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Japanese Cosplay and Conventions in Japan

Cosplay, a portmanteau of “costume” and “play” and pillar of anime, comic book and science fiction conventions worldwide has reached new levels of popularity in the West. The SyFy channel is scheduled to release the TV series “Heroes of Cosplay” next month, and cosplay is slowly becoming an understood term even in non-geek communities. Though the act of dressing in fan-made costumes of popular characters may not have originated in Japan itself, the term today generally brings images of Japan, and rightly so – cosplay is a huge business there.

As a geek myself, I spent time in high school and college at anime conventions. In addition to being an obsessed gamer, I also enjoyed art, so sewing costumes and making props seemed like a second nature. Conventions are a blast if one can withstand the peculiar odor. My reasons for moving to Japan were academic in nature, but though I tried to throw it all behind me and avoid being one of those“gaijin”, I met a friend as geeky as I was and we decided to give a try at what some Western cosplayers idealize as the ultimate experience: cosplaying in Japan. Continue reading

How to find the perfect Cosplay Outfit

Deciding Your Costume:
First things first… you need a character to portray. If you already know who you want to be then you’re good to go, if not do your research and figure out exactly who you are going to be!┬áSo this year I’m going to Dragon*con in Atlanta, me and my boyfriend are group cosplaying as Daenarys and Drogo from Game of Thrones. I’ve been all over Ebay finding the right outfit… and honestly it didn’t take to long. Just type in which character you want to be and see what pops up. With Daenarys being a very eclectic name it didn’t take me to long to find her wedding dress.
Last year I went as Sailor Mars, that was actually kind of a tough outfit to find. There are many people out there selling Sailor Moon outfits that look….well lets just say cheaply made. I didn’t want to show up to a place where people would know exactly who my character was, with a wanna be version of an awesome Sailor Mars outfit. So I searched high and low and finally found an affordable yet very classy outfit.
The key to finding what you want is time. Time can do so much for you. So if you’re planning on cosplaying anytime soon, pick a night and just spend it searching the internet for your outfit! Ebay is my go to place, just because you can find what you need for reasonable prices.
Portraying Your Character
One of the most important things to Cosplaying is knowing your character. Say that you’re going to be Iron Man, when you cosplay you have to act just like Tony Stark… you have to be sarcastic yet charming. This is a big one. My very first time cosplaying I went and acted as myself, which was totally wrong. It’s about being you, yes, but it’s also about portraying the character you are dressed as.
Have Fun
Cosplaying can be very stressful, but you have to remember to have fun with it! When do you really get to express your nerdy self better than when you are cosplaying? I love dressing up and going to meet all kinds of people. It’s one of the things I look forward to every year. I hope I helped at least a little for all you new cosplayers out there.

About Cosplay Subculture

Cosplay is a youth subculture originating in Japan. The moniker is derived from what “costume” and “play”, and is believed to have been first thought up in 1984 with a Japanese studio executive named Nov Takahashi. When he wrote for Japanese science fiction magazines concerning the impressive costumes worn by attendees in the La Globe Science Fiction Convention, he gradually adopted the portmanteau term cosplay, which is often used to explain the trend today.

The main feature of cosplay is the fact that participants appreciate dressing as their favorite characters from anime, comics, and game titles. It’s created to incorporate, particularly when adopted in the western world, individuals dressing up as characters from well-liked non-Asian fantasy and science fiction movies and games, such as Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Physician Who and World of Warcraft. Continue reading