Hello to all my fellow Vancouver cosplayers and nerds!
The 2023 Cosplay season is here, and this year will mark the 6-year anniversary of local pop-up café, Mirai Cosplay Café, with whom this year, they are back with a bang!
Mirai Cosplay Café, previously known as, Mirai Maid Café will be hosting an extra special Pokémon themed Café at Anime Evolution on the 25th March 2023, to honour Ash’s 25 year journey coming to an end. :’)
AniEvo is a local, non-profit convention, predominantly celebrating Anime and Japanese culture! The event, named Harumatsuri, will be held at the Nikkei Cultural Centre in Burnaby between the hours of 10am-6pm.
So, mark your calendars and come and join in the fun whilst supporting your local businesses.
Mirai Cosplay Café have successfully held in person events all over Vancouver. Founder and Hostess,Misaki, runs special events over on her Twitch channel. https://www.twitch.tv/hostessmisaki
At Mirai Cosplay Café, you will find a variety of food and drinks available for purchase, with food being catered for by local fine foods establishment - Caffé dé Medici.
After paying a small $2 seating fee, you will then be able to enjoy all the entertainment Mirai has to offer! Such as dance & vocal performers, games, and prizes to be won!
On top of that, you can enter this events raffle to win some super cute Pokémon Plushies!!
This is an event you will certainly not want to miss!
Can you tell us a little bit about your café and how this idea came about?
Mirai Cosplay Café started back in June 2017, as "Mirai Maid Café". At this time, my partner and I wanted to just start a maid café for Anime Evolution events. We changed the name to "Wonder Café" and finally "Cosplay Café" because I realized two things:
1: Going to a "maid café" in Western countries is still a little daunting, even at anime conventions. It's one of those cultural concepts that can be difficult to explain to new friends, etc.
And 2. I wanted the café to grow beyond what most imagine a typical "maid café" to be. "Cosplay" finally felt like the right word, because hosting themed café events is a lot of fun for everyone! Knowing that the staff share a similar interest with the guests helps bridge the gap, and I hope makes everyone feel welcome.
What does the cosplay community mean to you?
To be honest, I was quite removed from the cosplay community for quite a long time - due to my own anxieties and lack of confidence in how I looked. The friends I've made through running this café mean a lot to me, because they helped me feel confident in this hobby again. The community as a whole, means a lot to me because of the impact anime has had on my life overall. Seeing such enthusiasm for something that's brought me immense joy over the years is amazing. I'm honoured to contribute and provide the café for those who've wanted to attend a themed café but couldn't travel to one.
What kind of food and drinks are available at your pop up café? Does your menu change to fit different themes?
For the most part, our food options come from Caffe de Medici, on Venables! The drinks are always soft drinks, tea, and coffee that we can prepare & offer on the day of.
Medici has a wonderful variety of both classic café snacks, and their own unique twist on some goodies; such as their vegan chocolate cranberry muffin. We try to order a wide enough variety for our guests based on the season and the feedback we receive at each event.
Do you provide any options for people with dietary restrictions i.e. vegan, dairy or gluten free, etc?
We always offer dairy-free creamer for tea and coffee, and we try to order vegan or gluten free options whenever they're available! I hope to grow the café again, now that in-person events are returning, so that our budget for more specialty foods can increase!
What's your number 1 seller?
Our bestselling menu option is most often the sandwich set! It's a combo featuring a sandwich and a cold or hot drink, for $8. It's our most popular set at Harumatsuri for those who want more of a meal and not just a small snack.
Do you have any merch for sale?
We do! Our café has partnered with many local Vancouver artists to create our acrylic omamori charms. "Omamori" are protective charms you'd normally find at Japanese shrines. We wanted to create a more modern, durable option, so we made acrylic charms - and we have a wide variety! From Digital Security to Pet Safety, and even some inspired by pop culture - such as "Think Happy Thoughts".
We also offer waterproof vinyl stickers of the café mascot; Nyurei! Our little ghost kitten who loves to play with his food.
What kind of entertainment can we expect to see for this special Pokémon event?
In addition to our usual Jpop dance & vocal performances from some of the staff members, we'll be raffling off some Pokémon plushies! Every guest will be given a "Who's that Pokémon?" game sheet. Those who answer all Pokémon correctly will be entered into a raffle for the plushies. Winners will be drawn at set times during the day, as advertised on the day of.
We offer polaroid photos for $3, either of yourself or with one of our staff. For this event, we will have special Pokémon polaroid’s available!
What boardgames do you have available and are they free to play?
The café charges a $2 seating fee per person. After that, guests are welcome to stay at the café for the full 45min seating, whether they order food & drink, or not.
Our game selection is completely free-to-play! Due to the 45min seating limit, our games are usually quite fast & simple to play. Such as; Lanterns, Let's Go Fishin', and Geek Out! Every winner gets a small prize!
Do people have to be dressed in cosplay to enjoy your café?
Not at all! Our café is open to everyone, cosplay or no cosplay. All we ask is that children under the age of 13 are accompanied by a guardian.
Are you still accepting volunteers or searching for performers? If so, how can people apply?
We open staff applications 1-2 months before an event - applicants must be 20yrs or older, be able to attend training before an event, and must provide their own cosplays. We'll always post on Instagram and TikTok when applications are open!
Performing is not mandatory to be part of Mirai Staff, but it is certainly an asset!
What else can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
At the current moment, our café heavily relies on Anime Evolution as a primary host. Late 2023 and into 2024, we're hoping to start hosting more online events; Anime Music Quiz nights, community games (Jackbox, Among Us), and more!
You can check out our YouTube channel for unboxings, game reviews, and dance covers!
Thank you to Mirai Cosplay Café for taking the time to participate in this interview and I hope to see you all at Anime Evolution this March 25th… Also, I will be living out my Pokémon dreams and cosplaying as a femme Ash Ketchum this day, so come say hi and let’s snap a photo together!