One thing that mobile games have done very well is distill concepts into their purest points. While console games were toying around with the idea of lootboxes to “enhance” gameplay, Fate/Grand Order jumped in with both barrels yelling about how not only was the entire gameplay locked behind your ability to pull servants, the rates were so aggressive you’d have to summon the Heroic Spirit Credit Card if you wanted any of your units to be viable.
We’ve seen since a global arms race in waifu technology, with each new character in a gacha game sporting some insane design made to maximize appeal for certain markets. Yet, as outfits got more and more into the unreal, there were some brands who realized a little bit of realism never hurt anyone- these brands would employ cosplayers to dress up as their dear characters, often to promote big events.
As an extension of this, I’ve found myself living a simple mantra: “If Iori Moe is in it, it’s worth checking out”.
A Cosplay Superstar
Being someone who first saw Iori Moe back when she was the official cosplayer for Dress Up Darling (back in the day when it was the way more romantically named Sono Bisque Doll), it’s absolutely charming to see how widespread her reach in the anime community is. While my first exposure to her were the static pages of a magazine it feels like she’s everywhere- dressed up like the most popular characters of some of the hottest series that year.
From Genshin to NIKKE to even anime and Vtubers- chances are, you’re a fan of a project she’s been involved in. Personally, I think a lot of it comes down to affable her general persona is. As someone who’s not knowledgeable about the gravure scene, Iori Moe is a great rebuttal to the idea that the work is somehow lesser just because of its subject matter- a job’s a job and she handles it like a pro.
In a way, she’s proof of how diverse the cosplay umbrella can be- while she may be better known for her more risque shoots, she’s also just as likely to do more commute-friendly ones: back when Gundam Evolution was first announced, there she was on the livestream dressed in Sayla Mass’ uniform.
From a business angle, it’s pretty clever as well- a look at her Twitter page shows she’s got 1.4 million followers- with no shortage of fans eager to interact on any of her posts. By associating with both mainstream brands and more niche ones, she’s like an industry jack-of-all-trades: her girl-next-door attitude makes her great for more all-ages projects, while her more adult-oriented photoshoots makes her perfect for the more sexualized nature of gacha games.
The Angel Of Mobile Games
And thus we get to the point of it all. In the mobile game community, at least on a personal level, Iori Moe is a symbol of quality. I often joke about what I like to call the Iori Moe Budget- once a game works with her, you know it’s something they have a lot of faith in.
Look at last year’s Arrow of Novae update for Honkai Impact 3rd- it was arguably the biggest event for the game, closing off the year-long Elysian Realm Story arc. It was huge in both story and gameplay- thanks in part to the popularity of the new character Elysia. Considering the chapter marked the end of her story, HoYoverse knew what to do- they pulled out the whole nine yards for her, from decorating Akihabara Station with ads for the game, promotional trucks and, who else but one Iori Moe, dressed as everyone’s favorite Pink Elf.
It’s not just HoYoverse that has impeccable taste- even NIKKE worked with her for their half-anniversary event, with Iori Moe cosplaying the featured Pilgrim for Over Zone, Dorothy. We even got a whole livestream of her sitting around in Dorothy’s uniform, as they walked through what fans could expect in the event patch.
With the exception of Arknights who seems to regularly work with her, it’s clear that there’s a kind of language tied to hiring Iori Moe. A sort of “This is what you should be paying attention to”, so to speak. I mean, I literally pulled for Dorothy because of her.
Meet Her Yourself
With her current popularity, I wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing Iori Moe even more involved with mobile games. I mean, she’s actually been a pullable character herself, once. The industry clearly has a lot of respect for her, and she herself has enough pull among both her fans and the general public that she’s probably a viable part of any marketing strategy.
Given her high-profile status it’s no surprise that Iori Moe would be one of the ambassadors for AFA 2023. She’ll be doing a meet-and-greet as well as a stage event which runs from November 24th to 26th, so be sure to come for the event if you want to meet one of the most prolific cosplayers in the industry.
In an ocean full of gacha games all competing for your time and attention, that’s where she’ll really shine. Iori Moe is like a lighthouse for those lost at sea, pointing us to the games (and banners) that best stand out.