I’m gonna go off a tangent here and break away from our usual stream (it’s more like a drizzle now I suppose) of posts regarding new/cool stuff and take some time to talk about cosplay culture. FanimeCon is this weekend and after all the fun times I experienced, and good friends I made last year at Anime Expo, I am pretty excited to delve into that welcoming atmosphere again.
My mom was surprised and shocked that I’m still going to anime/comic book conventions at my age. I’m not really that old but she, like most others, associates animation with children, which is completely false because the anime I watch should not be viewed by children. No, wait, that’s not what it sounds like. Ah… whatever.
I wrote in one of the first gspot blog posts that I “fell out” of anime near the end of high school/beginning of college, then was drawn back in via Death Note. I’m not going to reiterate what I wrote in that post [here] but I’m getting my point soon, about cosplay.
It’s only natural that we judge the calibur of someone’s costume. But do any of us really even know how to sew? Better yet, would we even have the guts to put on a funky wig, carry a huge-ass sword, fully-clothed like a fantastical character from a world we’ve yet to see in the flesh? “Cosplay fail” is a common term many of us like to throw around when we see a poorly-assembled (not aesthetically pleasing) cosplay, but after going to these conventions and just being in the good spirit of the entire community, having the “best” costume isn’t what cosplaying is about.
People cosplay for different reasons, mostly for fun, and to a degree, out of our respect and admiration for the creators of that anime, manga or game. Within the cosplay community, sure, there are “famous” cosplayers, mostly due to their skill levels being higher than most, but it’s not a popularity contest. I remember last year, an associate of mine, who was not familiar with otaku, anime or manga culture went to Anime Expo with my group. He said it was one of the most remarkable weekends in his life, there was so much positive energy and passion. I really thought about what he said, because I left the convention with some great friends I may not have been able to meet had I not cosplayed or had the guts to approach. Loserific is one I met last year and she’s one of the coolest and most genuine people I know.
It’s a difficult feeling to describe, being at an anime convention. On a regular basis I’m always wondering who I can geek out who doesn’t accuse me of being a “true otaku” just because I don’t watch Naruto. Fuck off, I don’t have a TV, and Sakura is too annoying. Sure, there are about 12938012938 Naruto cosplayers at every anime convention, but they’re introduced to a wealth of new and old anime once there, even for me, who will watch at least 3 episodes of a series to see if it has enough to capture my interest. Marathon anime or go home. If a series is not good enough for me to marathon, it clearly isn’t worth my time. I just have to point out that watching the 2nd Gurren Lagaan movie in a large room with GL cosplayers, and the host announcing, “Can all the Yoko’s keep their bazookas on the floor away from the aisles please?” was pretty awesome. Again, it’s hard to describe the feeling of unity at these conventions, so this is probably turning into a really lame post where I’m trying to reflect on all my convention experiences.
I guess what I’m just trying to say is, one shouldn’t be judged for going to conventions (yeah, so “otaku” generally has a somewhat negative connotation, re: Genshiken), nor should one be judged for a last-minute or store-bought cosplay. I commend anyone who has the guts to dress up as someone else during the daylight hours and to full on geek out with strangers. But then again, once we start to get to know each other, we’re no longer strangers.
So why do I pour in hours and hours to cosplay? I guess it’s just my way of showing my respect and admiration for the game, the anime or manga, and its creators. And let’s face it, I just have way too much time on my hands.
And here’s a shameless plug for myself if you’re at FanimeCon this weekend, I’m running around in this fantastical slutty wizard outfit so come say herro!!!