Cosplay is a type of performance art that involves wearing of fashion accessories and costumes by participants/ cosplayers to represent particular characters. Generally, cosplayers interact to form a sub-culture.
All entities that lend themselves to dramatic interpretation can be taken up as subjects. Switching of genders, for instance, is very common. Some of the popular sources are; manga & anime, television series, comic books, live action films, cartoons as well as video games.
During the early 1990s, many people adopted cosplaying as a favorite pastime. As a result, it became an important facet of pop culture in the West (such as USA) as well as the East (such as Japan and China).
What is the history of Cosplay?
Are you aware that cosplay was originally coined by Studio Hard’s Nobuyuki Takahashi? That was in Los Angeles, in the year 1984, when he was attending the World-Science Fiction-Convention. It’s a reflection of a popular Japanese abbreviation method whereby an independent compound is formed by the first 2 moras.
How is cosplay practiced?
Cosplay costumes can range from highly-detailed to simple-themed costumes. Generally, they’re different from Mardi Gras as well as Halloween clothing because the main objective is to represent particular characters, not to represent the symbolism or culture of specific holiday events.
Therefore, when costumed, the main intention of participants is to assume the affect, body language as well as mannerisms of characters that they wish to represent. The characters may be obtained from certain movies, video games, television series or comic books.
Participants usually obtain their costumes using various methods. There are manufacturers who produce and later sell outfits that can be used for cosplay. They can be purchased through online platforms and also from dealers during conventions.
Presentation of cosplay can be done in various places and in several ways. A sub-set of cosplay-culture, for instance, can be centered on sexual appeal, whereby participants specifically choose characters that are well known for wearing revealing costumes or their physical attractiveness.
Wearing a cosplay to a convention is one of the most popular ways of public presentation. Numerous conventions specially dedicated to manga & anime, fantasy, comics, science fiction, television shows as well as video games can be found in many countries across the world.
Cosplay Mania and EOY Cosplay Festival (in Philippines and Singapore respectively) are good examples of renowned global conventions centered on cosplay.
Appearance of participants during public events usually attracts the attention of photographers. As a matter of fact, there is a new form of cosplay whereby cosplayers attend public events with an objective of modeling their unique characters for still- photographers, instead of involving themselves in nonstop role play.
Criteria for judging cosplay
There are four main criteria that are commonly used to judge cosplayers during competitions. They are; accuracy, impact on the audience, craftsmanship and presentation.
1. Accuracy- how much the participant resembles the original character (with regard to appearance). Examples are; hair styling, stage props, make up, props and costume.
2. Impact on the audience- how well the cosplayer connects with the audience, as well as his/her presence on the stage. Examples are eye contact, engagement with the audience and usage of stage space.
3. Craftsmanship- refers to details and quality of props and costume (e.g. functionality of costume, technique, quality of materials, amount of effort and level of detail).
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4. Presentation- likeliness with regard to performance and portrayal of the character (for instance acting, facial expressions, posture and/or movement).