J-Geek Otaku Paradise

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Anime, otaku, cosplay and maid cafes are for many a reason to come to Tokyo. Some say the culture is as unique to the city as geisha are to Kyoto, and it is hard to disagree.

Weekender asked Xavier Bensky, event coordinator and cultural liaison to “J-Geek”, to describe some history and tell us about the event’s latest incarnation. Here are his thoughts.

The first J-Geek party on March 8 was dedicated to virtual songstress Hatsune Miku, and featured a full lineup of Vocaloid-themed music and cosplay

According to J-Geek producer Kenzo Saeki, of Pearl Brothers, the last ten years have seen a growing number of large-scale anime festivals around the world as well as geeks passionate about this culture who choose to make the pilgrimage to Japan and, particularly, Akihabara.

Once they arrive to Japan, however, making sense of the rich variety of offerings available can be a daunting task.

In the hope that they don’t get disappointed, we created “J-Geek”. It aims to provide an experience, curated by cultural experts, where foreigners and Japanese geeks alike can easily enjoy the best and most interesting aspects of the Akiba pop culture scene: be it anime song music, Hatsune Miku, denpa-kei music, idols, otagei dancing, maid cafes, cosplay, figures or hi-tech gadgets, we cover it all.

The series launched in March 2012, and plans to continue with an event every other month. I hope everyone will come on down and get their geek on.

We also hope people will throw away their stereotypes of sedentary otaku cloistered in their apartments when they come down to Seco Lounge in Shibuya. J-Geek is a celebration of anime, idols, cosplay, gadgets and other geek culture with an international audience in mind – there are no borders. To give the event an even broader appeal, our latest party will have a special “old school” twist, with remixes and clips from anime classics that were also broadcast on television outside of Japan.

We think we have an impressive lineup in store. DJ Kazu (pictured at the top), spinning a nonstop jam of anime songs, will be met by veteran voice actor (turned DJ for the night) Yu Mizushima. Famous scenes from classic anime will come back to life in an unprecedented collaboration performance sure to please both fans of anime and voice actors alike.

DJs for the night will be “animetic idol” Minami Momochi, popular Vocaloid song producer Captain Mirai and DJ Kazu, who has just released a collection of hit anime song remixes.

Animetic idol Minami Momochi

VJ Kitune will dazzle partygoers with video mixes, too – it’s a perfect medium to show off anime – and the international crowd will get a mini lesson in otagei, the dance form popularized by fans of idol groups, with English translation provided.

Of course, otagei wouldn’t be fun without the idols, and J-Geek will not disappoint in that respect. An original idol show will feature idols direct from the stages of Akihabara.

Idol groups from Dear Stage, a popular destination for international tourists, as well as Maid Cafe Pinafore, and more, will be singing a medley of popular classics.

According to event organizer Rie Arai, from PearlNet YK, there will also be a special AR gadget that will give party goers “a chance to become a famous anime heroine.” You’ll have to see it for yourself to believe it.

There will also be an “idol bar” where all drinks are served by idols, “moe” merchandise stalls, and more.

Tickets are ¥2,000 on the door, but cheaper in advance. Cosplayers also receive a discount!

Have a look at the event flyer, below, for more information check out the website, here, or find them on twitter @JGeekTokyo (use the hashtag #JGeekTYO2.) It sounds fun, and with the English translation there is no reason for even “beginner otaku” to get involved.

J-Geek flyer


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