Cosplay – Fantasy Becomes Reality When Cosplay Meets Anime!
Born from large gatherings and events full of fanatical anime fans, cosplay has become an international hobby with thousands of followers. As anime has grown in popularity in the past two decades so has the hobby of cosplay. Cosplay is derived from the English words “costume” and “play” and is used to describe the hobby of crafting highly detailed and accurate costumes of beloved anime and manga characters.
In the recent years, largely from 1998 and beyond the amount of public acceptance of cosplay has increased. Today cosplay is a popular scene in public settings such as parties, nightclubs and video game shows. In some parts of Japan such as the Akihabara district there are even cosplay cafes.
Many anime events hold contests where the accuracy and attention to detail on a cosplay costume are judged based on their true depiction of the character they were designed after. This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of cosplay. The attention to detail and accuracy of a cosplay costume is the defining element of it. In this way, a players hair and skin are considered part of the costume itself and should resemble that of the character they are depicting.
Employing a variety of craft skills and art forms, cosplay costumes are commonly elaborate and may utilize a wide array of materials. Getting precise and accurate textures and materials is highly important to obtaining the most accurate costumes possible. For this reason, metalworking, leatherworking and a variety of trade skills may be required to guarantee the utmost quality of a cosplay costume.
Cosplay costume trends are always changing. On a yearly and monthly basis, depending on what anime, movies and video games are currently popular, the characters of cosplay change. In the past years even some non-anime characters have become popular cosplay choices. Harry Potter and Star Wars are common choices for non-anime character costumes.
Evolving from within the hobby of cosplay itself are some subset groups of enthusiasts who have taken cosplay in new directions. Crossplay for example is a type of cosplay where the players themselves dress up as characters of the opposite sex. However since anime tends to feature characters wearing a variety of unique and not necessarily gender-specific clothing, this is not seen as all that odd.
Cosplay has grown so much in popularity that in its modern incarnation, cosplay has magazines and websites devoted to it. These resources feature detailed instructions on costume making and materials as well as images of costumes from past conventions. Conventions routinely allow “cameko” or “camera boy” photographers who dedicate themselves to photographing cosplay events.