On Being Lolita: Anime, Manga, and Jrock

On Being Lolita: Anime, Manga, and Jrock


fushigi boshi no futago hime gyu

Although lolita fashion is Japanese, I think there is a common misconception that it is deeply entwined with anime, manga, or jrock, and thus all lolita enthusiasts share a common hobby in those areas. I believe this kind of automatic association arises because there are many lolita who discovered the fashion due to an interest in the stage costumes worn by many jrock and visual kei performers or frillier outfits often noted as “lolita” in certain anime and manga series. However, not all lolita share these interests, just as not all lolita share a love of Victoriana or tea-time.

There’s nothing wrong with being a fan of a certain series or band, but it wouldn’t be right to assume that all other lolita you’ll encounter will share your passion. You certainly will meet some that do, so there’s no reason to feel ashamed or avoid the mention. However, a conversation that jumps right in and requires all participants to be fans of a given series or band can be confusing to those lolita who wouldn’t call themselves otaku.

There are some undeniable associations, such as the musician and designer Mana, formerly of Malice Mizer and currently of Moi~dix~Mois, who helped popularize gothic lolita fashion with his label, Moi-même-Moitié. DOLL, a manga series by Mitsukazu Mihara, features many characters dressed in lolita fashion–unsurprising, as the artist regularly creates artwork for the Gothic & Lolita Bible. Many other series use elements of lolita fashion in their characters’ attire. It would be silly to deny any link between these interests and lolita fashion, and I’m certainly not going to do so. However, not all aspects of Japanese culture are mutually inclusive. It is not necessary to like Japanese food to wear lolita clothing, nor required to enjoy listening to jpop to learn the language. There are some people who adore the culture as a whole, but not everyone shares that view.

Personally, although I’ve seen more than my fair share of anime series (my father is a Japanophile who spurred my own love of many aspects of Japanese culture), I’m really not interested in anime or manga as a whole. I’ve also listened to some jrock, but it doesn’t keep my attention. I always feel a bit embarrassed when I have to admit I just don’t know what someone is talking about when they break into a long analysis of a series I’ve never heard of.

It’s always important to keep in mind that every lolita is a whole, complete person. She is neither exactly like another lolita nor totally dissimilar. It’s important not to assume that because you share a fashion style you will share all other personality traits and interests. After all, variety is what makes people interesting and places value into friendships!

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