Donique Allen walked away the winner of the cosplay competition, the closing event for Neko Café, held on June 18, at the Altamont Court Hotel, New Kingston.
“I’m a bit shocked to have won, because everyone came out and they did a very good job. I thought that some of them were event better than me,” Allen told the Jamaica Observer.
Dressed as Valkyrie, a female predator from the video game Predator: Hunting Grounds, based on the 1987 hit movie, she impressed the judges with her intricate design and unusual choice of character.
“I was having a hard time coming up with a character because I didn’t want to play the whole female stereotype, but I looked around and saw that this was something no one else had done. So I went with Valkyrie, which is basically a female version of Predator,” said Allen.
Allen’s costume took two and half weeks to make, with some help from a friend. This is her second time entering a local cosplay event and her second victory.
The cosplay competition was just only one of the many activities at Neko Café, which drew on two Asian pop culture staples, their love of cats, as Neko is the Japanese word for the animal, and maid cafés. Upon entry patrons were greeted by maids and butlers serving food and drink, not only in the appropriate state of dress, but with the addition of cat ears and tails.
“The whole event idea with the café, and the Japanese theme in Jamaica is a big niche, but we are actually excited that a lot of people came out and were interested in coming to see this type of thing,” explained Ashely Smith, event organiser.
Smith operates with a small group of like-minded persons under the AnimeYado banner, of which Neko Café is only their second event. She was very pleased with the turnout for the cosplay competition and the quality of the entries.
“I’m surprised at the number of cosplayers we got, and that we’ve been able to reach people not only in Kingston but in other parishes,” she said.