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Cosplay: From Fandom to Identity

Wed Feb 8, 2012, 7:18 PM

Welcome to a whole new level.

Cosplay is taking over the world and our only surprise is what took it so long. There is so much to explore in this current Cosplay crusade. Let’s take a look beyond the headlines and thriving Con event circuit and get to the heart of what makes Cosplay so special to so many around the Earth Sphere. This is your chance to share with us the important elements, storylines, issues, and community members you would like to see highlighted.

To get this party started we’re running a series of profiles and tutorials throughout October starting with Lillyxandra.

Now there is the ongoing process of the multiplying and diversifying of distinct cosplay communities into so many different ways of coming together, online and in–person, to express themselves (not just becoming characters from manga, anime, comic books, graphic novels, videogames, TV & movies, but also transforming themselves with renaissance, fetish, “furry”, gender–reversal and even entirely Virtual immersions). It seems to us that what had once been an expression of group fandom, and then morphed into a sort of mass “political” expression of a specific cultural sensibility—is now becoming something more for some: a true commitment to a set of pop cultural characters, in their world and according to their rules and ethos.

Cosplay is my way of showing my dedication to my favorite comic, film or game. When I cosplay, I say, “I love this character, and I want to bring it to life.” I've put literal blood, sweat, and tears into my costumes, and the final transformation has always been worth it.”


Halloween costume play has come a very long way.

It’s passed even beyond consumer culture fandom and now become an important part of who we are—our virtual identity. Who can even speculate on where things are ultimately going? At least, right now, rather than being circumscribed in your “identity” at all times by where you were born and to whom you were born… now it’s possible to don the costume of whomever you have chosen to be—the “identity” that is your free choice, not the one the world “gave” you without your permission. That just might be a really great thing, even if it is for just a week, or weekend, at a convention somewhere in the world, we can all go on a voyage of discovery to find out the person we truly are.

One of the greatest experiences in cosplaying is seeing the face of a complete stranger light up when they see you, because they are suddenly standing face to face with their favorite character. The passion fans have is simply inspiring. They shout your character’s name from across the convention hall as they brave the crowds to get close to you, or tap your shoulder while you check your phone, and wait eagerly but patiently while you are engaged in conversations to ask for a photo. Knowing that your little expression of fandom love has brightened the day of another human being justifies all the stress and money that goes into building a cosplay.”


Questions for the Reader

  1. Which elements of the Cosplay movement would you like to see highlighted?
  2. Which deviants in the community might be best to contact for an interview about their process?
  3. Are there any elements in Cosplay that never seem to get mentioned that you feel need to be brought to the forefront of the conversation?
  4. In your opinion which Cons represent the best that Cosplay have to offer?
  5. Even if you have never dressed for a Con which character would you choose to emulate if you did decide to particpate?
  6. While dressed up in a costume, is there a difference between people who role play versus people who don't embody the traits of the character?

Add a Comment:
MasterPlanner Featured By Owner Edited Oct 3, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
I love cosplay and have nothing but respect for those artists who work hard to bring the characters they love to life! That said, I see way too many slobs squeezing their fat rolls into skimpy costumes of characters with thinner body types, people who don't make an effort, and "slutty" versions of characters who are reserved in canon. Like it or not, your looks and body type are part of the cosplay, and if you're not going to embody the characters, you're not truly cosplaying, you're just dressing up.
zakelong81 Featured By Owner May 13, 2014
IZURU-KIRA-MOE Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013
1.I think that it's really fun to be able to change your character, like if someone is usually really quiet,like canada from hetalia,then they could cosplay someone and be able to be more confident and be as loud as black*star(Which is a huuuge difference!).
2.I don't know to many, Sorry!
4.Sakura con in seattle, washington!
5.China from Hetalia and Death The Kid from soul eater! <3
Barry11crona Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2012
ive only just become an Envy cosplayer
andromedasengineer Featured By Owner May 29, 2012
Fighting Dreamers Productions are my favorite cosplayers and would be excellent to interview.

I'm currently putting together my Naruto Uzumaki cosplay (which I have always wanted to do! ^.^) and am ready to attend my first ever convention! (Metrocon in Tampa, FL June 15-17).

After Naruto, I would love to cosplay Lightning from FFXIII!
Dera-Michaelis Featured By Owner May 20, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Uh, I would like to answer Number Three in the questions. I think something that isn't often talked about in Cosplay is the opposition that comes with expressing yourself thus. For example, I have a small group of friends will Cosplay with me at school events and such, but one of them, who loves to Cosplay, isn't exactly allowed to. Her mother doesn't approve of Cosplaying as a guy, so she has to do it behind her mother's back. Of course when she moves on to collage she'll be able to do as much Cosplay as she wants. This doesn't seem to me a very isolated incident, and I could see this happening to a lot of younger cosplayers. Another problem I myself have with cosplaying is finding the right materials to do so. I don't have a lot of money, so I can't buy actual costumes, or wigs. My cosplay comes from my own wardrobe, and my hair is cut a certain way, and dyed a certain way, for one or two characters. If I need anything else, I have to sew it myself, or buy clothes that I can cut, slice, rearrange, and dye to look like I want. If I'm ever allowed to make an expensive purchase for cosplay I have to choose extremely carefully what I want because I'm usually limited to one purchase at a time and I need to make the most of it. And where I live there are rarely any official cosplay events. Which means cosplay opportunities are few and far between, unless you decide to walk around in cosplay. (which i do) hahahaha.
inkdeathLJlover Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2012
I love cosplay and everything it represents, me and my friend have been considering doing it at some point, though I do believe it is more successful if you resemble the character in some way, I do like how anyone can be whoever they want!
I believe that ~MuzzaThePerv is a really good cosplayer to talk to. :)
HuskeyNinja Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
i love cosplay even thorgh i have done it only once at that was the last day of school and i would love to do again and i love manga and anime
HuskeyNinja Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
if i do agian i would do it as lady Tsunade from naruto as her outfit is easy to do
stellarlemons Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
omg that first one is URD! I <3 OhMyGoddess!

In answer to the question who would I dress up as, most likey Alice from PandoraHearts. :)
Sanek1200 Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2012
Audiffred Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
im going to try this whith my brother !!!!
Mylittlepony0804 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012
I love cosplay and anime
Mylittlepony0804 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012
I love anime and cosplay
KiriSosha Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I love cosplay and cosplay culture
Dera-Michaelis Featured By Owner May 20, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
KiriSosha Featured By Owner May 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
animangamisfit Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2012  Student General Artist
1 everything cosplay is so much fun for everyone no only those who dress up but for those who didn't.
2 sorry not that well conected
3.details it would be great to see the smallest details paid attention to^-^
4. so sorry -.-'
5. america from aph my word though the england above is sooooooo awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fate-Wolffe Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2012
1. The preparations of the cosplayers b4 d con. Choosing the character that their going to cosplay, props, costume, pepping themselves up to be that character, etc...
2. Professional cosplayers or cosplayers who have a positive feedback , anime enthusiast, cosplay photographers, & frequent visitors of cons.
3. The extent or limit in portraying a character??
4. Sorry i really don't know
5. Ai Enma from the anime Jigoku Shoujo or Alice Lidell from Alice : Madness Returns. I noticed that i don't actually smile in any of my photographs.
HimeGabi Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Cosplayer for 14 yrs here.

1. I would like to see the process of "I want to do this costume" to actually putting it on. I love the spark in someone's eye when they decide they MUST do a particular character.

2. ScruffyRebel would be a good choice. She's been creating for around a decade and knows how to make exactly what she wants.

3. Fabric/materials shopping, just about everyone skips that. Maybe cause it's boring to the uninitiated but the things you need don't appear out of nowhere. You have to know where to look and the hunt can be inspiring or make you quit.

4. Best con is Dragon*Con in Atlanta during Labor day weekend. Never will you find such diversity in media, skills, age, fandoms.

5. Still an active cosplayer myself so I choose lots of things. If I could choose one, I'd say RoseBride from Utena. Still one of my favorite costumes I ever made.
tallkidgotswag Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think keepyjane and tealpirate would be great for interviews!
StupidityReignsPro Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
i think the reason people chose a certain character should be brought up more. when i chose a character i do have a sort of comfort and ability range but moving asides from that i chose a character that has an element to them that i love and or also associate with. Thats what i love about cosplaying, through a character i get to express an emotion or side of me i would never get to on a regular basis.
Gabbyohimesama Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2012
Lilythorns Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
It'd be cool if some of us got more creative with costumes and not buy it form some random store BUT still try and look like that character?
meonlyme1 Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Well I would love to go to a comic con but as others said the costumes are to exspensive but it would be cool if deviant could sell some. But i'd say that anime comic cons bring out the best of the cosplay!!
YukiSuishou Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I really want the people who cosplay to actually LOOK like the characters. :/
shriekXsonadowfan Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I really wish i could do a cosplay but i cant afforde a costume :sadness:
I could mace one but i dont have the things i need.
brooksfromtheice Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012
Hi. unfourtunatally this link does not allow me to leave a comment about Cosplay. I don't know why, but I have tried. Anyway, I love cosplay and would be one of many female charicters. A favorite is very difficult to chouse...
anirbas10 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i want to do a cosplay real bad but in my country there are no such events "* crying "* but i hope that some day i will be able to do so .
CarmenMCS Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
There are no events in my city, I barely are able to go to one in Barcelona, and some years I go to the one in Madrid too, if I have money and time... but I love to take photos in my little study, around my city, or by the countryside, with my cosplay!!! Why don't you do the same?

Be brave, don't be shy, you are just wearing some "funny costume" in public, you are not breaking the law or something! XD
anirbas10 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
actually , i would have loved to do that ( if i had a costume ) but .......
what can i say ; it's my luck . but i still have hope that some day i will be able to do that even if i will have to make the costume my self . i'll do it . ( thank you a loooot for your support ) .i appreciate it . you are soo sweet . <3 ^^ :D
CarmenMCS Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
well that's the point, most cosplayers make their own costumes XD
anirbas10 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
^^ :D
IsetaNetjer Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I have noticed this recurring trend among the cosplay community as a whole, and this has been the very issue I address in my paintings: the use of cosplay as a means of self-expression and identity exploration. I've noticed this in particular at Anime Boston, which continues to boast attendees of 17,000 and above. But cosplay, in of itself, is an art, especially in the amount of time many cosplayers (including myself) pour into assembling/making/choosing our cosplays.

My first (and still most recurring and varied cosplay) is Gaara. Your first cosplay (and I've heard others say this as well) tends to resonate with you the most, and is perhaps most strongly linked to this phenomenon as well, a sort of "foot in the door" to another avenue of creative expression.

Anyway, best of luck! ~~ :D
NeilofSWC Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2012
1) Professionalism, genuineness (in character role play), authentic design and general awesomeness.
2) PGV, #DB-AF and KuKuruYoSechs.
3) I think they all get mentioned. I think the most important thing to mention is the recognition given to those who have put effort into making this a reality.
4) Supanova (the only 1 i been to).
5) I am a descendant of the legendary super Saiyans XD Goku, Vegeta and Broli. If you mean strictly characters within movies or manga then I must choose Vegitto.
jazzynekolove Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2012  Student General Artist
i what to do this so bad
anirbas10 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
me tooooooooo
jazzynekolove Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2012  Student General Artist
Ketsuya Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2012  Student General Artist
awesome and so true! even i Dream of Seeing My Characters Come To Real life through cosplay as well! >_< b
arlennlovestails Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2012
I wanna be a cosplayer but can't afforded a costume.....
CosplayCanadaTeam Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I know how you feel, Cosplay is soo Expensive! Most Csplay Group that my cosplay group follows Make their own cosplay, Ever thought about makeing cosplay?
I Hope this Helped~!
arlennlovestails Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2012
H it did thanks :)
yunaraginda Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
1. the "behind the screen" part, such as:
a) matching the character to the model
b) the costume building
c) make up and body paint
d) the prop
e) photoshoots and post pro stuff
3. exactly the same as #1, because everybody sees the end result, and tends to overlook the hard work behind it
5. maybe something simple and can be mistaken for casual clothing : Alec mercer human form from Prototype. I already have the jacket
Ceasarex-the-mage Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2012  Student General Artist
1) The detail put into the costumes.
3) The detail and materials put into costumes.
4) Unknown
5) My main, Ceasarex, he kicks more butt than I can dream of doing in reality!
2DloveGorillaz Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
1. as long as people have fun
2. Kaorulein
3. where do people get their elements of costume
4. I'm not sure
5. 2-D from Gorillaz
PepeFrijoles Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2012
1. the efforts put in to making the costume for one. And why they chose that character

2. Any of the people who make Dragon Age costumes

3. How much it cost


renex69 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2012
love it
MEGALORDX3 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2012
well... then i guess i have to start to upload my cosplay pictures =D
cryogenicat64 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2012   Digital Artist
Halo Halo Halo Halo lol I would go as a spartain from the Halo series, and I would customize my outfit to meet my preferences.
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