The Home of Zimbabwean Cosplay: OTAKUKON

In April of 2023, the first OTAKUKON event was held. This event was Anime, Merch and Nakama 1, a outdoor movie watch-day that was combined with a small merch fair with a small group of 4 anime merchants based in Harare, Zimbabwe. This was the first time (to our knowledge) someone had tried to host an event with a focus towards anime and manga lovers. Out of an attendance of 86 that day, 20 individuals came dressed in some form of cosplay and only 8 competed for the cosplay prize. We were well on the road to creating the home of Zimbabwean cosplay

With a clear goal around growing different parts of the anime -watching and manga-reading communities, we set out to build strategies that spoke to this. The first was cosplayer discounts. While, as OTAKUKON, we offer discounted tickets from 8 weeks before any event we have gone a step further with our cosplay tickets. We love seeing attendees in cosplay and we love offering individuals a chance to get creative and try to come up with something cool. We have continuously offered our Cosplay tickets at 50% of the cost of our on the day tickets. We believe this has been a major motivator for our community to come in cosplay.

Benefits of attending in Cosplay

  • Cosplay is a great conversation starter. When you dress up, you announce what you enjoy watching or reading and that always helps others like you gravitate towards you. So if you struggle to start conversations with strangers, wear cosplay and the conversations will come to you.
  • You get to express yourself creatively. This can be through the process of making your cosplay or by making a cosplay that is a divergent take on a character from your favourite shows.

The benefits of attending in cosplay are insane. The biggest thing is that it’s a lot of fun. Coming off the OTAKUKON events, Cosplay Zw our media partner opened a WhatsApp group that has been growing. It is a great community where cosplay discussions ensure, anime recommendations come in and people share where they get their crafting materials. The home of Zimbabwean cosplay will be created both digitally and physically.

How Much has Cosplaying Grown in Zimbabwe

2023 was a great year for the growth of the anime, manga, cosplay and gaming communities within Zimbabwe. While our first event had just 20 cosplayers in total, we saw a totally different picture at the final event of the year. December 22nd 2023, was the day we held Zimbabwe’s first ever full day anime convention. We had held 3 AMN events before December and we were keen to see how much the cosplay community had changed in that space of time.

The home of Zimbabwean Cosplay is here

The quality and quantity of cosplays at OTAKUKON 2023 was heartwarming. The casual and DIY cosplay segments were the most active with so many people making an effort. What we love about cosplay is also how much it shows how much our community is growing from an anime viewership perspective. While it was definitely JJK season with the most cosplays comin from the acclaimed and amazing Jujutsu kaisen anime.

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