Cosplay. Another obsession you might find strange - or strangely kinky.

By: Kai Teo
Photos: César Ortiz

Event: Youtopia presents: Japan & Korea market
Venue: Mitt Möllan, Claesgatan 8, Malmö
Date: Saturday, 26th October ‘13

Imagine a group of 20-year-old girls dressed up in tiny skirts, skintight spandex, flaunting their neon-coloured hair, baby-doll eyes and an almost pubescent innocence weirdly infused with the charm of a lonely housewife.

If you find the above description disturbing, please do not read on.

Welcome to the world of Cosplay, where Japanese manga and anime fanatics transform into their favourite fantasy characters, donning the most outrageous costumes, makeup and wigs.

When we headed to Mitt Möllan’s Japan & Korea market organised by Youtopia, our senses were assaulted with a weirdly intriguing tumult of visually stunning comic characters, overly cutesy women, Korean karaoke, Korean dances and fuck loads of Hello Kitty stuff.

Cuteness overload. The whole event was like a blueberry cupcake laden with 2 kg of sugar, 3 cups of coloured icing, a small lake of syrup, topped with a honey-soaked strawberry.

In short, so sweet it hurt a little.

We know that the whole Korean pop and Japanese anime wave has swept Asia off its feet like a candy-coloured hurricane. But little did we know that the pretty doe eyed Korean pop star look has also landed in Sweden, and the Scandinavia.

It’s like seeing white people eat rice with chopsticks. They’re not quite doing it right, but it’s kinda cool in an entirely different way.

We talked to Rachel and Nathalie from Youtopia.se and they told us that the whole too-cute-to-handle, or kawaii, concept is definitely becoming bigger in Sweden, with the increasing popularity of K-pop and Japanese anime. Their online store, which features Japanese street fashion, has seen stable growth since 2011 when they first started out.

“It’s very different from H&M. And we’re glad we’re bringing something else to Malmö,” said Rachel confidently.

As we tried to figure out the squares and strokes of the Korean words on the karaoke screen, we were also figuring out if the pretty faces in the videos were male or female, plastic or natural. These androgynous beings that danced with such grace and angst almost seemed to awaken the feminine side of us, just without the pink ribbons.

The young K-pop dance crew Oppa’s Angels also performed at the event. They were like anime characters with their exaggerated expressions, hyper-speed movements and peace hand signs. We never quite got into the groove of the music, because we didn’t understand shit. But we kept gawking in amusement anyway.

That was when something else made us turn our heads.

From far, we saw 2 pairs of endless legs with flowy, neon green hair that bounced with every step they took. As they walked closer, we managed to snap out of psychedelic daze mode and make out that they were human.

Porcelain, doll-like faces adorned by listless, dreamy expressions that suggested a desire for the unknown, balanced with a contentment for their standing in fantasy anime kingdom. If you make a Japanese middle-aged man draw a personification of perfection, they would be exactly that.

We had no idea what they were dressed as. But their presence stunned the crowd. Time started moving in slow motion, busy teenagers looked up from their smartphones, stall owners lost their grasp on their cash and we watched as their 20 kronors notes fluttered in the wind like autumn leaves, a spectacled pimply male dropped his Fanta on the ground, and it splashed and almost blossomed like an orange fountain that was celebrating the birth of these two angelic beings.

We could even hear David Letterman’s voice going, “Let’s put our hands together to welcome the Queens of Cosplay – Sørine and Carina!”

We spoke to them and they told us that all their costumes were homemade, crafted with utmost care and ingenuity. The Danish dynamic duo has travelled around the world to take part in Cosplay competitions and exhibitions, and has been invited to Mitt Möllan to grace us with their, well, unworldly, divine presence.

It made us feel a little shitty about ourselves. I mean, have you ever been good enough at something, anything, that you’re invited to another country to do that thing?

Nope, we haven’t. But never mind, our self-loathing shouldn’t be point of this article.

We asked Sørine and Carina why Cosplay was taking over the world by storm, and they put it quite honestly and simply, “Imagine if you’ve always been the unpopular girl in school that no one really wants to talk to. Then you discover Cosplay. And when you put on that costume, you instantly transform into a princess – desired, wanted, and suddenly very popular, even if it was just for that moment.”

Even though I wouldn’t be putting on my Naruto costume this Halloween, the statement definitely helped us look at Cosplay from an entirely different light.

They’re just doing their thing. And if you don’t like it, that’s your fucking problem.