I have always been a bit of a self-confessed geek, or possibly a nerd, am never quite sure! (I like computers, computer games, MMORPGs and SciFi rather more than I like chick lit and chocolate; and romantic comedies make me want to barf in a bucket – stereotype anyone ;) !!). But I am still a girl (I just checked to be sure), and I admit I love dressing up, however, I didn’t dress up as a Princess when I was girl, but as a Dalek! At the moment it does feel a little like being a geek is most definitely chic, and so when I happened upon - and realised I had been missing out on – the world of Cosplay, I have been a little like that proverbial kiddie in the sweetshop!
What is Cosplay? I will tell you what it is – its bloody brilliant! Cosplay (costume play) is fully grown and functioning (we hope) adults dressing up as their favourite 'costumed' super hero or character – Cosplay takes in the whole super hero, comic book and film genres and being so huge across Japan and Asia, animé and manga are probably the most popular genres taken on by the Cosplay communities.
Cosplayer's use the internet prolifically; blogs, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook etc. all being social networking places that Cosplayers can not only post pictures of themselves in costume, but also connect with others, and find out about conventions etc. As with pretty much everything we do today, the internet has revolutionised the way people Cosplay, (1939 in America is where it all probably started, spreading to Japan in the 1970's and in its current internet, social media savvy incarnation in the mid 1990's).
Cosplayers will very often make their own costumes, and some (in fact many) of them are highly detailed and intricate replicas of their favourite super heroes and characters – among the Cosplaying community, it is considered to be the ultimate homage to a favourite character to recreate the look and costume in minute detail. Many female Cosplayers are also models (or wannabe models), with Cosplaying becoming so much more mainstream and some might even say 'cool', it is a great way for a model to be noticed and there are some notable 'superstars' in the cosplaying world who have made their name by looking stunning, and many of the costumes worn by women are sexy, often far tighter, low cut and risqué than the original character ever was! But it it not only characters that can have the Cosplay treatment, inanimate objects will be made into highly detailed costumes (yes those pesky Daleks and the Tardis can be sexy!).
Part of the fun of Cosplaying, has to be having pictures taken, and some Cosplayers take this to impressive lengths, employing Cosplay photographers, and going 'out on location', the pictures are then sometimes sold, or given away to fans but I suspect also adorn many a grandmother's wall! There is also a growing army of Cosplay fans who are savvy and clever with the old photo editing software who will take a picture of their favourite player, and give it the photoshop treatment placing that Cosplayer into a scene or likeness of the movie or game the character originally appeared in.
Comicbook and Sci Fi conventions, each year grow bigger and bigger (and at Razberry Juice this year, we plan on bringing you the best of some from a woman's point of view), and so does the number of people attending dressed in a Cosplay outfit!
Cosplay is arguably and in my view, definitely a performance art, forget those Halloween costumes or the Spiderman costume hired from your local shop which needs a fumigation before wearing, many of the costumes replicated and made are a work of art by the time the Cosplayer is wearing them, and he or she, will often take on some of the persona of the character they are portraying being 'in-character'.
I am not sure if I have the guts to really wear some of the amazing costumes, or in fact the figure, but I know for certain I want to know more about Cosplaying, and what makes those who spend their time and money recreating and becoming even for a few hours their favourite super hero or animé character!
Thank you to the fabulous Knightess Rogue for allowing us to use her pictures - if you want to see more of Knightess, check out her Facebook page here.