Suicide Squad is one of the superhero films that has recently gained popularity in Japan. Even before the movie’s opening, many cosplay enthusiasts have already taken interest in playing the different roles of the squad members. It is quite noticeable that one of the members, Harley Quinn, seems to be the favorite of many cosplayers. The character’s cute and girlish look coupled with her tough-as-nails expertise in combat let her took the shine. This kind of character has been showing up in Japanese manga and anime for many years and has contributed to the character’s spike in popularity.
Cosplay or costume play is a highly popular sense of acting in Japan. Apart from the country, it has already spread across the national borders. Not only children enjoy doing cosplay in the country but adults as well. This activity is so appealing and attractive that there are so many cosplay aficionados involve in it. Many of them are young people wearing distinctive costumes and makeup often sighted on the streets of the capital city such as in Akihabara (秋葉原) or Harajuku (原宿).
There are also many cosplay events that you can find across the country. Though it is not allowed in public places, there are many designated areas where you can participate in such events. On special occasions, some conventions are always brimming with awesome cosplay.
Among the many characters being usually portrayed is the blue-haired Hatsune Miku (初音ミク) or the characters from Steins;Gate, an anime adaptation of a visual novel game. Another is Hyouka (氷菓), a Japanese mystery novel that was adapted into a manga and anime, and the ever-popular Rurouni Kenshin (るろうに剣心), also known as Samurai X, which became no. 4 on the Top 10 Cosplay Costumes of 2012. Other people wear schoolgirl uniforms such as in the animation called YuruYuri (ゆるゆり) (a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Namori – なもり), as well as in K-On! (けいおん!) (a Japanese four-panel comic strip written and illustrated by Kakifly – かきふらい).
An example of a cosplay event is the annual AnimeJapan which is one of the largest anime festivals in the country. It displays impressive cosplay characters sourced from manga, anime, video games, cartoons, and so on. Remember though that a good cosplay is not just about looking into a good outfit. It is about picking the right materials, sewing them neatly, and doing the right makeup. You also have to nail the character’s personality and love what you do.
Suicide Squad is a popular 2016 American superhero film which was written and directed by David Ayer. It consists of reformed felons who are involved in participating in high-risk missions. There are so many casts included in this film such as Deadshot, Joker, Harley Quinn, Rick Flag, Amanda Waller, Captain Boomerang, El Diablo, Enchantress, Killer Croc, Katana, Slipknot, and so on.
However, in Japan, even before the release of the movie, many people were already seen sporting Joker’s frequent accomplice and lover called Harley Quinn. It is said that her name is a play on the word “harlequin,” a character originating from masked-type theaters. The character first appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series episode called “Joker’s Favor.”
Harley’s origin has been described in a comic book where her real name was Harleen Frances Quinzel, M.D. She is an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist who falls in love with Joker and later on becomes his lover and accomplice. She was so fascinated with Joker while she was in the process of treating him with other volunteers. After several sessions, she hopelessly fell in love with Joker and helped him escape from the facility.
After Joker encountered a battle with Batman, he was defeated and was then brought back to the asylum. He was badly injured which made Harley Quinn insane. She then quit her job as a psychiatrist and became Joker’s sidekick. She has other expanded roles and made several animated appearances in other series. She also made guest appearances in other cartoons which prove her popularity. She’s also famous for joining forces with Catwoman (a character associated with Batman) and Poison Ivy (a supervillainess in the story of Batman).
— All That's Cosplay (@AllThatsCosplay) April 2, 2016
Harley Quinn has won the heart of many Japanese cosplayers this 2016 due to her image. Though she is almost entirely unknown in the country, her first live-action movie portrayal put the spotlight shining on her. Even before the movie’s release last September 2016, people were already seen donning pigtails and wigs, as well as the character’s sexy outfit though she is not that popular as an American comic figure like Superman or Spiderman. Many Japanese even posted images on Facebook and Twitter such as the following:
— えなこ (@enako_cos) August 25, 2016
— ReoNa*@12/18大阪梅田LIVE (@xoxleoxox) September 4, 2016
Harley Quinn’s natural image is deemed similar to that of an obsessive yandere character. “Yandere” refers to a person who is initially very loving, kind, and cheerful, yet becomes obsessive and develops a possibly destructive attitude over time. They can be overprotective, violent, and brutal, or all three. Harley won’t let anything or anyone get in the way of her love. This is one of the reasons why her character is spiking across the country where her images are turned more into a Japanese.
Warner Bros.’ Suicide Squad movie in the US was not as impressive as it was expected. Some say that it was a disappointing DC Comics live-action adaptation with ticket sales dropping steeply. However, this is not the case in Japan as the most colorful villain has actually won the hearts of many Japanese fans. Though it received negative critical reception from people, it was still highly anticipated in Japan and even worldwide. It still became a commercial success.
The Warner Bros. is planning on a Harley Quinn spinoff film which will make the character even more popular. Cosplay for this character will probably keep on appearing in the country as different cosplay events commence.
This new cosplay image became an opportunity for several businesses that took the chance to sell different Harley Quinn costumes and accessories. One of which is the online store Rakuten. You can check out some of the items they are selling such as Harley Quinn’s gloves, stockings, dress, shorts, choker, boots, belt, etc. on their official global website.