Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kawasaki Halloween 2010

Visit Umezu Kazuo's official homepage for more event pics and footage!

Autumn in Japan has very little of the seasonal charm you grew up with. Trick or treating never caught on, nobody celebrates Thanksgiving, and good luck finding a pumpkin to carve. Thankfully we have the good folks in Kawasaki to throw us a bone with their annual Halloween Parade! The event is a cultural mash-up, part Macy’s Day Parade, part costume contest.

This year saw over three thousand costumed participants take over the streets in a frenzied procession of Cosplay, furries, gore, and good old-fashioned Halloween ingenuity. Words would only waste your time―Check out the raw footage of the revelers:

The parade concluded with a costume contest where participants competed in your bog standard categories, such as best special effects, best character, best overall, and so on. Of course, when special guest Umezu Kazuo is presiding as judge over this carnival of souls, you can be assured that the results would be anything but ordinary.

Image lifted from Denbushi - I couldn't even see let alone take pics! Thanks!-Voidmare

Say hello to the winner of this year’s special Umezu Kazuo Choice Award, our very own Voidmare, for his home-brewed take on the titular fiend from the 1968 Umezu-inspired horror flick, The Snake Girl and the Silver Haired Witch (Hebi Musume to Hakuhatsuma).

Again, thanks to Jason for the photo and Velocitron for letting me use his airbrush!

I have to hand it to Voidmare for having the most perverted outfit out of an undulating sea of weirdos, exhibitionists, and fur suits. His baleful, empty gaze and twitching claws brought authentic fear and revulsion to the unexpected as he stalked through the crowd. It takes a special type of person to get their rocks off by loosening the bowels of those around them, and I’m proud to call him my (blogging) partner.

Not to be outdone, fellow Umezu and overall horror aficionado Gokicchi showed up in his self-stitched mask of Mokume, the Frankenstein-like demon doll from the one-shot Negai. Amidst the turmoil of the crowd, his otherwise plain clothes costume hit people when they least expected it and sent kids and women screaming for cover. True to the manga, he used real nails for the teeth! Concerned parents should sure to keep their children away from the grasp of Gokicchi's gardening gloves.

It turned out that this was only a warm-up for the true showing of deviance that night.

The room gets uncomfortably hot around 1:10.

Of all the cultural flotsam that washed up onto the beaches of Japan, I never would have expected the natives to celebrate and form a cult around The Rocky Horror Picture Show. If you’re not familiar with the concept of “shadow casts”, they’re fairly straightforward—Veteran fans get up in front of the screen to act out scenes of the film, complete with the requisite costumes and props, while the audience supplements the dialogue with witty call backs, MST3K style. Except in this case they imported an authentic British transvestite, and the puns were in response to not only the audio dialogue, but also the subtitles, sometimes in Japanese, but more often in Engrish!

As someone who hasn’t seen Rocky Horror since I was old enough to understand how warped it is, I was overwhelmed by the visual whirlwind of following the screen, and shadows cast, and audience all at once, compounded by the blitzkrieg of bilingual jokes and bisexual stage antics. At least I was lucky enough to be skipped over for the Virgin Hazing. I’d hate to show up the regulars with my banana-eating technique.

The Kawasaki showing may be the beginning of another Rocky Horror revival in Japan, unseen since the height of the bubble. There’s even talk of bringing back the theater musical at some point next year. True believers, keep your eyes on Lips, the Rocky Horror fan club and masterminds behind the night’s debauchery.

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