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The Warner Brothers Studio Tour London, or as everyone I know stubbornly insists on calling it, “Harry Potter Land”, has one attraction that pulls in even the most cynical visitor. Apart from the butterbeer tent, the place with the longest queue in the studios is the green screen zone, where you can don quidditch robes and take a broomstick ride around Hogwarts and beyond. As I discovered when I visited there last month, after pratting around on a broom for five minutes you are led into the shop selling commemorative DVDs (or USB sticks, or whatever) of your flight. Thankfully, I resisted the urge to part with any more of my hard-earned pounds, and the footage of me waving to legions of adoring quidditch fans will (hopefully) be lost forever.

You might be forgiven, in a world of technological wizardry, for thinking that these shots of broomstick-riding witches had been made in a similar way – with a green screen or even some snazzy Photoshopping. But no. In the photos, taken at a local event in Gifu, Japan, last month, there aren’t even any wires being used! Just happy jumping witches and some clever camera angles.


The Suhara Fureai Centre (community centre) in Mino, a small city in Gifu Prefecture, held its Majo Contest (“witch contest”) on September 13 this year. It looks like a lot of fun!

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While it may look as if the witches are soaring high above a field of sunflowers, the set-up for taking the pictures is deceptively simple: the sunflowers are actually quite short, and the pictures are shot from a low angle – at the exact moment the witch jumps! No wonder the jumping girls (and boys) are beaming so delightedly.

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The most popular costume for leaping witches was Kiki, with her dark purple robes and distinctive red bow.

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Participants could even opt to have Jiji the cat sit on the end of their broomstick!

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There were all kinds of other costumes on show, too:

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Some witches (and wizards!) even got into the Halloween spirit.

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We can’t decide if this next one is a cool, understated Tombo costume, or just a nice coincidence.

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This Kiki looks like she might be on her first flight. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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It looks like everybody had a blast – we just can’t believe we missed the fun! The sunflower season is over now, but here at RocketNews24 we love any excuse for cosplay, so we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for next year’s event!

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Images: Suhara Fureai Centre (Facebook)
[ Read in Japanese ]