Part II: Review: Tokyo, OK panels, events, and contests 

Editor’s Note: This is Part II of a three-part series on Tokyo, OK. 

On July 13, the Tokyo, OK staff began setting up for the upcoming weekend. It was on this day that passes were available for early pickup for anyone who had already reserved a weekend pass. The Hyatt Regency Tulsa Downtown was empty of guests, but it was only the calm before the storm.  

A long line of costumed guests arrives, waiting patiently to register, purchase, or pick up their weekend passes for Tokyo, OK at the Hyatt Regency Downtown last month. (Photo by Ethan Gray)

By the following day, July 14, the entire lobby had been filled. With the start of the convention, a long line of patrons buying tickets stretched far past the information and registration desk, nearing the escalators of the hotel. By mid afternoon, the opening ceremony had begun in the Hyatt Regency Ballroom. On the main stage, the masters of ceremonies (MCs) of the convention greeted all the incoming attendees and prepared them for the oncoming events. Many of the special guests were introduced for the weekend, including names such as Barry Yandell, Bryan Apprill, Emi Lo, Dani Chambers, Cole Feuchter, Spencer Liles, and Kiba Walker.  

The opening ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Downtown welcomed hundreds of fans to Tokyo, OK.

All voice actors offered their time and talents to the convention, signing autographs and hosting panels. The musical guest, RUN, came all the way from Japan through Chaotic Harmony Imports & Events. RUN performed that evening in the ballroom to screaming fans of this solo idol.  

Several of the other special guests of Tokyo, OK included fashion brand OzzOn Japan. OzzOn Japan is a street brand from Japan. The brand’s style ranges from steampunk, traditional Japanese designs, and even the style of lolita fashion

The last four guests were selected for their work in the world of cosplay. They were Pros and Cons, Cheeky Cheetah, and Forged In Foam. In their personalized costumes that they brought to Tulsa, these professional award-winning cosplayers were a sight to behold. Each brought utterly unique and ingenious creations to the convention. Not only did they bring outrageous costumes, but each of these cosplay creators also provided invaluable insight into the world of making cosplay in panels for eager cosplayers. 

For this year’s Tokyo, OK, the charity selected was none other than the Oklahoma Life Skills Association and Special Kids Care, a state-licensed, five-star childcare center. All proceeds raised during Tokyo, OK were to be given to Special Kids Care at the end of the weekend event. The charity was introduced at the opening ceremony. If you would like to volunteer, donate, or for more information, visit its website at

This year’s charity selected for Tokyo, OK, was The Oklahoma Life Skills Association and Special Kids Care, a state-licensed, five-star childcare center. Members of this charity spoke about how excited they were to be a part of Tokyo, OK, and of the many opportunities how others can offer support to Special Kids Care. (Photo by Ethan Gray)

Friday was filled with a variety of great panels to attend as well as events. During my three-day coverage of Tokyo, OK, I sat in on some incredible moments. The first panel I attended was “Budget Silicone Mold Making.” Hosted by two of the special guest cosplayers, Forged In Foam, aka Bruce Holt, and Cheeky Cheetah, aka Anita Holmes. They discussed the practical uses for silicone mold making for cosplay and how to save money doing it.  

Bruce Holt, also known as Forged In Foam, hosted a panel about the creative use of silicone mold making for cosplay. Holt revealed his secrets and how to make molds on a budget. (Photo by Ethan Gray)

RUN’s concert started at 7:30 p.m. in the Hyatt Regency Ballroom. The room was packed with fans waiting for the solo idol to perform. Her songs were all in Japanese, but that didn’t stop anyone from attempting to follow along during her performance. RUN’s translator for the weekend translated between several songs, informing the audience how happy RUN is to be in Tulsa. The concert ended, giving a few minutes for the ballroom to prepare for Ready Player Drag! 

RUN, a solo artist from Japan, performs in front of the Tulsa crowd, making her first concert in the state of Oklahoma. (Photo by Ethan Gray)
RUN looks out to the crowd as her fans shout “encore.” (Photo by Ethan Gray)

Ready Player Drag!, presented by Salem Moon, started at 10 p.m. For the second year in a row, “Ready Player Drag!” featured drag stars dressed up in outfits and costumes inspired by anime, TV, cartoons, video games, and film. The show was packed inside the Hyatt Regency Ballroom as fans supported their favorite drag kings and queens. The host of the evening, in full drag as Salem Moon, was the voice actor Kiba Walker. Other featured stars of Ready Player Drag! were Logan Liquer, D. Composer, Danny Fox-Trot, Dia Monte, and Citronella W. Mack. 

The final big event of the first day of Tokyo, OK ends with Ready Player Drag! at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Tulsa. The program was hosted by drag queen Salem Moon. (Photo by Ethan Gray)
Texas-based drag queen Citronella, referred to humbly as the “country breakfast of drag,” dressed in a Naruto Shippuden-inspired outfit. Citronella lip synced songs for the eager audience. (Photo by Ethan Gray)

By midnight, the show had ended after two hours. 

On July 15, the second day of Tokyo, OK began at nine in the morning. Cosplay contestants were eligible to compete in the upcoming cosplay contest by signing up on the website. Another option was for contestants to apply at the contest table before the deadline later that day. From there, the contestants were given a specific time to present their costumes to the cosplay judges. All the work that goes into a cosplay costume is to be noted and documented in a folder to hand to the judges. (More on this in Part III, which will focus entirely on cosplay.) 

While I waited to interview some cosplayers, I made sure to enter the special guest hall, where voice actors and cosplayers had their tables set up for meet and greet.  

I was able to meet Bruce Holt, one of the special guests who is a professional cosplayer. Holt, a costume designer and creator, gave insight into some of his creations. “I like to do one-off creations, like the ones at my booth. Taking two different genres and mashing them together.” 

Forged In Foam presented many of his samurai helmets alongside several superhero helmets and masks. (Photo by Ethan Gray)
These impressive costumes were placed on mannequins during Tokyo, OK. Forged In Foam transported each of these creations with the help of a trailer full of even more cosplay tools and creations. (Photo by Ethan Gray)

Holt started making and designing costumes when he was 14 years old. He presented all his award-worthy and some award-winning works. He was happy and willing to speak with anyone at his booth about the secrets of his creative process. Holt’s panel, Imagination Foundation, started at 2 p.m. The panel showcased a project that Holt has been a part of called the “Figmentation Foundation.” 

This massive build is one of Bruce Holt’s award-winning creations. It was an on- and-off-project for him for more than three years. The suit even had an animatronic tail attached to the back. (Photo by Ethan Gray)

The Figmentation Foundation is a nonprofit organization that helps children overcome life-threatening trauma by reawakening their innocence and childhood. The organization helps these children by having them star in their very own movie. Kids are able to become superheroes through the incredible process Figmentation Foundations takes. Holt offers assistance to the foundation, helping bring each child’s superhero creations to life. Holt showcased a short film, “Scorpiation,” for the Figmentation Foundation. It is a story of a superhero, whose suit he crafted for the star of the film. The star is a young boy named Alex. Alex’s story was shared by Holt, and there was even a short video by the Figmentation Foundation that told more of Alex’s ability to overcome his trauma by starring in his own superhero story. Here is a link to Alex’s Story

The Figmentation Foundation created a short superhero film starring a boy who went through a life-altering traumatic event. Through the course of creating his own superhero, the costume that Forged In Foam created allowed this young hero to overcome his trauma. (Photo by Ethan Gray)

Finally, on Friday at 7 p.m., the cosplay contest opened the doors to the ballroom. An enormous crowd cheered as they entered the room. This was by far the biggest event of the weekend, with the entire ballroom packed with only standing room in the back of the ballroom. 

Just minutes before the doors open for the cosplay contest, a line forms outside the ballroom doors. The size of the line proves just how important this contest is for Tokyo, OK. (Photo by Ethan Gray)

Cosplayers of all backgrounds presented their creations for the audience and judges. 

Many of the individuals competing wore their signature looks throughout the day to prepare for the contest later that evening. As the audience waited patiently to be seated, the three guest judges made their grand entrance. Wearing their own costumes, Cheeky Cheetah, Pros, and Cons Cosplay walked to the main stage to begin the judging. 

The three guest judges, Cheeky Cheetah and Pros and Cons cosplay, make their way in costume to begin the contest. (Photo by Ethan Gray)

Contestants were announced on stage to show off their creations to the crowd and march down the long aisle of clapping fans. Every costume and cosplayer brought their own sense of flair to the stage. Thirteen categories were given awards. Several of the categories included the “Judge’s Choice,” where each guest judge selected one contestant as choice, a “Beginner’s” category for those still new to cosplay, an “Intermediate” category for those making cosplay for several years, an “Advanced” category for truly professional-grade costumes, and one award for “Best in Show.” Every winner had their moment to shine. All the contestants had worked months or even years on their costumes. The cosplayers were given the chance to show off their art in front of their peers and professionals. 

Shae Ox walks out onstage to showcase her cosplay of Queen Sonia from the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom video game. (Photo by Ethan Gray)

On Sunday, the last day of the convention, there were several panels about special effects, wig styling, and fan panels that focused on several fan favorites. 

In another Clary Sage College-led panel, the host demonstrates the usefulness of make-up to create wounds such as bruises, scars, blemishes, and open sores on her model. (Photo by Ethan Gray)

The event offered a lot to take in from the entire weekend. What I enjoyed most about Tokyo, OK was the way everyone treated one another. The joy and kindness others showed to their fellow cosplayers. It felt easy to make friends while waiting in line and attending the same panels and seeing the same faces. The convention ended, and it will not be until next July when Tokyo, OK returns. Until then, Sayonara Tokyo, OK.  

Additional Photos from Tokyo, Ok.

The information desk, located behind the Hyatt Regency Downtown hotel escalators, assisted all the convention attendees to participate in the various sessions over the weekend. (Photo by Ethan Gray)
Clary Sage College hosted several panels for Tokyo, OK. One is about patterns and how to make your own designs for sewing. The host showcases a demon slayer-inspired outfit made using simple patterns and fabrics. (Photo by Ethan Gray)
After further inspection, the model’s makeup truly reflects the wonders of special effects makeup. (Photo by Ethan Gray)
A fun group photo poses alongside the cast of Salem Moon’s Ready Player Drag! Show. From left to right are Citronella W. Mack, Dia Monte, Salem Moon, Shae Ox, Ethan Gray, Danny Fox-Trot, D. Composer, and Logan Liquer. (Photo by Ethan Gray)
One of costume designer and creator Bruce Holt’s interests is to combine genres into something new. For instance, his samurai armor is inspired by Batman’s archvillain, Joker. (Photo by Ethan Gray)
A foam creation of the popular Pokémon, Butterfree stands next to Cheeky Cheetah’s cosplay table. (Photo by Ethan Gray)
The cosplay judges announce the winners of the “Judges’ Pick” as well as the “Best in Show” cosplay. From left to right: The twin duo, Pros and Cons Cosplay stand together next to Cheeky Cheetah on the main stage. (Photo by Ethan Gray)
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