Now in its 13th year, the Den Den Town event is one of the biggest otaku gatherings in central Japan.
While Tokyo’s Akihabara is the worldwide center of otaku passion, anime and video games are big enough parts of the Japanese pop culture landscape that fans assemble in other parts of the country as well. One such congregation occurs every spring in the neighborhood of Osaka called Den Den Town, when the streets are closed down for the annual Nippombashi Street Festa cosplay extravaganza.
This year, the 13th iteration of the event was held on March 19, where for three hours cosplayers and fans flooded the pavement to mix, mingle, pose, and photograph.
礼奈るみ・8・24〜26モーターサイクル (@oOsuyaaaOo) March 19, 2017
ストフェスでバサバサ翼😈👼 #ストフェス #シャドウバース https://t.co/8LUycmfieR—
空綺 一愛♥ストフェスオリヴィエ (@HimeStrawberry) March 20, 2017
While traditionalists may dismiss the business model as turning digital entertainment into a cheap, shallow, and entirely disposable commodity, free-to-play mobile games still inspired some impressive outfits. In addition to the Shadowverse swordswoman and winged creature above, Fate/Grand Order, a free-to-play offshoot of the Fate multimedia series, had a strong showing.
わせりん㌠ｽﾄﾌｪｽ→ｾｲﾊﾞｰｵﾙﾀ (@wasse_ring) March 21, 2017
赤木クロ@ストフェス ネロブライド (@akagikuro) March 21, 2017
▼ This dedicated cosplayer was accompanied by a team of four assistants who helped him recreate the iconic Gate of Babylon magical assault.
Fateのギルガメッシュおったｗｗｗｗｗ #ストフェス2017 #ストフェス https://t.co/vYOD59Ro6L—
しずくβ@ｽﾄﾌｪｽ⏩春ｺﾐ (@siz33) March 19, 2017
血尿＠化け猫㌠ (@k2nyo) March 20, 2017
▼ A sharp-dressed spellcaster from mobile game Granblue Fantasy
椿いろこはひかえめ6V☆おっぱいタオル (@165_ponu) March 21, 2017
Characters from full-priced console games were also represented, though, such as Persona 5’s Anne…
みいすけ🌻ストフェス高巻杏 (@huji_mi1113) March 18, 2017
…and Metal Gear Solid’s Raiden.
イクシロ@ライジング雷電(ストフェス) (@exlo123456789) March 21, 2017
Even foreign-produced games got some love, like with this cosplay of D. Va from Overwatch.
ユリオと打って変わって昨日のストフェスはオーバーウォッチのD.VAちゃんでOW併せしてました！IvIizさんが綺麗に撮ってくれたのでとりあえず上げます(∩｡•ω•｡ )⊃━✩*⋆.･¨｡*⋆ https://t.co/gqtnj1FvJj—
🍓真輝🍓NieR 2Bコス出します (@makimelo_1005) March 20, 2017
On the anime side of things, one of the biggest hits among otaku during the current TV season has been anthropomorphic moe-fest Kemono Friends, which meant cosplayers dressed as series mascot Serval…
モニ子 (@monico_PC) March 20, 2017
…and the surprisingly scantily dressed Emperor Penguin.
ぺとらるか (@cute_petrarca) March 20, 2017
エル＠ストフェス (@OtherLhurgoyf) March 20, 2017
すぷ (@soup_photo) March 22, 2017
Another popular choice from the recent crop of new anime: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.
ゆうめるん ⌨️ (@Yuumeln) March 20, 2017
七青@ストフェスおつでした！ (@nanaonk) March 21, 2017
▼ A faithful recreation of Gintama’s Kagura, who wouldn’t look out of place in the upcoming live-action adaptation…
🎀ひちゃき🎀ストフェス 神楽 (@Hcyak3110) March 21, 2017
▼ …and a gender-switched version of the titular series star.
ストフェスは銀魂から銀子さんです☺ みなさまに会いたいですー😍 #ストフェス2017 #ストフェス https://t.co/oS4GL5Xsc2—
しいなもえ@ストフェス銀子 (@fallenangel0710) March 19, 2017
▼ A dynamic duo from My Hero Academia
みてみてみてみて…!!!💥 念願のオールマイトとの2ショット…!!!💥 最高に幸せすぎて普通に笑ってるワイ!!笑 こたつさんほんまにめっちゃかっこよかったですーーーｯ( ´;ω;` )!! 有難うございました!!!… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…—
ゆめちか🌎ｽﾄﾌｪｽ爆豪ﾋｰﾛｰｽｰﾂ (@B_Planet39) March 21, 2017
Even anime fans from the animal kingdom got in on the fun, such as this pair of kitties dressed as San and Ashitaka from Studio Ghibli classic Princess Mononoke…
▼ Not cosplaying as Totoro’s Catbus seems like sort of a wasted opportunity, though.
日本橋ストリートフェスタ2017 もののけ姫: 猫のサンとアシタカ🐱！ #ストフェス2017 https://t.co/7bHS1Atp6s—
夕雨(ゆうあめ)@ｽﾄﾌｪｽ✩撮側 (@you___rainy) March 19, 2017
…and this pack of pooches dressed as Attack on Titan’s Survey Corps, complete with miniature Three-Dimensional Maneuver Gear.
進撃のﾜﾝちゃんが可愛すぎた、立体起動装置ついてるし( ´∀｀)b #ストフェス2017 https://t.co/0hWaua9cX7—
mossi@のんびりまったり (@mossinyanta) March 19, 2017
But before you go declaring cute little pets doing anime cosplay to be the most Japanese thing since sailor suit Pikachu, consider this other contender: Godzilla doing an otaku-style ota-gei dance.
ゴジラのオタ芸 #ストフェス2017 https://t.co/MeaQ2k4Cd0—
なまおっぱい・ふぉん・でぐれちゃふ (@yuyu_extremists) March 19, 2017
Street Festa really is a world unto itself, but with such colorful and creative participants as the ones seen here, it’s a world that we’re happy exists.
Featured image: Twitter/@cute_petrarca
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s pretty sure this is the first time he’s ever used the words “sexy penguin” in a professional capacity.