You'd be amazed how quickly the tiniest shred of power can turn the bullied into bullies. When you combine that with the fetishistic status many female comic characters have, it gets creepy, fast. Cosplayer Alexis told us she gets constant requests for photos of her characters in "damsel in distress" scenarios, "high kick fighting poses," and even "tied up like a hostage."
But not everybody is interested in a female cosplayers posing like hostages. Some demand more ... accuracy.
"My first encounter with a cosplay predator was in 2001 at Otakon, the largest anime convention on the East Coast," Jessa recalls. "I was eight years old, and was dressed up as Sailor Mini Moon. We met a photographer who took some photos of me. He and my mom talked for a while and became friendly. A few months later, he was travelling to another convention and asked if he could stay overnight at our place. My mom said OK."
Yeah, this really is going exactly where you think.
Sure enough, "that night, before I went to bed," Jessa continues, "he asked me if I wanted to take some pictures in the morning before my mom got up. I, being completely naive, said yes. We went into my basement and he took photos of me sitting on his lap, with him holding up my dress."
It's not exactly a fond childhood memory, but it could have been a lot worse: The guy became somewhat infamous in the cosplay community for inviting preteen girls to sex parties in his hotel room. He has subsequently been Banned As Fuck From Everywhere Forever, but he's not the only one out there.
Unfortunately comic conventions aren't exactly difficult places to conceal your identity.
"About five years ago, the head of Safety approached me about a stalker situation," Emma remembers. "A young teenage girl dressed as Hatsune Miku was upset and crying. She and one of her friends had met some guy on the internet who seemed 'cool' and promised he would show them around the convention. He was not eighteen like he said he was, more like late twenties, and almost immediately started making sexual comments about her and inviting her to his room. This girl was fifteen and scared."