The Cosplay’s the Thing – By Jeff Yang, Special to SF Gate

New York — The dress is an elaborate confection of ribbons and pink sateen layered over taffeta ruffles, and supported by the hoops and bustle required of a stylish, 19th century British lady. Except the lady wearing it isn’t British or from the 19th century — and, if you want to get down to brass tacks, she’s not supposed to be a lady, either.

“The character I’m playing is Ciel Phantomhive,” explains Scout Isensee, winner of the epic costume-play contest staged by New York’s Japan Society for its new exhibition KRAZY!. Ciel is the 12-year-old boy Earl of Phantomhive in “Kuroshitsuji,” a Japanese animated series set during a darkly magical version of Queen Victoria’s reign.