Sexy fairy tale heroine swimsuits from Japan will turn the beach into fantasyland this summer

Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Alice in Wonderland are ready to hit the sand and surf.

As part of a fashion-conscious society that’s not averse to a splash of playful sexiness, Japanese swimsuit designers draw inspiration from a number of sources, such as Japanese school uniforms (both women’s and men’s), Shinto shrine maidens, and anime characters. But for its latest creations, Japanese fashion label M Kigyo (also known as Emu Project) is taking its cues from Western sources, with a trio of bikinis based on the fairy tales of Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Alice in Wonderland.

The Little Red Riding Hood swimsuit bundles a hooded parka, bikini top, skirt, and bikini bottom together in a four-piece set that enables the wearer to mix and match the components for various looks.

▼ There’s also a black version, which we guess would make this Little Black Riding Hood.

Less extensive, but also less expensive, than the 23,950-yen (US$220) Little Red Riding Hood is the two-piece Alice in Wonderland set, for 19,900 yen.

This swimsuit actually provides a lot of coverage, with a blouse-like top connected to a high-wasted skirt-style bottom by a pair of overall straps with frilly shoulder accouterments, which are removable if you’re worried about getting cross-shaped tan lines on your back.

While Alice is usually depicted in storybooks and cartoons wearing blue, the suit is also offered in red and black.

Finally, the three-piece Snow White set is priced at 16,970 yen, getting you a white-colored top with a chest ribbon, removable skirt, and bikini bottom.

▼ Alternate colors this time are all-navy and sky blue.

If you’re finding yourself drawn to components from different sets, most of the bundled items can also be purchased separately, as can M Kigyo’s swimsuit cover overalls.

All items can be ordered here directly from M Kigyo, with delivery scheduled for mid-July, right as Japan comes out of its rainy season and prime beach weather begins.

Source: M Kigyo via IT Media
Top image: M Kigyo
Insert images: M Kigyo (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Virtual pantie flash part of Japan’s new schoolgirl-inspired swimsuit’s sailor style【Photos】

Makers of the sailor bikini are back to prove one-piece swimwear can still be daringly sexy.

Last summer, Japanese fashion label No. S Project released a sailor suit bikini that was so popular it sold out in just two days. With beach weather on the way once again, the company’s designers have unveiled their latest creation for frolicking in the surf and on the sand, and while it’s once again a sailor suit-inspired swimsuit, it’s eye-catching in all-new ways.

In contrast to last year’s separate top and bottom, the new swimsuit is a one-piece design…sort of. While it’s officially called the Sailor Beachwear One-piece, the complete set actually consists of two garments: the dress-like outer layer (which can be worn while swimming) and a string bikini bottom to be worn underneath.

Combined with the short hem of the dress, the separate bikini bottom creates a bit of virtual pantie flash appeal, heightened by the striped pattern of the bottom, mimicking a popular print for young women’s undergarments in Japan.

Around back, No. S Project’s designers have done even more to dispel the musty image of a one-piece bathing suit, with plenty of exposed skin on the upper and lower back, even as the schoolgirl uniform-like collar provides greater-than-average coverage of the shoulders. The dress is form-fitting and flares femininely at the waist, providing the same sort of visual slimming as No. S Project employs in its line of skirts and dresses which provide the look of an anime heroine’s physique.

Two different color options are available: a two-tone with white chest ribbon, and a black dress with red ribbon.

▼ Both come with the same bottom.

Pre-orders are currently being taken here on No. S Project’s website, where the Sailor Beachwear One-piece is priced at 17,820 yen (US$165). Delivery is scheduled for late June, coinciding with the end of Japan’s rainy season and the beginning of beachgoing conditions.

Source: No. S Project via IT Media
Images: No. S Project

Brand-new line of Sailor Moon bikinis appears, has anime fans in Japan looking forward to summer

Mysteriously, one Sailor Senshi is being left out of the real-life beach party.

We’ve seen the iconic sailor suit-inspired costumes of anime Sailor Moon serve as the motif for a line of lingerie. We’ve also seen Japan’s love of the sailor suit result in sailor suit-style swimsuits. So perhaps it was inevitable that we would one day see Sailor Moon bikinis, and now that day has come.

Next month, the latest pop-up shop collaboration between Sailor Moon and swanky Tokyo department store Isetan opens, and for fashion shoppers who’re already planning ahead for beach season, an entire line of Sailor Moon swimwear will be on offer.

The core Inner Senshi of Sailors Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus are of course represented, with each suit making use of the respective character’s paired image colors. The bottoms feature pleated trim evocative of their outfits’ schoolgirl-like combat skirts.

If your fandom really kicked into high gear after the first arc of the anime, you’ll be happy to know that there are also bikinis saluting Sailors Chibi Moon, Uranus, and Neptune. For some reason, though, Sailor Pluto is the only one to not have her own bikini, which is strange considering that while Pluto the celestial body has been downgraded to dwarf planet status since Sailor Moon’s initial broadcast, Sailor Pluto remains a full-fledged Sailor Senshi.

In addition to beachwear, the pop-up store will also have various blouses, pants, and skirts that make use of subtle Sailor Moon design cues. More overt references to the series, though, can be found in the line of earrings modeled after various transformation items, weaponry, and other important items from Sailor Moon’s extensive lore.

▼ Star Power Sticks and Sailor Guardian symbols

In particular, the varied regalia of Sailor Moon herself provides plenty of source material for designers to work with.

▼ Legendary Silver Crystal, Moon Stick, Cutie Moon Rod, and Cosmic Heart Compact

The Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Bikinis are priced at 19,000 yen (US$170) each. The earrings hover around a similar per-pair price point, thought the designers are yet to reveal what materials they are made from.

Isetan’s Sailor Moon pop-up store opens on March 14.

Related: Isetan website
Source: Sailor Moon official website via Anime News Network/Lynzee Loveridge
Images: Sailor Moon official website

Japanese idol supergroup AKB48 said to phasing out swimsuit modeling for younger teen members

Rumors cite possible overseas criticism as reason for new policy.

The common snarky comment about Japanese idol singers is that their musical talents aren’t nearly strong enough to justify their fanbases, but it is true that the most successful idols have a media presence that goes far beyond just singing and dancing. Variety show appearances, commercial endorsements, TV and movie acting gigs, and magazine photo shoots are all part of the cycle of idol fame and pop culture presence, as the longer they stay in the spotlight, the more likely they are to get other such offers, making the system at least in part self-perpetuating.

A quick and easy way to get eyeballs on idols is to do a gravure modeling session, with one or more of the group’s members dressed in bikinis and frolicking on the beach, and run the photos in one of Japan’s many manga anthologies or men’s interest magazines. But according to Japanese website Nikkan Cyzo, AKB48, Japan’s most successful and influential idol unit ever, is planning to phase out swimsuit gravure photos for its younger members.

According to one of Nikkan Cyzo’s sources, an anonymous member of the Japanese publishing industry, notices have been circulating from AKB48’s management team saying that from now on, members of the group who are high school-age or younger will not pose for swimwear gravure photos. “Even if there’s a situation that calls for all of the members to wear swimsuits,” the source states, “Members who are high school-age or younger will wear suits that are modest and reveal a minimum of skin.”

AKB48’s frequently rotating roster of members and numerous sub-groups makes it hard to speak in absolute statistical terms, but as of this moment, the members of the group’s three primary teams (Teams A, K, and B) range in age from 14 to 26. Out of those, 13 are 18 years old or younger, three are 19 (still under Japan’s age of legal adulthood, 20), and the remaining 21 vocalists are 20 or older.

Another source quoted by Nikka Cyzo, also a member of the publishing industry, cites AKB48’s growing international fame as a reason for the alleged change in policy. “AKB48 is becoming more well-known overseas, and that’s bringing attention to their media activities. If they have members younger than 18 posing in skimpy bathing suits, there’s a chance they’ll be labeled as engaging in child pornography. The upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics are probably also a factor,” the source said, likely thinking of the persistent speculation that AKB48 will somehow be involved in the Games’ opening ceremony or other official festivities.

AKB48 itself, however, is yet to make any official statement regarding the rumor, nor have any other prominent idol groups publicly pledged to limit their gravure activities.

Source: Nikkan Cyzo via Rakuten Infoseek News via Yaraon via Anime News Network/Jennifer Sherman
Top image: Gahag

Japanese boys’ school uniform inspires steamy new swimsuit for women

Move over, sailor suit swimwear.  Now it’s the gakuran’s turn in the spotlight and water.

Schools uniforms are one of Japan’s favorite design motifs, and we’ve seen them serve as the inspiration for swimwear several times. However, it’s usually the female school uniform, the sailor suit, that those swimsuits are based on.

Japanese fashion label School Fiction has decided to go a different route by creating a swimsuit for women that takes its visual cues from the gakuran, the coat traditionally worn by male high school students.

Authentic gakuran are a button-up garment, and School Fiction’s gakuran swimsuit keeps that aesthetic with a row of gold-colored buttons along the front. However, most of those are just for show, as the zipper on the swimsuit’s back is what you need to use to put it on.

The two clasps of the straight collar can be undone, though, to show what an iconoclast rebel you are. The top button is also functional, while the rest are just for show.

▼ The second gakuran button used to be a common token of love that a guy would give his crush upon graduation, so the fact that it’s not really doing anything means you can give it to your sweetheart with no qualms.

▼ The swimsuit is made out of an 80/20 polyester/polyurethane blend material.

Putting new swimwear on the market in mid-September may seem like strange timing, but since School Fiction bills itself as a “nerd and fetish brand,” odds are the gakuran swimsuit is more intended for use at anime conventions, cosplay photo shoots, and in the privacy of consenting adults’ homes more so than in the water. While orders take roughly a month to ship, fan art is instantaneous.

▼ School Fiction itself recommends customers accessorize with a cape and old-school student’s cap.

The gakuran swimsuit can be ordered directly from School Fiction here, or alternatively from Amazon here, and is priced at 14,500 yen (US$130) on both sites.

Source: IT Media
Images: School Fiction

Japan’s new sailor suit-inspired swimsuits bring classroom style to the beach

New design and colors from designer with a knack for mixing sailor suits and swimwear.

With Japan currently on summer vacation, school uniforms are hanging idle in closets. That doesn’t mean the iconic outfits aren’t still inspiring fashion designers, though.

Moira Kuchikaseya, head of Moira Design, has repeatedly worked styling cues from schoolgirls’ sailor suits into her creations, starting with the aptly named Sailor School Swimsuits she unveiled last year. Originally available in orthodox white and navy, the unique one-piece is now offered in an eye-catching olive green. While it isn’t a hue you’re likely to see on legitimate school uniforms, it’s definitely an intriguing color for swimwear that manages to be eye-catching without resorting to intense hues or plunging necklines.

Moira Design has also rolled out a brand-new design for 2017, in the form of the Sailor Marine Swim. Unlike the Sailor School Swimsuit, which sticks to the modest cut used for P.E. swim class uniforms in Japan, the Sailor Marine Swim is bikini.

The two-piece swimsuit is actually part of a three-piece set, since it includes the jaunty cap seen in these photos. While the string-sided bottom is pretty skimpy, there’s actually a lot of coverage up top, with the draping color keeping the sun off the wearer’s upper back.

▼ The top is held in place by wide shoulder straps and a tie in the back.

While the snazzy olive color of the Sailor School Swimsuit isn’t an option, buyers do have their choice of pink or sky blue for the Sailor Marine Swim.

Of the two new suits, the 12,000-yen (US$110) olive Sailor School Swimsuit is the less expensive, though at 13,500 yen for the Sailor Marine Swim the price gap isn’t all that wide. Both can be ordered here through novelty retailer Village Vanguard’s online shop, as can the rest of Moira Design’s swimwear lineup.

Source: Village Vanguard
Top image: Village Vanguard
Insert images: Village Vanguard (1, 2, 3)
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Japanese publisher sparks backlash over plan to have anime voice actresses pose for bikini photos

Japan usually has no complaints about swimsuit modeling, but this time is a little different.

Generally speaking, Japanese society is quite happily appreciative of swimsuit modeling. The gravure/gurabia sector of the modeling industry, which focuses on women in skimpy bikinis and other revealing outfits, is as robust as ever, and even coming up with innovative new ways to please fans.

So ordinarily you’d be forgiven for assuming that a magazine announcing a photo spread of six young bikini-clad women would be met with a warm reception. However, that’s not the case for Seiyu Paradise R, a monthly periodical from Tokyo-based Akita Publishing.

As indicated by its name, each issue of Seiyu Paradise R features photos of and articles about voice actors (seiyu in Japanese) who work in the anime industry. In an upcoming volume, set to go on sale July 14, Seiyu Paradise R will be putting the spotlight on a group of six voice actresses who will appear as “swimsuit gravure models” within the issues pages.

▼ A tweet from Seiyu Paradise R announcing the gravure photos

Posing for the photos are voice actresses Aguri Onishi, Hitomi Sasaki, Mayu Sagara, Erika Momota, Junna Amako, and Shu Uchida, who have been grouped together because they’re be performing in a drama CD to be released in conjunction with the seventh collected volume of manga Yomekura, which is currently being serialized in Akita Publishing’s Monthly Shonen Champion comic anthology.

Yomekura

However, many online commenters in Japan have noticed something else the six actresses have in common: none of them are particularly successful or established within the industry. Amako, whose voice acting resume goes back to 2014, is the most experienced despite her relatively short time in the voice acting game. Sasaki and Uchida only made their voice acting debuts last year, and none of the women have more than a handful of credited roles to date. This has sparked an online backlash against the Seiyu Paradise R photo shoot by those who feel it’s a distasteful way to drum up publicity for underperforming/unproven voice actresses, with critics making comments such as:

“Putting them in swimsuits is really going too far.”

“Do NOT make voice actresses take off their clothes.”

“Are the people planning this morons? They’re morons, aren’t they.”

“I could see if they were also trying to make it as gravure idols, but how is this going to help them get voice acting roles in the future?”

“Is there any point to having people who work a voice actresses wear swimsuits?”

While there’s a lot of surface logic to the last two comments, there’s also the fact that the voice acting industry in Japan has changed dramatically over the last decade. Whereas anime voice acting was once largely anonymous work for anyone other than A-listers, the rise of Internet culture and boom in fan meet-and-greet events has come to the point where voice actors often appear before their public, either in-person or through videos and photos released online. So while voice actors may remain invisible to fans during the anime itself, an attractive appearance has become a marketing asset, much like it is in the live-action acting and pop music industries.

It’s not like the spheres of gravure modeling and anime/manga never come into contact with one another, either. For decades, numerous manga anthologies have reserved the majority of their cover space for gravure models who appear on some of the few non-advertising color pages to be found in the issue. While the vast majority of these models are not directly involved in the anime industry, there have been cases of popular voice actresses appearing in manga anthologies’ gravure photo spreads, although generally in more modest swimwear than their dedicated gravure model counterparts.

Seiyu Paradise R might even have a legitimate story-based reason for putting the six Yomekura actresses in swimsuits. The announcement tweet says that the photo shoot will “recreate the world of [Yomekura],” and given that it’s a harem series about a teen who transfers into an elite high school where a number of his female classmates claim to be his fiance, some sexy poolside (or hot spring, judging from Seiyu Paradise R’s tweeted photo) seem well within the trusty playbook of the genre.

▼ The cover art from Yomekura’s third and fourth collected volumes.

Nevertheless, Japanese Twitter users aren’t well pleased with the plan. “How about if we stop trying to market voice actresses with their looks?” says one detractor, and it seems like he’s not the only one who’s experiencing a bit of fatigue over the encroachment of visuals into what was once a purely audio-based line of work.

Source: Otakomu
Top image: Gatag/makani5