Cos-play is a popular activity among comic conventions, anime conventions, video game conventions, and other pop culture related conventions. The art form gives a person the chance to become something different. Sometimes the cos-player will create and sew the costume and make the props themselves. This is something to be admired and respected as there is a lot of time and money that goes into this process. In the world of cos-play there are different types of cos-players; cross-play, gender bend, general and more. I will touch base on a few of the popular types of cos-playing, and the joy that comes with it.
General: General cos-play is your basic cos-play. You find a character you like and portray that character. Some cos-players purchase the costumes others make the costumes to match what that character is supposed to look like. Normally it is same gender cos-playing, cross gender cos-playing is more known as “Cross Play” which I will touch on in a few minutes. Cos-playing is about having fun and becoming the character you are being. My first was a character known as Gumi, she is a singing program from Japan known as Vocaloids. Gumi is upbeat, spunky, and very energetic. It was a lot of fun portraying her.
Cross-Play: Cross play is taking on a new gender in your cos-play, crossing genders. Females portray male characters and males portray female characters. This is quite popular to do. It is not uncommon to see a man dressed as Sailor Moon or a woman dressed as Naruto. Many females go all out when they cross play and even bind their chests so their bodies look less feminine. Some men do the same and go all out when cross-playing while others don’t even shave so you’ll see Belle or Fae Valentine with a full beard and mustache. Cross playing poses a challenge as you are portraying a different gender not just a different personality, many may find this difficult to accomplish.
Gender Bend: This is another type of cos-play that I have done in the past. This is where you take a character of one gender and bend it to the opposite character. I have taken a male character, Peter White, and made him into a female character. The challenge this poses is that you need to design the character’s costume yet keep it close the original. What I did was instead of long pants, I wore a skirt, instead of short hair, long curly hair with pigtails. Instead of his tie, I wore a choker but painted a clock on it to match the tie. Sometimes it is difficult to look at a character and know how to make them into a different gender and then keep that character’s personality at the same time.
Closet Cos-play: This can be a challenge sometimes. This is where you simply go into your closet and see what you have that can be used for a character. This can go one of two ways: incredibly well done, or horribly wrong. You have to be careful who you are planning to try and be with a closet cos-play and match it as well as you can. Some of the more popular female closet cos-plays are Misa Misa from Death Note, Sonya Blade, Lara Croft. For men it is a little bit easier as there are more male characters in jeans and a t-shirt like L from Death Note or Hidaki from Chobits. This is probably one of the easier forms of cos-playing, but just as fun.
Cos-playing can be seen as something to look down upon. Many see it as being weird and freakish, but it is a lot fun; also like acting. It is indeed an art form no matter if you make your costume, use items you already own or purchase them. If you purchase a costume, make sure it is from a creditable source, and that it is what you are looking for in the costume. Note that sizes in America are different than in Japan or China so you may need to measure yourself in order to get the correct size, as well as ordering well in advance because it does take time to come in.
Cos-playing is something that you can get lost in and is a great hobby. It is a wonderful way to make new friends at conventions with someone who is in the same costume, same anime or just simply loves the costume you are wearing. Many voice actors like Monica Rial, also enjoy seeing their characters portrayed through cos-players. There are so many different forms of cos-playing and each one is just as much fun as another.