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Iberanime Festival filled with people and colors

The first day of the Japanese pop culture festival took place this weekend with a full house at Exponor, in Matosinhos

"Can I take a picture with you?" This is the phrase that the woman dressed in black, with two long locks of hair, wielding sharp skewers, heard most during the weekend. The character embodied by Sara Fonseca during the 22nd edition of Iberanime, taking place at Exponor, in Matosinhos, is called Yor Forger, from the series "Spy X Family", and is an assassin.

Since 2015 that Sara Fonseca does not miss an Iberanime Porto. And since 2017 she's been at the capital's edition. "They are two different events and the Porto audience is special". Yor Forgen, as she is called these days, was looking forward to the cosplay competition, which, for her, is the festival's strong point.

There are colorful wigs. Long capes. Short skirts. And props. Lots of props. Some are commissioned, others are handmade, with hours of dedication. And there are those who decide to take this passion to the skin.

We meet Inês Martins, 24, at the tattoo stall. She's the first customer this weekend, and she'll have the character Obanai Iguro from "Demon Slayer" branded on her arm. For the young woman, also characterized, the wait was not long. "As I had the tattoo marked, I was able to get in without standing in line, otherwise I wouldn't have got in here so early."

Over 30 thousand visitors

The queue at the entrance to the venue, visible throughout the weekend, is representative of expectations exceeded. "We didn't count on such a large number of visitors", says André Manz, the event's organizer. More than 30,000 people passed through the festival that returned to Porto after two years of stoppages due to the pandemic. The tickets were long sold out.

There are no prejudices here. There are men masquerading as female characters, and vice-versa. George Caminata is one of these cases. With light blue hair, a tight uniform, and miniskirt, the young man says it was a victory to convince his friends to join the cosplay. "We already went to all the editions together, here in the North and in the capital, but it is the first time that they come disguised".

But cosplay is not only about imitations. Couple Jorge Pereira and Arcília Monteiro brought an original. "We were inspired by some stuffed animals on the Internet that represent doctors from the time of the plague", says the man dressed entirely in black, walking around with a mysteriously faded lantern.

For those who didn't come dressed up, there's no shortage of costumes at the 70 merchandising points of sale in this edition of Iberanime Porto.

Galicians are a strong public in the North

Spanish visitors to Iberanime Porto are the highlight for organizer André Manz. "There is a great expression of entries originating in Galicia".

Although the target audience comes mostly from the North of Portugal, there are visitors from all over the country, including from the capital, Lisbon, where there has already been an edition in May. As for ages, there are no highlights to be made, says Manz, as the fans range from children to adults.


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