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Hiroshi Itaba is a name that I will etch in my brain forever, after reading “Cosplay Girlfriend.” Itaba’s ero-manga is one of the few manga’s in which the title sets you up for a possibly deep and entertaining story, but leaves its reader asking. “Where is the Cosplay?”
With some adult manga’s, you’re given a mixture of stories that came straight out of the barrel of generic storylines from yesteryear. Things such as best friends who want each other and are too shy to confess, to someone who’s working to help out a friend are present in Cosplay Girlfriend. Most of these stories don’t convey the theme of cosplay, let alone that of a girlfriend. Instead, we are thrown into short stories that show off the main woman of a story doing something which somehow leads to flat out sex. There’s no cutting the middle man, and nothing short of what you would find in a typical shonen or shoujo story in regards to character development. Almost everything that you can guess story wise that will possibly happen, will happen in the next couple of pages of reading. Every story that’s presented is not too long for a reader of manga’s, but not too short that would leave the feeling of “Well that’s it? I was hoping for more.”. Some of the manga’s plotlines are good enough to where it’s literally asking for more, but either due to either page limits or having to deal with multiple stories in one manga, we’re left hanging with situations that never feel fully resolved.
Saying that this ero-manga doesn’t give into its title would not be a complete falsehood. While going through this title, the only remote instance that could be considered “cosplay” came from the chapter entitled “House Sitting in a Chinese Dress.” To give a brief summary of the chapter. A woman’s room-mate washed all of her clothes, and all that was left was an outfit entitled “FULL COSPLAY” for her to wear until her clothing dried. Now normally, when someone thinks of cosplay it’s getting dressed up in an outfit and going to a gathering with a bunch of other people and pretending to be a certain character. However, our female protagonist decides that her form of cosplaying is taking the trash out in her “Full Cosplay” Chinese dress. Yes, that’s right, taking out the trash in cosplay is what cosplaying is all about now. After this chapter, we’re just given stories and situations of people in clothing that could be considered “cosplaying” but it is nothing more than playing dress up in a story. Overall, the title isn’t truly lying to the reader but instead is just beating around the bush on what it defines “cosplay” is.
Considering this is an adult manga, Itaba wastes no time selling on that. For Itaba to not run with the manga’s title in every chapter is somewhat of a bore. With manga’s of this type, your artwork is virtually 90% of what people want to see, and what makes an ero-manga what it is. In Itaba’s case, he spared no effort in trying to bring in as much visual eye candy as he could to his readers. Almost every scene in each chapter shown is given its own unique form of life in the visual aspect of lovemaking, and in some cases might stretch out until the end of the chapter. The only downside that might shy away from people, is the fact that any genitalia beneath the waist is either transparent or censored. So enthusiasts hoping for an unedited adult manga to read might want to try somewhere else for their enjoyment. The drawings, while done with some realistic intent, are not too farfetched to say it’s just manga, but also not too close to say it’s close to reality. Instead, Itaba hits the middle ground of what people drawn would look like in a charactered form without doing leaps and bounds to catch the reader’s eye.
While I can say that this manga isn’t going to hit a bestseller list anytime soon, it’s good enough to where if you want to introduce someone into the “dark side” of manga’s you can throw it in their direction and watch the fireworks happen.