Cosplaymania 2015 Presents: Meet and Greet Ladybeard
Around the world, Japan is famous for being the home to many things weird and wonderful. Few things fit that description more aptly than Ladybeard. Currently residing in Japan, Ladybeard (real name: Rick Margery) is an Australian pro-wrestler and heavy metal singer who cosplays as a cute girl. After building up a following during his stay in Hong Kong, Ladybeard’s popularity skyrockets when he moved to Japan. This all culminates in the release of his heavy metal/J-Pop music video, Nippon Manju with his group, Lady Baby.
Ladybeard, one of the new icons of the emerging Kawaii Metal genre, was invited to the Philippines by the organizers of Cosplaymania 2015. Aside from headlining the Japanese Anime Music (JAM) concert on the 1st day of Cosmania, Ladybeard held a series of Meet & Greets for his fans.
Donning an excellently crafted Chun-Li outfit, Ladybeard eagerly greeted his fans, with more energy (and a higher pitched voice) than I expected of a man of his stature. Using his kawaii girl persona, he thanked all his fans for coming to visit. His relaxed Australian attitude did bleed through as he made general small talk with his audience, before the Meet & Greet proper.
The icebreaker question was about the maintenance of Ladybeard’s glorious… well, beard. “First of all, if you want a beard, you’ve gotta stop shaving.” For his own beard, Ladybeard has to manscape every four weeks, which he admits is weird as a “5 year-old girl.” A shy girl asked further questions about his haircare. After repeating the question multiple times, he replied that he bathes daily in a bathtub of avocado and egg, stirred by trained servant rats. Laughter ensued before Ladybeard answered that he wasn’t particularly picky. “I just use whatever random shampoo I find in my bathroom.”
Inevitably, Ladybeard was asked why he dresses as a girl. When he was a kid, he decided to wear one his big sister’s school dresses. Instead recoiling in horror and/or outrage, people were cool with it. He took this positive reaction as a sign and just ran with it.
“I think I started a new trend – bearded crossdressers,” he said.
He honestly admitted that wearing dresses feels awesome, especially while wrestling and added, “Dresses give fantastic freedom of movement.” He lamented how wearing pants can restrict one’s ability to perform kicks. Ladybeard said he thought it would be funny when asked about why he cosplays as a girl during wrestling matches. One day, his manager, Naoko Tachibana, suggested wearing a Sailor Moon outfit to a match and that’s where it all started. His current Chun Li outfit was one of his favorites. “Chun Li’s one of my favorites. I’ve got the kicks and I’ve got the thighs!”
Soon, it was my turn. Ladybeard amusingly misheard my name as Neil and cracked a few Neil Diamond jokes, which we later admitted that probably very few in the audience understood. I asked what his most memorable wrestling moment was. “Funnily enough, my most memorable moment was one I don’t really remember.” He was in a wrestling match with the massive Shuji Ishikawa. Shuji landed his finisher, a strong headbutt, on Ladybeard. Ladybeard was knocked out, seeing only stars. “I imagine that’s what getting hit by bus feels like.” Ladybeard’s own finisher was called Women’s Liberation, which was a spinning jump kick, similar to Kofi Kingston’s Trouble in Paradise. His moveset was comprised primarily of strong kicks. (I was lucky enough to see him do Chun Li’s signature kicks during this year’s Tokyo Game Show and he did not fail to impress).
Before going to Japan, Ladybeard wrestled and performed in Hong Kong. A fan asked him what his dreams were before becoming the little girl he was today. He had aspirations to be an action star, as he was previously stuntman. He has bigger goals now. “I want to star in a romantic action movie – a romaction movie!”
Ladybeard interjected for a moment before continuing with the Meet & Greet. “Why does everyone call me Senpai?” Apparently, his foreign fans all called him Senpai, while none his Japanese fans did. Chuckles echoed from the audience before finally agreeing that it was probably just an “Internet thing.”
A fan asked him if he watches Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. “I have heard of it and I’ll definitely check it out.”
One of the last questions was asked by what seemed to be one Ladybeard’s most dedicated followers, a burly man sporting cute twin pigtails, or twintails. Ladybeard, thoroughly impressed, gave the guy a hug and asked the room for a round of applause. The fan asked if he ever heard of the Australian Band, the Beards. “Of course, I did! They’re from my hometown [Adelaide]!” They did an impromptu duet of one of The Beard’s songs, If Your Dad Doesn’t Have a Beard, You’ve Got Two Mums. “Clearly, this would be a fantastic collaboration – Ladybeard and the Beards.”
When the question and answer portion of the Meet & Greet ended, everyone was able to get a picture with Ladybeard and had their official merchandise signed. He was so considerate that he even apologized in advance that the spikes of his Chun Li outfit were rather sharp. One last group photo and the Meet & Greet was sadly over. As everybody was giving their last goodbyes, I made one last suggestion – try San Miguel beer. Ever the chill guy, Ladybeard said, “Sure! why not?”
Here’s to hoping Ladybeard visits the Philippines again soon and rocks the house with his signature “kawaiicore” like he did during the JAM concert!