Real hair or fake hair, it doesn't matter. Akihabara salon Fuwat will totally cut them both.
Located five minutes from Akihabara Station and opening last fall, the salon has a sandwich board out front, like many salons. But the game-inspired drawings, like the cat from Monster Hunter, provide a hint at the otaku-friendly service offered inside.
This sandwich board says that customers can "go hunting" while getting a cut, and even charge their Nintendo DS, PSP or cell phone. Sometimes characters from other games, like soccer role-playing game Inzuma Eleven, entice pedestrians to get their locks trimmed.
Inside, the salon looks like most others — wood floors, white barber chairs and potted plants. But a closer look reveals that the stack of magazines available for the clientèle to read are hardly standard men's or women's fashion rags. The latest issues of game and cosplay mags line the magazine racks. There are iPads customers can use to surf the web and find the 'do for them.
Body-less heads with purple and green hair are attended to by hair stylists. Besides offering ¥5,000 (US$61) cuts that include a shampoo and rinse as well as a scalp massage that will turn your flannel-wearing otaku into a stylish flannel-wearing otaku, Fuwat also has a wig-trimming service aimed squarely at cosplayers. The stylist's official site even has a Q&A section for costume players, addressing their wig cutting concerns.
Prices range from ¥5,000 to ¥15,000 ($61 - $183), and wig trimming can take up to a week, depending on the wig and the cut (some cuts can be as low as ¥1,500, however). "What's important is that we try to grasp the different images people have of the same characters," Umeko, an assistant stylist, tells Kyodo News. Cosplayers get a final fitting when they pick up their wig at the saloon as well as a complimentary rinse and shampoo. The wig cutting service is by reservation only, with the cosplayer first doing a consultation with a stylist.
Wig-cutting might seem unnecessary — superflous, even. But those trying to recreate a 2D character in the real world, a certain fastidiousness is needed. The costume needs to be just so, and so does the hair.
And while a cosplayer might be handy with a thread and needle, they might be all thumbs when it comes to scissors.
The salon does say it's not only for game loving otaku and anime crazy cosplayers, but also salarymen and businesswomen who need a snip. Otaku-only, this ain't.
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