Cosplaying is a hobby that’s been around for decades, but it’s getting increasingly popular. So, what exactly is cosplay, and how did it get started?
It’s not often you see someone dressed as Batman or Wonder Woman at an event like Comic-Con (or even a local Halloween party). But those characters are so iconic they’ve become part of our pop culture.
Their fans love to dress up like them — especially when the character has its own version in the comics — just like everyone else does with favorite comic book heroes.
But cosplay goes beyond dressing up as superheroes. It can also be a way to express yourself creatively through fashion. Many people who participate in cosplay do so because they’re passionate about a particular genre of television shows, movies, or video games. They want to feel like their favorite characters on screen.
Let’s look at what cosplay is, where it came from, why it’s so popular today, and some tips for beginners.
What Is Cosplay?
“Costume play,” which dates back hundreds of years, is defined by Merriam-Webster Online as “the practice of donning costumes designed to resemble other persons.” However, cosplay is more than simply dressing up in costume.
Some historians believe the term was coined in Japan around 1984. Others think it may have come from the French word “coster,” meaning “sewer worker,” since the first costumed actors were usually low-paid workers who performed in sewers.
There are two main types of cosplay: anime and live-action. Anime cosplay involves dressing up as your favorite anime characters, while live-action cosplay includes dressing up as your favorite movie stars, celebrities, or fictional characters.
There are also subgenres within both categories. For example, there are Sailor Moon cosplayers (who dress up as Usagi and Mamoru) and Saint Seiya cosplayers (who dress up as Saori and Hyoga.)
For the most part, cosplay isn’t limited to events such as Comic-Cons and conventions. Cosplayers sometimes create wigs, makeup, and accessories for private parties. People also develop costumes for charity events. Many schools hold yearly fundraising auctions called Spirit Weeks, where students raise money for their respective organizations.
In this article, we’ll explore cosplay in detail. We’ll start with the basics of what makes cosplay work.
How Does Cosplay Work?
The idea behind cosplay, according to experts, is relatively simple. You dress up as a specific character, whether created by you or someone else, then act out that person’s story using your body language. That means moving your arms, legs, hands, and feet in ways similar to how the character would move during the film. It could involve singing, dancing, or acting.
However, the way you present yourself while wearing the costume plays an important role too. If you walk into a room looking cluttered, sloppy, or uncomfortable, it’s going to make anyone watching feel awkward.
On the other hand, if you put on top of the best cosplay outfit ever made, put on your hair and makeup perfectly, and strut down the street confidently, you’re almost guaranteed to draw attention.
That said, there are endless variations on these themes. While cosplayers tend to stick to certain styles of character portrayal, they also use props, weapons, and other items to enhance their performances.
And while some cosplayers focus solely on anime characters, others gravitate toward live-action characters. Still, others choose superheroic figures.
And if you want to go all out, you can try to recreate your favorite scene from a movie or TV show. This is known as photoshoot cosplay.
What Is The Purpose Of Cosplay?
Many cosplayers wear the same outfits and follow the same basic rules year after year. But there are still differences between different groups that determine what each group wants to achieve.
Some cosplayers attend conventions in hopes of meeting fellow cosplayers or selling their wares. Others hope to meet famous cosplayers (like Chris Hardwick from AMC’s “Walking Dead”) or influential entertainment industry members.
A few might want to learn new skills like creating their own costumes or working with prop design.
While cosplay is typically done for fun, some people consider it a performance art form. For instance, some cosplayers include references to their real lives in their stories or tell personal anecdotes related to the character. Others might portray the character negatively or as having darker motivations.
If you’re interested in cosplay and want to know how to get involved, check out this handy guide from Cosmopolitan magazine.
Is Cosplay The Same As Anime?
No. Although cosplay is inspired by anime style, it’s not the same. Just because you enjoy anime doesn’t mean you should begin practicing cosplay right away.
First off, there aren’t enough hours in the day to master every aspect of cosplay. Secondly, it takes time to build up the skill level required to pull off complicated feats. Finally, there are plenty of things you need to worry about beyond putting together a great cosplay outfit.
For example, you have to be prepared to deal with crowds, bad weather, and traffic.
So before you dive headfirst into cosplay, remember that it’s tough to succeed without proper training.
Why Is Cosplay So Popular?
People seem to love cosplay. There are countless videos on YouTube dedicated to it. When you search for cosplay photos on Google Images, you’ll find thousands of results. And Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are full of cosplayers sharing pictures and updates.
One reason cosplay is so popular is that it allows people to escape reality and enter another world. It gives us permission to temporarily forget about our problems and concerns and embrace something much less stressful.
Another big draw is that cosplayers often have strong feelings toward their chosen characters. Fans will defend them fiercely against any perceived slight.
And finally, cosplay is a creative outlet. Once you decide on a character, you can spend days trying to perfect your outfit. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can dedicate months or even years to building a wardrobe, learning choreography, and memorizing lines.
When you combine creativity and passion, you end up with something extraordinary.
What Is The Golden Rule Of Cosplay?
Before you jump into cosplay, it helps to understand the golden rule of cosplay. According to cosplayers, this rule applies no matter what type of cosplay you choose. Here it is:
Do not hurt anyone or damage any property. Treat everyone with respect while being honest and fair. Always be safe, and never lie.
It sounds pretty straightforward, but it’s worth taking note of. After all, you wouldn’t want to ruin someone’s life.
Now that you know a little bit more about cosplay, you’re ready to get involved. Maybe you want to join a community club or start attending conventions.
Whatever path you choose, good luck!