It’s yet to be seen how Japan will react to the antihero movie itself, but cosplayers are already warming up to one member of the antihero ensemble.
In the U.S., Warner Bros.’ Suicide Squad is likely to end up being judged another disappointing DC Comics live-action adaptation, with critics unimpressed and ticket sales dropping steeply as audience word-of-mouth spreads. But despite complaints about the script’s pacing and tone, Suicide Squad can at least boast cool action scenes and stylish characters, and Japan can be pretty forgiving of a movie as long as it has those last two elements.
As such, the mood surrounding the film in Japan remains optimistic ahead of its September 10 general release date. And what better symbol for smiling brightly in the midst of a potentially dark situation than Suicide Squad member Harley Quinn, who’s seeing a spike in her cosplay popularity in Japan?
映画『スーサイド・スクワッド』のハーレイクイン公式コスプレイヤーとして ジャパンプレミアのレッドカーペットに出演してきました❤️💙 #悪カワハーレイになってみた #スースク https://t.co/MLRYtv1V6N—
えなこ (@enako_cos) August 25, 2016
地下組織ゆーやん@27ハーレイクイン撮影 (@you696) September 01, 2016
ReoNa*@Lv.17 (@xoxleoxox) September 04, 2016
American comics are well-known enough in Japan that most people can recognize the medium’s most famous figures, such as Superman and Spider-Man. The string of successful Marvel movies has also helped traditionally less-prominent heroes such as Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor make inroads into popular culture. But Harley Quinn, who originated as a character in Batman: The Animated Series, was almost entirely unknown in Japan until the trailers for Suicide Squad, the character’s first live-action movie portrayal, shined the spotlight on her.
ダメもとでやってみよう。 バスタオル欲しいです！！！ #悪カワハーレイになってみた https://t.co/QF9qIzr9DF—
ｼｬｵ・ﾖｳはにんにくぷんぷん丸 (@xiao_yue1120) August 30, 2016
RINON☻Fairincess (@jasrin1dfairy) August 29, 2016
ハーレイクインなう❤️ #悪カワハーレイになってみた #スースク https://t.co/9LZbfIgLcU—
桃色れく@砲雷撃9/11 (@momoreku) August 24, 2016
Japan seems to have taken a real shine to Miss Quinn, and it’s not too hard to guess why. Characters with girlish looks who are also tough-as-nails combat experts have been showing up in anime and manga for years. Add in Harley’s unswerving, occasionally violent devotion to the Joker, a villain who may or may not actually care about her at all, and you’ve even got a potential parallel to anime’s obsessive yandere characters.
Totti Candy Factoryの原宿店でスーサイド•スクワッドのコラボがやってるのでいってきたよ！わたしの顔より大きい綿あめ！ めっちゃかわいい💕コラボのは一番下がコーラ味だよ💛💚💙 #悪カワハーレイになってみた https://t.co/0wcPrl2HsH—
桃色れく@砲雷撃9/11 (@momoreku) September 02, 2016
▼ Harley Quinn cosplayers at a Suicide Squad advance screening in Tokyo’s Roppongi.
本編上映会も見てきました！無事にイベント終了しました🌟 大好きな映画とコスプレイヤーとして携われて大変貴重で幸せな体験をさせていただきました😳 #悪カワハーレイになってみた #スースク https://t.co/ewRs5DUgmq—
五木あきら (@itsuki_akira) August 25, 2016
まさじ (@manukenosazi) August 25, 2016
With Suicide Squad not being the home-run, smash-hit that Warner Bros. was no doubt hoping it would be in the U.S., its chances of blossoming into a franchise or dying on the vine might depend on its overseas box office performance. For at least a while, though, the squad of villainous anti-heroes’ most colorful member looks to have won a place in some Japanese fans’ hearts.
Featured image: Twitter/@itsuki_akira