Tentacle-Free Anime: "Cosplay Complex" (2002) Review
- by Kazekun, 12 May 2014
There is a lot of variety to the strings of the Japanese culture, and the world in general, in which Anime loves to pull from. Some of these strings I have incorporated into my own life as hobbies or ways of life. One such hobby is cosplay, or, costume play: the art in which to dress up as and pretend to be your favorite characters. I don’t get to do it very often but I love doing it when it happens. And did you know cosplay ACTUALLY started in the U.S. at a sci-fi convention? Little known fact. But is there an anime based around cosplaying? You’d think so, considering it’s a huge thing between the Japanese and other countries. There is in fact, and I’m here to talk about it.
As a first outing for an anime dedicated entirely to cosplay this isn’t much of one. If there’s any other series out there I’m not finding them, so as far as I’m aware (as of this writing) this is all we got, and well, what we got ain’t the greatest. It begins with the episode count and the series’ satirical spin to try and shoe horn in all of anime’s biggest tropes while still wishing to tell a story.
Or at the very least write a story centered around 3 episodes with a beginning, middle, and conclusive ending.
It’s aggravating, but it doesn’t take away from the fun that this series has. One thing it has going for it is its unashamed love for the medium of cosplay. It may not go into the ins and outs of hard work and labor that goes into cosplay. And one character serves as a general deus ex machina more than once for those who need a costume on the double, but these characters obviously love what they’re doing and it really mirrors those who do this in real life. Whether it’s their predominant hobby or professional job. Almost everyone is likeable, even if some don’t have much of a personality and it’s great to see a few guys in this series cosplaying as well, when most of the focus is on the women.
Another fun thing it has going for it is a game of “guess the costume” since every costume seen in this series is from a well-established series or video game. Now, there is a 5-minute short you could watch called Cosplay Complex: Extra Identification that gives you a run down of everyone; but it’s no fun to see until after you’ve played the guessing game by watching the show.
The animation is alright, pretty standard and nothing to hoot about; same as the music. The dubbing is, well, it’s ADV which means it’s not very good and with an after thought of a series like this they didn’t really put much effort into it. I haven’t watched the sub, so I’m not sure if it’s any better. I think the biggest crime to Cosplay Complex is that I don’t believe it was given a fair shake. It could’ve blended well nicely, but instead turned into sort of a mess. A colorful, fun mess that has a bit of nudity in it too, and relishes in the idea that cosplay can be fun and for everyone, no matter whom you are or what you’re like.
Again, this series has heart and it had potential with a third episode that really made me sit up and pay attention more than I originally was. It just was never allowed to really give life to that potential and suffers incredibly for it. Is it a mediocre series? You’re damn skippy. Is it an entertaining series that is a nice love letter to the art form of cosplay? Well, that’s up to you to decide honestly, but I sure think so. My cosplay obsessed (and cosplayer) girlfriend seems to think so as well. And hey, that’s definitely something.
Final Score: 3 Deus Ex Machina Fairies out of 5
Have you seen "Cosplay Complex"? Do you like cosplay? How did you enjoy the movie and the review?
Tagged: Tentacle-Free Anime.