See more photos in Shannon Cottrell's gallery “Devil's Playground Presents Anime Babes.”
Over the course of the past two years, we've seen the burlesque performers from Devil's Playground channel fan favorite characters like Link and Zelda (Video Game Girls), Catwoman (Comic Book Vixens), and, of course, the Stormtrooper from their now-infamous Star Wars tribute that took place one year ago. On January 8, the ladies took on Anime Babes.
From nostalgic shows like Speed Racer, Pokémon and Sailor Moon to more grown-up fair like Fullmetal Alchemist and Neon Genesis Evangelion, the troupe brought both humor and seriousness to the night. This wasn't cosplay, this was burlesque, with costumes that referenced the source material, but were made for dancing while taking the characters into different directions. We broke down the individual numbers below.
Lucy Fur as Pikachu (Pokémon)
From her moment as both Link and Zelda to Wonder Woman to a tassel-twirling C-3PO, Lucy Fur's performances are always witty and fun. For Anime Babes, she transformed into Pikachu. Sexy versions of the now-classic Pokémon character are pretty popular, and Lucy played up on that with a routine that was cute, silly and a little naughty. Amidst the round of applause, an audience member shouted “I choose you!” Yeah, there were probably a lot of long-time Pokémon fans there.
Kitty Cadillac as Ichigo Momomiya (Tokyo Mew Mew)
Kitty Cadillac was introduced as a neko, or cat, girl, but her frilly pink costume pointed to one well-known cat girl Ichigo Momomiya from Tokyo Mew Mew. One of Kitty Cadillac's best known performances was as Catwoman in Comic Book Vixens, where she crawled through a cat habitat and poured what looked like milk all over herself. Ichigo is a striking contrast to Catwoman, she's cute and far more subdued. It was great to see Kitty keep with the feline theme while taking such a different approach. But, it doesn't seem to be as well known as some of the other animes represented, especially Sailor Moon and Pokémon, so it didn't have the same sort of nostalgic connection to the audience that other segments of the show did.
Olivia Bellafontaine as Lust (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Olivia Bellafontaine's turn as Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist was one of the more intriguing performances of the night. Her character is a Homunculus, an embodiment of crimes against alchemy (human transmutation, a huge taboo in the series) and one of the primary villains. Hers was the darkest moment of the night, one that flirted with issues of life and death as understood by a character that isn't quite human, but isn't immortal. By incorporating bits of dialogue with the music, Bellafontaine was able to help guide the story for those who weren't familiar with the series. If you're a Fullmetal Alchemist fan, you can figure out how this ended.
Daisy Meadows as Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon is an obvious choice for an anime babes night, the title character from one of the series that launched the U.S. anime boom in the 1990s. Daisy Meadows played Chewbacca in the encore of Devil's Playground's Star Wars show, so you know she isn't one to shy away from disturbing elements. And while Sailor Moon is a conventional choice, those anime eyes she was wearing were downright creepy. Having Luna perched on a moon in the background was a nice touch and the performance was, overall, entertaining. I just wished she had used the German Sailor Moon theme song.
Sin Fisted as Trixie (Speed Racer)
Sin Fisted is a unique performer. She's a contortionist in addition to be a top notch dancer, her character choices are typically unexpected (Tank Girl at Comic-Con) and she often has a rave edge to her routines (i.e. using Kraddy's music when she played R2-D2). So, when we heard that Sin would be Trixie from Speed Racer, we thought it was an odd pairing. We were wrong.
Sin didn't rely on contortion this time. Instead, she embarked on a hyper cheerleading routine set to Alpha Team's 1992 techno take on Speed Racer, the extended, NSFW version (you can listen to it on YouTube, headphones are probably a good idea). Right when the beat started to slow down, she jumped into a
cardboard wood Mach 5 with her man and, well, you can probably guess where this is going.
Courtney Cruz as Rei Ayanami (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Devil's Playground founder Courtney Cruz chose a particularly difficult piece for Anime Babes. Like Fullmetal Alchemist's Lust, Rei, a central figure in the Evangelion series, is a complicated character that's part of a dramatic series with philosophical undertones. There's not the same sense of camp that marked much of the rest of the show.
Despite using a corset and bikini set, as opposed to a body suit, Cruz's costume was highly detailed. She danced to “Glory Box” by Portishead, a nice choice given that it dates back to the same era as Neon Genesis Evangelion, and moved slowly. Much like Rei, she appeared detach, not showing much emotion until the end, when a school bell rang and she grabbed her uniform.