Cosplay is seen differently by many people; for others, it is a way of life, and for others, it is a sport. If you have engaged in cosplay or not, it has become common in today’s culture. Labor and a significant amount of time are expended in creating these costumes so that a person can participate whether he or she embodies one of their favorite characters. Cosplay, on the other hand, is akin to dressing up as a witch for Halloween. Cosplaying is more than simply dressing up with those who participate in the hobby. It requires an entirely immersing oneself as an actor and performing in front of thousands of supports of the event. It is quite remarkable to note how the phenomenon of cosplaying came into existence, and when cosplay grew from being a dress up for adults into something touchable which has been accepted as a representation of one’s fandom and a pop culture.
The history of cosplay
Early it was known as costuming, in the late 1930s cosplay began in North America. During this time cosplay did not require any participants to mimic any character appearance, but it merely needed someone to dress appropriately for the genre, in which Forrest J. Ackerman did in his futuristic costume when he went for a sci-fi convention. Forrest is in the records as the first person to show up wearing a costume which later had a significant impact on the conference as they started appearing like masquerade balls, as well as the award of prizes to those individuals who were wearing an outstanding costume. For example in Japan, the television series, Mobile Suit Gundam, and the Manga Series Urusei Yatsura were in the frontline for the launch of the movement as most of the Japanese students eagerly dressed up in the costume bearing their most favorite characters for conventions. Having the original idea of masquerading from North America most of the fans would re-enact their best scenes which increased the excitement as they were in the position to display their adoration for the series. In the year 1984 is when the term cosplay was invented which has the combination of the two words costume and play. This invention was done by a Japanese report Nobuyuki Takahashi after he had an opportunity to attend the WorldCom in Los Angeles. When explaining to the Japanese people masquerade, he thought that the word appeared to be too old-fashioned and decided to use the cosplay to describe these findings.
In today’s world, the cosplay has generated a subculture of its kind. It is no longer odd to spot people donned in different costume at the convention in North America. With time the cosplay has expanded beyond the sci-fi or anime, it has spread to other parts such as the cartoon characters, video game character, superheroes, and the more others. In the country of Japan, they have impressed the cosplay as part and parcel of their pop culture, in specific in the districts such as the Shibuya and Harajuku. Most of the people in this particular location dress in cosplay on a daily basis, so it is not odd to spot a person stand out amongst all other people. Also, the maids in the cafes have become more popular in which most of the waitress are dress in costume as a maid and gives services to her master also known as the customer. This kind of roleplaying might be taken as odd to other different people who pose the question of why individuals choose to participate in the cosplay activities in the first place.
Why people participate
Different reason has been advanced to why people engage in the art of cosplay. Just like it is fun to wear up as a separate person on Halloween those who take part in the cosplayers enjoy transforming themselves into characters there like. According to the Buzz Feed Yellows video, which outlines the reason why people take part in the cosplay two different people describe that being someone else provides them the strength because it boosts their confidence, as during the cosplay there can become any character of their choice. In other term cosplaying is similar to the action as the participants are required to get into character and behave in the same manner and nature once they wear their costume.
There is also a strong sense of community within this subculture. Whether one enjoys modelling, sewing, or photography, fans are in the position to interact with others who are in the similar fandom. A sense of unity is generated, and it’s thrilling to witness another individual cosplay as the same actor or another character from the same series. In additional group photos are taken, and fan services is done to get onlookers excited. To illustrate this concept in most situation cosplayers will get together occasional other than conventions. Like those people who find pleasure in cosplay, they attend sewing parties to work on their costumes with other people. Cosplayers are given different opportunities by cosplay club events or beach parties which are aided by the enthusiasts for them to wear the costumes in various locations. The most common aspect about all the cosplayer is that all of them venture into the hobby because of its fun. In most cases, it requires dedication and time, but it is also rewarding to see the outcome. The great thigh about the activity is that nobody spends much time making their costumes just to begrudgingly put it on once and it is done. This is a unique opportunity to represent a fandom and can be undertaken by anyone.
Theory of consumerism
It is a theory the deals with economics which outlines that an increased intake of a good is economically desirable. The theory has been linked to the western world, and it came to the existence during the industrial revolution in Europe where commodities could be processed in significant quantities at lower prices and sold in masses.
Cosplayers take part in the event for fun but to others is their way of generating a living.
Jessica Nigri a cosplay celebrity rose to the popularity when her sexy Pikachu costume finds its way to the internet. She has appeared in different conventions since then as an official cosplay model for various characters such as Vivienne Squall (KILLER IS DEAD), the female version of Captain Edward Kenway, (Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag) and Connor Kenway. Her fandom has increased exponentially as she has a Facebook fan pages, Subreddit, and Tumblrs dedicated to her. Apart from that, Jessica also sells autographed posters of herself on the site and receive payment form creating costumes for new video games introduced in the market.
Art and merchandise
Wherever there is an excellent TV show, film or book review they are crafters and artist who emerge ready to generate and sell their interpretation of its universe and characters. A faster search on the Etsy for notable titles such as the Breaking Bad, Big Bang Theory, or the Game of Thrones displays countless phone cases, keychains, wall art, apparel items, and other handmade knick-knacks for fans to enjoy. One of the best examples for this is Sailor moon phone case which is favorite with the cosplayers and even other girls.
For that member who believes in the pop culture fandom, the best manner to immerse themselves in their best fictional universe is to wear exactly like the characters themselves. It does not matter whether it’s just for Halloween or participating in the different above mentioned fan convention. Most of the people are ready and will to pay top dollar for authentic, tailor-made replicas of the actor’s outfits. For instance, the California based cosplay house offers made-to-order cosplay costumes, accessories, and wind builds on every item from the Disney film that comprises of a comic book video game and anime. The items go typically for $100 upwards for those special commission request.
Most of the production firm have for long taken advantage on the popularity of their media products with budget theme parks, short-term exhibits, studio tours for cosplay supports who want to go behind the scene of films and show they love. Some of the corporation are willing to give an opportunity to a number of the fans who want to indeed live experience. The Warner Bros Studios and the New York City eight o’clock in the year 2014 temporarily erected functioning replica of the famed “Friends coffee shop” at central perk to cover the 20th-anniversary show. According to the New York Times, it was reported that fans of the cosplay lined up around the block patiently for an hour or so to get the chance to drink free coffee as well as sitting on the real central perk couch and take cosplay photos. In additional it is widespread among the Vietnamese cosplayer as most of them uses the photo studio rather than wandering around and looking for a perfect place. This cosplayer only searches for a suitable photo studio with the required setting and book it. The cosplay photo studios contain specially furnished rooms with a themed environment to fulfil the needs of their clients. Also, most of the studios have changing rooms, lockers, and well loaded with equipment of amenities such as the hairspray, bobby pins among others. The workshops also contain a camera and the cosplay accessory rental.
A good number of the maid cafes are a subsection of the cosplay restaurants located predominantly in Japan. Waitresses dress in maid costumes and act as a servant in most of the cafes and treat clients as masters in a private setting rather than a café patrons. Cure maid café is the first permanent café founded in Akihabara Tokyo Japan in the March 2000. With time there has been an increase in the maid cafes as well as gaining popularity. These cafes are not only in Japan there have also crossed over to China, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, Hungary and Taiwan. The Japanese culture club run the maid café every year at the canopy at RMIT. The club members are required to dress in the costume attire and introduce drinks menu to the clients. The fund raised from the events by the Japanese clubs go to charity work.
Purikura-the cosplay sticker photo booth
Photo sticker or the photo sticker booths machine originated from Japan; these are a particular type of photo booth that produces photo stickers. The devices have spread all the way to South Korea, Hong Kong, Asia, Taiwan, Vietnam, China, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand but still maintaining popularity in Japan. With time some of the machines are finding their way in US and Canada despite the fact that they failed to make an impact in the 1990s when they were introduced in Europe.
In Japan, purikura (プリクラ) means photo sticker booth or the item of such a photo booth. The name is a shortened form of the registered trademark Purinto Kurabu (プリント倶楽部). The term derives from the English ‘print club’. Jointly developed by Atlus and Sega, the first purikura machines were sold in July 1995. In some countries like Vietnam purikura is a trend, a quite number of stores were opened and provide a wide range of service of the cosplay costume for people to dress and take pictures. Customers are required to pay $3 to buy a coin, which is inserted in the machine allowing multiple customers to enter the booth and pose for a set number of pictures. After taking the photos, the clients chose the photos their want to keep and customize them using a sensitive screen or a touchscreen. The touchscreen, in turn, displays a wide range of the array of options such as the virtual pictures, stamps, colorful backdrops, borders, pens and clip art that can be superimposed on the photographs.
The risk of cosplay
Unfortunately, some of the characters have spandex body suits or high school uniforms with short skirts which in most case are provocative to the views. As an outcome of these fans forget that there is a person inside those costumes as they swept up in the fantasy that their favorite character has come to life. Many of sexual harassment cases have been reported by the cosplayers who are trying to enjoy the conventions. Men have been criticized for not fitting a particular costume while women have been groped. Most of the organizing of this event are trying to implement the anti-harassment policies. Most of the people who have attended this event have called for respect as their ague the cosplay is not consent. At different entrance point, there are signs warning people that cosplay is not consent.
Fans make judgments that are passed to the cosplayers in the manner there should appear in real life. The cosplay event calls for tolerance among the people as they come in different body size that does not match the character. Whichever the manner cosplay should be an enjoyable experience for everyone who attends it. Despite the negative aspects of the society, there are ample amounts of positivity. It is the highest time people should not be discouraged to participate in the cosplay as their favorite characters. Cosplay provides a perfect chance to represent one’s fandom and get to understand others with the same talents.
Cosplay has transformed from masquerading to an art form with time. At some level, it can be considered as mimicry as it calls for creativity by the participants to twist their costumes as well as their general appearance. Cosplaying started as a hoppy but has enabled participants to enhance their careers which illustrate the prevalence of game in the community. Cosplay has evolved into a subculture and can no longer be seen as a dress up for adults. It is an artistic expression that enables individuals to transform into various characters the reason behind why it is considered as an art. Like any other art forms cosplay stars with a passion as it turns into a something tangible with time.