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Japanese Fans Are Over the Moon for This Russian Figure Skater's ‘Cosplay’ Performance

Categories: East Asia, Eastern & Central Europe, Japan, Russia, Arts & Culture, Citizen Media, Good News, Media & Journalism, Youth
Evgenia Medvedeva

Evgenia Medvedeva. Screencap from video [1] widely shared on social media.

A Russian figure skating star [2] has captured the hearts of Japanese skating fans and “otaku [3] (anime and manga aficionados) alike with her performance dressed as the popular cartoon character Sailor Moon [4].

As reported by news site Meduza [5], Evgenia Medvedeva's televised performance at the 2016 “Dreams on Ice” show in Japan on July 10 quickly went viral [6] on Twitter and other social networks.

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 [9] champion, the 2016 European [10] champion, the International Skating Union 2015 Grand Prix Final [11] champion, and the 2016 Russian national [12] champion.

Dreams on Ice is an annual figure skating exhibition [15] held in Japan, where the sport is popular even in summer [16]. 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:

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.'”)

Even prior to performing as Sailor Moon in Japan, Medvedeva posted frequently on Twitter [19] about anime. Here she tweets about the character Sebastian Michealis [20], from the animated series Black Butler [21].

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 [24], from the 2004 animated movie Howl's Moving Castle [25].

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.

It turns out the fan art above depicts Medvedeva, on the right, quoting from Sailor Moon [30] to nonplussed Japanese figure skating superstar Asada Mao [31] (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 [32], 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.