Cosplay a History and The Phenomenon
Cosplay where did it come from? ,Well for a start cosplay is a combination of words meaning literary ''Costume Play'' . It is a quite often regarded as a performance art. Participants don costumes and props to assume the look of a certain character ,whether it be from Film,Anime,comics or Video Games.
Not to be confused with fancy dress where people don costumes for particular parties or social occasions, In Cosplay there is a big emphasis on getting the detail of the character right, making sure that the outfit is right,weapons or props are like the character has and of course that personal features like hair,eyes and make-up are right .
Nobuyuki Takahashi (above)
The term Cosplay was Coined by Nobuyuki Takahashi in 1984 ,it came to him while attending the 1984 Los Angeles Science Fiction World Con.
It is also common for individuals to gender swap for portraying the part to, due to the many Bishonen (Pretty Boy) type of characters found in Anime and video games.
Hyper Japan 2012, the Crossplay on the right is so cool.
So it's quite common for Girls to portray Male characters who are of slight stature and feature girly faces. They quite often go to extreme lengths to get the desired look, like chest Binding, having tattoos or piercings .
As far as Male to female cosplays ( Crossplays) there not as widely done as the Female to Male ones , A girl can use make-up to make a face look more masculine to great effect, for a guy he has a harder job of concealing his features ,facial hair is easy ,a good shave and make up can work wonders on the right performer ,but many are reluctant to shave or wax their legs or even arms when portraying female characters (it does grow back you Know) .
Cosplay88 crossplays Agito Girl (left) , On the Right Ayane from DOA
Also it's hard for a big burly guy to portray a sweet little girl ,no matter how much he does , size can often give it away. But their have been quite few successful Male Crossplays ,but of course it's the slight of build guy that will come of better if he pays attention to detail.
Props and Weapons
Another big part of Cosplay is the construction of weapons and props that a certain character may use, many spend months making replicas of weapons and props to great effect. But of course as many of these props are used at conventions and shows ,they have to conform to strict rules,ie: not having sharp dangerous points or edges or look like a real weapon from afar ,especially if a fire arm (don't want to be arrested do we) and of course if weapons are overly large then they can cause problems to.
Many online sellers are offering certain props already made ,but they can set you back a small fortune compared to the main costume.
As far as the costumes ,many cosplayers make their own costumes or have commissions done, it's these that are eligible for inclusion in competitions and stage shows across the world. Getting the material right on a costume can earn you much respect and a chance to travel the world. Though many Online sellers sell costumes ,they can range from the very good to a lackluster version of the portrayed character.
Of course many choose to go this route if they are just cosplaying,attending shows for fun and have no real intention of the competition side of things, as adding the right accessories can make a manufactured costume look top notch.
Japan street fashion
You have al heard of Harujuku ( Gwen Stefani made it famous with her song) . It's here where Japanese street fashion has become famous ,the Lollita dressed girls hanging around ,going shopping and creating a new wave of fashion in Japan. Well this all stems from Costume Play. Many cosplayers meet in and around in their favorite costumes in Harujuku . Quite often giving a colourful look to the day and the proceedings.
Though many Japanese find it quite fun ,there are also a large number of Japanese that see cosplay as waste of time and money ( some people drink,smoke or gamble , I Don't see Cosplaying doing any harm) and want young people to concentrate on there careers and basically tow the line.
Can I Take your Picture
The other big part of Cosplay are Photographs ,many cosplayers have their own photographers to get them in the best pose or shot to showcase their costume. There are also many photographers who offer there services solely for Cosplay shoots.
A good portfolio of Cosplay photos are not only something to showcase your hard work ,but can also get you a job as a professional cosplayer.
Yes create the right costume and you could turn professional, portray the character not only in costume but also in character and mannerisms and may get noticed by that Game producer or Film company who want to promote there latest Game ,Film or Anime. Becoming a official mascot for big name companies is something that happens all the time.
Cosplay Just grows
With a wealth of shows taking place around the world ,there is no shortage of events where cosplayers can show of there hard work,meet friends and find new ones. Here in the UK we have some twenty shows a year offering cosplay events, From Comic Cons to Japanese themed shows and Film and TV conventions.
Even if you have never thought of cosplaying ,visit one of these shows and you may find yourself outnumbered by the amount of people in cosplay. Who Knows maybe next time your become your own inner hero and be someone else for a day.
It's not hard to find out what's happening ,just type cosplay events in the internet and your sure to find something happening in your area . Plus with the many Internet sites on the past time I'm sure your be hooked ,but then if your here reading this ,you must be curious.