Usually there’s not a complaint to be found when Enako poses for the camera, but this time is different.


As the holder of the unofficial but largely inarguable (from a fame-and-fortune metric) title of “Japan’s number-one cosplayer,” Enako’s photo shoots are consistent crowd pleasers. Thanks to her ability to draw an unbelievable number of eyes, Enako now also attracts industry creative partners too, with the latest being manga publisher Futabasha.

Futabasha and Enako teamed up for a photo shoot for the company’s Monthly Action manga anthology, with Enako wearing an outfit inspired by Tohru, the titular reptilian cleaning servant from Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, which is serialized in the magazine.

Enako and anime-related outfits are usually a recipe for success, and sure enough, she got some very appreciative comments when she tweeted the above photos from the shoot, which was part of Monthly Action’s September issue, which went on sale August 3. She also got some negative reactions, though, and the complaints weren’t about the publisher’s confusing temporal terminology, but about how much more revealing Enako’s outfit is than the one Tohru wears in the Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid manga and anime.

The mix of comments included:

“Enako does a great job no matter what character she’s dressing as.”
“I love Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, and I’m so happy to see Enako dress up like Tohru!”
“This is completely different from the original design. The outfit is just showing off her body.”
“If she was gonna cosplay, I’d have wanted her to just wear the normal costume.”
“The photos are cute, so what’s the problem?”
“Isn’t cosplay supposed to resemble the original artwork?”
“This series wasn’t on my radar until now, but thanks to this, I want to check it out.”
“Why is the outfit showing her chest and stomach?”

If one is judging the quality of a cosplay outfit by how well it replicates the costume seen in the pages of the original manga, then there’s definitely room for criticism. However, the project wasn’t intended to be a cosplay photo shoot per se, but a “gravure collaboration” between Enako and the Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid franchise, as explained in a statement tweeted from Monthly Action’s official Twitter account in response to the discord.

“In regards to the gravure collaboration with Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, the planning, initial request, and garment design was handled by Monthly Action. The project was carried out with the permission of [Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid original creator] Coolkyousinnjya and supervised by the Monthly Action editing department. Our intent was to create a gravure feature that, while recognizing the pride that some individuals hold in ‘cosplay’ that is loyal to the original work, all of our magazine’s readers could enjoy, even those unfamiliar with the manga series.

We understand that there are various thoughts and opinions on this, and we will continue to work hard to create content that many people can enjoy.”

It’s worth noting that the word “cosplay” doesn’t appear anywhere on the magazine’s cover, but instead promises a “gravure photo shoot” featuring the famous “cosplayer,” which is described as “a miraculous collaboration between Enako and Dragon Maid.” That would seem to suggest a mix of the aesthetics of gravure modeling (which features revealing outfits and has long been part of manga anthologies’ content mix) and the series’ original art design, and so a skimpier version of Tohru’s maid attire. On the other hand, it’s not shocking that some people not paying attention to the exact wording might just assume that a cosplayer doing an official collaboration with a popular manga series is going to be trying to look as close to the original character as possible (although it seems like the cover photo should be a tipoff that that’s not the case here).

With gravure modeling being part of many manga magazine’s content mix for decades now, it might seem unusual that what Enako is wearing in the photos would trigger any complaints. One commenter theorized, though, that as Enako grows increasingly famous and branches out into other types of modeling and entertainment industry work, some of her fans might be concerned that she’s going to be leaving straight cosplaying behind, making them more likely to cry foul over straying from the manga’s design.

Source: Twitter/@enako_cos via Hachima Kiko, Twitter/@manga_action
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