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 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.
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
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?
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.