Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Cosplay: Wearing Your Fandom

Japanese woman in cosplay outfit, Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan, Asia. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May 2016.
quest.eb.com/search/151_2569803/1/151_2569803/cite. Accessed 14 Oct 2017.
For me personally, cosplay is the strongest and purest way to express your love for a fandom. Creating a costume from scratch by spending days and nights with your sewing machine or heat gun and using most of your hard-earned money to bring this dream to life takes passion and pure dedication. Before cosplay you just consumed the art and worlds of other artists by reading comics, watching movies or playing video games, but now you're becoming the artist yourself!
~Svetlana Quindt AKA Kamui Cosplay

We confess, our first introduction to cosplay was when we happened upon Shoichi Aoki's Fruits in the early oughts. This book of portraits of Japanese street kids in Tokyo's Harajuku district, taken from a popular fanzine of the same name, is probably more about fashion than cosplay, but it is about having fun with fashion. Though there are a lot of "Gothic Lolitas," you also find references to anime such as Sailor Moon popping up. But cosplay existed long before 2000. The first recorded cosplay (a portmanteau of costume play) involving an established character - as opposed to a masquerade or fancy dress party - took place at the 1st World Science Fiction Convention in 1939, according to Wikipedia, with fan costuming at conventions taking off slowly and primarily in party settings. The term cosplay was not actually coined until 1984, although fan costuming had been a phenomenon in Japan since the 1970s. Japan later became the home for cosplay cafés and the first World Cosplay Championship, one of many events for cosplayers.

Cosplay is not just a costume worn for a party or holiday. Cosplay costumes are drawn from any movie, TV series, book, comic book, video game, or anime and manga characters. Steampunk became a very popular look recently. Cosplayers often stay in character whenever in costume, although this kind of performance is more often seen in live-action role-playing (LARP). Some cosplayers just model their costumes without staying in character.You can buy costumes, or create your own from scratch - costumes are judged for accuracy, craftmanship, presentation, and audience impact in competition. There are those who cosplay "to create, learn, socialize, and be someone or something you've always dreamed of."

Other than cosplay-centered conventions, another place to find cosplay is, of course, any comic convention worth its salt - New Mexico has several options, including Bubonicon, Las Cruces Comic Con, and the Indigenous Comic Con (coming up in November!)  - or at the Renaissance Fair (locally, there's one in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe).

If you're interested in exploring cosplay, the library catalog has some titles that might help you along. As Kamui Cosplay says, "Being an artist means being free to express yourself and not be bound by skin color, sex or body shape. Dress up as whoever you want to be and enjoy all the different character interpretations you'll find on the convention floor."

How To Cosplay. Vol. 1.

The Hero's Closet: Sewing For Cosplay and Costuming by Gillian Conahan

The Costume Making Guide: Creating Armor & Props for Cosplay by Svetlana Quindt, aka Kamui Cosplay

Make: Props and Costume Armor - Create Realistic Science Fiction and Fantasy Weapons, Armor, and Accessories by Shawn Thorsson

Knits For Nerds: 30 Projects - Science Fiction, Comic Books, Fantasy by Joan of Dark, a.k.a. Toni Carr

Cool Japan Guide: Fun in the Land of Manga, Lucky Cats and Ramen by Abby Denson [eBook]

The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan by Patrick W. Galbraith

Leaving Mundania: Inside the Transformative World of Live Action Role-Playing Games by Lizzie Stark

No comments: