Cosplay - Class 101
What is the 'Cos-play'?
Long, long ago, in a far away village called Otaku, in rural Japan. Two young boys dressed-up as their favourite 'Samurai legends' and staged a play for the entire village to watch, which the wisest elderly men referred to as "Cosplay". And so began the magic and history of the term. *samurai bows*
No, no, no! That's not how it began at all!
Today the term "Cosplay"
is the new exciting! The portmanteau word derived from the words "costume" and "play". The origin of categorising it was first contrived by a Japanese show producer; Nobuyuki Takahashi of 'Studio Hard Deluxe'
. To break it down simply, the compounded words used in Japanese were 'kosu'
. (コス) meaning 'Costume'
(プレ) which means 'play'
Full Cosplay, no details lost
This discovery inadvertently took place back in 1984 at the Los Angeles Science Fiction - "Worldcon"
. Due to the nature of the event, the 'fans' at the show arrived in costumes related to the public event. Takahasi
back then, was reporting for some Japanese science fiction magazines. In his article, he composed a feature on both the event and also the event 'fans'
who dressed up in attendance.
Cosplay has taken off astronomically within the pop-culture in the last few of years alone. Its popularity in many forms have contagiously spread exponentially across the globe. Cosplay, the term, (costume-play - kosupure
) originated in Japan. It is the act of "dressing up"
into characters from a variety of influences such as (but not limited to); anime, manga, comics, video games, films/movies, books and even Visual-Kei
music bands (in Japan).
For a long time, "costume play" was primarily adorned and recognised within the Asian sub-culture only. Mainly dressing up in anime and manga for the fervent Cosplayers
to express their characters. As time went on, more and more countries from around the world adapted the "hobby"
by heart and has virally affected the westernised world as we know. This infectious hobby has been clinched from the once avid anime viewer and manga readers to basically any form of characters both fictional and "real life"
legends seen in films and tv shows.
The last decade has seen this subculture phenomenal growth into something more than just dressing-up into your favourite character. Where it was once deemed nerdy or geeky, is now adapted and approved by various communities. But where you'll find them and where one can feel much more at home is at the pop-culture conventions nationwide in most continents. Cosplayers flock to the scene in many guise and large groups, and most conventions also support 'Cosplay Contests'
with prizes winnings for those who participate under their guidance rules.
Cosplayers in general do or dress up for this hobby particularly for the fun involved and their affection for their favourite cosplay attire. There's a diverse level into costume quality, for the elitist it is quintessential accurately painstakingly detail their costume. The novices are happy just to wear a Pikachu fuzzy cap on their head or even something as simple as holding a painted orange made to appear to look like a 'Pokeball'(so long as they're having fun).
So doing it wrong...Sailor Moon doesn't wear glasses!
There's good, then there's EPIC!!
For the more serious cosplayers, costumes need quality at very high levels. Therefore some would propose to acquire their costumes from online stores specialising in cosplay, some would also commission specialists to custom made to the cosplayer's figure. The extremely passionate would design, create and craft their own costumes to their own specifications. Though it doesn't stop there as costumes mostly come with accessories such as weapons and hold objects that are part of the character they're replicating.
Avatar with Mech
Not too long ago, new hybrid term has arisen that has truly taken off on its own merits. Cosplayers aren't always content to be just a character limited to their own gender. It's alright to be some cute animal or creature worn by either gender no matter the sex of the animal/creature. But the newer term, "Crossplay",
means exactly what it is. Predominantly chosen to be artistically styled by the female cosplayers, they would at times cosplay as male characters with a twist of femininity appearance to their costume. These 'crossplayers'
can surprisingly work out well if executed with finesse and adept fondness, to which has also gained much popularity in recent times. And just to make sure they're distinguished by their character identification, a subtle name change is made to make it more appealing and suitable
(eg. Iron-Man = Iron Lady, Loki = Lady Loki, etc).
'Crossplay' - Lady Raiden [MGR]
It's so ultra-ralistic!
A tale of two regions. If one had to divide the world of cosplay, you would be left with two main societal groups with equal appraisal and fashion perspective. But both would have the same goal, and that is to role-play the character in their hearts! From where it all began, Japan and the rest of Asia have accomplished a formidable effort in giving this sub-culture a true life and meaning to everyone engaged in the "art performance"
. They give cosplay so much grace when they display superior attention to detail in both the costumes they conceive and the persona they actualize to stay true to the form. Clearly it shows that they are at their own zone when cosplaying an anime or manga that they idolise. They're levels are even higher when it comes to becoming
the character in appearance and in their attitude, plus they're most likely be able to speak the language and imitate their voices better.
Although still relatively at its infancy, the western culture of cosplay is no amateur work either. In the short time they've spent on the scene, they have shown that being on the other side of the spectrum does not hinder on what they're able to become. Using pop-culture closer to home such as comics and film/movie characters, they can show some extra creativity and personality into what or who they know best. Crossplay
appears to work very well for the female talents who transform a male character's costume to accommodate for the opposite gender. Attention to detail is also on the agenda, no matter how simple or elaborate. Making one's character their very own among many others is one of the key feature to individuality. It shows that limits can reshaped and form a new style that is still genuine to the original.
There's no misunderstanding between each region, cosplay unites all people alike. They share, they learn and they teach one another the knowledge they hold or discover. Cosplay is an expanding world with no limits. New found genres and subculture and cross-culture are created and bonded as this performance art of costume role play grows.
If you don't think you've ever known what 'cosplay'
is, chances are you may have already seen it. Just think back to some of the parties you've seen or attended with people and children dressed up in their favourite "super hero" or "villain". That's where it all begins, that's where the foundation evolves. And if you don't think you've taken part in cosplay, chances are you probably already have but just didn't know it!? Although it may be slightly different and less formal or too formal?! A party with a theme where one would need to dress up as someone or something from a chosen category is only six degrees of separation from "cosplay"