A tiny orange-haired girl, her clothes splattered with blood, wields a key
taller than her as she battles with a woman in black.
This is not some surreal dream or computer game. It's a scene from a cosplay
show held on July 14 as part of the ChinaJoy Cosplay Carnival in Beijing.
Cosplay (the word is a combination of "costume" and "play," and was coined by
a Japanese computer game publisher), involves real people dressing up as
cartoons or game characters.
The performers, called "cosers," put on unusual make-up, dress in home-made
costumes and act out classic scenes from the cartoons or the games.
Critics call cosplay just another meaningless habit of teenagers, disrupting
their studies or careers. Others say it is only a byproduct of the cartoon and
game industries and won't last long unless China's own animation market takes
But Lu Faxi, a 24-year-old coser and a graduate student majoring in
international trade at Peking University, sees cosplay as an activity for boys
and girls no different from singing, dancing or playing the piano.
In fact, cosers argue, it's constructive because they learn about teamwork.
Moreover, Shao Bing, host of a radio show on Beijing Joy FM and a presenter
at the 2006 ChinaJoy Cosplay Carnival, says that as more adults get involved, it
won't be long before cosplay is accepted in mainstream society.
Lu Faxi's first comic book was about a robotic cat named Doraemon, better
known in China as Jiqimao, which he got when he was still in kindergarten. As he
grew up, he discovered his love of acting, often serving as an emcee for events
in senior middle school.
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