Will cosplay (costume play) conquer the Earth? Japan's biggest community site for cosplayers, "Cure", has grown to a very respectable 300,000 registered users. With English localization now in effect, the number of Cure users who are not Japanese (now at 10%) is expected to grow substantially.
Cosplay is still a mystery to many non-Japanese. Literally "costume play", fans of the culture (both male and female) enjoy dressing up to resemble a favorite anime character - or just dressing up in general. Of course, once they've done that, then it's natural to want to show off your cool, unique look. What better way then to post pics on the Internet, or even your cellphone? That's where sites like Cure come in, and they're coming in like mad if one can believe the "42,382 Cosplayers are in activity!" banner displayed at the Cure site.
Opened in 2001 by major Japanese online portal Livedoor, Cure records a staggering 50 million page views each month and a significant number come from foreign sources. With this in mind, Livedoor has rolled out English localization for Cure effective June 12, 2008.
Once registered, Cure members can upload photos and flesh out a personal profile with information including their province, blood type (very important for Japanese), vital stats and their hobbies. Privacy is optional - somewhat surprisingly, many of the photos and listed information are accessible by non-registered users.
It remains to be seen if cosplay itself will become as popular elsewhere as it is in Japan, but Cure's concept looks to be a winner whether or not imitating Sailor Moon is your secret - or not so secret - desire. (via Asiajin)