(From right) Steffani Singh, event organiser, with the top three winners of the Fantasy Beat 2022 cosplay competition Tianna Powell, Maria Panis, and Jerome Wilson. (Photos: Rory Daley)
Heavy rains couldn’t dampen spirits at Japanese pop culture event Fantasy Beat, which returned after a two-year hiatus on June 26, at J2 Restaurant, New Kingston.
“I think the event was quite successful. We’ve had a break for two years, and there’s COVID-19 going on, so we were a bit concerned about numbers, but everyone came out as usual. It was highly populated, lots of vendors, lots of attendees. It was great,” Singh told the Jamaica Observer.
Even with two years to plan, the already popular Fantasy Beat series saw little change to its formula.
“This year we had a team competition, so when people came in they were given two different coloured armbands that represented two different anime groups.”
Fantasy Beat started off in the bright Sunday afternoon. There was plenty to be done as the schedule included many Japanese-themed contests from Japanese comic and cartoon trivia games to spicy ramen eating. For those not indulging, or watching, there was a vendors row featuring a wide variety of items, such as the handmade Kawaii — Japanese for cute — jewellery, from Tishauna Green of WunderKrafts. Her second time at Fantasy Beat, she turned a necessity into a business five years ago.
“I’ve been making crafts from I was 10 years old. I needed the money for school so I turned it into a business and so far it’s been very good. People love it,” said Green
As the event came to a close with its signature cosplay contest, patrons braved the heavy downpour to see 12 entrants vie for first place in the cosplay contest.
“The cosplay competition was really the highlight of the event for me because everybody came with such a higher quality of costume that I have never seen before. It was really rough for the judges to assign places, because it was very close competition. Everyone did great,” said Singh.
Tianna Powell was the first place winner, followed by Maria Panis, and Jerome Wilson.
“I’m so dumbfounded because this is my first time winning a cosplay competition,” said Powell.
Dressed as Lisa Minci from the video game Genshin Impact, Powell worked with Roxie Fashion Creation for amonth to complete the costume in time for the competition. She hopes her win sparks the plus-sized cosplay community into entering more events.
Pleased by the response to the return of Fantasy Beat, Singh — a regionally renowned cosplayer herself now organising events under her brand — is turning her attention to her other event, Fan Matsuri: Anime & Japanese Cultural Festival.
“Hopefully we will be able to have Fan Matsuri in either December or January,” she said.
Tishauna Green of WunderKrafts, one of the several vendors at Fantasy Beat 2022, showing off her handmade Japanese pop culture-themed crafts.
Ashley Smith (left) of Animeyardoo and Ricardo Carter of the Jamaica Cosplay Club came out to support Fantasy Beat 2022.
Rhea “Silver Neko” Rampair performing her K-Pop dance routine for fans at Fantasy Beat 2022.