Cosplay Complex

November 7, 2004 on 1:42 pm | In Cosplay Complex | Comments Off on Cosplay Complex

Huh. If you take a group of cosplayers, add to them a magical transforming six inch-tall bunny girl and a pink owl, what do you get? You get the loli-fixated Cosplay Complex, a 2002 three-part OVA that resurrects the nineties OVA trademark of not actually ending.

Chako is a high school student and member of a cosplay club. Her dream is to compete in the Cosplay World Series because of all of the fun that the world of cosplay promises.
For reasons that fail to make any sense whatsoever, Chako is helped in her quest by a pink owl and a bunny girl from “the fairy world”. Ikebukuro the owl can sew, and Delmo the bunny girl can transform herself into a costume in exchange for sweets.
In the first episode, marvel at an Italian exchange student challenging the club for the right to join it! In the second episode, gaze in awe as the club goes to the beach to wear swimsuits and learn the true art of cosplay! In the third episode, watch in puzzlement as the club is challenged by the nation’s number one cosplay team in preparation for the World Series that are clearly never going to be!

Cosplay Complex is almost sub-standard fan service anime fare. It is not total dreck because it is capable of making fun of conventions in anime. The pep-talk given to Chako in the first episode about aiming for the ace is filled with great imagery and is made even better by the fact that practically anything the bald headed Gorou says is hilarious. The loli-con fascination is seen as hilarious by some, but for the most part it’s simply annoying and a little disturbing. Fortunately the writers managed to come up with a largely hilarious solution, and that’s where Cosplay Complex does its best: sometimes it throws something completely unexpected out.
For all of its pandering to fetishes (maids in swimsuits, nurses, wedding dresses), Cosplay Complex offers the occasional gem of true comedy that makes it somewhat worthwhile. The whole “mourning dress” thing is completely whacked, but is a prime example of this.
However, Ikebukuro and Delmo leave a bad taste in the mouth because what they do is awfully like cheating. However, the number one club in the country also does it, so … does this mean that all of the best cosplayers in Japan have their own six inch bunny girl? I don’t think so. They just want to go for the totally out there, when true cosplay anime should be about the real side of fandom, not this made up world with weird things in it: the random comedy always draws from something real, but these two are simply more pandering.

The fan service is of the weird “blank areas followed by frontal assault” variety, rather than a constant stream of dilligently spread images. It’s all remarkably self-conscious; Jenny is an exchange student so that the other characters can marvel at her huge boobs, and having a magical tit-enhancing bunny girl on board is just plain weird. There aren’t any panty shots that can be thought of as incidental – they’re all the result of falling or changing or what have you – and there’s one incredibly bizarre moment involving a tanuki. A lot of the time in Cosplay Complex when you’re not laughing is occupied by “why the hell am I watching this?” time. This carries on even to the rare nudity, where the girls have nipples that are mysteriously flesh coloured.

Initially the music is horrible synth, but after the first five minutes I stopped paying attention. The OP and ED songs do not really require six vocalists, but that’s what they’ve given us. On a design level, the characters are okay if a little standard. Chako’s sharp haircut would be okay were it not for the white light streaks, which always seem to form a perfect circle – looking more unnatural than it already would be. Likewise, there’s nothing very special about the voice acting, with Maria sounding particularly out of it.

Cosplay Complex is mildly entertaining and largely pointless anime. I wouldn’t recommend picking it up, but if it somehow comes your way, go for it. It may make you laugh, and is unlikely to cause any explosions.

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