Cosplaying characters from series with Problematic Creators

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#1 Reily96 on 1 year ago

Hey there everyone, been a while. This is actually a topic that's been on my mind since November, and I'm just curious to see what you all think about it.

The topic in question is, how do you feel about cosplaying a character from a series whose creator you know is truly problematic? I don't mean it in the sense of, oh they're a jerk. To pluck the example out of my head that has been stewing since November, Rurouni Kenshin creator Nobuhiro Watsuki was arrested for possession of child pornography. To someone like me, where Rurouni Kenshin is was made me into the person I am today and constitutes a good majority of my cosplays, this was... reeling, to say the least. And now I find myself unsure as to if I can or should continue to cosplay from this series, not because its the fault of any of the characters, but because in a way I feel like I'm supporting this creator who's a pedophile. Watsuki isn't the only problematic creator, however, we have people like the director of MMO Junkie, a holocaust denier, and so on.

So I'm curious, because this is one of those things I feel would be different for everybody. Has anyone ever run into this problem previously, where a series you cosplay from ends up having a creator that believes or is into something you can't support? What are your feelings on it, and do you still cosplay from it today or will cosplay it in the future?

#2 Brutal on 1 year ago

You know, it's funny you posted this because I remember you from the Florida thread and I'm pretty sure we met at least once at Hatsume Fair and I remember cosplaying Kenshin being a regular thing for you. When I heard about what happened I wondered how you felt and if you'd continue cosplaying Kenshin.

Now as far as your question goes it's tough. I think me, personally. I'd avoid cosplaying those characters I had plans for Shishio at some point, but after what happened with Nobuhiro Watsuki I think it's best not to, not only for the reasons you stated, but I'm sure you'd get some nasty backlash from the cosplay community as well. It sucks because you enjoy the man's work, but a person like that shouldn't be supported in anyway.

#3 Syon on 1 year ago

I don't see a problem with cosplaying from those sources.
Those characters aren't related to any of those offensive behaviors. Cosplaying them isn't a statement about how you feel about those acts. And there is always more than one person involved in bringing a series to life.

#4 xIkuna on 1 year ago

I think cosplaying would be fine, honestly. I don't think American cosplay supports creators in Japan, anyways? However, continuing to buy merch, DVD's, Blurays, etc would be supporting him and that would be way worse in my opinion

#5 Lost Cause on 1 year ago

I know I dropped some stuff from the list when JK Rowling's transphobia leaked out.

#6 Reily96 on 1 year ago

[QUOTE=Brutal;5065766]You know, it's funny you posted this because I remember you from the Florida thread and I'm pretty sure we met at least once at Hatsume Fair and I remember cosplaying Kenshin being a regular thing for you. When I heard about what happened I wondered how you felt and if you'd continue cosplaying Kenshin.

Now as far as your question goes it's tough. I think me, personally. I'd avoid cosplaying those characters I had plans for Shishio at some point, but after what happened with Nobuhiro Watsuki I think it's best not to, not only for the reasons you stated, but I'm sure you'd get some nasty backlash from the cosplay community as well. It sucks because you enjoy the man's work, but a person like that shouldn't be supported in anyway.[/QUOTE]
Kenshin is always one of my go tos, it's true. And I always make it a point to separate the creations from the creators. Music from Wagner is a lot more enjoyable, after all, when I don't think about the jerk that composed them. I might still cosplay Kenshin and co in the future, but not immediately. Mostly because I fear what some white knights might say or do. I'm a passive person, I prefer to avoid confrontation. ^^;

#7 Brutal on 1 year ago

[QUOTE=Reily96;5065801]Kenshin is always one of my go tos, it's true. And I always make it a point to separate the creations from the creators. Music from Wagner is a lot more enjoyable, after all, when I don't think about the jerk that composed them. I might still cosplay Kenshin and co in the future, but not immediately. Mostly because I fear what some white knights might say or do. I'm a passive person, I prefer to avoid confrontation. ^^;[/QUOTE]

I understand. That's true too. You're going to have to watch out with how people react. Sure, you like to separate the creations from the creator, but not everyone feels the same way. I'm sure people might take it as you supporting the guy. Regardless, like you said it's best to keep Kenshin off the radar for now or so to speak, which is a real shame because you don't see many people cosplay Kenshin anymore let alone 90's anime.

#8 CapsuleCorp on 1 year ago

You know, "problematic" being one of those funny tumblr buzzwords that has lost all meaning, I guess the Kenshin thing can feel kind of sticky. But for every person that claims something is "problematic" there's two people who cry "death of the author." I guess it all depends on just how badly you want to justify still liking something.

FWIW it's a case of you do you. If YOU would feel uncomfortable calling attention to a series and then people find out weird shit like the author kills puppies or something, then by all means, don't cosplay. But cosplay isn't financial support. Cosplay is at best an emotional response to a character that resonates with you. Are the characters any less interesting or is the story any less valid because the creator did something to land him in jail? I don't know, people are still cosplaying Johnny Depp characters even though he's kind of shitty.

And just remember that for everyone that actually wants to struggle with their conscience over this, there are people who will cry "death of the author" to allow them to divorce the creation from the creator and keep on doing what they want to do with their fanworks. There are tons of people who don't live on ANN who might never even hear about this thing with the Kenshin mangaka. There are tons of people who might have heard it but have zero emotional connection to the manga and don't give a flying fuck one way or the other (this is me). As you keep going deeper into subsets of subsets of the fandom population, you'll find that the number of people who actually care or would get upset if you cosplayed from any particular source regardless of the shittiness or lack thereof of the creator gets smaller and smaller and smaller as you go. And this is without taking into account the actual number of people involved in creating any media property. Sure, a manga is as small a pool as you can get, the closest thing we have to "single creator" property outside of self-published books, but there are still a lot of people involved in getting that manga to print and from print to popularity - to rights to make and anime or movies or stage shows and merchandise - and at some point "death of the author" does start to become far more relevant. When you're talking about movies made by thousands of people...

All that matters is you. How do YOU feel? If you feel awkward about it, well, don't cosplay. If you actually don't really care but feel like some weird tumblrite is going to get in your face at the convention, consider what the actual problem is and how you would respond.

#9 Aundreiya on 1 year ago

"Do what you want, cosplay the characters you love whether you are a die hard fan or just barely got into something and haven't met the whole cast yet." That's why cosplay is fun, right? What I'm trying to say us... Don't worry about backlash from other cosplayers. You aren't cosplaying for them, you are doing it because with all your heart YOU love something. You said Kenshin was a series that moulded you, and that's not something you should just throw in a box and burn. Besides, it's not like he put that type of content in his work. Amah right?? If dropping this cosplay would in any way depress you to stop doing, DO NOT stop cosplaying! You cosplay for one person: yourself. Everyone else with criticism problems can shove it.

#10 Shana05 on 1 year ago

[URL="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP2KATrNlbE"]Mother's Basement[/URL] recently did a video about this. And it's really a question with no easy answer. It's not so much about what other people think about you but a struggle with your own conscience. Like many people, I stopped eating at Chick-Fil-A due to the company's homophobic views and donations. But I can get chicken sandwiches from other sources. There is no off-brand Harry Potter. So I can't enjoy the series without financially supporting JK Rowling.

#11 pinoycosplay on 1 year ago

If you are going to start sorting what pop culture references fit with your ideal views, you are going to end up with virtually nothing to watch, listen to (or eat in the case of fast food)

There's an old saying, "never meet your heroes" they will disappoint you 99 times out of 100.

Besides is a facebook like really worth getting that upset over?

#12 Lost Cause on 1 year ago

[QUOTE=pinoycosplay;5065985]If you are going to start sorting what pop culture references fit with your ideal views, you are going to end up with virtually nothing to watch, listen to (or eat in the case of fast food)

There's an old saying, "never meet your heroes" they will disappoint you 99 times out of 100.

Besides is a facebook like really worth getting that upset over?[/QUOTE]

Well excuse me if I find the idea of being referred to as a "man in a dress" insulting.

#13 FieryFari on 1 year ago

That's a tough and tricky subject that unfortunately a lot of us run into :( It's heartbreaking when you find out the person that created something you loved and held so close to your heart is an awful human being. For the most part I would say try to separate art from artist,you can still cosplay without giving the creator any financial support,like buying their official merchandise and so on. But it's also understandable if you can't make that separation- I used to be a huge Melanie Martinez fan,even had an artist's fan art of her as a pokemon trainer on my future cosplay list but deleted the idea after finding out about a rape allegation against her. I haven't been able to listen to her music since because I can't bring myself to separate that incident. Though this case is pretty different from yours since this is someone I would have liked personally whereas you enjoyed the fictional world and characters this person created and not necessarily the person themselves. So I would say in this case it would be a little bit easier to separate the art from the artist and you can continue to cosplay as the characters without giving any direct support to the creator. Of course this is only if you want to,I wouldn't want to encourage doing something you're outright uncomfortable with.

#14 Emi Hana on 1 year ago

This type of problem hit my family pretty darn hard. Anyone remember the Penn State scandal where Paterno and other Penn State staff looked the other way while Jerry Sandusky repeatedly molested boys on Penn State Campus?

Yeah, my dad went to Penn State in the 1960's - only went for 2 years until he chose the Navy and went to Vietnam. My aunt, my dad's sister, went to Penn State in the 1970's for her art degree - she runs her own business.

Now, because of the scandal, should my dad and aunt give Penn State back their degrees because of Jerry Sandusky, the cover-up, and what he did? I def. don't think Penn State should have a Football Team, but at the same time, should students even go to Penn State because their choice of administration cared more about Football than boys being molested?

Personally, if you go to Penn State after the Sandusky thing, then yes, you are morally guilty of continuing the running of a school that chose Football over children being molested. However, that is my opinion.

Now, as for the Kenshin dilemma, I'm going to agree that cosplaying a character because you like the character is fine. As others have said, if you buy anything from the creator of the series, then I can see the moral dilemma. However, at the end of the day, that is a choice you must make. Not only that, you must live with that decision. I'm not saying this is an easy question, but at the end of the day, you must make a decision and stick with it.

I'm sorry to bring up Penn State and all that drama, but even if you don't believe in Personal Judgement when you die, you are making a choice that will affect your love of your cosplay hobby.

I'm not saying what you should think or feel, just remember that whatever choice you make, you will have to live with the consequences.

...and now, I will get off soapbox. :walkoff:

#15 Blood_Sword on 1 year ago

When I saw the title of this thread I knew it would be about the Kenshin author scandal.

I feel you on this as Kenshin has been one of my go-to cosplays for years. I really love the series and the character(s) but when I heard about the child pornography thing I just didn't want to believe it, you know? It's horrible.
I'm still torn about how I should/could handle it and if I should let it affect my attachment to the series. I'm trying not to think about it and yeah, just separating creator from creation but it's kinda hard because, in a way, I fear that if I would cosplay Kenshin now that the incident is fresh in the minds of many, so to say, I'm worried that I might get backlash for my cosplay choice. I just feel horribly conflicted and I don't want to feel this way – I don't want a man's poor life choices to spoil something for me that I really enjoyed. :/

Sorry for the messy text, I'm tired right now. I do think that I will eventually pick Kenshin up again but I think I'll wait a while before bringing him out to a con. Just gonna let the dust settle.

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