Behind the scenes cosplay

Struggle under me: Your body is the collateral for the loan

Last weekend I helped my online moe language teacher, Bangin sensei, with his cosplay for the third time. Unlike the past two times– one in a small park, the other in a cosplay event– this time I would photograph Bangin and his friend Keith doing a Boys Love cosplay.

I love how Bangin originally explained his request by email:
Because this cosplay is BL, I would have to pretend to touch, kiss, or rape(not really of course!)…whatever. My friend is sure about this, so if you can accept it, I would like you to help us.

Indeed I could accept and even encourage that! We met at 9 am on a Sunday morning at a train station. Keith, a 22 year old voice acting student, arrived with his wheelie bag. I’ve learned that the small wheelie bag, full of costumes and make-up, is a standard part of the cosplay uniform. The setting was Bangin’s relatives’ empty condo.

Bangin and Keith cosplayed key scenes from “Ore no shita de agake” (俺の下であがけ) or “Struggle beneath me.” It’s a Playstation game in which a banker character lends money to an innocent flower shop owner, and collects the debt through (kinda) forced sex.

Bangin and Keith brought costumes and wigs to play these two characters. The banker wears a dark suit, red tie, black hair. The flower shop owner light brown hair, plaid shirt and apron. What amazed me most about the preparation was how Bangin drew 15 scenes that he wanted to capture on film in the cosplay. His drawing skills are excellent, and I enjoyed how each scene is imagined from one of the character’s perspectives, or from a third person observer.

Bangin's storyboard for BL cosplay

Here’s the making of a scene of the flower shop owner cowering beneath the evil banker. Viewed, of course, from the sadistic banker’s perspective.

Struggle under me cosplay

Some of the cosplay involved what Bangin called “fan service.” More suggestive than pornographic, these scenes allowed Bangin to touch Keith’s bare waist, and are sure to excite his female BL cosplay fans. I love how Bangin apologized to Keith for “having to do” this. There’s so much pretend resistance in BL and apparently in cosplay, too. In the final scenes, it appears that the flower shop owner “uke” feels some tenderness for his sadistic “seme.”

I’ll update this post with a link to Bangin’s site once he’s chosen the best photos from the cosplay. In the meantime, here’s a link to an English language explanation of how the game works.

UPDATE: Here’s Bangin’s post with the full sequence of photos telling the story of the evil banker and the innocent flower shop owner, forced to repay the loan with his body.

And here’s a photo of the cosplayers’ relaxing after a grueling photoshoot. おつかれさまでした (Thank you for your hard work).

Cosplayers Bangin & Keith


  1. Cosplay involves wearing costumes (cosplay is short for “costume play”) and acting out key scenes from manga, anime, or narrative computer games. As such, it is the ultimate fan art expression.

    This cosplay we did recently (my third as photographer) is part of a female written, largely female audience subgenre called Boys Love. Yes, women draw and write stories about male love, romance and sex.

    Most cosplay and nearly all BL cosplay are performed by and for women (dressed as beautiful and androgynous men). You can see the comments by the female BL fans on Bangin’s website (click Update link, which takes you to the final photographic production of this cosplay).

    Moe refers to a manga lover’s attraction to specific characters, illustrators or genres. Almost any perverse obsession is now referred to as “moe,” including megane moe (a fixation on those who wear glasses).

    As most regular readers of my blog notice, “moe” is this blog’s most popular tag. Moe has been applied to my interest in men’s hair, girls dressed as maids and boys as butlers, the fetishization of middle aged men (karesen), Boys Love, fujoshi, fundoshi, male tennis players, and other objects of attention.

    I hope that clears up any confusion 😉

  2. I…. I really need to trade lives with you for about 2 months. You can be the newly graduated high school student at a major crossroad in her life and I’ll be the cool (jinruigakujin–I believe that’s the right term for your job…) Cali man living in Japan with a good-looking hubby taking pictures of young Japanese boys doing yaoi together. I think it’s a fair trade. 🙂

  3. A 2 month life-swap? Could I give up the handsome hubby and my middle-aged life of a jinruigakujin to attend a Taipei high school? To flirt with cute big-haired Taiwanese jailbait and not be arrested or considered a pervert? Maybe just for 2 months, I could ^^

    BTW, Marius, if you look around a little, I think you can find some BL loving Taiwanese youth to cosplay with. You are going to have an awesome time in Taipei!

  4. Ah, a “making of”. I didn’t expect that! I’m more used to those from the Improv Everywhere team. But yeah, reading this was just as much fun as those “making of” posts, I’d say. ^^b

    Oh, and I like Bangin’s self portrait. His drawings are very basic but I’m sure that was because they were drawn quickly. You can tell he’s got skillz. 🙂

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