Dr King crowned cosplay champion

Dr Emerald King’s commitment to immersing herself in her research has paid off with a win in an international cosplay competition.

Dr King crowned cosplay champion

Dr Emerald King’s commitment to immersing herself in her research has paid off with a win in an international cosplay competition.

Dr Emerald King dressed as Nōhime, and her partner I-Artemis-I as Oda Nobunaga, two important historical Japanese figures in the 1500s.
Dr Emerald King (right) as Nōhime, and her partner I-Artemis-I as Oda Nobunaga. Photo credit: Dan Hardwick.

Dr King, programme director for the School of Languages and Cultures' Japanese programme, won the Madman National Cosplay Championship 2016, along with her cosplay partner I-Artemis-I, also known as Natalie Bottle. The pair cosplayed as Oda Nobunaga and his wife Nōhime, two important Japanese historical figures of the 1500s.

The event, she says, is one of the most prestigious cosplay competitions in the world, and this is the first year a New Zealand heat has been included.  Her prize includes a trip to Japan, but Dr King says for her it’s all about the kudos of triumphing over such fierce competition.

“The standard for this round was incredibly high—somebody had a remote-controlled dragon they could ride on that blew smoke.”

In preparation for her entry, Dr King designed and created the set, handmade her historically accurate costume, mixed the audio and created a backing video.  She also wrote the three minute skit she and her partner performed onstage, which she says differed slightly from a typical cosplay skit.

“There was no magic, and there were no explosions or light shows or tricky technological details.  It was just a skit about a husband and wife arguing and flirting with each other.”

Dr King began her academic career focusing solely on Japanese literature, but the study of cosplay is now a key part of her research.  As an established cosplayer, she says she is able to access parts of the cosplay world that she wouldn’t otherwise be allowed to enter.

“Because I’m kind of a known quality, I can ask questions that someone who is just coming in and cold calling couldn’t.  And because I have this cultural currency, I also know where to look.”

She says her experience at the competition has directly influenced her future research.

“It’s actually got me itching to write about how these historical characters are portrayed in games, and how cosplayers then take these game depictions and turn them into real-life things.  Cosplay is a hobby, but it’s very much at the heart of my research project.”

The full video of the Madman National Cosplay Championship Finals, including Dr King’s skit, is available to view online.

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