local cosplay groups as Chiba Kaito and attended Saboten Con as Afro Samuai. "I also like the contrast between Ninja-Ninja and Afro and all the other great characters in the series."
And Miller, who came as Ninja-Ninja, feels the same way. "Afro is more of a serious character, then you've got Ninja-Ninja, who is the Samuel L. Jackson that people are more used to seeing," he says. "He just kinda cusses and speaks his mind and is pretty much Afro's subconscious, so all the emotions that he shoots out are the ones that Afro wishes he could, but just doesn't."