Success for AnimeYado's first anniversary
Ashley Smith (second left) of AnimeYado congratulates Tiffany Chen (centre), winner of the cosplay competition, as Justine McKenzie (left), second runner-up, and runners-up twin sisters Xaria and Zayairre Patrick look on.(Photo: Rory Daley)

AnimeYado completed its first year as an organiser of Japanese & Korean Pop Culture entertainment events with Daisuke! Chapter II, held at Campion College Auditorium in St Andrew.

"It has been officially one year of our existence and I'm very proud of the turnout here today. I like the interaction, and I like that people are engaging with each other, so I would say Daisuke! Chapter II is a successful event," Ashley Smith of AnimeYado, told the Jamaica Observer.

Smith explained that AnimeYado was started on the basis of loving anime and wanting to meet others who shared the passion, only to have it blossom into a business.

"I did not think AnimeYado would have lasted this long at all. I knew a few persons in Jamaica loved anime, but after each event I see numbers rising each time. We kept hosting and growing those numbers of persons and it motivated us to keep pushing more content and more events," said Smith.

With each event, Smith and her team have learnt that success comes due through hard work.

"We learnt it isn't a walk in the park. Hosting events on a whole is quite difficult. Hosting a niche event is even harder because you have to push the awareness so much more."

Daisuke! Chapter II was big this time around, easily taking up the location that used to host AnimeCom Fest. As advertised, there was plenty of anime, art, and manga, with the upper floor of the venue dedicated to gaming.

Asian-themed food, drink and merchandise were quickly snapped up as patrons made their way through the show all day.

The main attraction was the cosplay competition, and while many patrons did attend in their costume, only a small subsection were willing to put themselves on stage. Still, there was no shortage of excitement.

"I am actually surprised. A lot of persons came out in cosplay. I [thought] that cosplay is kind of dying now, but today changed my mind, changed the way I was thinking where cosplay was concerned. I saw a lot of entrants, so I'm very happy and hopeful for the future," said Smith.

The judges evaluated craftsmanship, crowd response, character accuracy, and onstage performances.

In the end it was Tiffany Chen taking the win as Xie Lian, of the anime of the Chinese novels Heaven Official's Blessing.

"I feel great about winning. This is one of the first events this year. I was looking forward to coming here to compete and happy to win," said Chen.

Twin sisters Xaria and Zayairre Patrick combined for the second place cosplay winner, Rem and Ram, fictional twins from the anime Re:Zero.

"I'm very happy that we got recognised, that people actually liked our cosplay. I think a lot of it had to do with us being actual twins which makes me really happy because I always dreamed we could do a Rem and Ram cosplay," they said.

Completing the top three was Justine McKenzie as Taiga Aisaka from the Toradora! anime series.

"I didn't really expect to be third because all the other performers were nice too, but I'm glad for it."

AnimeYado will be back in June with their signature Neko Maid Cafe's event.

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