Gamekit on Games #2
Cosplay – cool hobby or bad trend?
Cosplay. The meaning of this rising in popularity geeky phenomenon is surrounded by controversy and extreme sided opinions. What is it exactly? Should it be praised or discouraged? People love it, people hate it. Some of them live it and breathe it, others just accept it. To find out what cosplay is in fact, we have to start from the beginning – origin of the word itself.
Costume play コスプレ
Cosplay is a shortened form of two words – costume and play. The early 90s saw the rising of cosplay into popular culture, although it probably originated in Japan. It is the practice of portraying a fictional character – like heroes from video games. Sometimes it contains acting as if the individual was that character to add to the authenticity of the experience. So basically, it’s like advanced form of Halloween costumes (fans, don’t be offended!:P).
Channel4 film “WTF is Cosplay” explains a little a nature of this hobby – take a look.
Team Fortress 2 in real. Play it on Gamekit!
How to get custom costumes? Wikipedia provides some information:
Manufacturers produce and sell packaged outfits for use in cosplay, in a variety of qualities. These costumes are often sold online, but also can be purchased from dealers at conventions. A number of individuals also work on commission, creating custom costumes, props, or wigs designed and fitted to the individual. Other cosplayers, who prefer to create their own costumes, still provide a market for individual elements, accessories, and various raw materials, such as unstyled wigs or extensions, hair dye, cloth and sewing notions, liquid latex, body paint, costume jewelry, and prop weapons.
Some of the creations can be really sophisticated – take a look at these Metal Gear Rising cosplayers:
The dark side
Could this whole trend get bad anyhow? Meeting expectations to adopt a character's essence can be grueling. Things go wrong with your sewing machine, your wigs, your props, you run out of money, real life gets in the way, you don't know how to put something together, the paint job went wrong, the glue didn't hold, you didn't lose enough weight - the number of things that can get in the way when doing cosplay is crazy.
"Its hard to accept that you WON'T produce amazing, awestriking work without some cash, effort, and time, time time" Kat Elisabeth, cosplayer
Apart from technical and financial problems, there are also social issues. Some people simply don’t get the whole “fantasy look” stuff, and they will judge you hastily. Especially if you’re a woman who dressed as seductive heroine – you can get wrong impression. In Kotaku article, interesting statement appeared:
Sometimes, accusations of doing a ‘sexy' cosplay merely for attention rise, and here is where the ‘fake geek girl' stuff pop up—is that cosplayer actually clueless about their costume? While unfair, in a twisted sense the insecurities make sense: if some of the cosplay community is made up of defensive outcasts that have rallied together for the communal love of a piece of media, someone not actually being knowledgeable about that media might be seen as ‘threatening'.
Lina from DOTA 2 - play it on Gamekit!
The bright side
Why you should cosplay then? Great question, there are many reasons to do it – and it’s not only a thing reserved for the most nerdy ones. ;)
Cosplaying also can bring out creativity in what kind of cosplay you want to make. Crossovers, gender-benders, time era changers, post apocalyptic, the list goes on.
One word to describe cosplay that people question is “therapeutic.” Everyone always goes through a moment whether it’s long-term or short-term where they have low self confidence.
There’s so many reasons why someone will initiate a conversation with someone in cosplay.
You don’t have to be fit to dress like Wolverine. You don’t have to be white to dress like Rapunzel. You don’t have to be male to dress like Han Solo. You don’t have to be out of a wheelchair to be Superman.
Some people actually have made a career out of cosplaying. If you’re really good at robotics, special FX anything, sewing, etc., then go ahead and try your hand at cosplay.
Of course, cosplay wouldn’t be a thing if it weren’t fun. :)
Guild Wars 2 characters - play the game on Gamekit!
Two-sided nature of fun
To sum up – becoming a cosplayer is really fun way of socializing and bringing the beloved characters from games to life, but can get out of control if exposed to people without pop-cultural experience. It can also be a life-saver for some out there (check out confession of girl that found comfort in cosplay) . Do you have your favourite cosplayers? Post them in comments section!
For now, take a look at League of Legends (play the game with Gamekit here) examples from Anime Expo 2015.