Rohit Shrestha started watching anime when he was in 8th grade, began cosplaying in 2014, and is among the earliest cosplayers in Nepal. He is now one of the organisers of Otaku Jatra, Nepal’s largest pop culture convention.
Back in 2013, Shrestha and like-minded enthusiasts used to get together and hang out every Saturday at the anime store owned and operated by fellow anime fan Wataru Oikawa Shrestha.
Realising that there was a growing community of pop culture fans in Nepal, their collective Otaku Club joined hands with another collective, Otaku Next — which used to publish its Nepali mangas magazine— to host a small-scale pop culture events which made its way into smaller pop-up events, fanart and cosplay competitions, and exhibitions.
In 2014, when she heard about the Otaku event, Suki Manandhar made her own costume, often sewing it out of sight of her teachers even as she attended her college lectures. The day before the convention, with her outfit still not done, Manandhar was up the whole night completing it.
Manandhar went to her first cosplay event as Taiga from the anime Toradora!. She has been to many conventions since but recalls dressing up as Mikasa Ackerman from Attack on Titan as one of her most memorable cosplays. Depending on the characters, Manandhar spends as much as five months creating intricate costumes.
The 26-year-old communications officer, who has also illustrated and written a four-chapter manga The Birdsong, has been preparing for a year for the upcoming Otaku Jatra Fall 2022 on Saturday in Kathmandu, working on her costume whenever she has time.