New York’s love of manga, anime and cosplay leads to unity

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NEW YORK – Katie Starer grew up in the Big Apple and developed a passion for anime in high school.

Now, as an adult working in the mobile game, she is an even more dedicated fan and cosplayer.

“So I’m dressed as Sailor V from ‘Sailor Moon’, or the ‘Sailor V’ comics, which predated the ‘Sailor Moon’ comics,” Starer said. “How do I feel? I still feel awesome in this cosplay.


What would you like to know

  • New York cosplayers Katie Starer and Lisha Luo Cai are just a few of the countless manga and anime super fans
  • This Japanese pop cultural phenomenon is sweeping the city and the world at the same time as there has been an outbreak of anti-Asian attacks in New York City and across the country.
  • The cosplayers, along with the Japanese Consul General, are hopeful that the popularity of the anime can help build bridges and spark a deeper understanding and appreciation of Japanese culture in America.
  • Some popular titles include “Attack on Titan”, “Dragon Ball”, “Sailor Moon” and “Naruto”

There are three elements of this pop culture phenomenon:

  • 1) Manga, which is a Japanese comic
  • 2) Anime, which is the animated TV or movie version of the stories
  • 3) Cosplay, which disguises itself as your favorite characters

Many were first popularized here on television in the 1990s.

“So there’s ‘Sailor Moon,’ ‘Dragon Ball Z,’ ‘Gundam,’ all the different wonderful animated shows, on TV, and that kind of became my pop culture growing up,” Starer explained. .

The audience has grown steadily since, but has soared in popularity around the world in recent years, drawing fans of all kinds, fueling sales and inspiring massive conventions. In fact, manga sells more than comics in the United States – the top 20 selling graphic novels right now are all manga. Popular titles include “Attack on Titan”, “My Hero Academia” and “Demon Slayer”.

But as this global fandom of Japanese culture explodes, anti-Asian attacks have been reported in New York City and across the country.

“During this time, it’s very, very scary. I have, you know, parents and grandparents who are too afraid to go out because they are afraid of being attacked for no other reason than the fact that they are Asian, ”said cosplayer Lisha Luo Cai .

Luo Cai, a Peruvian Chinese New Yorker, works for the city and is a regular at anime conventions. She hopes that interest in titles like “Demon Slayer” can have a positive impact.

“Everyone wears kimonos and they have a lot of Japanese cultural traditions. I often see people wanting to know more about Japanese culture to try to find out more about why the show is as it is. “said Luo Cai.

Japanese Consul General Kanji Yamanouchi believes the popularity of this cultural export can build bridges.

“And just like me, I grew up with all this American music and movies. It was through music and through films that I learned a lot about American history, society, people, art. So I really think of Americans who love Japanese pop culture, through these stories and music they gradually learn about Japan, and that’s great, ”Yamanouchi said.

The cosplayers agree and for many, including Starer, dressing the play comes with a certain sense of responsibility.

“Even if I couldn’t be Sailor Moon, I could at least play Sailor Moon or characters from ‘Sailor Moon’ by creating their outfit to be as wonderful, brave or as heroic as them,” Starer said.



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