Elena Dorfman,
(Aperture, 2007)

Elena Dorfman's Fandomania is a striking glimpse into the world of cosplay: a subculture of roleplayers wearing the costumes of characters from anime, manga, video games and even television and movie productions. Cosplay has its origins in Japan, and the characters emulated are most often of Japanese origin, but Dorfman's book showcases a decidedly American facet of the lifestyle.

Her subjects are photographed against a stark, glossy black background, resulting in an ethereal glow for the costumes and makeup. The models (and the objects of their roleplay) are unidentified in the book, which consists solely of large illustrations and a brief introductory essay.

Comic and fictional characters often exhibit extreme, non-human body proportions (incredibly long legs, small waists, huge muscles, etc.), which presents a challenge for the average American cosplayer. Dorfman's material spans all body types and sizes, and all shine, regardless of their adherence to strict anime or manga body proportions. In several cases, gender barriers between cosplayer and subject are blurred.

Those interested in picking up this title can get a sneak peak at some of the illustrations on the author's website. However, the book, with its large format and stunning coloration, is the only way to truly do these images justice.

review by
Jessica Lux-Baumann

25 April 2009

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