JEDDAH: Cosplay fans in Jeddah were delighted to see Japanese iconic cosplayer Reika perform on stage dressed up as Thoma from the video game “Genshin Impact” at the City Walk’s Anime Village on Tuesday.
Reika sang popular anime songs such as “Demon Slayer”, “Digimon” and “One Piece” among others.
The artist revealed that she felt nervous in the beginning but felt welcomed on the stage. “It is my first time performing in Saudi Arabia, so I was a bit worried, but all the people were very friendly and kind,” she said. “I felt so relaxed during the performance,” Reika told Arab News. “I tried to choose anime songs that Saudi people probably know and love.”
Reika has previously performed in Brazil, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the US and several European and Asian countries. Saudi Arabia is the 51st country she has performed in.
Comparing the Saudi audience’s reaction to those from other countries, Reika said: “I noticed there are many families and groups in the audience, and they look like they are enjoying themselves. I think because audiences here are not only Otaku people.”
The cosplayer was also very impressed with the Anime Village’s design. “Not only the stage, but every statue, pavilion is so big and enormous,” she said. “In Japan, it is difficult to see such a large and big-sized event, it is amazing.”
Expressing her joy in performing in the Kingdom, she said: “It’s my pleasure and I am very happy to visit Saudi Arabia so much,” she said. “And I feel so happy that many Saudi people love Japanese anime and entertainment.”
Saudi amateur cosplayer, Maryam Al-Shehri, said she was thrilled to see Reika in person. “I have been following Reika on Instagram for a long time, she is brilliant and makes me want to improve my cosplay skills,” she told Arab News.
Arab News also spoke to Japanese influencer Shams Qamar, who is fond of Saudi and Arab culture. He described himself as a bedouin from Japan, adding that he is happy to attend the Anime Village’s events for Jeddah Season.
“Jeddah Season is big and excellent, and I am so happy. All the famous anime characters are here,” said Qamar. “The architecture is big and I was very surprised because in Japan (these event spaces) are smaller. In Saudi Arabia, these events are big.”
Qamar said that he has a special and dear connection with his Saudi fans, but due to the pandemic he could not physically connect with them. “During COVID-19, I could not contact my Saudi friends … it was only online. Thankfully, we are now offline and can greet the Saudi way again,” he said.