Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book Review: Cosplay in America アメリカのコスプレ

Chuang, E. (2010). Cosplay in America. Ejen Chuang. ISBN: 978-0615349060
Another "Overview of Cosplay" type book but I will say right now that this one is doing it right. The photos don't always show great details of the costumes but the poses give them life. Where as Fandomania felt cold and detached and depressing all the shots here feel alive. Even if someone is clearly awkward the poses and shots themselves do well to downplay that.

The photos feel respectful.

Reading the forward it becomes clear why the photos feel respectful, because the photographer does respect the subjects. The foreword also tells us about the photographer, why he decided to do this and about his method including when and where these photos were collected from.

This is a dual language book, both in Japanese and in English which I think is cool. While never overtly stated I think maybe the reason behind this was so that maybe our cosplaying counterparts on the other side of the Pacific could see the essence of アメリカのコスプレ (American Cosplay).

Occasionally the photos have anecdotes attached, some range from "okay kids can be weird" stories of glomps to yaaaay moments like the one above where some girls came up to this cosplayer after she took her helmet off because they thought it was so cool a chick was being all badass in armor.

The subjects in this book feel very alive. These are clearly poses chosen to highlight the character.

Or the poses are a bit silly and more of the cosplayer than the character.

Either way, if I was asked to show someone, whether a professor or a parent, what cosplay looked and felt like then this would be what I would show them. It does well to capture the fun and life that is cosplay but it also presents it professionally.

8/10 (Lost points for not listing who the character themselves were or what series they were from and there were a few typos in the foreword)

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