Cosplay Complex

Title:Cosplay Complex
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: CHIBA Saeko
CHIBA Susumu
ONO Kenichi
R1 License - ADV (Renamed)
Chako and her friends can't wait for the Cosplay World Series! Their East Oizuki Academy team has earned quite a reputation throughout Japan, and she knows they can also win the world championship. Only one thing stands in their way--a lack of interest. The team doesn't have an adult sponsor, and can't keep up enrollment. As a result, they must fight rivals, find new members who want more than to see the girls disrobe, and learn to change costumes in a flash.

[OVA, 2002, 3 episodes, 29 min]
Episode Details 
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Avoid 7 6 7 6 5 4 Ggultra2764 [series:860#1552]
I regret renting this as a quick watch to kill time. Sure, I don't mind wanting to get a sense of what the cosplay fandom is like with costume preparations and competitions, even with some over-the-top moments from character personalities clashing. But this anime to a degree used the cosplay club as a backdrop just to show off fan service, male perversion and Jenny's pedophilia for Athena. Not to mention that Delmo and Ikebukuro really felt out of place for a series that is more about real-life hobby than having any magical elements. I couldn't really feel attached to any characters mostly because they were tacked on with the same-old high school anime comedy archetypes I've seen enough times before like shy glasses-girl, ditzy yet energetic and optimistic girl (Chako), the strange foreigner (Jenny) and the competitive and aggressive member (Reika). Maybe I'm being very cynical, but I was expecting a lot more outta this OAV than I had initially thought. Unless you don't mind perverted comedies, I highly advise staying away from Cosplay Complex. I guess Oono from Genshiken will be the closest I get to understanding what the world of cosplay is like for an otaku.

Last updated Saturday, December 11 2010. Created Saturday, December 11 2010.
Buy Stretch [series:860#628]
"Cute, pervy and insane" were three words one reviewer used to describe Cosplay Complex, and they do indeed provide a pretty succinct summary of this OVA series. "Oizuki" must be Japanese for "fanservice city", because that's where you are going when you watch this show. Another rationale for the "pervy" keyword would be the pedophilic lesbian foreign student who joins the club (and get this--she's from Italy, not the US! Hurray!). This show has been criticised for giving fanservice priority over plot and writing; on the other hand, the complete disregard it shows for our stifling "political correctness" is refreshing. The word "Cute" could be attributed to the club members in general, especially 12-year-old Athena, who the exchange student lusts for. Not exactly cute, but surely the funniest character of all, would be Gorou, the bald-headed male member of the club. I love his habit of reading passages from steamy romance novels aloud. Main character Chako reminded me of Sae from Magic Users Club, partly because of her bumbling yet highly determined attitude, and partly because that was one of the costumes she put on! Identifying the characters that the club members were posing as was half the fun, and a priceless resource was the extra feature "Cosplay Identification 101" which consisted of stills with tags identifying the characters that were being portrayed by name and series (or video game). I think I recognized about one out of three, and even Cosplay 101 couldn't name anywhere near all of them. Finally, the "insane" keyword could be linked to Chako's assistants: Delmo, a barbie-sized fairy capable of magically transforming into any sort of costume (and altering Chako's bust size to match perfectly), and Ikebukuro, an owl with a talent for sewing. Why was this "magical" element included in a show about a very real hobby which, as far as I know, has never had an anime series dedicated to it? I don't know, but it works for me. Also insane was the comedy itself, such as the time the characters argue over whether the preview at the end of the last episode was misleading. Several reviewers have compared the sort of comedy in this show to that of Excel Saga, and though I didn't notice such a likeness myself, I agree this is one hilariously outlandish series. I also agree the original plan for Cosplay Complex must have been for more than the three episodes that actually got made, since the highly touted "Cosplay World Series" never comes about (and who was that strange woman that Sachiko was shocked to recognize?). I read on another website that Cosplay Complex was originally supposed to be a TV series, but was judged to be too scandalous for broadcast. I really, really wish this had been made into a full-fledged series of at least 13 episodes. Still, provided you're not offended by the "pervy" aspect, a delightful and highly re-watchable show tailor-made for those who take pride in their familiarity with anime. Few anime make me laugh out loud as much as this one does.

P.S: On the main DVD menu, with episode one highlighted, move the "up" button once, then once more to reveal two subtitled Japanese ads for this series. One of them contains completely original animation not to be found within the episodes themselves.

P.P.S.: A neat extra is the "clean" ED sequence, which allows you to look at the photos of real-live cosplayers without credits rolling across them.

My favorite line: "While you guys were goofing off, Jenny attained enlightenment!" --Gorou

Last updated Monday, August 25 2008. Created Wednesday, October 13 2004.

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