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Event Coverage: CosDay²

Starting out as informal meetup in June 2004 where anime fans decided to collectively explore Frankfurt am Main and some of its more interesting locations clad in cosplay, CosDay² became an official annual anime convention in 2011. Every summer since then (outside of the pandemic years), CosDay e.V. (lit. CosDay eingetragener Verein) has hosted the event in the popular Nordwestzentrum (Northwest Mall). Last year, I attended the convention with Sinned and Lukimana while we were still the de-facto leaders of the German website, preaching the gospel about visual novels to everyone by handing out business cards and networking, but this year, I attended as a normal congoer equipped with a phone camera.

Compared to the bigger anime conventions like Dokomi, Connichi, AniMagic or Leipziger Buchmesse & Manga-Comic-Con, this event is much easier to fully explore in a single day, and that’s exactly what I did. With that all said, let’s check it out!

Outer Area: Nordwestzentrum

CosDay² is split into two sections: the Nordwestzentrum mall, which boasts over 160 stores, and then the Saalbau Titus-Halle, a convention hall. I’m intentionally splitting these two sections because there was some construction going on that blocked the view. Just walking up to the site made me miss last year’s convention, as normally you’d see cosplayer crowds gathering around the entrance to get their tickets and show off. It really did feel like two separate events.

Nevertheless, the mall sported the N.G.E. Itasha Cars & Kendama Frankfurt booths. It’s here that I spotted my first glimpse of something visual novel related: a car with TYPE-MOON’s Fate Stay/Night’s Saber printed on it. There’s plenty of eye candy, or you could hang out with the hosts and read some original Japanese Itasha-related magazines that were laid out for passersby to peruse.

We went down the escalators, passing by the various public stages where different performances and musical acts were playing throughout the day. But instead of waiting around for a show, I went to get a ticket to get into the convention center. My decision to attend was somewhat spontaneous, so I hadn’t purchased a ticket in advance, but tickets at 2pm on the second day were 25€. And while I say “ticket,” I was given more of a thinly printed receipt, definitely not something showy for the scrapbook.

Inner Area: Saalbau Titus-Halle

The convention center itself is split into three stories, which you can access via stairs or, if you’re friends with the staff, via an elevator.

Starting with the main floor, you have a gaming area with retro titles and your more modern arcade machines, several anime merch sales floors, two floors devoted to art and artists, a very affordable onigiri store, a signing room where the special guests were doing autographs, and an area for those interested in traveling to Japan.

Going downstairs, you have the Bring & Buy section, which is your more informal selling space, as well as the Culture Stage, which is reserved for more cultural events like poetry slams, voice actor panels, and other educational events.

And when you arrive at the top floor, you’re greeted by this:

That’s right, a full Maid Café. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a karaoke room, several panel rooms, the main stage for the headlining acts for the convention, and a selection of vendor booths for related merchandise.

Day One – The Things I Missed Out On

The Cosday² Digital Guidebook, which was accessible via a QR code found near the ticket booths, gave me an overview of what I missed on Day 1. For your reading pleasure, let me craft what I would have done had I been here:

The convention opened at 10am and started with an opening ceremony. From there, I would have moved to the Star Dream Entertainment K-Pop Style event. I have enough friends who are super into K-Pop culture that it’s sort of rubbed off on me.

Following that, I would make my way to the Kanji Workshop, hosted by Annette Hansen from Japanologie Uni Bochum, mostly out of curiosity as to what method they’d teach—possibly the Heisig Method, or by studying radicals, I presume.

Then, I would have gone to the Noodle Slurping Contest to watch a close friend of mine (probably) win it again. I wonder who won…

After helping myself to some onigiri for lunch, I would have met up with some friends in the surrounding park areas, keeping a lookout for any visual novel-related cosplay and asking them whether they’ve played the game. Whether you hit that one Danganronpa, Fate Stay/Night, or Clannad cosplayer, or the occasional Steins;Gate enthusiast who’s actually played the games is a shot in the dark, but at least it makes for some good conversation, and they’re usually eager to listen.

I would have browsed for a while and then made my way to the music performances, namely the Toriyuca Arts Violin show and afterwards the Sakura no Ki Taiko session. Around 6pm there would also have been a shamisen (Japanese traditional harp) show, but by then I would have been starving for some dinner or at least some boba.

I’d end my day in the Karaoke room singing my heart out to some traditional anime openings in German or flexing my German-accented Japanese pipes.

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Day Two – The Real Deal

All right, now that the hypothetical’s over, let’s talk about what I did do.

The reason I actually ended up going was because a friend I had met going home from the convention last year, Arataka (Andreas), reached out to me and said I should come. He proved to be knowledgeable about visual novels, and we talked about some NekoNyan licenses, Little Busters, and some lewd titles, if memory serves. It was fun, so I hoped for a repeat.

Unfortunately, because I didn’t have a ticket and had to wait in line until 2pm, I missed out on some exciting events. It hurt that I couldn’t see Sasi (known from the Touhou Circle FrozenStarfall) perform again. Last year, she had been at CosDay² together with a former friend of mine, Shisuka, and they really rocked the stage with some amazing songs from Guilty Crown, Love Live, Attack on Titan, and other shows. This time, they would’ve been on the Public Stage outside, so it was my fault that I didn’t check the schedule early enough.

After a bit of back and forth, I managed to meet up with Arataka and his friends inside the foyer and promptly lost them again after lingering too long at the Japan travel desk. I did come away with one hell of a deal, though: A 完全版 (Complete Works) of the AKB-0048 Mecha Idol Anime for a mere 12€.

The Bring & Buy walkthrough didn’t turn out to be that fruitful compared to last year, where I had managed to snag someB’s-LOG magazines and a BUGBUG as well as a fancy Dakimakura Pillowcase of Alice from Monster Girl Quest. A rare find, actually. The only thing of interest to me was the 18+ Box, but it was chock full of mostly yaoi DVDs and BL manga content. I’m over my paddle phase, so I just ignored that. There was only one item that was interesting: a 200€ Blu-ray set of the Steins;Gate anime. A friend told me this was quite cheap and could be resold for double the price, but I wasn’t interested in investing in something like that. I’ll leave the deal-finding to someone else.

Another artist, performer, and virtuoso I really would’ve liked to see is Junihuhn. Funnily enough, the guy is an osu! player whom I know in real life. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) for me, his theme this year was arrangements from Genshin Impact. Gacha, not even once.

Instead, I went outside again to meet with some other friends. Behind the venue, through an underpass and across a bridge, is a massive park where people sat up their tents and hundreds of cosplayers were showing off their hard work. There’s plenty of good scenery to serve as a backdrop, and there’s plenty of opportunities to just chill with some good BBQ. An extrovert’s paradise, for sure.

I finished my time doing some karaoke, and the convention ended at 6pm.

Final Verdict

I live in Frankfurt am Main, which means visiting a convention like this should be a no-brainer for me. However, there wasn’t much there for visual novel fans outside of some stray pieces of merch in the vendor areas. And most of the time, those vendors didn’t understand what they had. My exclamations of, “Wow, a Little Busters silicon mat!” or, “Damn, I wish I had the money for that Rewrite Chihaya figurine!” were met with indifference or a blatant disregard for what I was even talking about.

On Another Note…

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Further north, on the upper side of Germany, was another convention happening at the same time, with amazing music performances by top Japanese artists like nano, MYTH & ROID, as well as FATE GEAR—the Animemesse Babelsberg. I honestly wish I had been there instead, hanging out with the crew. Well, maybe next year.

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Once a writer for German site VNinfo, now the guy running the show (we're trying to save him from Hell okay). His energy is infectious, his passions strong, and his attachment to Nanahira manifestly unhealthy. He likes Sayonara wo Oshiete, long walks on the Internet, and excels at koolaidmanning.

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