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.