PETALING JAYA - The growing cosplay community in Malaysia has been rocked by the news that a well-known cosplayer had confessed to murdering 15-year-old Ng Yuk Tim, a fellow member.
Comic Fiesta organising chairman Lim Chin Hua, 30, an acquaintance of both the victim and suspect, said the tragic incident was a real blow to the community, which still struggles with public misconceptions.
"They both belonged to our social circle in the ACG (anime, comics and games) community, and the news was just horrifying," he said.
"But it's important that people understand about ACG culture so they won't associate this act of violence with cosplay, which has always been about unity and trust, helping and believing in each other. What happened was an isolated case."
Cosplay, short for "costume play", is where participants dress up as characters from comics, mostly Japanese anime and manga.
Business consultant Solomon Freeman, 25, an active figure in the cosplay scene since 2005 and an acquaintance of the suspect, said cosplayers often made new friends within the scene through social media.
"It's common for cosplayers to befriend others on Facebook and they sometimes meet up to work on their costumes together," he said.
He, however, admitted that reports of sexual harassment of cosplayers did surface in the community from time to time.
Richard Chua, an event manager who organises ACG events said, the cosplay scene had been growing rapidly and fans here were taking their costumes more seriously.
Full-time cosplay costume maker Stephanie Tan, who regularly meets her clients to do fittings, said she usually met them in malls.
"If I do go to their homes, I would take my boyfriend along with me," said Tan, adding that cosplay costumes were often complicated and required help from other cosplayers to create.