How is the Japanese youth culture

Export hit Japanese youth culture

"I'm Queen Esther," says the young woman. Her appearance could be compared to that of a futuristic disco snow queen - if there is such a thing. She wears a fairy tale dress in mother-of-pearl white with a sweeping hoop skirt, puffed sleeves and corset, everything covered with pearls and rhinestones. The high collar makes it difficult for her to look to the side, but it matches the crown. A leopard-style coat completes the picture. In real life, Queen Esther is Stefanie Wittmann and works for a car manufacturer. She undertook a five-hour drive to meet like-minded people at the fair for Japanese manga series "Animagic" in Bonn.

Dressing up is fun: Manga series provide inspiration

Queen Esther is a character from the animated Japanese television series "Trinity Blood". Cosplay - from "Costume Play" - is what Stefanie and more and more young people are doing there. The dress-up game began in Japan, where young people dressed up as characters from their favorite manga in the early 80s to pose in Tokyo's entertainment districts. The trend has now finally arrived in Europe. It is no longer just characters from mangas - Japanese cartoon series - that have been "cosplayed" for a long time. Everything from Japanese band members to Disney characters to the heroes from Hollywood films such as "Pirates of the Caribbean" is allowed.

Plush cat ears and plastic hair

People, animals, mythical creatures: anything is allowed in cosplay

Jens Nave works for the manga magazine "Animania" and knows his way around the scene. "Cosplay is booming in Germany. In Europe there is only a similarly large following in France, "he says. Animagic 2007, for example, was attended by around 13,000 fans from Germany and neighboring countries, most of them full Cosplay-Montour.

Most of the Cosplayer is female and between 15 and 25 years old. Plush cat ears are among the simplest accessories at the meeting. Most of the costumes are kitschy and sexy - for example, plastic hair in pink or purple that often goes to the heel, crop tops, mini skirts and high boots are popular. An often expensive, but in most cases very time-consuming hobby: the comic divide is almost always self-made. On the other hand, it is used very rarely - apart from two or three Manga fairs such as Animagic per year in Germany only at internal, regional meetings.

"Visual Kei" - the trend is gaining a foothold in Germany

Another variant of the is less based on anime characters than on Japanese band idols Cosplays, called "Visual kei". Translated means Visual kei about as much as "visual system" and is on the rise in the youth scene. The often underage fans can usually be recognized in German pedestrian zones by a black shoulder bag adorned with safety pins, bells and photos of Japanese band members. The hair is typically colored black, often brightly colored strands form a contrast.

Distinguishing feature: bag and striped socks

Role models for clothing and make-up are Japanese bands, whose male members consciously dress women and are then "cosplayed" by female fans. Inspired by western glam rockers like David Bowie or Kiss im Visual kei the boundaries between female and male are deliberately abolished.

Visual kei-Fans despise Tokio Hotel

Outsiders suspect behind the Visual kei-Fans often follow the German band "Tokio Hotel" and make themselves extremely unpopular because of their misjudgment. "I hate that when you Visual kei Somehow in connection with Tokio Hotel, that has nothing to do with each other! "Antje Eggers gets upset. In fact, the music Antje likes is a lot harder and takes getting used to than that of the German band. And also in Japanese. This fact doesn't prevent it that the Japanese bands in Germany have a growing fan base, Tokio Hotel, on the other hand, is something of an offshoot of this movement, which is despised by the inveterate "Visus".

Concert advertising without posters

Visual kei fan disguised as a band idol

Jens Nave describes Visual kei as a subculture that is slowly gaining a foothold in the mainstream. The movement has spread via the Internet. The first Germany concert of the Visual kei-Group Dir en gray in Berlin was sold out within a very short time without a single poster having been pasted, says Nave. Fans mainly communicate in internet forums and pass on the next event tips.

The media are only slowly becoming aware of the scene. Jens Nave is sure, however, that the fan base around the Japanese export hits of manga is over Cosplay up to Visual kei will continue to grow. Perhaps you will soon come across larger-than-life clones of cartoon characters on the streets in Germany as well.