Mittwoch, 27. Januar 2016

Shopping guide for Cosplay Tokyo Part 2 Cosplays, Cosplaygoods and wigs


Japan is the paradise for every Otaku and Cosplayer. And everyone dreams about visiting the wonderland of merchandise Akihabara once in his lifetime.
This time I want to blog about buying new and second hand Cosplays in Tokyo.
Last time I wrote about getting fabric and dry goods in Tokyo.
>here<

In Japan the majority of Cosplayers don’t have the time to craft their costumes by their selves. That’s why you will find a huge number of Cosplayer just buying their costumes.

This is also the reason why you can find several shops in every price range offering a huge choice of Cosplays. That’s why I will just name a few shops which can be found in Tokyo.
You will find the most shops in Akihabara and Ikebukuro, but some of them are scattered all over the city.
  1. New Cosplays

  2. In Japan there are several shops offering new Cosplays and Cosplay related goods. The most famous shop is ACos.

    ACos
    ACos has several stores through Japan and can be found in Akihabara and Ikebukuro in the Animate stores. I also heard that there would be a store in Shinjuku.
    ACos not only offers new Cosplays but also a variety of Cosplay goods like special make-up, swords, accessories and wigs. If you are looking for special colored bobby pins, of wig glue I would recommend going to ACos.
    The ACos department in Ikebukuro offers a bigger choice of Cosplays and goods than the department in Akihabara.
    Costumes from ACos have a very good quality but are quite expensive.
    You might find yourself paying about 150 Euro for a costume.
    Cosplay goods can be very affordable but also very expensive. It depends on the item you want to buy.
    Sometimes ACos offers a bargain corner, if you are lucky you can get wigs or Cosplays cheaper, but they will be still quite pricy.
    I am not sure if you are allowed to try the costumes. Because I haven’t seen any changing rooms, I guess trying is not allowed.
    The ACos store in Ikebukuro also provides a Hacosta Cosplayer photostudio.

    Make up and wig goods for Cosplay (ACos)

    Another store I like to visit is Cospa.
    Cospa is also a chain like ACos, which can be found in the whole Japan.
    Cospa mostly can be found as a department of Gee!Store (there is a big one in Akihabara in the 5th floor). They offer only high quality wigs and Cosplays, as well as a big choice of Cosplay make-up and accessories, like props, wigs etc.
    You will get the best quality there, but be prepared to pay for it. I got the feeling that Cospa is even more expensive than ACos.
    Some friends told me they could try some Cosplays. I am not sure if that is possible, but I guess asking wont hurt.
    So If you are looking for quality and don’t need to watch your money I would recommend going to Cospa.


    If you are looking for cheap Cosplays/ wigs and accessories you can go for Bodyline (in Takeshita dori (Harajuku) 2nd floor).
    Bodyline is a Gothic Lolita shop, which also offers wigs and a small choice of Cosplays. Although the choice is quite small, they still offer the most well-known costumes and a big variety of standard wigs in several colors.
    The quality is quite decent, but the costume might lack some details or the design has been changed in order to produce it more easily.
    The wigs are not high quality but still ok. I personally use a lot of Bodyline wigs and shoes, because I don’t like wigs with too much hair and you can style them easily. If you are taking care of the wigs they are very long lasting.
    The shoes are very pretty and comfortable, although you are running around with 25 cm heels. They provide a lot of different types and colors, I really like the choice.
    Bodyline offers Cosplays starting from 5 Euro. Most of them are sold for round about 20-40 Euro. You can get accessories like fake lashes for starting about 70 cents and shoes are starting from about 10-20 Euro.
    Bodyline permits trying so if you want to buy something you should know your size before head. The staff is not very helpful, they wont know your size, but they can measure the Cosplay for you. I would recommend visiting the online shop (in English) www.bodyline.co.jp before heading to the shop in order to check the size

    Maple wig shop
    If you are looking for affordable high quality standard wigs in every color, I would recommend visiting mapel wigs. (Although for some purposes they just have too much hair oO).
    Marple wigs have several stores in Japan and one in Ikebukuro and Nippori fabric town. The one in Ikebukuro also offers accessories, a small choice of Cosplays, weapons and shoes.
    Both of them also have a small section with high quality facial hair.
    Maple wigs offers 3-4 types of standard wigs, 2-3 different standard clips and several types of wig laces in every color you can imagine (they had 35 different black colors…). Laces are starting with about 4 Euro per piece and wigs with about 8 Euro.
    They also have a small section with character wigs but are mainly focused on standard wigs in every color. You are allowed to try and touch the wigs (but always ask before head! The staff will help you).
    The shop in Ikebukuro also offers a wig styling and cutting service starting with about 8 Euro.
    www.maple-wig.com

    2. Second hand (used Cosplays)

If you want to save money I would recommend going for used Cosplays.
Some Cosplayer are buying a Cosplay and just sell them after a shooting. Sometimes wigs and shoes are also included in the set.
Some Cosplayer are selling their self-made Cosplay after they don’t want it anymore.
Be carefull when you are buying very cheap Cosplays. Like everywhere in the world, self made Cosplays can have a very bad quality although they look great from the outside. If you want to be safe, go for used costumes which are professionally produces.
Generally wigs and Cosplays are always very well maintained. You are mostly not allowed to try or to open the sealed bag, so if you cannot read or speak Japanese you wont know the size, the character, the included items or the cut of the wig.
Sometimes you will just find a big basket with wigs in bags and are only able to see the color. At the bag you will find a label which describes the fringe, the length and the cut of the wig.
If you cannot speak or read Japanese, I would recommend going for the shops recommended above.
The most famous shop would be Mandarake.
Mandarake does not only offer second hand merchandise but also Cosplays. Not every Mandarake owns a Cosplay department, but you will find one in Akihabara, Ikebukuro and Nakano Broadway (Nakano Station).
Mandarake offers a huge variety of different second hand Cosplays and wigs, next to a small corner with accessories. It really depends on your luck if you can find your desired item in a good quality for a bargain.


The one I like to visit is Mitsubado.
Second Hand Cosplay shop and new wigs/ shoes
Mitsubado is located at a side street in Akihabara at the 2nd floor.
They offer a really huge variety of used Cosplays in every price range and a lot of different sizes. I love their wig basket where you can get high quality wigs starting with 3 Euro.
The shop is very confusing because there is no system and everything is just put in bags. But if you can read Japanese and take your time you can make a great bargain. They offer some accessories but it is not worth to mention.
They mostly have a corner with reduced costumes, where you can buy a whole outfit starting with 3 Euro.


I am also a big fan of K-books Cosplay hall in Ikebukuro at the end of the Otome road.
Next to a huge selection of affordable second hand Cosplays they also offer affordable wigs, accessories, some props and shoes.
Cosplays are more expensive than Mandarake and Mitsubado but they mostly sell quality Cosplays. But they are still selling self-made ones so just in case still be careful.


I really enjoy shopping in Japan and already bought a lot of Cosplay accessories, wigs and special make-up. If you love Cosplay, I would recommend to go there and to experience that Japanese cultur of Cosplay shopping.

Mittwoch, 20. Januar 2016

Cosplay shopping guide: Tokyo -> Getting fabric and dry goods

It is a dream of every Cosplayer/ Anime fan to visit Japan once.
Next to a huge variety of shops stuffed with Anime/ Manga merchandise you can find a large sum of shops with Cosplay related goods or Cosplays itself.
Although Cosplay in general is not a reputable hobby in Japan, it is more acknowledged than in Europe.
Generally you will find in every city of Japan shops selling Cosplays and goods.
Because of that most of the Japanese Cosplayer are buying their costumes, of course there is still a notable number who like to craft their costumes by their own.
This time I want to write a shopping guide about getting goods for your self made Cosplays.
I will write a blog about buying Cosplays and wigs later.
I want to concentrate on Tokyo, because I think that everyone who will visit the first time Japan will start with Tokyo or at least stop over. Furthermore I am much more familiar with getting fabric and goods in Tokyo than in other cities, because I visited Tokyo several times already.
Getting fabric and dry goods:

Japanese fabrics and dry goods are quite affordable. Of course it is not cheap as in Taiwan and if you want some special goods be prepared to pay for it. But you can get 1 meter of your desired fabric for about 108 yen (75 Eurocents) if you are lucky. Japanese friends told me that the fabric prices in Germany are just crazy.
Generally spoken, Japanese fabrics are not only affordable they also have a good quality.
So you can make some good bargains and are still buying quality.
They also have a big variety of different fabric types. If you are looking for cute or typical Japanese prints you will find a large choice to choose from.
Gemstones can be cheap but you mostly will find yourself paying the same as in Germany.
Dry goods are in general cheaper than in Germany. They also offer a bigger choice and if you are lucky you can find reduced products and make a good deal.
If you want to buy cheap laces/ braids and gemstones, I would recommend buying them in Dubai.
The most of these stores are located near to the Nippori Station at the northeast of Tokyo.
This district is also well-known as “Nippori fabric town”.
At Nippori you will find one fabric store next to each other, offering dry goods, fabrics and more. You can enjoy fabric shopping the whole day.
Just be aware, that no one speaks English and you should be familiar with the goods you want to buy. Even the labeling is mostly in Japanese. So you should be able to read Japanese or know how a 100% cotton fabric looks and feels like. If not you might be lost or buy the wrong kind of fabric.
Like nearly everywhere in Japan most of the shops are only accepting cash payment. I haven’t seen an international ATM (or 7/11) in this district so withdrawal money before heading to this shopping paradise.
At Nippori the most famous shops are “Tomato”. You will recognize these shops very easily, because their company logo is a tomato.
Tomato owns several different stores at Nippori, which are offering different kind of fabrics.
You will also find a wide range of frequently reduced fabrics for 108 yen per meter. If you want to make a bargain I would recommend going to Tomato.
Location:
Station: Nippori (Yamanote Line/ Keisei Main Line/ Joban Line, Tohoku Main Line)
Exit: South east
Operating hours: Mostly 10 am – 6 pm (depending to the shop)
Map of the Nippori fabric town:



Mittwoch, 13. Januar 2016

Photo Studio: Hacostadium

Picture by Meermiau
I wrote an blog about Cosplay photo studios in Japan:
 
Some people asked me if I could write about specific Cosplay studios which I visited and would recommend to other Cosplayers.
If you can speak fluently Japanese and read/ fill out forms I would recommend the studios of Hacosta. If you cannot speak Japanese you should bring a fluent speaking Japanese friend with you. If not you might be in trouble.

Although the staff is very kind, they don’t speak a single word English. They searched several times for me in order to explain things to my not Japanese speaking friends. The rules in the Hacosta studios are quite strict and you may get kicked out.
 
You also should not come dressed in your Cosplay. Always dress and change back at the studio itself. If you are coming dressed they might refuse your entry.
 
 
Hacosta
is a company which owns several studios in Japan:
-> Hacostadium Tokyo (1 hour from Tokyo -> Funabashi)
-> Cosset Tokyo (Ikebukuro)
-> Hacostadium Osaka (Nanba)
-> Cosset Osaka (Nipponbashi)
-> Curas (Kawasaki)
Hacosta only owns share studios. You are paying an entry fee for a certain time frame (1.900 yen (5 hours)- 4.800 yen (10 hours)) and can use every photo setting which is not occupied freely. The time frame includes your changing and Make-up time.
 
You are allowed to use the pictures freely as long is it for your own promotion. Even making photo books/ print items and selling them is permissible.
 
The studios are offering lockers, changing rooms, a small restaurant, Cosplay goods, rental services and free Cosplay amenities. Hairspray, combs, bobby pins, cotton pads, scissors and more can be used for free.
The rooms are equipped with artificial day lights and can be turned off. You can find reflectors and ladders scattered all over at the studio. They are for free usage.
Hacosta only offers the studio settings. I haven’t seen any photographer service. So if you want to visit this studio always take a friend with you, who will make the pictures.
In Japan it is quite common just to go with a group of friends (all Cosplayer) and to take pictures of each other.

 

 
Ticket counter (Picture by Hacostadium.com)
Hacostadium Tokyo.one
claims to be the biggest Cosplay photo studio of his kind and offers more than 40 different settings. This studio is the newest one of Hacosta and has been opened at the end of November in Funabashi.
 
You should be aware that traveling to Funabashi will take at least 1 hour or more from Tokyo Station. If you are looking for an easier accessible studio, go for Ikebukuro or the studios in Osaka.
We decided to go for Tokyo.one because we wanted to enjoy such a studio as much as possible. So why not trying out the biggest studio in the world?
 
Presale:
I highly recommend buying a ticket before head. It will make things much easier and you can be sure to get an entry ticket. Hacostadium announces daily at twitter if tickets are still available. I noticed that you definitely should use the presale if you intend to go on Friday – Sunday, public holidays or event days.
 
On normal weekdays it shouldn’t be a problem. But you should try to be there at 9:30 am (opening time), to be sure to get a ticket.
Staca (Picture by Hacostadium.com)
If you want to reserve you need to create a Staca account. Staca is the membership of Hacosta and you need this membership for everything you going to do in these studios.
After you created an online account you can just go to the calendar and buy your desired ticket. Be sure to fill out the forms correctly (the Google website translator don’t work on this side), it might cause trouble afterwards.
 
Be aware that you are booking the right studio/ day and time, because the tickets are not refundable. If you are going with friends everyone needs an own account. You can buy tickets for other people but need to pass the tickets to your friends online. So if they don’t have an account buying two tickets won’t help you because you cannot pass the ticket to your friend.
You will be named as ticketholder and the entry of your friend might be refused.
Also going to a Hacosta studio before head without a membership won’t help you, because you need a Japanese phone number for a presale ticket. If you already have a membership just going to the nearest Hacosta studio and buying a presale ticket works.
 
Ticket:
 
Ticketprice
Time frame
Normal
Presale
Weekdays
9:30-20:00 (10,5 hrs)
3.500 yen
3.200 yen
9:30-14:30 (5 hrs)
2.300 yen
2.000 yen
15:00-20:00 (5 hrs)
2.300 yen
2.000 yen
Weekend and public holiday
9:30-20:00 (10,5 hrs)
4.800 yen
4.500 yen
9:30-14:30 (5 hrs)
3.200 yen
2.900 yen
15:00-20:00 (5 hrs)
2.900 yen
2.600 yen
 
 
I already got an account on Staca but because my friends couldn’t manage to go through the Japanese page I didn’t bought a presale ticket online (because a refund is not possible).
So we checked if day tickets were still available and just went there.
The studio is located in a shopping mall. Hacostadium opens 30 minutes earlier than the mall so you have to wait at the main entrance (there is a Hacostadium flag). The staff will fetch you up and bring you to the ticket counter.
If it’s your first time you have to fill out some forms and than move to the ticket counter.
They will check your address and personal information’s. So be sure to bring an ID card which also contains your address. Because the staff couldn’t speak English she gave up asking my friend for an ID card with address…. So I am not sure if maybe a passport will just be enough.
In my cased they told me an ID card with address would be required.
 
I realized that the staff where panicking when they saw us and looked relieved after I started to translate. If you Japanese aren’t that fluent just give them a bit time. They have prepared English sheets for the ticket sale (but I guess only for the ticket sale…). They will do the registration silently while they are speaking to other costumer’s non stop.
After checking our personal information’s they will hand out your Staca card and give you a badge with a locker number.
From now on you are a Staca member and can earn Staca points. Which everything you are buying (even food and items) you can earn points and get a discount on the next ticket.
 
Changing:

Female changing room (Picture by Hacostadium.com)
You can use your locker freely the whole time frame. You can place your whole things there and don’t need to drag them around with you.
Next to the locker are private changing rooms. You can use them but normally you are using the big changing room. It is a big hall with some mirrors. You also find cotton pads, bobby pins etc there.
 
You just go there, sit down and make your make up and changing. It is quite common for Japanese to undress in front of others from the same gender. So don’t be bothered.
 
I would recommend to bring an own small mirror. We were lucky, because we were one of the first costumers there. But after a while the places with a mirror have been occupied.
Just try not to spread your things to much in order not to disturb others or to take too much space. Pictures are forbidden at the changing area. Also refrain from cutting your wig. Hacostadium provides an extra room for wig cutting which are equipped with scissors, combs and hairspray.
After changing you just put your things back to the locker and are ready for a shooting.
Studio settings (Picture by me)

Shooting:
 
Hacostadium Tokyo provides over 40 settings which are greatly designed and maintained.
Be aware that some shooting locations are the hallway which everyone uses. Try not to disturb other Cosplayers. If you want to cross a room or a hallway while people are shooting, please ask politely.
 
If a room is occupied, don’t just go to another corner and make pictures there. Wait until they are finished, but try not to wait too obviously.
Before entering a setting there are wet tissues for your shoes. Please clean your shoes before entering the settings in order to keep them clean.
At some settings shoes are not allowed. You can recognize these places with a shoe shelf at the entry (of course there is also a sign in Japanese). Put your shoes into the shoe shelf and go in. Even if you are wearing clean “Cosplay shoes” please refrain from taking them in.
You are allowed to use everything in the room you can find and to change the setting to your liking, just be sure to put everything back to his place.
Generally drinking and eating at the shooting area is permitted. But you are allowed to drink and eat at the café settings. I saw a lot of Cosplayers bringing their McDonalds breakfast to the café setting and to make pictures while having breakfast.
 
As a Cosplayer:
Try not to wear Cosplays which are taking up too much space. Also wear shorts if you are wearing a short skirt.
 
As a photographer:
Regarding to flashes and photo equipment there are a lot of rules, because you may block the way while shooting at the hallway. You are only allowed to bring a limited number of flashes, soft boxes etc. Please inform yourself before head to avoid trouble.
Don’t just take pictures of other Cosplayer. Please ask politely if you want to make a picture.
Free rental items (Picture by Hacostadium.com)

Rental services:
 
I really like, that you can rent Cosplay accessories for free. You can rent as much items you want, as long as you want and just return them after the shooting.
 
Next to the service counter you will find a wall with paper cards. Just take the paper cards which are showing the desired items, take them and go to the service counter.
 
The staff will gather your items, give you a bag for an easier transportation and scan your Staca card. When you are returning, they will check if you have returned everything and scan your Staca card again.
Afterwards you can rent new items for free.
You also have the possibility to rent a Nikon or Canon camera for free (2 hours) afterwards they will charge you 300 yen for the rest of the day.
They also provide flash, soft box, lens, SD card etc. renting service. A lot of items are free for the first 2 hours. You won’t pay more than 1000 yen for a rental (mostly about 500 yen). I think this is a good an affordable choice if you cannot bring your own equipment or just don’t have any space in your baggage left.
ACos shop (Picture by Hacostadium.com)

Hacoplus:
 
Hacoplus is the restaurant and ACos area which you can find directly at the entrance,
 
The food is very affordable and tasty. You can also get the food and bring it to the café area setting to make pictures with it. The staff always tries to let the food look good. That’s why you can use it as a shooting accessories without hesitation. The restaurant also provides free water.
 
If you forgot some Cosplay items like wigs, contact lenses etc. you can buy them at Hacoplus. They only have a small corner with Cosplay goods but still enough to rescue yourself last minute.
 
 
 Personal opinion:
 
I was a bit shocked how helpless the staff was regarding to my non Japanese speaking friends. My friends had a lot of trouble with communication and they were always searching for me. I was even surprised how much you need to communicate at such a studio (otherwise I would say; Ok just don’t communicate).
 
But all in one the staff was super polite and friendly, always gave their best to make it as comfortable as possible and were cleaning non stop. It was so clean…. Japanese toilets are great and clean but the most luxurious toilets I have seen in Japan were at Hacostadium and the Butler Café….
 
The settings are just amazing and very well maintained. The variety of free rental objects are great. The possibilities are just awesome and not even a bit comparable with the situation we have here in Germany.
 
The light was very good (although you really need a flash) and the other Cosplayers where always very considerate. Although we saw a lot of Cosplay groups it was always very silent and everyone tried their best not to disturb others, even if someone blocked the whole hallway. They just waited patiently.
Picture by Meermiau
The food was very good and we really enjoyed the affordable flash rental service.
You could feel that the studio do his best to fulfill every need a Cosplayer might have during a shooting.
It was an amazing experience and I would recommend everyone to try it out once!
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
 

Donnerstag, 7. Januar 2016

Cosplay photo studios in Japan

Picture by Meermiau

Japan is the wonderland for every Cosplayer.
You have shops where you can get wigs, Cosplays and accessories. You have Cosplay events and even photo studios with a Cosplayerfriendly environment. 


For Japanese Cosplayer, using a Cosplay photo studio is very common.
Instead of wandering around and searching for the perfect location you just look up a photo studio with a suitable setting and just booked it.
Cosplay photo studios in Japan have special furnished rooms with a themed setting (and if you need; just a white/ black wall).
Most of the studios are providing several settings to fulfill the needs of their customers. They also have changing rooms, lockers and are equipped with amenities like hairspray, bobby pins and more. Most of the studios also provide camera (equipment) and Cosplay accessory rental.

Share Photostudio
Picture by Meermiau

The most important things you should know:

1.     Cosplay photo studios are not made for foreigners.
If you cannot speak Japanese, you should learn it or take a Japanese speaking friend with you.
At some studios you need to fill out Japanese forms to get in.
English speaking staff is very rare (like everywhere in Japan). I once visited a studio with friends and the staff where searching non stop for me, because they wanted to speak with my friends. Although my friends are very considerable they nearly got kicked out. Japanese studios have a lot of rules and most of them aren’t obvious. Of course the rules are displayed but only in Japanese.
I also red that even Japanese students or people who lived several years in Japan had problems regarding to the forms and communication. So be prepared.

If you cannot bring a Japanese speaking friend or speak Japanese there are a few studios which are used to foreigners. You can recognize them easily: they offer an English website and reservation. But be aware that English website doesn’t mean that the staff can speak English.
I would recommend Studio crown in Akihabara (Tokyo). A friend of mine owns this studio. She can understand German and speaks fluently English, because she lived abroad.
Her studio also offers a special Cosplay dressing and photo service for foreigners.

2.     Also be aware that you need to book some studios before head.
The website is mostly Japanese and due to security reasons and pictures as buttons you cannot translate via Google translate (or other services) easily.
My Japanese friend recommends always reserving the studio before head. At some studios you need a membership to get in. The reservation progress can be very complicated and might require a Japanese address or phone number.
We couldn’t reserve before head, because my friends couldn’t create an online account so we just walked in. I guess, as long it is a share studio and you are going for a normal working day it should be fine. If you want to get a private room or to shoot on holidays you should reserve.
Of course it depends on the studio itself.

3.     Always dress up at the studio and change back to your normal cloths after the shooting.
In Japan there is an unspoken rule to change at the location itself.
If you come dressed in Cosplay they might refuse your entry.

The studios are providing a changing room, lockers and a Cosplay friendly environment. You should know that the changing room will be a big hall where everyone will sit on he floor and change.
You should bring a small mirror and try not to spread you things too much in order to leave as much space as possible for other visitors.

4.     Don’t cut your wig in the changing room and always clean your shoes before entering a setting.
Sometimes you even have to put off your shoes.They mostly provide special tissues for the shoes, a shoe shelf and rooms for wig cutting. Some studios also have rules regarding to the skirt length or that you have to wear a shorts under your shirt.

If you are the one taking pictures, be aware that there are often regulations regarding the camera equipment. Because some settings are the hallway itself (which everyone uses to move around) you are maybe not allowed to use more than one soft box and only a limited number of flashes.

5.     The most studios don’t provide a photo service.
Japanese Cosplayers are mostly visiting the studios in a group and are taking pictures of each other.
It is quite uncommon to come with your own photographer.
You can rent a camera + equipment at the studio itself. Cosplayers at a studio normally don’t communicate much with other Cosplayers and are staying in their group.
So if you want to make new friends a studio might be the wrong place.

The studios

Japan has a big variety of  Cosplay photo studios. You can mostly rent them for 1 hour, 3 hours, half a day and a whole day. Some rental time does include your changing time some not. Just be careful to check it if you are going for a Cosplay that takes some more time to change in order not to use up your precious shooting time.

You can divide the studios into 3 different main types:

1.     The share studio
At the share studio you are paying an entry fee per person and are free to use every setting which is not occupied.
You are paying an affordable fee and can use a lot of different settings. It is kind of “all you can shoot”. If you forgot to reserve you can try to get a ticket right on that day and hope that there are still tickets left.

The disadvantage: If you want to use a certain setting you might have to wait and you cannot occupy a space for several hours, because other people might wait for this certain setting (Japanese people won’t wait obviously).
Because some settings are placed at the hallway and you are sharing the space with other foreign people. You have to obey a lot of rules and always have to consider other Cosplayer using this studio.

Price range:
About 1.000 en (1 hour) to 5.000 yen (10 hours)

Picture by Meermiau




2.     Private studios
You also have the possibility to rent a private studio.
You are paying a fee per room (or a group of rooms). Because you are renting the room for your usage only, be prepared to pay for it.
Because you are paying per room, you have the possibility to invite friends for a shooting and to share the costs. Although it is expensive at the first glance it might become affordable. If you want to rent a private studio, a reservation is required and a reservation in Japanese might become very challenging.

It might be more expensive than a share studio, but you can use the place more freely without worrying about other foreign Cosplayers and disturbances.
Because the share studios are cheaper, you will find a lot of pictures taken at the same setting again and again. So if you are searching for a more unique setting, I would recommend going for a private studio.

Price range:
About 3000 yen (1 hour) to unlimited



Shooting at a Hotel
3.     Hotels
Some Hotels are offering a Cosplay photo studio service next to their main business. Or if you are going to stay in a very special hotel /Ryokan just ask them if you can shoot there.
You are just booking a room (mostly special furnished ones or with features like a pool) and just use it as a shooting location. Some hotels are offering their rooms for rental at the day time and for staying at the night time. Some Hotels also offer both.

Normally you are paying per room (or per person if you also want to stay in this room). They are mostly not equipped with rental services, don’t have Cosplay related staff and changing rooms.
Bear in mind that their main business is not to be a Cosplay studio. But these rooms are mostly equipped with an en suite bathroom. So changing and getting ready is possible in a private environment.
You also can share the hotel room to save money and to stay over with friends after the shooting. It is a nice combination if you want to spend a night in a nice Hotel and to take some pictures.

Price range:
About 4000 en (1 hour) to unlimited


Renting things:

In Japanese Cosplay studios you can rent camera equipment, light equipment and a variety of accessories.
So you don’t have to bring more than Cosplays and Make-up. It is a quite comfortable service particularly if you are coming from oversees and struggle with your limited baggage space.

1.     Cameras and equipment:
The most studios offer free reflectors and are using artificial day light to light up the studios. But if you still want to use a soft box or flash you can rent it right at the studio itself. Nearly every studio also offers a camera rental.
Some studios are only providing Nikon or Canon equipment. So it might be difficult to get a fitting flash.
I also saw that the prices are varying from studio to studio. Some studios are offering a free rental for 2 hours, some 300 yen per hour, and some 300 yen for a whole day. So be sure to check the prices in order to get the equipment you want and not to spent a fortune.

Rentel items at studio crown
2.     Cosplay accessories:
Most of the studios are offering a rental service for Cosplay accessories like micros, schoolbags, fake food, umbrellas etc.

This service also varies from studio to studio. While one studio might offer a very limited choice the other studio might have so many accessories, that you have difficulties to choose. Some studios tend to give them out for free, while other studios charge you per item.
I really love to use accessories so I tend to choose my studios (next to the entry fee and settings) based on the variety of accessories. Until now I only used studios which are giving their Cosplay accessories out for free.

Also be careful when you are choosing a studio. The entry fee might be very cheap but if you intend to rent equipment or additional items it might be cheaper to go for a more expensive one.



I hope that this guide might help you for your next time in Japan.
I really recommend every Cosplayer to visit once a Cosplay photo studio. Compared to Germany the shooting possibilities seem unlimited.
It is really a great feeling to shoot at a Cosplayerfriendly environment and to shoot at special locations freely without worrying about publishing rights, unaffordable fees and people who are not familiar with Cosplay.

Next time I will right about the Cosplay studio and the Hotel I used during my last Japan trips.


Freitag, 1. Januar 2016

Happy new 2016!


2015 is nearly over and a new year will begin soon.
I want to thank you guys for all your support! I am very happy to have people beneath me who are thinking about me, helping me, enduring my (sometimes difficult) character and giving me warm words when I need it.
2015 was an awesome year!
I was allowed to give so many great concerts and signing sessions, I met so many great people.
And I realizes it every time again how much luck I have to have so many fans cheering for me, supporting me, writing me and coming to my concerts. Thank you!
Also regarding to Cosplay 2015 was a sucessful year.
I had about 24 new cosplays. 20 shootings and could become the representive of Germany for the World Cosplay Summit in 2016.
Let 2016 be such an awesome year as 2015!

I had difficult times and I am always grateful to know and be supported by so many awesome and great people.

Thank you for a great year 2015 and I wish you everyone a great, prosperous and healthy 2016!