A Russian figure skating star has captured the hearts of Japanese skating fans and “otaku“ (anime and manga aficionados) alike with her performance dressed as the popular cartoon character Sailor Moon.
— フク@出張で多忙 (@Fuku_shiorin) July 12, 2016
Here's Medvedeva-chan, doing the old-style Sailor Moon transformation I've see countless times. Medvedeva-chan, thank you indeed for loving Sailor Moon so much!
“Chan” is a diminutive ending in Japanese used when someone or something is endearing.
Just 16 years old, Medvedeva has already racked up a long list of medals — the Russian skater is the 2016 World Figure Skating champion, the 2016 European champion, the International Skating Union 2015 Grand Prix Final champion, and the 2016 Russian national champion.
— Evgenia Medvedeva (@JannyMedvedeva) April 8, 2016
Dreams on Ice is an annual figure skating exhibition held in Japan, where the sport is popular even in summer. The exhibition attracts top figure skating talent from Japan and from all over the world, and this year Medvedeva was invited to perform.
For some Japanese fans, it was like a dream come true:
— ネガソニック・モンマゴウ・ウォーヘッド (@monmago) July 2, 2016
Medvedeva-chan (as Sailor Moon) is just like the real thing!
(The title of the newspaper article reads, in part, “She's the queen of the ‘miracle jump.'”)
done. Which next? pic.twitter.com/0FdgFYhb60
— Evgenia Medvedeva (@JannyMedvedeva) May 25, 2016
Here, Medvedeva poses at an anime convention with a cosplayer (a contraction of “costume roleplay,” referring to someone who wears a costume to represent a fictional character) dressed up as the character Howl, from the 2004 animated movie Howl's Moving Castle.
Мечта ребёнка исполнилась pic.twitter.com/ts80ZfRf93
— Evgenia Medvedeva (@JannyMedvedeva) March 7, 2016
Childhood goal accomplished.
Medvedeva also appeals to her Japanese fans to help bridge the cultural divide. In this tweet, she asks for help translating some fan art.
Please translate anybody pic.twitter.com/dssugOEE0N
— Evgenia Medvedeva (@JannyMedvedeva) April 5, 2016
It turns out the fan art above depicts Medvedeva, on the right, quoting from Sailor Moon to nonplussed Japanese figure skating superstar Asada Mao (Medvedeva became famous in Japan after quoting the anime earlier this year to Japanese media). The fan wonders if Asada, who is unfamiliar with popular Japanese anime series Lupin the Third, would even be familiar with the more arcane details of Sailor Moon.
The subtext of the fan art is that Medvedeva loves anime, and her new Japanese fans love her for that as much as they enjoy her skating.