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Relay Column: 2.5 Dimension Legend ~ Risa Aizawa & Battle Dress (Risa Aizawa)

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PROFILE
Risa Aizawa
Risa Aizawa

The leader of the idol group 'Dempagumi.inc'.
Her special skill is cooking, and she has also published a recipe book. She serves as a designer for the fashion brand 'MEMUSE'. She has been a radio DJ for many years and is the cheerleader for the pop culture city of Osaka.

Though the title might sound highly unusual, this story is about an otaku girl who once struggled with her 3D self by clinging to the ideal, perfect characters in 2D. The story details how, by encountering garments she envisioned as a 'battle dress', she began to confront her weaknesses, gradually finding and expanding her place in life.

2D Supremacy

As a young child, I was quite emotional and sometimes even lost memories when my emotions spiked violently. In school, I couldn't stand it when the dominant kids bullied the quieter ones. I ended up retaliating so fiercely that I often got called to the teacher's office, and I was quite a handful.
As I entered middle school, emotional impulses became a source of embarrassment, and I turned into what you might call a ‘shadowy nerd.’ Frustrated emotions that I could not express attacked me, but I found solace and rescue in manga, anime, and radio.
The perfect 2D characters, both visually and mentally enchanting, became my absolute heroes during this period.
I began to use a parasol when going to school, aspiring to be closer to these 2D figures. People who never spoke to me nicknamed me 'the parasol kid (lol)', but to me, maintaining pale skin like that of 2D characters was far more crucial than any rumors.
Eventually, even though I felt somewhat alienated, having close friends who respected my quirks and hobbies helped me cherish compatible companionships, shaping my personality significantly.

Thigh Highs, Hime Cut, & Lolita

In high school, I added thigh-high socks and hime cut to my style, and on weekends, I dressed in Lolita fashion, enhancing my combat power.
The students around me began to express their individuality more visibly by tweaking their uniforms, whether they were gyaru, otaku, or top students.
Having an appearance that felt true to me also acted as a shield against unnecessary conflicts and tedious small talk, naturally attracting friends who understood my otaku interests.
It was an opportunity to help at a doujinshi sales booth that led me to debut as a cosplayer. The cosplay outfits, leading me into another world, granted me special moments away from my otherwise mundane self.
The more fulfilled I felt as a cosplayer, the more I hated my real self for being 'no one significant,' diving deep into cosplay as my form of escapism.
The student council president being a cosplayer led to a formation of a cosplay and otaku student council organization, where we spent weekends in the student council room and art room crafting cosplay outfits and managing student life.

Resident of Akihabara

After graduating high school, I juggled life as a fashion student and working as a maid in Akihabara.
Linking my cosplayer identity with real life prompted me to rethink whether I could reduce my sense of being 'no one.'
My first trip to Akihabara marked a firm decision to dissolve my old self and reinvent myself as a resident of Akihabara.
My fellow maid café colleagues remain good friends, occasionally reuniting for reunions even now.
Years later, when the maid café closed, losing my beloved workplace, dear friends, and a world where I could be myself made me fall into despair, becoming a shut-in.
One midnight, browsing the job placement site “メイドカフェでGO (Maid Cafe de GO),” I found a job opening for the launch cast at 'Akihabara Dear Stage.' Despite it being past 2 am, I immediately contacted them upon seeing the quirky yet intriguing job advertisement.
During my interview, they explained that while it was essentially a live bar, they were fine with me starting as hall staff since I had no previous idol experience. I never imagined undertaking an idol's role as idols were seen as roles reserved for the class’s prettiest and most beloved girls. I had thought it was impossible for someone like me to become one. However, this new job in Akihabara turned out to be a life-altering experience for me.
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