MOAR OTACOOL DRAMU?

This is the OTACOOL 2 cover... So, what do you think?

This is the OTACOOL 2 cover... So, what do you think?

Note: I can’t stress this enough guys, so I’ll put this in before I go on typing the rest of this post: what is stated here is my opinion. I’m glad that there are people who do agree with some of the things I said, but, do not lump me with all the Danny Choo bashers, because I am merely disappointed in the whole project itself. There’s a huge difference between the two. Also, I don’t mind people who actually have opposing views because I also like to hear what people on the opposite side have to say. I’d like these people to be civil about it though. Thank you.

Anyway, you guys probably remembered my post about OTACOOL 2 and what happened after I posted it. This post will probably be the last time I’ll post about OTACOOL 2 (or at least, OTACOOL 2 being the main topic)… and so I’m planning to discuss a lot… starting with the cover.

Now, everyone who is at the least interested, whether it’s a positive interest or a negative one, has a view on what the cover looks like now.

Of course, like how reactions were when Danny first featured an OTACOOL entry (well, on the most part, I don’t know a lot who reacted on their own blogs). It seems a lot of noise has been generated with the cover as well. My personal reaction? Where the hell are the male cosplayers?

Yes, I know that Kaname and DC are smack dab in the middle of the cover… but come on! Everyone would’ve known by now that Kaname is pretty much already a sure shot for the cover since he’s dubbed as a “cosplay king” — although I honestly haven’t heard of him before the AFA ’09 announcements. But one cannot deny that his cosplays are awesome. As for DC, I’m pretty sure it’s because he also helped put everything together so Koto would do that. Not to mention he’s pretty popular to most people interested in Japanese culture, so it’s also a definite choice.

If you’re doubtful that an androgynous male actually slipped into the cover and just looked female, Koto’s official list of the cosplayers on the cover would remove any doubts in your mind. I’m wondering though why they bothered to put in the cosplayers’ genders and not where they come from… its focus is about worldwide cosplayers right? Not a collection of female/male cosplayers.

Now, looking at the cover alone, would already give window shoppers who don’t have a clue about cosplay or OTACOOL, an impression that the book is filled with photos of girls in costume — or worse, an issue of Playboy, cosplay edition.

Now, along with this issue, Danny recently posted his/Koto’s answer… somewhat.

Why is that crap cosplayer on the cover?
We got folks arguing that cosplaying is about the skill level but we think its more about the passion.

That’s quite a short statement, really. Passion is good, but… can you exactly gauge the passion? That aside, I still wonder, why he didn’t post an answer to: “Why are is there only two guys one guy chosen for the cover?” I’m pretty sure that someone asked him about that too. Don’t tell me all the male cosplayer entries aren’t passionate enough to be cover worthy.

As for selecting people for the cover here’s what DC said:

Who made the selection for the cover and book?
I asked for Kaname to be on the cover and Kotobukiya selected the rest. Their team also selected all the cosplayers to be in the book and they also chose the illustrator for the official mascot.
As for the cosplayers selected to be in the book, I have only seen a small selection. The Kotobukiya publishing team manage the production. I merely provide Mirai Gaia as a platform to collect CGM data.
From what I have seen however, I saw a wide selection from all over the world. The Worldwide Cosplayers post has a selection featuring male and female of all shapes n sizes. Not all are exactly Miss or Mr universe but its not about the looks/skill level but more about the passion.
I find this pretty doubtful. If this is so, then I really wonder why the cosplayers who Danny featured by themselves (meaning they’re the only cosplayer featured in Danny’s posts in DC.com) are there since a lot of newer entries already came in after that. As far as I can remember… Danny said this before:

I chose some folks for the cover with Kotobukiya but Koto choose who gets who gets full pages and who gets on the back cover.

Of course, we don’t really know what’s behind the scenes, so one cannot really determine if DC did involve himself in the cosplayer selection for the cover.

I’ve seen more people (mostly girls) who are a bit angry about how the cover turned out… and then there are some who say:

Why can’t you just be happy for the cosplayers that are featured on the cover?

Now, I’ll leave a question for those who asked the above question: “Will you be happy for the people who are in the book if some people who buy it will treat it like how they treat Playboy magazines?”

Realism and Credibility

A friend of mine who we got to know because he was into cosplay photography linked this journal entry in dA which also discussed the cover. But in addition to that, the writer of the entry also cited that there might be identity theft and the possibility that the cosplay is just made thru CG. For identity theft, although I have no idea how the thief might even get anything out of submitting another person’s photos for OTACOOL. The CG issue is quite big. How does one know if everything was just computer generated? I mean, if you’re really good with Photoshop, you’d be able to paste your head photo into anything and it would at least look realistic.

The Pacman starred in a LoTR movie

The Pacman starred in a LoTR movie

As expected, not knowing much about the issues surrounding the seemingly innocent hobby that is cosplay, DC and Koto didn’t know anything about this, so they are making a workaround about it:

Kotobukiya discovered that some people submitted photos *of other cosplayers* claiming that it was them @.@ If these photos were published then Kotobukiya would have been in a spot of bother.For this reason, Kotobukiya will send out a mail to each cosplayer who was selected to be in the book and ask them to submit a photo of themselves sitting next to a computer screen displaying the OTACOOL site.
This mail is due to go out from today spanning over the weekend. If you receive the mail, please attend to it as soon as possible or Kotobukiya will have to select others instead of you.

Now, I just wonder…what if said identity thief is brilliant and obsessed enough to even fake that ‘verifying photo’? Of course, that’s probably not going to happen… but, even so, this scenario is also possible.

What about the possibly CG’ed photos? How will they verify those? Or will they not bother to verify if there are CGed cosplays at all?

Photos, Credit and Copyright issues

I found blur’s blog entry about giving due credit to the photographers for OTACOOL 2 submissions, that has been inspired by garion’s journal entry in dA and got light about this issue.

Now, we all know that cosplayers don’t exactly take photos themselves… they usually ask for the help of cosplay photographers — so, since Koto was asking for high-res photos with no watermarks, most cosplayers ask for these from their photographers since most of them are fine with medium resolution photos with watermarks.

Of course, the photographers, who also like to get at least a teensy credit for their work, would wonder if they’d get credited… but, photographer information isn’t asked for, and there’s the seemingly opportunistic legal clause that Koto has — and it’s not really noticeable when you look for it in Danny’s post:

Please note, by participating you agree and hereby grant Kotobukiya permission to use, copy, modify and make available your submissions to the public for purposes, such as, but not limited to, publication, press and media communications.

Submitted photos, illustrations or information shall become the property of Kotobukiya, and Kotobukiya shall have no obligation to preserve, return or otherwise make available to you or others any photos, illustrations or information so submitted.

Reading the above clause would mislead laymen into thinking that all submitted photos would be owned by Koto for any commercial purposes — which means, they can exploit free resources. Hence, the photographers who indulge in taking cosplayers’ photos are quite alarmed and hurriedly ask about the issue. Again, it has been addressed in the recent OTACOOL 2 Q & A post, which was quite lengthy since it involves possible suing and such.

I can’t believe that they don’t have space to put in credits for more than one photographer (and not include possible tailors of costumes, and other people that the cosplayers wish to thank), and they didn’t think or say about this earlier. This just causes more hassle for those cosplayers who would remove some photos because other photographers took the photos and not to mention a hassle for the people who are working on the book as well since they’d have to recheck the entries to see if they got everything right.

Also, DC discussed about copyright issues with the proper license holders… I’m just… surprised at how everything about the copyright is blown out of proportion, and yet there are no names that are mentioned. Let’s see… fan art has been there possibly longer than cosplay… and no one’s suing people over the fan art. As far as I know, as long as people don’t profit over or mass produce what they have made, the license holders don’t hold it against their fans. Then again, I could be wrong.

So, since they were having these kinds of issues, why is this discussed when submissions were already closed and not before or during the submission period?

Final thoughts

There has been a lot of issues revolving OTACOOL 2 compared to the first OTACOOL since there are a lot of dramu in the cosplay world to begin with. It is clearly evident that the team of Koto and DC have not done enough homework to brace themselves for this new project, and thus they received a lot of criticism, and probably hate for not looking into everything before starting off with the project. All I can say is that, the management for the OTACOOL 2 project sucks big time they even had to enlist outside help to get ideas on how to go about damage control.

TL;DR: the people in charge of OTACOOL bit off more than they can chew this time.

Ultimately, I can only wish the best for the book. I do hope it doesn’t get treated like a Playboy magazine. I do hope that the drama that surrounds OTACOOL 2 dies down now, because if there is something really to blame for all the ruckus, it’s the poor management of the execution of this project.

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22 Responses to “MOAR OTACOOL DRAMU?”


  1. 1 Densha Otoko February 21, 2010 at 2:24 AM

    Wow , I mean Wow thats a pretty loooooooooooong post there .

    I didn’t pay A LOT of attention to Otacool 2 probably because I don’t Cosplay but I quite understand what your saying .

    First of all , I never have predicted that OTACOOL 2 could cause so much problems for DC and Kotobukiya . They are probably in a tight situation right now ^^:;

    I Agree with you on The OTACOOL 2 Cover with Lots of female Cosplayers , I understand completely that most Cosplayers are females but there are also Lots and probably Tons of Great Male Cosplayers there . They should balance it out with the female Cosplayers and The Male Cosplayers . It would be really bad for People outside of Cosplay and Anime to see the book as just another Playboy Book .

    If Kotobukiya decides to credit the Cosplay Photographers then that will cause a lot of work .

    Wow , Copyright issues on Choosing the OTACOOL 2 Mascot . Don’t get why people are SOOOO Greedy nowadays with an Author seuing J.K Rowling for stealing her Idea on her Harry Potter series . The Author should be proud that her work is appreciated and used by J.K Rowling not seuing her for copyright.

    I Haven’t bought the First Otacool Book probably because Its not worth my Cash and I’ve seen its contents in Kinukuniya . I’ll be looking out for OTACOOL 2 if it is really worth my penny . If not , then I’ll be spendng my cash on some Lucky Star Manga

  2. 2 Howl February 21, 2010 at 2:38 AM

    Dannychoo is only popular in the groups of casual gaiafags, the first book didn’t represent real otaku, just casual tards who post in his site, the same for this book.

  3. 3 Blowfish February 21, 2010 at 2:41 AM

    I dont really roam DC anymore and dont really care about Otacool at all.Naturally I didnt follow any of said posts but I didnt expect this to stir up so much drama and possible legal issues.

    I totally see where youre issues with Otacool are coming from and honestly I always saw those Otacool books as a way to make some fast money of the so called Web 2.0 Community with very little cost involved.

    I am not really a Cosplay enthusiast but I can certainly see how some cosplayers are unhappy how this turned out.

    Thanks for the good read

  4. 4 Zetsubo-san February 21, 2010 at 3:25 AM

    The whole Otacool book concept is annoying, actually.
    But I like the first book better only because it featured good friends from Tsuki-Board but this?
    Dramu all the way.

    …and *sigh* Failodia knights everywhere.

  5. 5 ne0valkyrie February 21, 2010 at 3:54 AM

    I was wondering why there weren’t many male cosplayers featured. I’m pretty certain there were a good amount that posted on Figure.fm. I think most of the girls deserve to be featured but a few of them look like opportunists who just want to get some 15 mins of fame. Not a lot seem genuine is all I’m saying. I doubt some have been cosplaying for a long time either.

    I don’t think the Otacool books is a bad idea though. I think its nice to see how passionate people are about their hobbies. It’s a great opportunity to bring Otakus from around the world together in one project. But there’s so much Danny and Kotobukiya can do so don’t expect it to come out the way you want it to. Their main goal is to sell this so don’t be surprised if they only choose people for their looks rather then how great their cosplay actually is. Nevertheless, I think it would be wise to just wait until the book comes out before jumping to any conclusions. Who knows it might actually turn out nice. ^^;

  6. 6 Silver Lynx February 21, 2010 at 5:32 AM

    Agreed. As a female cosplayer, I was seriously considering dropping an entry into the book, but after being lazy and letting things drag out for a bit while watching other contest entries, I started to worry about the exact same thing you mentioned. Some of the girls’ photos were in some incredibly provocative poses and with minimal clothing (ie. naked Chii in tissue as just one example) and it got me worried that the book would end up being a Cosplay Playboy book. *Cringe* The last thing I want on my mind is that a bunch of people out there would be fapping to my photo instead of appreciating the cosplay as an art form. I didn’t want to be associated with that and so opted not to enter.

    • 7 Steve February 21, 2010 at 10:38 AM

      I’m a straight male, and I don’t want a CosPlayboy book either. I’ll be reserving final judgement until the book is actually out, but it certainly seems from what we’ve seen so far that Kotobukiya is pushing the “pretty girls” marketing angle more than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, I love pretty girls and pretty girls cosplaying is great, but if I buy a cosplay book I want it to be full of cosplayers – not girls in suggestive poses using cosplay as a means of amateur modelling.

  7. 8 Orthrus February 21, 2010 at 8:43 AM

    “Koto bit off more than they can chew this time.”

    That may seem to be the case when applied to the DC population but internet rants from a handful of users peppered across the globe about some book which is mainly targeting a domestic audience for sales is not going to be a problem from a large company like Kotobukiya…who are doing this book as a side project most likely. They’re a figure company for the largest part, not publications.

    Even amongst the DC community those who are disappointed or are dissatisfied with the choices are really far and few, though they have more to say than those who generally are pleased or are impartial. Danny, though, will be affected as he often takes things quite personally from his community. I’m sure in one of Danny’s “life” articles he will bring the issue up about ‘haters’ and ‘how you can’t go around pleasing everybody’.

    Kotobukiya’s primary concern seems to be copyright infringement. The reason is obvious, of course. Legal issues cost time and money, significantly more than some disgruntled commentators who chances are probably have a pre-order in place for their book. They took care in addressing issues of “Why did so-and-so get cover/chosen…?” early on because it wasn’t -that- important. Verification of identity can also translate into being a rather large legal problem which is why it was also emphasized.

    For the most part I understand and agree with a number of points made. Cosplay is indeed filled with passion and dedication, which cannot be quantified irregardless of money and resources.
    However, that is a slippery slope if you intend to select based on “passion”. What about that one cosplayer who -if appealing to aesthetics- looks absolutely horrendous in their cosplay? That one you see posted on forums and it makes you wide-eye smilie O_O as a reply? They may be as passionate as any other cosplayer but lack the creativity and ability to construct an elaborate costume, should they not get mentioned too?

    If Kotobukiya overlooked certain cosplayers to fit in more of others based on certain criteria in hopes to sell more books, that itself will be rather disappointing because of the company’s values and vanity in the product and the fact they did not make that criteria clear to the population in which they were making their selections.

    However, the full selection has not yet been revealed to the public. They chose 200 and we’ve only seen a handful. Casting the first stone is reserved only to those who have nothing to lose even if proven wrong. You may very well be surprised who got in.

    One point I disagree with in regards to the drama stirred is “model play”. My personal perception of a “good” cosplay (aesthetics here) is if you LOOK like the character…not just dressing up like them which includes physical features and bare aesthetics. Most people forget that most anime/manga/game characters have or look like models themselves….a nice body, nice face, unrealistic proportions that defy the laws of physics in a lot of cases…I think Kotobukiya did a very good job on the cover because 90% of the cosplayers chosen LOOK like the character.

    That Battle Angel Alita cosplayer is perfect. She looks exactly like her…slightly less but generally so with the Mina, Lightning and Kairi cosplayers too. I’ve seen a better Mio cosplayer put up an entry and would have chosen them instead of that girl but alas that’s just my opinion.

    • 9 LEon February 22, 2010 at 9:36 AM

      I wonder the banning of Ninjovee’s login at DC website is also someone taking thing personally?

      • 10 Orthrus February 23, 2010 at 3:08 AM

        It could be though people have been banned for voicing criticism over anything somewhat significant to Danny or his comrades. Even if your respectful in doing so…moderators may disregard that and ban you because of their loyalties.

  8. 11 moemoekyun February 21, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    I 100% agree with you XDDD
    here my opinion http://moemoekyun.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/otacoool2-wtf-is-thatdc-suks-part-1/
    for danny in the top I have no problem .but he not cosplaying see he not put his helmet XD and if I buy that MAGZ it will turn as playboy magz for me so nay bye bye dannychoo and figre.fm + otacool 2 sucks

  9. 12 moemoekyun February 21, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    and more worst than that see otacool 1 even tho your room published you still need to buy that book not send you one for free
    how about this cosplay how about the right. yest this for fun but give one for free if your face or room published there

  10. 13 LEon February 21, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    If I cosplay a jedi knight can I be including inside? What about being Darth Vader? Wait…Starwars a Anime from Japan to begin with? Anyway I have seen many cosplaying DC at some blogs.

    I agree on the rights of Photographers. If you do it out of true intention for the passion then proper credit need to be given to the passionate photographer too. Most of the time photographer to the setting of the set which make it work. anyway internet did a good job for cosplayers already. why a book?

    You always have my support in your view as I have seen the length and effort in cosplay with the limited resources you have. now tell me that is not passion.

  11. 14 bluedrakon February 25, 2010 at 12:01 AM

    I have to say that I was a bit taken back by seeing Danny on the cover myself. I do not consider what he does Cosplay, but more Fantasy play. I like what he does and have subscribed to his emails, but I do think her tends to over saturate himself in everything to get exposure.

    Like others, this was too commercial just like the first book. It should be about the “normal” person who collects and not about celebrates. I did not get either book as yet as being in the US makes it a bit hard for me to get in this market.

    As a photographer, I can understand the who copyright thing. If you use my photo, I should be a little note saying that. It could be something as simple as “Cosplayer name / Photographer name” under the pics.

    I don’t cosplay myself, but do enjoy seeing them at the cons as they add the extra fun to the cons.

  12. 15 lovelyduckie March 2, 2010 at 1:53 AM

    Not big into cosplay myself so I don’t really have an opinion.

  13. 16 Bablet16 March 2, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    okay, so i know that sailor neptune is in the bottom, but tell me thats not misa(deathnote) third one down on the left side?

  14. 17 joysatrandom March 4, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    One reason why I’m not into Cosplay is because of Alodia.>_> And Kaname happens to be the only famous male cosplayer I know. Woe is me. The only cosplay group that I truly appreciate is Philippines’ own Tuxedo Team.XDXD That’s all I can say on that issue.XD

    Sorry I didn’t read the whole entry because I wouldn’t understand all of it anyway.

    P.S: DC should just stick to figure photography/blogging IMO.

  15. 18 Ninjovee March 5, 2010 at 11:48 PM

    It took me a while to set aside time to reply to everyone ^^; I hope I didn’t miss anything.

    @UntoldHero/Densha Otoko: Haha. It’s long because of the quotes… but I guess I just had a lot to say.

    I don’t think it’s a very big problem, but I guess the commotion was enough for them to actually notice it. I’m actually pretty glad that they at least took action on some of the issues… then again, it’s probably because they’d get some legal raps about them if they didn’t.

    IMO the Photographers who took the cosplay photos deserve credit… after all, if they weren’t there, there wouldn’t be any good photos that would be worthy of being published in a book… right?

    You know what? I think you should just buy yourself some Lucky Star manga XD

    @Howl: I think I sense a bit of bitterness there, if not an overall biased opinion. I think some of those who sent their entries were never active members of DC.com.

    @Blowfish: Well, as DC said in his statement about making money from consumer generated media… it’s something voluntary for those who submit so people shouldn’t complain about it. I do think though that it’s more polite to those who contributed if the people behind it at least show their gratitude… say… give them free copies of the book? I mean, in the last OTACOOL book they can afford to send scaled figures to the cover people, why not give books to those who got featured in them as thanks for their contribution? Just my thoughts on that.

    I’m glad you liked the entry :)

    @Zetsubo-san: *sigh* yes, very much dramu. I’m a bit sad since one can never know who are the people who are really there because they’re passionate about the hobby and not just out to get fame from the book… but I guess that’s how the world works.

    LOL those knights sometimes stick out like sore thumbs and are pretty annoying.

    @ne0valkyrie: Well, we can’t say anything about who are featured inside the book… but your guess is as good as mine when it comes to the cover. About opportunists… this hobby has always been a target for opportunists… especially now since it’s slowly becoming more and more popular among anime/manga fans and most people now deem it as something amazing/cool and not something weird.

    Just so we’re clear, I never thought OTACOOL was a bad idea. I’m just disappointed on how it is a good idea yet it seems that it is still overpowered by the company’s desire to have high sales. As much as “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is concerned… I can’t really say you can’t since it’s a photo book.

    @Silver Lynx: I actually procrastinated on sending an entry myself… and then, after seeing the later developments… I also opted not to enter.

    @Steve: Thank you very much for your comment. I’m glad there are those who actually know the difference ^^

    @Orthrus: You have a point. Which is why I changed my statement since obviously there’s just a small group in charge of the book.

    I do believe that if there are people who dislike the book, it’s probably just one for every hundred people who have known or have learned about this book. Still, I like to believe that voicing out comments instead of blind praising can still do something. It may not affect the production of the book directly, but at least it can be informative for other people in a sense. There’s also the possibility that because of the feedback that has been recieved, they can improve the production in the future. It’s ideal, but it’s still possible. ^^

    As for model play, it’s really a huge gray area. There are people who cosplay but don’t even act like the character… needless to say, you can just say that they can be 1:1 dollfie dreams and people would still fawn over them. There are cosplayers who, even though they don’t physically look anything like the character, actually bring said characters to life. It’s one thing to have attributes similar to certain characters but I think actually bringing them to life is a different thing. I can point out a few people on the cover who look like the character, but do nothing to show how the characters are really like.

    Thanks for sharing your opinions, they’re pretty informative. ^^

    @moemoekyun: Thanks for linking my entries several times… although I have trouble understanding your posts ^^;

    @LEon: As far as I know, cosplay isn’t really limited to Anime/Manga/Game characters, portraying characters from Western media can also be considered cosplay since the word is the combination of “costume” and “play” anyway. The term, however, if I’m not mistaken, started from Japan… or is coined from Japanese-related media, which is why not a lot of people relate it to Western media characters.

    I think the book is made to target those who are not aware of people who are not into the hobby and are not into anime either. The internet is a powerful tool to distribute media and information, but only people who are interested in the same field would be able to get media and information you upload, in this case: cosplay. I hope what I said was coherent enough ^^;

    Thank you very much for your support!

    @bluedrakon: As I said in reply to LEon, I think it’s still considered cosplay… although there’s the issue about the stormtrooper outfit being mass produced and store bought compared to commissioned/hand made costumes made by cosplayers.

    and, about DC oversaturating his exposure, I do agree on that… but I guess he caved in to those who are complaining about him on the cover since I read recently that he asked Koto to take him off the cover.

    @lovelyduckie: Nonetheless, thanks for actually taking time to read this!

    @Bablet16: Yup. That’s a cosplay of Amane Misa.

    @joysatrandom: I agree that the Tux Team is really something. They’re really a very friendly group and I admire them that they keep it real.

  16. 19 Mfrag April 12, 2010 at 11:50 PM

    I know this is an old entry and a lot of this is in the past as Otacool 2 is about to be released, but I had to make one comment about the Mascot contest as it’s not really been talked about.

    I found it odd that a winner was never announced and there was just that blurb by Danny about Koto choosing one. It struck me as odd because I couldn’t figure out how they contacted the winner, unless Danny has the ability to find their email through their DC.com account.

    I just got the feeling that it was either someone that Danny already had contact with or that Koto went outside the contest because they weren’t happy with any of the entries.

    One of the things I’ve been noticing is that equal footing seems to not be in place with these Otacool books and sometimes on DC.com which began when Alodia won the post your room contest that started the books. People thought she shouldn’t have won because she has ties to Danny(being featured on the site before the contest). I can’t help but think the mascot contest may have this sway too.

    Just bothers me cuz I entered and put my all in to it. I wouldn’t mind if someone else had won, but there’s been no talk or announcement about it at all.

    • 20 Mfrag April 19, 2010 at 8:27 AM

      Just wanted to update saying the winner was apparently “announced” on April 1st or 2nd… Congrats to the winner, but I only found out through a google search and then the winners DA page…


  1. 1 OTACOOOL2 WTF IS THAT(DC suks part 1) « scarlet devil mansion Trackback on February 21, 2010 at 11:22 AM
  2. 2 Random answer for part 1,2 and 2.5 LOL « Scarlet Devil Mansion Trackback on February 24, 2010 at 8:18 AM
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