, the annual festival of all things anime, manga, fantasy, and video game-y, gets under way. So if you see a squadron of storm troopers at the Five Guys or a giant Pikachu on a paddle boat, don’t be alarmed. Otakon—the name comes from the Japanese term Otaku, which refers to someone obsessed with manga, anime and video games—began in 1994, organized by fans of Otaku culture and, in particular, cosplay (short for costume play). The festival has grown immensely over the years, and this year it’s expected to attract 30,000 people. Cosplay and cosplay contests are still the centerpiece of Otakon, which also includes screenings, lectures, panels, game demos, and massive dance parties. For a preview, we talked to one of Otakon’s costume judges, Cathy Yang, who goes by the cosplay name Mei Hoshi during Otakon.