The Cosplay Association of East Oizuji Academy has some problems: they are short on members and money, and every time their sponsoring professor gets out of the hospital, a nosebleed sends him right back. Sewing a costume together is just the tip of the iceberg for these girls as their daily routine consists of dealing with peepers, a perverted manager, a talking owl and a very hungry micro bunnygirl from another dimension. As the newly designated “Ace” cosplayer, Chako attempts to lead the club as best she can and get it together in time for the Cosplay World Series… if only she could remember to bring her costumes for once!
summary by Mugs
Highs: Fall-on-your-ass, laugh-out-loud funny; Jenny is hilarious
Lows: Possible plot pops up in the last few minutes of last episode and doesn’t finish; Jenny is disturbing
The best way I can think to sum Cosplay Complex is if a decidedly shounen mirror was held up to Magic Users Club.
Make no mistakes about it; this show is a full on comedy, so the plot doesn’t really exist past the fact that the girls are part of a cosplay club. The extent that the creators really didn’t care about a developed storyline can be seen in the fact that a talking owl and miniature flying bunny girl are given a brief few seconds claiming that they came from another dimension. No one is ever suspicious of the floating girl or the talking owl, and it’s not really worth your time to worry over it, either. That being said, one thing that did irk me was the introduction of a few characters at the end of the third OVA only to have the series end minutes later. Slightly annoying to say the least.
This show was made for one purpose: to tickle your funny bone and do it repeatedly. The jokes are, for the most part, risqué and not to everyone’s taste; case in point, Jenny. The newest member of the cosplay club, Jenny has an appetite for young girls. The producers take this and create a major running gag dealing with Jenny’s attempts to have her way with the young Athena. Wrong? Yes. The look on Athena’s older sister’s face as she pulls back a curtain to find Jenny undressing her younger sister before screaming bloody murder, and have the color drained out of her leaving her exactly like a manga character? Priceless.
This is a rather recent show, and as such had high production values. Cosplay Complex is from the people who gave us Hand Maid May, and thus has a similar feel. One thing I especially liked was the variety of detailed backgrounds in the second episode, reminding me of a painting rather than a static background for animated characters to be digitally placed over.
Overall, this is a fun show if you don’t mind the lack of a plot or character development… and don’t mind the sometimes bizarre jokes. This is something for those people who liked Puni Puni Poemi or Magic Users Club with a side of ecchi.
Highs: It’s fun to point out the cross references; several amusing side characters
Lows: Pretty much everything else
Najica Blitz Tactics has gained notoriety among Western anime fans… for supplying a pair of panties with the DVD boxset. I guess companies resort to such gimmicky tactics because we the audience have become so desensitized to run-of-the-mill fan service. So why oh why must Cosplay Complex focus so intently on gratuitous panty shots when there is the potential for good comedy brimming below the surface?
For those of you unfamiliar with cosplaying, this anime doesn’t serve as a good introduction. According to Cosplay Complex, cosplayers often prance around completely nude to the delight of hormone-raging photographers. And even if this anime isn’t meant to be an accurate representation of cosplaying, it sure fails as a farce. Even as plotless comedy, many of the jokes are so overdone and have that off-the-rack quality that it feels like Wonder Farm took bits and pieces of its other anime to create this one. Forget about story or character background, for there is none. Apparently, we don’t need to know why a flying magical sprite with bunny ears and her pet owl have latched themselves onto the local cosplay club. Such “superfluous” information would only take time away from the next girl-bent-over-a-table scene.
However, I found it quite amusing spotting the many costumes that the characters cosplay, including Cyberdoll May from Wonder Farm’s Hand Maid May, Lina Inverse from Slayers and Sakazaki Yuri from King of Fighters. Several of the side characters further add to whatever enjoyment can be derived from this anime with their hyper, quirky behavior.
Anime that poke fun at fandom have had a spotty record over the years, from the great (Otaku no Video) to the average (Comic Party) to the bad (this one). I think a good rule of thumb when creating a parody, especially of something so familiar to anime fans like cosplay, is to work in some ingenuity and not rely on tired shtick. Like panty shots.
Cosplay Complex can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.