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Nearly all characters in anime who are Otaku are guys, although occasionally a female fan is included. This could be seen as an attempt at fair balance, but it's noticeable that this will inevitably be a specific kind of fan: the Cosplay fan.
While this reflects a very real trend in fandom popular with ladies, it can come off like an excuse to put the resident cute girl of a cast in a variety of fetish outfits for the audience's benefit if done badly. Especially since the second most stereotypical interest of fangirls tends not to appeal to a male audience much.
Anime & Manga
- In Katekyo Hitman Reborn Haru frequently dresses up in her weird costumes although they tend to get the opposite reaction then she is hopeing for.
- Misaki from Maid Sama works part time afterschool at a Maid Cafe where she dresses up in a frilly maid outfit although she goes out of her way to hide her job from any of the students at her school.
- Ohno from Genshiken. Interestingly, she does like the second most stereotypical interest of fangirls. Also interestingly, the only other female member, at first, is Saki, very much the antithesis of this trope. Her reaction to cosplay is revulsion; if the matter is forced, she
canwill get violent. she eventually gives in and even admits to enjoying cosplay.
- The Wife carries on Saki's legacy in Spotted Flower, another work by the same author, and possibly set in the same universe as Genshiken as well.
- Several characters from Otaku no Video, including the infamous Misty May.
- Renge from Ouran High School Host Club, herself a deliberate parody of fangirls.
- During the first "doll shop" episode of Midori no Hibi, Midori gets to try on a wide variety of cosplay-like outfits in the guise of doll clothes.
- Addressed in He Is My Master, when the lead girl's little sister visits the home of a rich pervert, but is only delighted by his collection of "cute dolls and clothes".
- Komugi from Nurse Witch Komugi makes a living as a cosplay idol.
- In The SoulTaker (her original series) she was a mutant nurse whose schtick was shapeshifting into various cosplay outfits.
- The Excel Saga manga gives us Umi Rengaya, Professor Shioji's assistant. When first introduced it seems she wears the outfits explicitly to play Fetish Fuel Station Attendant in hopes of attracting the Professor's attention, but only succeeds in disturbing him since he is very much not fond of her, er, assets. Later however, it's learned that she is a full-fledged Cosplay Otaku Girl; hanging out with other such girls, inviting her new friend Teriha into their circle, and having worked at a Maid Cafe. Her first appearance in a bonus story gives her a cameo as a zombie nurse shambling around in the background and moaning "...cosplay...."
- Celtic Midori of Vandread wears her costumes constantly, complete with head gear, even while on bridge duty. It's later revealed that she does this to keep the men from touching her.
- Hayate from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha personally designs the outfits of all of her servants, even the one that is 3 inches tall. Heck, she even makes a bed room out of a lunch box she carries with her, and a miniature desk with a miniature swivel chair. Naturally, fans have exaggerated this into an obsession to dress up everyone, also shared by Shamal.
- Averted in Doujin Work, whose female cast is far too busy with the title industry, with the exception of one's job at a Cosplay Cafe.
- Tomoyo Daidoji from Cardcaptor Sakura may qualify. Though she's not interested in dressing up herself, but instead making distinctive cosplay-ish battle outfits for Sakura.
- Haruhi of Suzumiya Haruhi takes considerable delight in stuffing Mikuru into various cosplay outfits, much to the latter's distress. To be fair, she also cosplays once in a while, most memorably during the School Festival in which she performs with ENOZ while in a Playboy Bunny outfit.
- In Haruhi-chan, Yuki gets into the act herself. Later, Mikuru and Yuki get into a cosplay contest. However, Mikuru cannot hope to beat Yuki in a cosplay-off. She is simply the best there is.
- In Strawberry Panic, Chikaru runs the costume club and enjoys putting her "favourite" girls in alluring, lolita-style costumes.
- In Lucky Star Konata happily works in a Cosplay Cafe, but refuses to call cosplay as a hobby because "it feels too much like work." Her friend/co-worker Patti is a straight example, though. Their mutual friend Hiyori is a more down-to-earth Fan Girl who's not really into cosplay at all.
- Yoshinoya-sensei in Hidamari Sketch, who uses her cosplay tendencies for everything from modeling for her art class to making personalized New Years' cards. She dislikes calling it "cosplay" though, yet what she doesn't realize is that she's practically cosplaying as herself all the time.
- All the female cast (and many of the guys) end up in either Gekiganger or some more obscure cosplay at some point in Martian Successor Nadesico. Otaku Surrogate Hikaru's probably the only one who does it more than once, though.
- In a very odd male version of this trope, the Jovian's regular uniforms are also pretty much Gekiganger cosplay, because they're just that obsessed.
- Nagi of Hayate the Combat Butler has a thing for making Hayate cosplay and cross-dress. A lot. Then again, she actually is otaku and hikki all-around, not just when it comes to forcing her butler to cosplay.
- Mion of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni probably qualifies, as the loser of whatever game is going on tends to end up dressed in some Moe outfit or another. Or maybe she's just a sadist...
- Megu of the Tantei Gakuen Q live action appears to be a Cosplay Otaku. Within the first two episodes we see her in two different school uniforms, a Meido-outfit and in a Yukata.
- Naturally, Cosplay Complex is filled to the brim with cosplaying girls.
- Sakura "Penguin" Nankyoku in Penguin Musume Heart. She's wearing a costume the first time we see her. Her Student Council President campaign was to make the official school uniform Meido and butler outfits. When she cosplays, she gets the power of whatever she's wearing. Finding out she would be able to play dress up with Kujira was enough to trigger her Heroic Resolve. She is insane.
- Closet otaku Haruka Nogizaka in Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu dresses up as Shana from Shakugan no Shana in one episode and gleefully recites the character's Catch Phrase. Though otherwise she isn't prone to cosplay due to the fact that she hides her love of anime from her peers.
- Pani Poni Dash!. Serizawa Akane. That is all.
- Akari Kouda in High School Girls appears to be one of these, mostly in the anime version. Her costumes are usually in the range of tacky and absurd.
- Baccano's Isaac and Miria are so involved in cosplaying that they manage to go about it fifty four years before the term even existed.
- Sawako-sensei from K-On!! enjoys putting Mio and the rest of the band in variously absurd outfits, which Mio is less than okey-dokey with. It's moe moe kyun, though.
- Plucky Comic Relief Kiko in Darker Than Black. Also a Yaoi Fangirl.
- A very young example — Hiiragi in Hanamaru Kindergarten.
- Pina from Ladies versus Butlers!. She particularly enjoys dressing up as the lead character from Magical Diva.
- Chisame from Mahou Sensei Negima seems to be enjoying her magical disguise a bit too much. (And considering the fact that her classmates were recently in slavery with magical shock collars, one might think that this accessory would be in bad taste--even if it goes so well with her now-omnipresent cat ears.) Also, the first time she's a focus character, she was dressing up in various costumes for her website.
- Evangeline also manages to contain her vast boredom by dressing up her few remaining classmates as goth lolis.
- Amasawa from The Weatherman Is My Lover is a male example, and actually calls himself a "nutcase who's obsessed with cosplay."
- Lucy and Erza from Fairy Tail both qualify. In Lucy's case it is usually unintentional, but Erza... well, she keeps several cosplay outfits in her Hyperspace Arsenal.
- Ruby from Rosario to Vampire loves trying on various fetishistic outfits.
- Yayoi from Hoshi no Samidare. She's rather embarrassed about the whole thing, and only ever dresses up in her apartment when no one's around, but Anima has a tendency of teleporting her to meetings when she's right in the middle of cosplaying. Of course, no one else even cares.
- Hanaukyo Maid Tai La Verite. In episode 8 Konoe wants to borrow some clothes from Yashima, and we all know how Yashima reacts to Konoe.
- Averted by Chise Umenomori from Mayoi Neko Overrun. While she is established as an Otaku, she isn't into cosplay.
- Lucretia from Bystander does this to some extent. She doesn't cosplay specific characters, but her bedroom, instead of having sleeping space, has a few shelves of books and a multitude of stacked plastic totes holding various dresses, their accompanying accessories, instructions on appropriate hair style and region of origin for the dresses, written in the native language of that region or culture. Each dress is long sleeved, high necked and low enough to cover her feet while also being tight fitting enough to make the all-covering aspect somewhat pointless. Throughout the course of the book she wears a kimono, a Victorian styled dress, a sexy librarian outfit, a 1950s poodle skirt and sweater combination, a prison-themed outfit and makes mention of a Chinese dress and an Arabian dress. - These are the dresses she wears if she isn't at work or planning to do anything that might damage them or force her to burn them later.
Live Action TV
- Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger features two. Kozkoz Mita dresses as a different Super Sentai heroine every episode, and Yumeria Moegi is most often seen in a catgirl outfit, but has other costumes as well.
- SHIMMER's Super Hardcore Anime Lu Fisto uses this as her gimmick, always wearing a colourful range of anime inspired costumes and using the Cutey Honey theme as her entrance music.
- Flonne in Disgaea 2 Cursed Memories (she proved to be an Otaku in the first one, but cosplaying came later). She also serves as a subversion in that, unless you have a fetish for Godzilla, Flonne's cosplay isn't exactly what you would call fanservice.
- This was also her special attack as a Secret Character in Makai Kingdom.
- The costume in said attack actually originated from one of Etna's Next Episodes as Flonne's One-Winged Angel form.
- The manga gives her some good moments, though. Specifically, in the first volume of the Disgaea 2 manga, after Etna leaves, Flonne tries to return Laharl to his old self...by pretending to be Etna, complete with costume. She pulls off the look better than Etna ever did. And then three volumes later...
- BeyondX, a minor character in Disgaea 3 Absence of Justice, is often assumed to be this by other characters. This is due to her shapeshifting ability, although she denies it.
- Devil Survivor has Midori "Dolly" Komaki, a fifteen-year-old camgirl who likes attending various conventions in costume. In fact, she spends the duration of the game wearing a pink, ribbon-festooned outfit due to the fact she was caught in the lockdown without any other clothes. (She isn't particularly concerned about this, claiming that her attire just looks like "extra-cool everyday clothes".)
- Litchi Faye Ling in Blaz Blue. At one point, she dresses Noel up in various costumes. One is the costume of resident Catgirl Taokaka, the other two are from Guilty Gear (by her own admission, she dresses up other girls because she wouldn't fit into the costumes).
- A rare 35 year old male example of this would His Imperial Majesty Peony IX The Emperor in Tales of the Abyss. He gives the party several costumes, some of which are based on his favorite Sentai play others or of his own original design. Jade even comments that he can tell his best friend's handiwork and it is implied that he had him model outfits for him before.
- Reiko Haga in the Comic Party video games, manga, and anime.
- Rare Male Example with The Nostalgia Critic. You only have to look at how much attention Suburban Knights's camera gave to his legs in that tiny Link outfit.
- In the Animesque Xiaolin Showdown, Kimiko, the female Japanese member of the team is seen in a new, increasingly elaborate outfit and hairstyle in nearly every episode.
- In The Boondocks, Cute Bruiser Cindy McPhearson shows up at a meeting for Aggressive Negotiations dressed up as Naruto. It apparently works as she's the only one who doesn't get shot. Riley was wearing a bullet-proof vest and Ed III was saved by his W medallion deflecting the bullet.
- Several seiyuu on both sides of the Pacific are especially well-known for appearing in their characters' outfits at conventions. One example is Tiffany Grant as Asuka. Another examples is seiyu/pop singer Haruko Momoi.
- At Anime Expo 2007 one of the highlights, and there were precious few as it was horribly mismanaged, was Momoi. She even cosplayed as a schoolgirl while on a judging panel, and after the winner for the event was announced gave an impromptu performance for the crowd.
- For seiyuu of the Sakura Taisen series, this is part of the job description.
- Japanese composer Yuki Kajiura, who is well-known for her anime and game soundtracks and the occasional experimental opera, apparently enjoys dressing up her female performers, frequently in what we might call "tastefully revealing" ways. The Les Yay implications are not lost on others.
- Seiyuu Kei Shindou actually was a Cosplay Otaku Girl before she became a seiyuu.
- Chiaki Inaba, the wife of One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda, was the girl who cosplayed Nami in the Jump Fiesta One Piece skits.
- Ken Akamatsu's (very pretty) wife cosplays.
- Apparently, so does Hikaru Midorikawa's wife.
- Tomoko Kawase, ex-singer of The Brilliant Green now known as either Tommy February 6 or Tommy Heavenly 6.
- In the Tokyo episodes of Lonely Planet: Six Degrees of Separation and Globe Trekkers, the (male) hosts in charge were taken by their Japanese guides to either Odaiba (Lonely Planet) or Shinjuku (Globe Trekker) to interview Coplay Otakus of both genders. A Crowning Moment of Funny happens in GT, when Ian Wright walks into male Dir En Grey cosplayers and gets absolutely hilarious Oh Crap expressions.
Ian: What... are you guys monsters?!
- This talk about Japanese cosplayers becomes absolutely Hilarious in Hindsight when you learn that the Japanese Imperial Family has a Cosplay Otaku Girl: Princess Mako of Akishino, who seems to have a thing for wearing sailor fukus.
- In general, cosplay is a popular habit among female anime fans. It doesn't hurt that some of these girls are incredible gorgeous as these ladies prove.
- Rie Tanaka.
- Alodia Gosiengfiao.
- The seiyuu Hoshi Souichirou is a male version of this trope. In one of the Karneval drama CDs he even tells his co-actors and the listeners that he's okay with wearing skirts because of it. So he is also a crossplayer.
- Shoko Nakagawa
- Cosplay Girl Victoria, cosplayer and model, chosen as "Queen of Cosplay" by Modern Tokyo Times.
- Air Gear, Bakuman｡, Beck, Bleach,Code Geass, Darker Than Black, Death Note, D Gray Man, Fullmetal Alchemist, Hikaru no Go, Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Naruto, Natsume Yuujinchou, One Piece, Pandora Hearts, Samurai Champloo, Seikon no Qwaser, Soul Eater, Haruhi Suzumiya, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, and XxxHolic.