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What Is Cosplay Anyway?

What Is Cosplay Anyway?

Cosplay is often misunderstood, and often brings up vague images of people dressed up in anime costumes. It can be interpreted in many different ways, but generally it refers to costume play or roleplay with anime or video game costumes. In the United States you can see cosplay in action at video game, comic and anime conventions. In Asia cosplay has a larger impact where it has influenced fashion, pop culture, and TV/street marketing.

Cosplay costumes have a large range that goes well outside of video games and anime. The intention is not to be symbolic of an idea or holiday but to actually replicate the character and play them yourself. Holidays like Halloween and Mardi Gras are generally not thought of as cosplay holidays because people dont actually live the characters and simply dress up. The level of detail in a cosplay outfit is also much higher than a store bought halloween costume.

The range of how detailed a cosplay outfit can get can vary from a upgraded costume kit to a custom made and tailored suit with full armor details, costume jewlry, and weapons. Cosplayers will often finish the look by using a wig, adding extensions to their hair, using hair dye and make-up. Contact lenses are also widely used to recreate anime or video game eye colors. Temporary or even real tatoo’s are used to finish the look.

You can see cosplay in action at fan, comic, and video game conventions. Often these conventions have strict rules which the cosplayer must follow. These rules generally apply to cosplay weapons and outfits which are too revealing. The single largest event in the United States is the San Diego Comic-Con which is held every summer. Japan has many large expo’s such as Comiket and the Japan Expo. At these conventions there will often be competitions where contestants present their cosplay and are judged for an award. Typically the contests require the cosplay outfit to be self made, the contestant must also have a skit prepared or have some sort of supporting act.

To help better understand what type of costumes are considered cosplay I will list some of the popular cosplay from this years comic-con. Of the video game cosplay, we found lots of Assassin’s Creed, World of Warcraft, League of Legends, Metal Gear, Street Fighter, Zelda and the always popular Final Fantasy cosplay. For anime and cartoons there was Bleach anime, Dragonball, Durarara!, Air Gear, FullMetal Alchemist, Kingdom Hearts and of course Pokemon. There were also some good Hollywood movie representations with outfits from Kill Bill, Batman, Superman, Underworld, Resident Evil, Star Trek, X-Men and Lord of the Rings.