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12 days until Pokémon Sword & Shield release!

From 25 to 27 October, fans of all ages congregated at London’s Excel Centre for the UK’s largest Comic Con, revelling in their shared love of the books, shows and movies that define modern culture. As ever, the occasion was a prime opportunity for cosplayers to strut their stuff and demonstrate their connection with their favourite characters from endless media.

Cosplay has increasingly moved from a symbol of considerable dedication to a much more accessible past-time, with Pokémon’s vast array of colourful human and non-human characters giving fans myriad opportunities to show off their love of the franchise. Attendance at the bi-annual London Comic Con Pokémon shoot grows year upon year, and we’ve showcased a number of incredible costumes from this year’s shoot below!

That’s not all; PokéJungle caught up with the shoot’s organiser to glean some insights into cosplay culture and what impact Sword and Shield might have on this integral part of the fandom!

Chu attended as Rosa, with her adorable hand-made Trubbish bag!

Tell us a little about yourself – who are you, and what would you be up to if you weren’t cosplaying here today?

I’m Steamedchu Cosplay, aka Chu! I’m a 27-year old cosplayer who’s been cosplaying for 10 years and attending cons for five years. I’m involved in many fandoms but Pokémon is my biggest; I’ve played the games since Gen 1 (and my favourite generation is Gen 2).

If I wasn’t at the convention today I’d probably be at home making cosplay or craft items. Also, I act as a mod for some Pokémon YouTubers.

The gentleman on the left had a working smoke machine built into his enormous topper!

How did you first get into cosplay?

I started sewing when I was about eight years old, so by the time I was a teenager I was making costumes. I started out making Halloween costumes, followed by costumes for school shows and exams. It wasn’t until I was 18 that I found out there were cons in the UK!

I always loved the thought of being a character so went all-out with my designs at Halloween. Harry Potter played a large role in getting me into cosplay.

The Eevee family assembles to do battle… with a hand from Honedge!
Absol-utely fabulous!

What was your first Pokémon cosplay, and what do you find the appeal of the franchise to be for cosplayers?

Technically my first Pokémon cosplay was when I was eight; I dressed up as Jessie for World Book Day! It wasn’t until I was 22 that I revisited the franchise and I’ve been making Pokémon cosplays ever since.

I think the appeal in Pokémon cosplay is that there’s no right or wrong – everyone has a happy memory tied to some character or generation. Whether it’s the anime, manga or video games, character designs are very graphic and recognisable, making for accessible cosplays.

What was your proudest cosplay, Pokémon or otherwise?

Well, the cosplay I’m most known and recognised for is Whitney from Gen 2. This is the cosplay that got the ball rolling for me in the Pokémon community, and I love the character as Gold and Silver are my favourite games. Miltank is even now known as my signature Pokémon, and I’ve previously created a hybridised ‘Whitneytank’, with a Moomoo Milk belt!

Is this the first group shoot you’ve held?

I’ve helped run the Pokémon meets for three years now, I’ve only started taking over them myself this year. I’ve also run various smaller groups for other fandoms.

Red faces down Giovanni by the S.S. Anne!

Do you have any advice for first-time Pokécosplayers?

The Pokémon gijinka group and I have a few tips:

  • Stick to a Pokémon cosplay that is easy to recognise, or your favourite – whatever ‘clicks’ with you.
  • Never cosplay a Pokémon you don’t like, as this will sap your motivation.
  • Cosplays can be as simple or as complex as you like.
  • Don’t be shy about asking for advice; the UK Pokémon scene and gijinka group is always happy to help!
Is Giratina menacing or cuddling that Feebas?

Do you foresee yourself cosplaying as any of the characters or Pokémon thus far revealed in Sword and Shield?

Alcremie is a must for me! I’m known for both my Miltank and other sweet/food Pokémon cosplays. I’m also diabetic and sugar plays an important part in my day-to-day life. I even have a sweet-themed TCG deck which Alcremie will be added to!

What are you most looking forward to seeing in Sword and Shield?

Who needs to buy a Switch XL when you can make one at home?

I’m looking forward to being able to explore both Galar and the ties to British culture and themes. I’ve been trying to avoid a lot of the news as I enjoy discovering new things as I play the games.

What do the next six months hold for you with regards to the cosplay scene?

I want to focus more on making a single really impressive cosplay (currently Dr Strange) for competitions. I’ll also be starting work on my first Pokémon armour, which will be Samurott.

It’s always fascinating to see different takes on the same Pokémon!

Finally, what’s your favourite Pokémon and why?

Despite being known for Miltank, my favourite Pokémon is actually Persian! Like all children of the 90s, I wanted Pokémon to be real and my real-life pet was a large white and tan ragdoll cat. He lived to a long age and passed away when I left secondary school, so I always want to keep him with me.

Pokémon’s diverse cast of characters gives cosplayers more opportunities to express themselves than perhaps any other franchise.

Many thanks, Chu! How about you, readers?

Are you already elite Pokécosplayers or are you feeling inspired to don a costume for the first time? The best place to show off your work or ask questions about this amazing subculture is down in our comments below!

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Galarian Form

Richard lives in London, UK, where he works in politics. When he’s not climbing the Random Battles ladder he plays Magic: The Gathering, Warhammer and the saxophone.