Also taps into another visual motif of New Year’s in Japan.

Japan’s most popular manga anthology magazines publish on a weekly basis. Whether you’re a loyal reader of publisher Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump, Shogaukan’s Weekly Shonen Sunday, or Kodansha’s Weekly Young Magazine, you won’t have to go more than seven days between new chapters of your favorite stories.

Because of that, anthologies with a less frequent publishing schedule can sometimes get squeezed out of the spotlight. However, Hakusensha’s Young Animal, which comes out on the second and fourth Fridays of every month, has a plan to keep fans’ attention during its current between-issues break, and that plan involves top cosplayer Enako.

With her photo session coming on the heels of Young Animal’s first issue of the new year, Enako’s costume isn’t a recreation of an anime or manga character’s costume, and instead draws from the Chinese zodiac. With Japan switching over to the Year of the Dragon on January 1, Enako’s swimsuit has a reptilian scale-style pattern, and her hair band features the horns customarily seen in depictions of dragons in east Asian art.

The Chinese zodiac animals are only one half of the New Year’s iconography you’ll see in Japan, though. Traditionally, New Year’s is the biggest holiday in Japanese culture, a time when people return to their hometowns to visit family and childhood friends, reminiscing over old times and reaffirming those bonds for the year to come. Although many other Asian cultures have similar traditions, Japan is somewhat unique in that it celebrates in this manner at the start of the solar calendar on January 1, as opposed to the lunar calendar celebrations seen elsewhere in Asia. Perhaps as a result of this, the New Year’s period (i.e. the time around January 1) is seen as an especially Japanese time to celebrate, and so most of the decorations and iconography of the season feature classical Japanese motifs.

With this being Enako’s first photo shoot for Young Animal since the start of the new year, her non-dragon attire and backdrops includes extensive use of the auspicious red-and-white color scheme, multi-tiered sake cups and lobster (both celebratory symbols of prosperity and popular elements of New Year’s Day feasts), plum blossoms (which begin blooming in January and usher in Japan’s first flower-viewing season of the year), and kimono-inspired material for her outfits.

Like most male-oriented manga magazines, Young Animal regularly features cosplay/gravure photos within its pages. With Enako’s photo session coming between the magazine’s issues, though, the full set of photos is instead being offered for free viewing on Young Magazine’s website here, which the publication is presenting as “a lovely New Year’s gift from Enako.” Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a fluffier sort of Year of the Dragon cosplay, there’s always the Disney Store Japan’s Eto Pooh.

Source: PR Times
Top image: PR Times
Insert images: PR Times, Young Animal
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!