People about Cosplay...
I have already emphasized elsewhere that I count cosplayers into the pretty small circle of subcultures that I consider “my tribe”. And that I will never hesitate to defend them from detractors and ridicule, be it online or offline, wherever the need arises.
That said, my personal stance regarding the enjoyment of cosplaying is a bit more complicated than that. Because… well… personally, cosplaying doesn’t really “work” for me. At least not in a certain sense.
See, right from the beginning of my anime career, I have always had this habit that I keep anime and real life strictly separate in my mind. In all sorts of ways, and for all sorts of good reasons.
As a result of this, I can admire the people and their awesome costumes, but I have a really, really hard time seeing the actual character “in it”.
Mind you, it’s not the fault of the people. Originally my authenticity demands when it came to character reproductions were insanely high, anyway. Never mind cosplaying. For the longest time, I couldn’t even accept 99% of the released anime figurines because deep down, I felt that “they didn’t look right”.
These days? Well, as far as authenticity is concerned: you only need to look at my shelf with several figures on it to realize that this demand has dropped at least somewhat… but yea, I still keep the worlds apart so strictly that it prevents me from emotionally accepting the “cosplay illusion”.
Needless to say, I never discuss this with cosplayers. Because I fear they could misunderstand it as me disregarding their efforts. Or worse, as criticism of their designs or even their hobby. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. On the contrary.
Because I find it awesome what they do. I always have and always will deeply respect cosplaying for the amount of underlying fandom that it expresses, as well as for the effort people put into it.
Whenever I see someone with an elaborate/authentic/cleverly made costume, I cannot help but doff my hat at the driving passion behind it. Perhaps I’m even a bit envious about it. Either way, if I see that someone is willing to invest that many hours into designing and creating something like that… then that gives him/her my respect and a boatload fan cred. In short, it basically earns you the status of “card-carrying elite fan” in my book.
So no, when I look at cosplayers, I don’t see the character. But it still makes me happy – because I see a fan whose passion and efforts I wholeheartedly support and admire.
Cosplay is full of fun and creativity!
I don’t do cosplay but I do have a lot of friends within the community. Some of them do it for fun but most of them take cosplay as a job and it is their passion.
I’m an anime con goer and I know that cosplaying a certain character from scratch is difficult and take a lot of resources. From creating the costume, studying the character traits and personality and interacting with people while you’re in disguise, sure it needs a lot of confidence, energy and creativity.
Seeing your favorite character in person is amusing enough but to take a photo with them is a different experience.
I know that not all cosplayers are perfect, there are limitations since we’re humans after all. Regardless, you should respect them and don’t judge them. If they’re missing something like a detail on their costume or unable to do what the actual character does, you don’t know their history before deciding to cosplay that character. What I’m saying is, you can approach them in a nicely manner and tell them what does the character do and any improvement she/he can do for this character in the future. This method always work with me and my friends. Cosplayers are also fan of the character they portray, they’re open-minded and open for feedback since they’re like a public figure. Just make sure to be nice and I’m pretty sure that they will return it.
I just hate people who judges cosplayers based on their physical appearance. They can’t even cosplay the character itself, why do they need to attack the person? There are times when toxicity is inevitable in cosplay community but it doesn’t mean that you can always attack people who loves to cosplay. If you have a negative thing to say, keep it to yourself.
For cosplayers out there, just continue what you’re doing! Be proud and always look up. Conventions will not be alive and active without you guys!
Putting aside for the moment that the tone of the question doesn’t imply the most open of minds, cosplay is – simply – acting. Do you consider Mel Gibson, Ken Branagh, David Tennant, Cumberbatch, et. al. immature for wanting to dress up and act as Hamlet? Cosplay is a similar – if not identical – mindset: people, inspired by characters, possessing the right combination of talent, bravery and self-awareness, performing as said character for an audience. Whether it’s a convention stage or a Broadway stage makes no difference. The person who portrays Deadpool or Master Chief is very much spiritual kin to the person who plays King Lear or Hamlet. It’s wrong to praise one and denigrate the other based on the source of their inspiration, for to declare which works are “great” and which are not is subjective or worse. Still, even if most consider it blasphemy to compare Marvel to Shakespeare, the motivation to portray characters from either realm is identical and the healthy mindset WON’T criticize this, realizing that whatever it doesn’t “get” is not automatically inferior or invalid.
PS: Ironically you will find, if you but ask, that most cosplayers as children were very successful Trick or Treaters, as Halloween is quite often the “bug” that bites them for their subsequent motivation.