Spearheading this interest, Reika Arikawa, a popular Japanese Cosplayer with over 18 years of cosplay experience, made her first appearance at an American anime convention via the 8th annual Anime Matsuri by debuting as the character Levi from Attack on Titan. Known for her accuracy, she has created over 500 costumes, each with much care and she also spends great effort in styling her wigs and ensuring her make-up is the definition of perfection. For her Levi costume this attention to detail included a bomber jacket with sewn on Recon Corps patches, multiple belts, khaki pants, brown boots, and Vertical Maneuvering Equipment featuring swords and sheaths. When asked what she thought of the cosplayers in America, Reika said:
“It’s over the top. You guys go all out!”
Rough figures estimate that there were around 114 people, or 2.69% of all convention attendees, cosplaying as Attack on Titan characters; however, only thirty people made it for the official Attack on Titan photo, featuring Reika, which happened at the 8th annual Anime Matsuri Cosplay Contest.
For 2014, the hosts of the convention teamed up with Hot Import Nights traveling car show to bring guests the Import Reactor event, which show cased the best in modified cars. Attack on Titan had its Mercedes displayed, with itasha from the anime, for convention attendees. In addition to the car show, Attack on Titan had a fan-run panel discussion that occurred late in the evening on the 15 of March. Reika Arikawa even held a question and answer panel in her Levi cosplay.
From cars to cosplay, Attack on Titan dominated the 8th annual Anime Matsuri in every way. It remains to be seen if their close-knit group has staying power that will bring out the same, or even greater, numbers of cosplayers to the 9th annual Anime Masturi convention.