Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Cosplay Connection by Sakura von Sternberg

Okay, let me begin by admitting to the fact that I am a total cosplay voyeur. I love the effort that goes into it, the talent that it requires, and the total dedication the best cosplayers demonstrate to their characters. Normally, I am not a people watcher, and I am not comfortable in a crowd, but give me a safe corner at a convention and I can devour cosplayers with my eyes all day long.

That brings us to The Cosplay Connection by Sakura von Sternberg, which combines three of my favorite things - transgender characters, erotic encounters, and extreme cosplay. It is a story of a young couple who have settled into something of a rut in their relationship, with their very different interests at an anime convention adding further strain to their relationship. While Marcus heads off for a little tabletop gaming, Lisa ends up stalking the stunningly gorgeous cosplayer dressed as her own character's arch nemesis.

The chase is half of the story here, and I loved the gamut of emotions that Lisa went through in her pursuit. I could so identify with her shy reluctance to introduce herself, and the desperate attempts she made to justify her missed opportunities. The rude 'gender' confrontation between the two vendors seemed out of place but, sadly rings all-too true. Fortunately, Lisa's carefully considered response to the revelation is perfectly sublime:

I was still attracted to her. Not as a sexual novelty. Not as a scientific specimen to be poked and prodded by some curious cis girl. But as a woman: a dazzling, seductive, self-confident woman.

Perhaps the best part of the story, however, is the way Lisa and Gretchen - or, rather Damiana Valentine and Miyuki Sagawa - remain in character throughout the chase, the seduction, and their eventual erotic encounter. It makes for such a fun story, adding a level of fantasy that really accentuates the tale.

I cannot remember the last time a story made me feel so good, so happy, and so blissfully content.

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