Today, I will incorporate this: cosplayer Mello Yubari dressed up as "C.C." from Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.

The Mysterious World of Cosplay: Love is Everything!

Yay, we made it through Tokyo Fashion Week without showing too much of excitement! In terms of unique Japanese fashion we investigated a bit and thought we’d rather first show you something else: Finally we managed to meet a girl who can tell us candidly all about this mysterious world of cosplay! Cosplayer Mello Yubari visited the PingMag office to talk about one love…

Written by Chiemi
Translated by Natsumi

When did you start with cosplay, Mello?

I first encountered cosplay when I was in second year of junior high school. I had always loved manga and anime and I discovered the world of dojinshi at around that time. Dojin activities involve things like drawing your favourite manga characters to make original goods and distributing fanzines of new stories featuring characters from existing manga or anime. One day, I attended a dojin event to get their freebies and dojinshi and found people dressed as my favourite manga characters. It just seemed like such a fun thing to do!

Mello dressed as the character called Mello from the quite popular manga Death Note. Obviously, also her cosplayer name.

Another one of Mello as her favourite character from “Death Note.”

This is kind of basic, but what is your exact definition of cosplay? I mean, would you include the recent trend of maid dresses and Lolita Fashion as a part of cosplay, for example?

That depends on if the person is wearing it as a fashion or not. For instance, people wearing that kind of clothes in Harajuku are mostly doing that for fashion. So Lolita isn’t the same as cosplay and it even has subcategories such as Gothic Lolita, Sweet Lolita and Black Lolita within. Meanwhile, there are cosplayers who wear costumes of occupations like nurses and maids, or the costume of a band member. I would say: Cosplay is somewhat closer to lookalikes.

No, this is not just some Lolita fashion! This is Shinku cosplay from Rozen Maiden.

I see…. By the way, is there any hostility between Lolitas and cosplayers?

Some Lolita fans don’t like to be mistaken for cosplayers, but I don’t think cosplayers mind as much as they often double as Lolitas.

What kind of characters do you usually cosplay as?

Basically, I cosplay as my favourite manga and anime characters. It can be for all sorts of reasons – I might like the story, the style or the character’s appearance, and I sometimes wonder if I might look good in it or not.

Do you feel differently while you are cosplaying, like you have assumed a different personality?

Many cosplayers say that they enjoy becoming a different character but I do it because I can truly express my love for the character. I feel as if I can get to know my favourite characters even better by wearing the same costumes.

The cosplay of Iroha Miyamoto from manga and anime Sumomomo Momomo.

Another cosplay of Iroha Miyamoto. Strike a pose!

When you cosplay, do your gesture and the way you speak change at all?

No, not really. (laughs) But I pose as the character at photo shootings. Costuming is essential for cosplayers, but it’s just as important to look at your own pictures objectively. Cosplayers deepen their love for the favourite manga by doing shootings in costume – just like those people who make fanzines based on their favourite works. Cosplayers want to see their favourite characters’ costumes as a real thing and to realise it with their own hands.

That’s wonderful! I never knew that cosplayers felt that way. Do you make all the costumes and accessories by yourself?

You can buy popular costumes in many shops – but when it comes down to minor items, we have to either make it ourselves or place an order for it at a specialist. A popular cosplayer item will generate sufficient demand for vendors to mass-produce it, so it will most likely appear in the “Cosplay Costumes” category of Yahoo’s online auctions. However, most people learn sewing on their own and make costumes by themselves. Some people even go into sewing careers from there! Once you start, you’ll become more conscious of your fabrics’ selection too.

Haruhi Suzumiya from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. At this point, cosplay almost resembles Cindy Sherman’s, self-portraits.

How do cosplayers socialise with each other?

There is a word for that: “awase, for ”gathering,” which means to cast the parts. Cosplay is fun enough on your own but you can duplicate scenes from your favourite manga if you get enough people together. At events, we participate with friends as an awase but you can meet new people through online communities, where there are posts like “We have an awase for such-and-such manga, looking for someone to play so-and-so.”

Another way is at events, where there are people in elaborate costumes or playing intriguing characters. So it’s common to ask if you can take their pictures. Cosplayers usually carry their own business cards with their cosplay photo or their website address, so we exchange cards and get in touch to suggest an awase.

You also participate in “photo shootings” – what is that like?

A private photo session is for one model and about five or more photographers, and she will appear in all sorts of costumes. There are also group photo sessions for an awase of one specific manga or anime.

Mello as the introverted bookworm Yuki Nagato from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

Well, are there sometimes unpleasant moments at private photo shootings?

If it’s a modelling job then you might come across strange people, but you have to think of it as all part of the job. In my case, I only participate in shooting with reliable photographers. Essentially, cosplay is all about socialising so there aren’t that many people who act strangely.

And finally, what does cosplay: mean to you?

It’s a way of expressing one’s love for something – it’s a really fun mode of expression.

Mello, thank you for your fascinating and enlightening story today! Please continue to deepen your love of manga and anime with this incredible costumes!

  • tingle

    The only good cosplayer I’ve ever seen was someone dressed as Porco Rosso.

  • sludgekins

    the only good cosplayer i’ve ever seen was danie cowling as Awful D. from “final D” i.e. HIS SELF!

  • Cyberpukish

    C.C., Yuki, Haruhi FTW! Kidding, i still prefer their ‘real’ 2d counterparts….

  • Badger

    Such a beautiful girl!

  • Anonymous

    kudos for not resorting to photographing the kids on the TIRED bridge leading into meiji jingu, or promoting the pics of TIRED photographers who camp out there and claim to be “documenting the scene”. ugh.

  • Chris Papadopoulos

    Cosplay is a pretty interesting subculture. If somebody has fun with it and stays smart, like Mello seems to, more power to them.

    I just dislike the handful of really creepy people that take it to an extreme and wear very unflattering clothing that sort of turns me off from the concept a bit.

  • Pingback: Global Voices Online » Japan: Cosplay

  • GelatinousBlob

    Childish, derivative nonsense. Cosplayers are wasting their time.

  • rikomatic

    Great profile and insight into a fascinating sub-culture. Thanks for producing this!

  • Pingback: Global Voices auf Deutsch » Blog Archive » Japan: Cosplay [Linktipp]


    From the outside, all sub-culture look and act weird, this doesn’t however make it wrong. I recently saw a photography book about Cosplayers from the US. Somehow the people in it just didn’t look quite right. Have we already grown used to the fact the Japanese ‘invented’ Cosplay and everyone else can’t quite do it correctly?

  • Chung Dha

    I like the cosplayers who can look perfectly like the original characters. American cosplayers aren’t all that. Most are there for fun and look nothing like the characters. But I see cosplay is a kind of extention of playing with toys. When you grow older playing with toy charachters becomes odd. But actually to become the character and to play kind of real live give bit more fun and thrills. Or just Halloween for everyday.

  • sachi808

    Great article, but I wish it went into more detail about what the actual essence behind the “cosplay sub-culture” is. For me, it all seems a bit odd, but I would’ve liked to know, in layman’s terms, what this is all about. And what is the whole “lolita” thing?

  • yaschan

    Cute! Great article, by the way.
    I should write article about cosplay as well..

  • Malte

    well i`m a cosplayer myself
    the hobby itself is pretty much fwked up
    i dunno myself why i do it

    but … it`s fun….. DON´T ASK ME WHY lol

    maybe because it`s pretty creative

  • shizuyuki

    I just started cosplay this summer and I love this article. My first one was tiring to make but it came out and I’m so glad that I did it. Thank you for this cool interview.

  • jennifer kent

    Hi there! I am writing my dissertation on Cosplay and was hoping to use this article in my bibliography. Does anyone know the second name of the person who wrote this? Thanks :)

  • kaika

    I’m a cosplayer myself and I think this is a pretty good article. Unbiase and fairly accurate.

    Though like most other one-time Cosplay article, it doesn’t go deep enough to allow the general public to understand this complicated and often misunderstood hobby better.

  • cosplaytoday

    Good article and thanks for the pics too.

  • Pingback: The Japanese School Uniform - From Tradition To Perverts « Girl Tears

  • cosplayer retard

    you get SO many pwnsome points you surpass…everone i bow to you like hella the point of my bowing just broke my back .

  • Anonymous

    When cosplay is done right, PWOAR! But when done wrong, as many, MANY western people do, it looks like they’re confirming the fact that people who like anime and manga are all fat, greasy heard nerds with no life. So, please, do it correctly. Quality, not quantity.

  • Mello

    Thank you.
    I’m so sorry for my cosplay’s quality.

  • halı yıkama

    Good article and thanks for the pics too

  • Terry Wagar

    Eric Carlson and Joan Wagar, A,K,A, Doubleclick and Mrs Dash,( yes those are there nicknames they gave each other.) admitted to poisoning me while I was a plasma donor back in 2005.
    Eric Carlson pedofied me behind prison walls and then framed me as a pedophile on march 26th 2007, I caught the crime on a audio recorder I put in Joan’s purse.
    there were people in authority helping them with this and nobody in authority will help they pretend nothing happened and refuse to investigate this.
    Eric Carlson changed his hair color and his name but this is not hidden, only ignored by the authority’s and media
    I’m disabled from being poisoned and the hospitals refuse to admit I’m poisoned.
    My Family is in danger from these people and I have no other recorse but to make these charges public.
    My name is Terry Wagar,Im from Portland Oregon and I’m backing up these charges.
    I have been threatened with harassment charges by a Sargent Walker, She is a portland police officer stationed at the OHSU hospital, for the non crime of reporting a multi murder conspiracy within that hospital.
    They dont give a s4!t Joan and Eric was poisoning a plasma donor!
    Why don’t you give A s4!t Portland Authority’s, its already reported.
    Where did Mrs Dash keep her stash?
    In A garlic salt shaker, nuff said!

  • halı yıkama

    Thanks güzelim

  • Gatto999

    My Compliments !…
    Very Beautifull Photos !…
    I love Cosplay !…

    Ciao from Italy

  • womens

    Очаровательная Кейт Мосс порадовала своих поклонников фотосессией для нового номера журанала Vogue Italia. Кейт показала чудеса перевоплощения и на какое – то время превратилась в роковую брюнетку, что, кстати, ей очень идет. Руководил процессом знаменитый фотограф Ник Найт, а благодаря стилисту Эдварду Эннфулу, Кейт стала просто роскошной женщиной в стиле 50-х. За время фотосессии Кейт представила наряды от таких модных домов, как – Yves Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana и Jean Paul Gaultier. Наслаждайтесь просмотром! журнала для женьщин

  • fernando

    that mello girl is really cute. its the first time i see her cosplays lol great article

  • plan baby boy

    Great web page easy to navigate and good source of information:)

  • diet

    I found this website very appealing providing a rich learning content.

  • energie rinnovabili

    Turbine Idroelettriche

  • simmons

    I am so glad you guys showed me where to find a great deal on a simmons mattress.

  • Soccer

    If u like soccer visit us!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Affiliate Marketing Reviews

    are going to resign because of the phone hacking scandal!

  • goruntulu sohbet

    süper site herkes gelsın

  • Affiliate Marketing Reviews

    The formula 2 + 2 = 5 if you are a Republican Member of US Congress

  • golf supplies

    Hi, I like your website. I’m currently looking for golf supplies in the UK & USA.

  • Rremedies for mouth ulcers

    Your post is really good Home remedies for anorexia

  • Hyderabad

    Companies Hiring Freshers Now. Sign up for Free to Apply.

  • All Failure

    Good article and thanks

  • Jamon Iberico

    Gran articulo. Somos seguidores vuestros desde hace tiempo y queriamos aprovechar este comentario para felicitaros por vuestro blog y por el trabajo que estais haciendo en los articulos…

  • christian louboutin

    I really would like to learn more information about your business, what is it and why is it important.

  • Eliminate Uterine Fibroids

    Your business sounds interesting. Why is it important to the industry?

  • Information Automotive

    Good Article …. Excellent !!!! visit automotive :-bd

  • Black Friday Being Served

    In this case there is nothing that interests me very much.

  • Black Friday Mx870

    It good article.

  • Black Friday T3I

    It good article. Black Friday T3I

  • Black Friday Canon T3I

    Nice for me Black Friday Canon T3I

  • Kindle

    Very Good content. Its excellent for design world and Japan.

  • hair loss in women causes and treatment

    Just searching for this information and found your website. Good read and very informative article. Thank for sharing your knowledge

  • Osmanlı İnşaat Forum

    Osmanlı İnşaatın Yeni Başlatmış Olduğu Projeleri Bu Site Üzerinden Takip Edebilirsiniz..

  • School of thai massage

    school of thai massage and spa certificaes Association of thai treditional medicine Appoved by the Ministry of Health

  • Black Friday Canon Pixma

    Black Friday Canon Pixma Best Buy Online Printer For Black Friday Sale 2011

  • Black Friday D5100

    Reviews & Best Buy Online For Black Friday D5100 Compare Price On Black Friday And Cyber Monday 2011

  • Kata-Vendo – Bons ventos para seus neg�cios

    Anuncie no Katavendo e usufrua DE TODOS OS BENEFICIOS OFERECIDOS, NO KATAVENDO voce encontra: anuncio, anuncios, anuncie, anunciar, classificado, classificados, classificados gratis, anuncios classificados gratis, imovel, imoveis, autos, automoveis, automovel, veiculos, carros, motos, celulares, video-games, computadores, dominios, cameras digitais, livros, quadinhos, revistas, cds, cd, dvds, DVD, hd, informatica, eletro-eletronicos, eletronicos, audio, video, decoracao, joias, relogios, esportes, lazer, negocios, filmadoras, videos, selos, moedas, ferramentas, antiguidades, raridades, oportunidades, promocoes, empregos, curriculos, servicos, artigos esportivos, empresas, produtos, vestuario, revistas, Sao Paulo, sp, Rio de Janeiro, rj, parana, pr, classificados, katavendo, kata-vendo, catavendo, cata-vendo, an�ncios, gr�tis, gratuitos, gratuitamente, empregos, oportunidades, comprar, vender.

  • กลูต้าไธโอน

    เป็นสารประเภทTripeptide ที่ประกอบด้วยกรดอะมิโน 3 ชนิด ได้แก่ ซิสเทอีน(Cysteine), ไกลซีน (Glycine), กลูตามิค (Glutamic acid) กลูต้าไธโอน เป็นสารแอนติออกซิแดนท์ที่สำคัญชนิดละลายน้ำได้ที่ร่างกายสร้างขึ้น และเป็นพื้นฐานสำหรับสารแอนติออกซิแดนท์อื่นๆ ที่เกี่ยวข้อง ซึ่งรวมทั้งกลูต้าไธโอนเปอร์ออกซิเดส สารประกอบ กลูต้าไธโอน ช่วยปกป้องร่างกายจากการทำลายของอนุมูลอิสระ ช่วยกระตุ้นระบบภูมิคุ้มกัน และช่วยตับในการย่อยสลายสารพิษ ร่างกายของเราจะผลิตมากขึ้นหากได้รับสารพิษเข้าไป เช่น ยาฆ่าแมลง สารเคมีต่างๆที่ปนเปื้อนในอาหาร น้ำดื่ม สารพิษเหล่านี้จะทำลายเซลล์ และระบบของร่างกาย

  • Timex Watches

    Timex Digital Watches

  • อาหารเสริม

    สารสกัดจากธรรมชาติต่างๆ ที่นำมาเป็นอาหารเสริมเช่น กลูต้าไธโอน,แอลคาร์นิทีน, น้ำมันรำข้าว, กรดอะมิโนต่างๆ และอื่นๆ นั้นมีประโยชน์ต่อร่างกายของเราอย่างไรบ้าง

  • one week car insurance

    I’d love to know your other thoughts on the subject. It’ been a while since your last update, do you plan on any more soon?

  • Abdominal muscle

    I think this is all politics

  • The Visayas

    I’m very lucky to have found this website, this is exactly what I have been looking for All I can say is wow, you hit the nail by the head.

  • diet and fitness

    its a nice and interesting post, congratulations and happy holidays!

  • washington dc tour

    Wish more people would write great blogs like this.

  • roll up awnings

    Hey this is awesome blogs. Keep posted usefull information. Thank you

  • zayifla

    Thank you. O like this post. I would like to share at my facebook account.

  • Безплатни обяви

    Безплатни обяви в Facebook, сайт за обяви вестник за обяви добави обяви, София, Пловдив, Варна.

  • Social Network

    Enter to the safest social networking site! Love GENERATION –> Free Forum Free Blog Free Ads

  • Malaysia’s Online Marketplace offers the same online marketplace like other website but with better and more friendly interface!. Buy and sell everything here or you can find jobs, services, properties and other stuff too. Feel to use the website conveniently and have fun.


    MOTET – Deutsch Polnische Band polnische Band polnische Hochzeitsband polnische Hochzeitsmusik

  • whirlpool washers

    Hi ….. I have information about Whirlpool washers, you should read them and get tips and tricks commersial business with Whirlpool washers.

  • istanbul günlük kiralık

    Aylık kiralık daire fırsatlarımızı takip edin, beş yıldızlı otel konforunda, SPA, türk hamamı, açık ve kapalı havuz ayrıcalığına 97 TL ye sahip olun

  • advertise to millions

    Im so happy, now that I found your website, your contend is very informative and educational. I will always come back for

  • garden furniture

    I get a lot of useful information in your blog, and of course I hope I can continue to enjoy the articles are informative

  • Pingback: Design & Mystique of the Japanese School Uniform | PingMag : Art, Design, Life – from Japan