As for this week, the next review on our list is for Complex Age 2! We've seen surprisingly little talk about this online. Everyone loved volume one, and yet this book has been out for over a month and nothing. And we had our comp copies more than two months ago, so it really seems like a long stretch of silence. But now we're going to talk about it! Spoiler level: moderate.
This is the volume that almost got away from everyone. We all realized it needed to be translated with very little time before it needed to be finished, which was awesome (she said sarcastically) because we had about a million (actually, this time it was maybe only about a thousand) other things to do and a trip to Fresno in the works. Still, it wouldn't have really been a problem except that Anime Expo is coming up and we have a lot of stuff we're super excited to do...that we can't do until we've finished our work. And I kind of feel bad for saying that, because it makes it sound like I don't like this series, but I do! It's just hard to do the editing phase (which involves reading something we already read) when there's so much new stuff waiting for us.
Anyway, this volume features Hayama from Sales, who apparently doesn't have a given name. She and Nagisa both seem to use cosplay to become the people they really want to be, which is sort of an interesting concept. It made me think about why Athena and I like to cosplay, and when I really come down to it, it's because we like the attention. That, and it's fun to wear something out of the ordinary. And we want to express our love for the characters and/or series, of course.
Hayama and Nagisa also both share the fact that they're hiding their cosplay hobby, which I think I mentioned in our review of volume one is something we don't really relate with at all. Maybe it's because we found a job that lets us work from home, so we don't have to worry too much about what other people think. Still, we'll tell people at church about it, and they seem to think it's cute. Maybe we're just lucky because, as adorable twins, we can get away with being unusual. We do kind of agree that you have more cosplay options when you're younger (we're not sure if it's really a good idea to cosplay a character that's less than half our age, for example (*coughhiyoricoughcough*)), but that just lets you exercise your creativity a little more to find characters you can really pull off. On the other hand, sometimes I do think it would be nice to cosplay, like, a Disney princess or something. But there are two things about that--one, you can come up with, like, a "what would she dress like if she were older" thing, and two, Disney princesses are so mainstream. Anyway, I think it's all good as long as you feel good wearing it.
So yeah, the main conflict in this volume is about people finding out that Hayama and Nagisa cosplay. Let me tell you, I was very relieved to find out that Nagisa's parents knew all along. I mean, they would have to be pretty oblivious not to know she was doing something. I thought they'd be more okay with it, though, since Nagisa had to find an interest in anime somehow and I like to imagine that she just really loved watching it with her parents. So I was disappointed in Nagisa's mother, and then her father came home and called her mother "Sawa-chan", and I was like, "Oohhh, she's the lady from Chapter 0!" and then it all made more sense. And I'm really glad that her father is still okay with it.
As for Hayama and her coworkers, oh my goodness, it's just...Japan. I don't know if this series is an accurate reflection of the general Japanese attitude toward cosplay, or if people who like to dress up in weird costumes just assume that everybody thinks they're weird because of the natural insecurity that comes with being human, but if it is an accurate reflection... Just pick up your book and look at the sign for the restroom at the bar that Hayama and Nagisa go to after Hayama's cover is blown. Look at it! How can an establishment for normal, "serious" adults have a sign like that and still turn around and say that adults shouldn't dress up in costumes? It doesn't make any sense! But to Japan's credit, all the Japanese people we've met were very very friendly, and seemed like they wouldn't be too hard on someone for their taste in fashion. It's always been my personal opinion that people's insecurities make them feel like society is shaming them more than it actually is. (On the other hand, we did actually have people in sixth grade making fun of us for liking cartoons. We just ignored them and they went away. People we respected way more than them also liked those cartoons. And then the mockers grew up to wear Rugrats toys on their backpacks in high school, thus proving that it's all ridiculously arbitrary.)
Anyway, the other thing about this volume was the location shoot. Oh man, how awesome would it be to do one of those? Actually, while we were working on this volume, our Japanese photographer friend posted a bunch of pictures on Facebook of when he went to photograph some other friends of his at a cosplay studio, and we were so jealous! Then we were doing research because the cospedia mentions websites that have information on places you can go to take cosplay pictures, and we were like, "Oooooooohh..." And we want to do it SO BAD, but we have no idea what costumes we would even wear, nor do we have time or money. But it's definitely something to think about next time we decide we can afford to go to Japan.
And it also occurs to me that it might be a good idea to mention what's up next for review, so people can be ready next week! So coming next week: First Love Monster 5!
Today I'm thankful for getting to work on another fun chapter of UQ Holder!, Page's love of packing paper, getting to watch season four of Elementary, the idea of cosplay photo shoots, and having paid the rent.