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An Overview of Cosplay: Exploring the Subculture

Cosplaying is an activity for certain. Cosplaying is a pastime for some, but for others, it is an integral part of daily living. Cosplay has become a regular aspect of our society regardless of whether you’ve ever taken part. Costumes require an enormous amount of time and effort to create to allow people to take part in events that allow them to play their favorite characters. Cosplay is described as Halloween costumes as witches. If you are proficient in the art of cosplay, it is more than the act of dressing up. It’s about completely engaging in the role of an individual character and performing in front of thousands of spectators.

What is the origin of this phenomenon? What caused cosplay to change from being a dress-up for adults into something that’s now considered an art form and a representation of one’s fandom?

The History of Cosplay

Cosplay was first described as “costuming” however it was first introduced in the 1930s in North America. It wasn’t required that people mimic a person’s appearance in the past. It was just a matter of wearing costumes appropriate to the type of story. Forrest J. Ackerman donned his futuristic outfit to a science fiction convention. The costume was original and was the first person to go to a convention wearing the style. In the years following conventions were more like masquerade balls, and prizes were given to those who wore the most creative costumes.

The movement was first introduced in Japan through the manga series Urusei Yansura and the TV series Mobile Suit Gundam. Japanese college students dressed in their favorite characters for events. The fans would imitate their favorite scenes from North America and reenact them which added to the fun.

The word “cosplay” was coined in 1984, after it merged the terms “costume” as well as “play”. Nobuyuki Takahashi (Japanese reporter) invented the term following his visit to Worldcon Los Angeles. He believed that the Japanese public would think it was outdated to translate the term “masquerade” so instead, used the word “cosplay” to define the idea. Now, fast forward to the present where cosplay has become an art form that is a subculture. It’s not uncommon to see people in costumes at conventions across North America. Cosplay has been able to expand beyond sci-fi and anime to encompass other genres such as superheroes, cartoon characters, and video game characters. Cosplay is an integral part of Japanese popular culture, especially in the areas of Shibuya and Harajuku. Cosplayers dress in costumes all the time, so it’s common to see people who stand apart from the rest of the crowd.

Maid-themed cafes are very well-known. In these establishments, a waitress dresses up as a maid to assist her client (aka the boss). This type of roleplaying might be a bit odd for certain people, and we have to wonder why cosplayers decide to play this way.

What motivates people to participate

Cosplay comes with many advantages. Cosplayers are awed by dressing as characters, much as Halloween. BuzzfeedYellow’s video “Why I cosplay” showcases two cosplayers who say that cosplay helps them build up their strength and increases their confidence. One cosplayer states, “Cosplay allows me to be the characters I want to be.” Imagine living by their awesomeness. Cosplay is about the character’s appearance. This means that top-quality costumes are utilized and the roleplaying is real. Cosplaying is described as acting in a manner. Participants dress and behave as the character they portray after they have put on their costumes.

There is a strong sense that this subculture is a community. Fans can interact with fellow fans regardless of whether they’re interested in sewing, modeling photography, sewing, or another pastime. It’s thrilling to watch other fans cosplaying the same characters or even from the same show. It’s a sense of solidarity. To keep everyone entertained pictures of the group are taken and fan services are provided. Cosplayers can get together on different occasions other than are not conventions. Cosplayers who love to create costumes can attend sewing events and share tips with other cosplayers. Beach parties and club events for cosplayers are also possible. They can showcase their costumes in different locations.

Cosplayers have the same thing They all engage in this for enjoyment. While it requires patience and effort but the rewards are worth it. It’s not like spending long hours making a costume, and then wearing it when completed. This is an excellent chance to showcase your passion and can be accomplished by anyone willing to take the time to learn.


While many cosplayers participate to have fun, some use it to earn money. Jessica Nigri, a cosplayer, and a celebrity became famous after her ‘Sexy Pikachu costume was made available online. Since then, she has been a model for cosplay for a variety of characters, including Connor Kenway in Assassin’s creed III, Vivienne Squall in KILLER is Dead, and the female Captain Edward Kenway in Assassin’s creed IV: Black Flag. There are Facebook fan pages for her as well as a subreddit for her. The number of fans she has gained exponentially. Jessica sells signed posters and is paid to create costumes for the latest games released in video format.

Jessica Nigri isn’t the only cosplayer to charge the cost of having their pictures taken. While monetization can be a means to help creators, it could also cause problems. Angelia Bermudez from Costa Rica was left in limbo due to fraud. While she was assured that her flight and hotel were insured, she discovered that she was scammed when the person who was in charge of her accommodations was detained. She was not able to go back home because of the kindness of her generous supporters.

These are the risks that professional cosplayers face. Sadly, those who invested so much time and effort into their craft aren’t taken seriously. What is it that makes a cosplayer professional? What about costumes or the way they are modeled? What’s the most important thing in creating cosplay that is “good”?

What is the best way to create great cosplay?

Buzzfeed’s Try Guys began the series in four parts exploring the world of cosplay in August. The series let viewers of the Try Guys see how many hours are required to create costumes for conventions. It was a challenge for them to understand how a single costume could require 700 hours. This led to others considering all the elements that go into a good costume.

1. Pay attention to the details

It is essential to get ready for cosplay events and be patient while putting on your costume. Although they might not be able to tell the distinction between wigs and fabric they will be able to tell when the costume isn’t properly made. The most avid fans will also be aware of any details that are missing (such as wristbands) and therefore, multiple pictures are required before making your costume. The most important aspect is how the costume fits. Customers should make sure that their costumes fit well regardless of whether they’re similar in size to the person they are portraying.

Cosplay is all about the way you appear. If a character is unique, characteristics, such as whiskers or ears that resemble elf makeup can add to the look. If a cosplayer chooses to portray Naruto in the role of Sage, they must be aware of the red/orange hue of his eyes.

2. Creativity

The fans have the full freedom to alter the appearance of their characters so long as they are recognizable. The gender-swapping process is among the most well-known methods to alter the appearance of a character. Gender swaps alter the character’s gender and alter the outfit accordingly. The Try Guys, for instance, chose to switch genders with the male version of the Sailor Scouts.

You could also alter your costume to fit the theme of steampunk or Victorian. It’s a fun method to show your imagination. But, it might not be possible to locate an image of the reference. A lot of modifications could confuse viewers and make it difficult to recognize the persona.

3. Confidence

The confidence of a person makes them distinguish themselves from other people wearing the same outfit. While it may be uncomfortable initially for cosplayers, how they dress and interact with other people can affect the overall experience. It can build confidence when the person is willing to be exposed in public. Kristen Lanae is a cosplayer and a shy woman who attributes cosplay to making her feel more confident. She stated that she’s always been quiet and shy however, when she’s dressed in costume it makes her feel alive. This is probably due to the positive reactions I receive when wearing costumes.

If you are looking to cosplay, there’s plenty of help available. You can share pictures of your progress and receive advice on how to create a specific piece of clothing or item. Fans can support their fellow players by posting comments on their social media profiles to express appreciation. Like all art forms, there are always dangers. Some people might not be able to appreciate your work or may find it difficult to understand. Cosplay is a form of physical art. That means there are more dangers than just not knowing the costume worn by the cosplayer.

Cosplay: The Risques

1. Sexual Harassment

Certain characters are designed to be provocative, and they may wear high school uniforms or spandex bodysuits. The fans can lose sight of the costumed characters and get caught up in fantasies about their favorite character. Customers are frequently subject to sexual assault, and that’s why there have been numerous instances of it. Women have been sexually harassed and some have been forced to leave due to not fitting into a certain costume. This is the reason why organizers have adopted anti-harassment guidelines to educate people about the problem. At New York Comic Con, you’ll see a notice that states that “Cosplay is Not Consent and that all is treated equally.

Cosplaying as a character should not encourage sexual harassment or inappropriate remarks. It is a great way to have fun cosplaying and not be scared of being harassed.

2. Judgment

As we’ve said before Some fans are obsessed with the way the character will look in reality. Cosplayers who don’t look like the character are frequently considered to be a failure. This is not a good way to conduct this art. Different sizes and shapes can be created. It is not acceptable to be judged because they don’t fit the body of the character. Yaya Han is an eminent and popular cosplayer who is a fan of all cosplaying body types.

Everyone can have a wonderful time playing cosplay. There are numerous benefits to cosplay, even if there are some negatives. It is not a bad idea to encourage people from playing their preferred character. Cosplaying is a fantastic opportunity to meet new people and play a different character. It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase your passion and meet people who have the same passions. It’s not often that you’ll get to see Naruto and Superman eating lunch together.

Cosplay has evolved from masquerading into an art form. Although it can be considered mimicry, some individuals put their creative twist into their costumes and overall appearance. What once was a hobby has allowed participants to make careers out of cosplaying, which demonstrates the prevalence of cosplay in society. It has become part of the subculture, and can no longer be considered ‘dress up for adults’.

Cosplay is regarded as an art form since it lets people show their creative side by changing into different characters. Like all other forms of art, starts with enthusiasm and then becomes tangible once the person decides on how to make it come to life.

Works are cited

Ashcraft, Brian, & Luke Plunkett. Kotaku 22 October 2014. “Where is the word “Cosplay?” Comes from. Web.

BuzzFeedVideo. Video clip online. YouTube, 2 August 2015. Web.

BuzzFeedYellow. “Why I chose to cosplay.” Video clip. YouTube, 9 September 2014. Web.

Don. “Jessica Nigri.” Know Your Meme News. Cheezburger Inc., n.d. Web.

Gallagher, Luke. Gallagher, Luke. Web.

Kondolojy Amanda L. “Playing Dress up for Adults: The History of Cosplay” Cheat Code Central, n.d. Web.

Morgan, Maybelle. Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers, 27 Jul 2015. Web.

Mexican, Darth. “Cosplay Crisis” The Geek Lyfe. GhostPool.com 14 July 2015. Web.

Raymond, Adam K. “75 years of Capes and Face Paints A Story of Cosplay.” Yahoo!, 24 July 2015. Web.

Romano, Andrea. Mashable. “Cosplay isn’t consent: The people who fight sexual assault at Comic-Con.” N.p., 15 Oct. 2014. Web.

White, Kaila. Azcentral. N.p., 4 June 2014. Web.

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