Gaijin Smash

Cosplay Revisited

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on May 26, 2009

The building where I work isn’t a dedicated office building. Its got convention halls and a shopping center and stores and restaurants and all that stuff. So on Saturdays, it can get pretty lively with people coming here for events or just to shop or whatever.
One particular Saturday*, I went downstairs to grab lunch when, without even really giving it a second thought, I walked right past a 30-year old woman dressed up as Yuna from Final Fantasy X. It literally took a while to register, like at first I just walked by her and thought “Oh, that’s Yuna” and didn’t pay it any mind. Only a few steps later did I have to stop and think, “Hey, waitaminute. Why is a 30-year old woman dressed up like a video game character here in the middle of this shopping/convention/whatever the hell this is complex?” The fact that I was originally unphased by this worries me greatly. Have I become desensitized? Oh God…
*Yes, I do work some Saturdays. Sucks, but it can’t be helped I guess. I am becoming Japanese.
As I progressed further, I found that Yuna wasn’t the only one. I’d walked straight into a cosplay convention. Or, more accurately, the convention itself would be held downstairs, but the cosplayers were out and about, putting the finishing touches on their costumes, enjoying the nice weather, or posing for numerous pictures.


To show you how far out of the anime loop I am, I only recognized maybe a handful of costumes. Ed and Winry plus some random Amestris soldiers from Fullmetal Alchemist, and maybe some Bleach Shinigami. Everything else was completely foreign to me. Yes, during my college days I was an anime junkie; I probably could have identified each series, which character was being cosplayed, and their blood type. These days, I don’t watch too much anime or read that much manga. I guess I just naturally grew out of it, and then there’s also the fact that my wife is of the faction of Japanese people who think that liking anime makes you an otaku. And not in a good sense of the word either (hint – there is no good sense of the word). I have to sneak out of the house just to catch the Rebuild of Evangelion movies in theaters.
Although there were a few video game characters I could spot. I spotted two different Princess Peach’s. …I know women have a thing about showing up to a party wearing a similar dress as someone else, so I couldn’t help but to wonder if the same applies for cosplay conventions. “Oh no look – that girl over there is also Princess Peach! Damnit! I knew I should have picked the Lara Croft costume instead…”
In the first post I did on cosplay, I wrote about junior high school girls laughing their asses off at American mediocre cosplay. What I witnessed this day was very, very far from that. It was all good cosplay. Elaborate costumes, hand-made and very detailed, with real and authentic props (one girl dropped her sword in front of me – I picked it up for her, and was surprised to find it was a real sword – not sharpened of course, but still…), the whole works. Its the cosplay that you look at and say “Wow, that’s actually pretty good”.
But, there was another catch. At least 98% of the cosplayers…were female. I say 98%, but in all honestly I never actually saw one guy. I say 98% because I suppose I can’t rule it out, but yeah, it was all female. And 85% of them were cute/hot.
Now, with proper exceptions of course, many men have an avid interest in video games, comics, anime, things like that. And, with proper exceptions of course, many men have an avid interest in women. The two don’t usually meet…but when they do, its something incredible. Like a girl gamer – having her be a hardcore gaming nerd can raise her 10-point rating by a whole 2 points. Or when you get a girl who is willing to dress up like a video game/comic character, and she’s cute/hot…its just mindblowing. Its like…we spend unhealthy amounts of time thinking about sexing up these non-existant women (don’t lie gentlemen, I know you’ve worn out pause buttons on your controllers. People don’t play the Dead or Alive games for the fighting action, no no no…), and usually that’s in the realm of an unattainable pipe dream…and yet here we are, with reality smacking us right in the face.
Lucikly, I lost any sort of costume fetish I might have had a long time ago. I used to have one, especially for school girl outfits…then I worked in a school with uniforms for 3 years and that got ruined right quick. I Chris Hansen’ed myself.
But still, the vast majority of the girls were cute/hot, and some of the costumes were quite revealing. I sort of wanted to take some pictures, especially with the Ed/Winry duo, but I was kind of embarrased to ask. I know you must be thinking “they’re dressed up like anime characters in public and broad daylight and YOU were the embarrased one?” Yeah yeah, let me explain. Being foreign in Japan, one always carries with himself a feeling of sticking out. Over the years you can squash that feeling down somewhat, but it never entirely goes away. Especially for me, being tall (this would make me stick out even if I were Japanese) and black, the feeling is doubled, tripled even. Being in this situation – the only person who wasn’t Japanese, female, and the only person actually wearing normal clothes, I *really* felt out of place. Imagine playing “Where’s Waldo” if Waldo were dropped in the middle of a transvestite midget convention. It was a lot like that, except far more awkward.
I really should have taken pics though, the girls seemed up for it, and there were quite a few camera men there already taking various shots. As I walked through the scene, I couldn’t help but to think that these images would be posted up on the internet somewhere, and various guys like me would be viewing them and popping boners over these cute lil’ Japanese girls in anime clothing. Yeah, you’re looking at this on the internet, I’m walking right in the middle of it.
My lunch hour of weirdness wasn’t going to end there. As I came back to the building, I was now greeted by an endless sea of horrible, horrible jailbait.
I imagine, together with the cosplay convention, there must have also been on this day a preteen cheerleader convention. Because what I now saw before me was a sea of girls, no younger than 5 but no older than 14, all in cheerleader outfits. Considering I’d just walked through a sea of cute/hot/legal girls wearing skimy anime clothing, I’d been feeling somewhat happy, but this just threw me all for a loop. I could almost sense Pedobear hiding behind a pillar, ready to sneak up behind me and bite by head off.
But wait, there’s more! As we’re talking about little girls, of course they had to be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Which was, 100% mothers. Pretty damn hot mothers. So, yep…I go from hot cosplay, to Pedo Wonderland, to the magical MILF Kingdom. I just had no idea what was going on anymore. I felt like I had just literally walked through the internet.
Az’s Brain: What…too much…can’t process…
Az’s Eyes: I see good things…bad things…confusing things.
Az’s Penis: What’s going on? Should I be happy or retreating or retreating while happy or what? Hey Anxiety?
Az’s Anxiety: Nope, not this time. I’m going on vacation. Can’t handle this shit.
Az’s Heart: But guys, NONE of this matters. Y’know, we are married…
Az’s Eyes: That may be, but I can’t not see cute cosplayers and hot milfs…
Az’s Penis: Yep. Excited. I should definitely be excited here.
Az’s Eyes: Oh, and there are the underage cheerleaders again.
Az’s Penis: NO! BY GOD WHAT HAVE YOU DONE! LOOK AWAY, LOOK AWAY!
Az’s Brain: Hey Anxiety, wait up! I’m joining you on that vacation! Where are we going? Ooh, I hope there’s good food!
All I needed was for some guy to shove his open asshole in my face, and for some random person to comment on how they’ve been disgusted morally by the whole situation, and it would have been the internet IRL. That frightens me.
At least I wasn’t the only person in shell-shock. There were also quite a few old people there – and I have never seen a more classic WTF expression than these poor old folks had this day. The hilarious thing is, I don’t think they even realized what the cosplay was. I overhead one old guy say to his wife, as we were weaving through a procession of cosplayers, “I just don’t understand the fashions of kids these days.”
I think its these completely unique and random moments that keep me in Japan, honestly.

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54 Responses

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  1. Jon Helgi said, on May 26, 2009 at 4:03 am

    So at least i am not the only one with a schoolgirl uniform fetish, sigh. I hope i never get cured of that.

  2. deathoxy said, on May 26, 2009 at 4:19 am

    No pictures, what a pity ((

  3. Tronke said, on May 26, 2009 at 4:28 am

    First of all, cheers from Hungary!
    Seconds. There was such a convention in the capitol city and well…it wasn’t the “good cosplay”. There was a girl (I have no idea which character she chose) who had white contact lenses. Seriously, think about that. She had all these black, feather-like clothes, and a bag which looked like a coffin. Creepy. Now SHE was standing out.
    But I guess it’s not such a big deal in Japan, since it came from there, but still.
    I admire your self-control, it would have been pretty hard on me! 🙂

  4. Anonymous said, on May 26, 2009 at 4:30 am

    Ah man, you should have gone up to the old people and said “Yo, what’s up homes?!” in English and then flash a gang sign.
    Convince them they walked into a different universe existing only in the one building.

  5. Anonymous said, on May 26, 2009 at 4:30 am

    Ah man, you should have gone up to the old people and said “Yo, what’s up homes?!” in English and then flash a gang sign.
    Convince them they walked into a different universe existing only in the one building.

  6. Misty said, on May 26, 2009 at 5:07 am

    I’m amazed you actually still even watch anime, cause I remember you said once that you don’t watch anime anymore. I could understand knowing bits and pieces about the current hot anime when you’re in a middle school, but I had no idea you still really watched one or two.
    Well…I’m going to have to stand up and admit that I am a hardcore nerd girl gamer (and not underage). While I’m sure you now imagine me to rank a 12, I only rank a 4 at best and thats being EXTREMELY optimistic. Unfortunitly, I’m one of those stereotypical girl gamers with glasses thats thoroughly unattractive. ;_; Guys in the internet wish they could be my boyfriend, but guys in the same room as me in the real world would rather keel over dead.
    And belive me, I want it to be the OTHER way around.

  7. Carl said, on May 26, 2009 at 5:37 am

    *virtual hi-5* over seeing the Neon Genisis Movies.. I am yet to get them over here in Australia, with subtitles on them.
    This is a problem.
    Let me take you back to year 7, when I was asked “Do you want to learn French, or Japanese?” I said Japanese. My parents decided French. 10 years later, and I still bring this up in arguments, and have undertaken listening to “Learn Japanese!! XD” CD’s, only to become very, very confused.
    My point was… Errr. Well, I didn’t really have one, actually.

  8. Richard said, on May 26, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Pictures … or it didn’t happen! :p

  9. Aris said, on May 26, 2009 at 6:37 am

    So what kind of work are you doing these days?

  10. Francisco said, on May 26, 2009 at 6:52 am

    damm az just when i think your articles cant get any better or funnier they come back and slap me across the face and leave me laughing my ass of on the floor,
    shit now i got the whole classroom staring at me wondering what the hell is going on
    keep up the good work az

  11. nemuri said, on May 26, 2009 at 7:04 am

    >walked through the internet
    stop making me laugh at work !!
    also, what job you do that invloves speanding lunch times on saturdays in the middle of cosplay/cheerleader/milf ocean ?

  12. diabloknk said, on May 26, 2009 at 7:23 am

    I, for one, am offended by all of this.

  13. Scalenex said, on May 26, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Another off-hand reference to work? What do you do for a living nowadays and how did you get said job?

  14. Anonymous said, on May 26, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I too am a nerd girl gamer also not underage. Where that ranks me dun know but you are not alone other anonymous girl gamer reviewer!! we are few but we are here!!
    This is the first time I’ve commented but I have been reading your stuff for years! I love coming back and reading and getting a good laugh.
    Love your stuff – can’t wait for the next post!

  15. Anonymous said, on May 26, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I too am a nerd girl gamer also not underage. Where that ranks me dun know but you are not alone other anonymous girl gamer reviewer!! we are few but we are here!!
    This is the first time I’ve commented but I have been reading your stuff for years! I love coming back and reading and getting a good laugh.
    Love your stuff – can’t wait for the next post!

  16. Roger Monticello said, on May 26, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Curse you and your lack of pictures, Gaijin Smash guy! How am I supposed to live vicariously through you without pix???

  17. bridgecross said, on May 26, 2009 at 11:21 am

    You HAD to get married, huh?

  18. rofl said, on May 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    thanks for this man, i laughed really hard. this is the first time ive made a comment here and i have to say you have a great site. please always keep writing.
    take care!

  19. EdgarNigma said, on May 26, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Az, have you, by any chance, ever taught a Japanese girl with the last name of Shiroi? My soon-to-be-wife/baby mama was having the usual “long-distance costing me a bloody fortune” talk with my future inlaws (who, like her, demand that some babies start getting pumped out) when she put me on the phone with her recently graduated little sister “K.” I asked her what the best part about school had been, and she said, in english, (and I shit you not) “My large, black English teacher.” Obviously my response was “wakaharen des’ ka!” Since I’m praying it was you.
    The girl is rather pale and has one of those super-cute/ultimate evil kind of faces that just makes you confused. Worst/BEST part is, she speaks in an overly formal tone, but with the “flavor” of Ms. Americanized.

  20. mike said, on May 26, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    japan – check
    hot cosplay girls – check
    jailbaits – check
    hot moms – check
    all you needed was anon and you’d’ve had IRL 4chan
    … damn, I need to get out more.

  21. Andrés0082 said, on May 26, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Comment # 1: VIVA ECUADOR
    Comment #2: VIVA AZ
    Comment #3: can i have the mails of the 2 girl gamers? 😀

  22. Patrick said, on May 26, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Pictures would have made this post epic. Ah well. I wonder what con/event/contest thing was going on?

  23. NeN said, on May 26, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    The punch line for me is that in coming out of this situation, you had to walk back into an office and work. I have an image in my head of an office door swinging open and a leaf blowing by as you stand motionless in the doorway.

  24. Pickle Jello said, on May 26, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    You forgot about cats doing unusual things with chatspeak commenting on it. THEN you’re on the Internet. Oh, and there needs to be angst. Lots of it. Followed by people making fun of the angsty people.

  25. Nihilist said, on May 26, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    You watched Bleach/FMA in college? God damn, I keep forgetting how young you are.
    (Az’s Note: Nope. I started FMA while here in Japan (was suggested to me by Moeko, actually) and Bleach I just read last week.)

  26. Anonymous said, on May 26, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Hey, hilarious update. Just wondering for a future post, any chance you can shed some light on what the current job is? Glad you found some work, though. Keep living the dream(?)!

  27. Anonymous said, on May 26, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Hey, hilarious update. Just wondering for a future post, any chance you can shed some light on what the current job is? Glad you found some work, though. Keep living the dream(?)!

  28. Expert Scientologist said, on May 26, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    There’s no way 85% of them were hot. You my friend were the Pedo Bear!
    I might believe you if you post pics…100 pics.

  29. Orphen said, on May 26, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Okay, I’m 99% sure that Az goes on 4chan now. I mean, just how many people have heard of Pedobear before?
    (Az’s Note: Pedobear is kinda widespread, methinks.)

  30. Mike said, on May 27, 2009 at 12:39 am

    Dude, check out Akihabara on Sunday. Hordes of them freaks everywhere. Just wtf is cosplay anyway? I never could understand that. You dress up, so you feel like the character? Japan is a weird place. I gotta get the hell out of here.

  31. CF said, on May 27, 2009 at 1:31 am

    “All I needed was for some guy to shove his open asshole in my face[…]” — that, or some guy being ass-rammed so hard his penis is describing circles in the air while the muzak plays crappy ’80s pseudo-disco….
    >:)

  32. Anonymous said, on May 27, 2009 at 3:05 am

    dude, do you own a black suit and tie because if you’re still there by the time the anime convention rolls into town again, you could totally pull off a decent Staff Officer Black of the Red Ribbon Army from Dragonball. Maybe then you wouldn’t feel so out of place and even get some hot cosplay tail interested in you and get an ego boost while at it.

  33. Anonymous said, on May 27, 2009 at 3:05 am

    dude, do you own a black suit and tie because if you’re still there by the time the anime convention rolls into town again, you could totally pull off a decent Staff Officer Black of the Red Ribbon Army from Dragonball. Maybe then you wouldn’t feel so out of place and even get some hot cosplay tail interested in you and get an ego boost while at it.

  34. NeN said, on May 27, 2009 at 6:12 am

    Black had a narrow frame, however, in addition to a long face, so it would probably just look like a black guy in a suit – the Red Ribbon insignia would be the only distinguishing feature. Besides, Az can’t pick up women – such is the fate of a married man.
    By the way, Az, are you partial to a certain type of anime, or are you an all-around kind of guy?

  35. NeN said, on May 27, 2009 at 6:20 am

    I also meant to mention, I doubt Az wants to do anything that would accentuate his blackness, and that it would probably be quite the opposite of an ego boost. I mean, combined with the fact that he’d be cosplaying, and so branded an Otaku.

  36. code monkey said, on May 27, 2009 at 9:49 am

    at least you thought there weren’t any dudes dressing up as girls in skimpy costumes…

  37. what up, doc said, on May 27, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Hmmm… I never remember the names I use when I post here. I’m sure I’m using a different one each time.
    Anyway, going to Japan once earlier this year made all the things I’d ever heard and never believed really come home. The cosplays, the incredible amount of people in Tokyo, the cosplays, the gothic lolita style that’s decidedly *unlike* anything gothic you see in Europe, the cosplays, the working ethics and the cosplays.
    And maid service cafes, but I’m trying not to remember that. Talk about jailbait.
    And I have to agree with Patrick, the image of you stepping from the Internet-cum-RL (minus the lolcats) back into work is just too funny. A sheet of xerox paper flying by and a lone harmonica playing a sad melody.

  38. D said, on May 27, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Az’s Blood: “Hey where are we going now?”
    “Dunno, but if the boy isn’t careful, he’ll have a stroke, and I don’t mean the good kind.”
    “WAIT, we’re heading towards the nose?”
    “He said this is just like the internet but in real life.”
    “Real Life as an anime cliche.”
    “Well the cute cosplay girls might like it… and the mommas will then have to help him…”
    “We are going to die… but happy.”
    Heh, AZ, thanks for the laughs 😉

  39. Athlynne said, on May 27, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Bwa ha ha, I love your tidbits of funny from beyond the looking glass, Az.
    But *pout*, all the cosplayers were female? That’s not very fair to us girls who would completely lose our shit if confronted by a realistic L…or even better, a Sephiroth. Yum…

  40. Anthony said, on May 27, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Whoah! How the hell are there 2 people from Ecuador reading a funny blog in English about Japan? I’m from Ecuador too, Andrés0082. The internet is much smaller than I believed.
    Nice story, Az. By the way, I have stolen the name Az for use with characters online and any future child I might have just because it sounds so kick-ass.

  41. AvatarStormBringer said, on May 27, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Need photos of cute japanese cosplays

  42. CF said, on May 28, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Azrael as Khan Onji from _Bleach_….
    “HA HA HA HA HA! (HEY!)” 🙂

  43. CramComplex said, on May 28, 2009 at 1:32 am

    Hey Az!
    Awesome post, I haven’t been here for a long time and the last article I read was about you getting married and having all that go down.
    I’m happy to say that my friend here in Toronto (African-American) just got married in Japan a few days ago.
    So I guess I’ll be hearing similar stories from you and him.
    But…his wife appreciates his “otaku” nature. 😛

  44. wole said, on May 28, 2009 at 2:10 am

    hey az this is commpletly unrelated but i just read this short article on how the global recession is affecting yukuzas but what surprised me the most was it said the yukuzas operate openly in japan. any thoughts,encounters with or possible post about modern yukuzas in jap. btw here is a link to the site i read the post on
    http://www.jcafe24.com/index.php?topic=10426.0

  45. Andrés0082 said, on May 30, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    @athlynne
    “it is the gaijinsmash that binds us” all under one kancho dodging doctrine, úntil the day a Ms americanized valkyre calls us back.
    But seriously, it’s great to run into my ecuadorian bretheren
    Btw, any e t a on the girl’s mail address? Lol

  46. Matt said, on May 30, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Heh…thats odd, you posted this when I was at Anime North (biggest anime convention in Canada) ut unlike you, I managed to get pictures
    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=256420&id=508750116

  47. That Nutty Fanboy said, on May 31, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Now that post cracked me up big time (so much, in fact, that I had to wipe my screen with a napkin, after spraying water all over it. Damn you, Az!)
    In any case, I’m a long-time reader bye now, from Austria, and going on a trip to Japan with friends in September. If only half the things in your posts are true, I think we’re in for quite a ride, sight and blast of a time when we roam Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. I just hope my Japanese is up to the task – which is the scariest part of the trip. 😉
    Any hints as of what to look at while there (that I might have missed in previous posts)?

  48. Tyberius said, on May 31, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    -Imagine playing “Where’s Waldo” if Waldo were dropped in the middle of a transvestite midget convention-
    I would play that Where’s Waldo

  49. balrog said, on June 1, 2009 at 10:17 am

    when are you going to cosplay as balrog/boxer from street fighter

  50. Kyle G said, on June 5, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    I’ve been reading Az’s shit since 2004 I think. I have this vague recollection of him making references to 4chan culture a long time ago, before it was widespread. But I could be wrong.
    However, yes, Pedobear is pretty widespread. Not nearly as widespread as lolcats and rickrollin’, but pretty widespread. Hell, College Humor just made some kind of “pedobear movie” and released it on their site.

  51. Ninjaman said, on June 6, 2009 at 12:58 am

    I think that american costplay sucks mainly because the fact that you can’t bring in any sort of metal sword or a prop weapon that looks real because they might think some sort of shooting or murder will happen. That’s what kills it for me.

  52. anon said, on June 20, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Damn man, you’re wife’s got you wrapped around her finger.

  53. Loopy said, on June 25, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    I knew you were a /b/tard, you f****t.

  54. Tomoyo said, on July 2, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    I’m sure the JNTO is going to thank you for posting this, Az.


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