The third season of the Netflix series “Love, Death & Robots” is trending among China’s cosplay fans. What does its unexpected appeal say about local Gen Z?
What Happened: On May 20, Netflix dropped its third season of the animated series “Love, Death & Robots” to an excited and welcoming local fanbase. The collection of shorts (known as 爱死机 in China) blends sci-fi, fantasy, and supernatural elements, and has garnered 120 million views to its Weibo hashtag and over 9,000 Xiaohongshu UGC instances so far.
The third episode titled “Jibaro,” featuring a strange romance between a seductive siren and a deaf knight, is a clear winner with netizens. The related hashtag has garnered more than 67 million views on Weibo, while images featuring make-up imitations of the siren have flooded Xiaohongshu with a current total of over 15 million views.
The Jing Take: The success of Jibaro and the “Love, Death & Robots” series among China’s make-up obsessed, fashion-savvy crowd indicates not only the desire among local youth and Gen Z for visual fantasy, but also the importance of storytelling, history, and symbolism in a digital world.
Rather than using traditional Greek mythology, director Alberto Mielgo took cues from an amalgamation of folklore from geographical areas like India, North Africa, and Eastern Europe to create the golden, jewel-clad, blinding beauty of the Jibaro siren. Furthermore, the siren’s seductive dance and extravagant treasure-covered appearance contribute to her otherworldly appeal — inspiring legions of copycats. KOL @laobabie wrote: “I spent an entire week recreating the costume and the make-up.”
From 2019-2020, China’s domestic cosplay costume market size increased by 20 percent. In 2021, the number of consumers attracted to the cosplay market were projected to be 403 million with further growth expected in the following years. With over-the-top visuals blending fantasy and creative artistry translating well — even in a short video format — “Love, Death & Robots” cosplaying appeal is indeed unsurprising. Younger citizens’ dedication to forging a new identity for themselves has been well documented. Now, the imitation frenzy surrounding the Jibaro siren is a nice insight for luxury into what Gen Z in China crave: the unexpected and inexplicable but never the boring. Continue to read the full article here