Thursday, March 1, 2012

What Cosplay is for Non-cosplayers

^Cosplay in the Philippines has been around for more than a decade. Before, you had to wait a whole year for a convention to come, now, almost every other week, there is a convention with cosplay and much to see, sometimes there are even two or three or four cosplay and otaku centered events happening on the same day but in different locations.

Today, cosplay is still considered an underground activity. Most people don't really know what it is although there have been more than a handful of TV shows, ads and articles about it. Can't really blame the people though... as the stuff on TV and magazines can not even come close to explaining what cosplay really is.

BUT there is the internet, a vast catalyst of information. Just look up cosplay and you will find hundreds and hundreds of information about cosplay!

Yesterday, I went to model for a friend's photography class, her mentor asked what is cosplay? I told him that cosplay is a great means of artistic expression because of its numerous facade. There's the costume making process, role playing, make up application, wig styling, props making, photography, art direction, photo manipulation and more!~ Plus you get to express your fandom and get to meet awesome people. The mentor was fascinated and called cosplay a subculture! Which I think is really cool since he got that with just my short explanation. His reaction made me really happy, finally, someone who isn't really into cosplay who gets it!

The thing is... cosplay is something you need to experience for yourself to really understand. It really annoys me how some if not most people think very lowly/ negatively about cosplay, but it is an even bigger turn off when people who know nothing about it open their mouths and blab about it like they know shit-zus are cute! XD

Here are some things people or the general public think about cosplayers and cosplay in general that really bug me: (maybe you've experienced them, too?)

***When they see cosplayers in full garb (wig, costume, the works or even half in costume or even if your just in a J-pop inspired outfit) out in a non cosplay environment, they will loudly say "cosplay! cosplay! cosplay!" until you are able to drown them out or they get out of earshot. Sometimes, they shout super random stuff, or sing songs in what they think is a the Japanese language.

***If you are a female cosplayer, most people will call you "Alodia". Other common things you will be called are Lady Gaga, Sailormoon, Sakura and Chunli. If you are a male cosplayer, you'll be Naruto most of the time but if you are in a mecha costome, you'll be Transformers.

***People will label you as weird, so you better get used to it. Even more if they find out that you crossplay. True story.

***People will label you as weird and will assume that you are socially inept and all you think and do is cosplay. Like you are a freak that goes walking around in costume even on what they call "normal days" doing "normal tasks". Cosplayers are people, too and cosplay is not just one aspect of their being. There are cosplayers who are great students or have wonderful families and successful careers. Ever heard of Dukesa Wolf or Chai Chen? These lovely ladies are perfect examples of the empowered women who just happens to also love cosplay.


***People think that cosplayers are weird yet come parties and other social gatherings or even special holiday related shindigs, these people will come to you. You are minding your own business and keeping mum about your thoughts when suddenly people knock on your door asking to borrow costumes, wigs and other stuff that they can use for their themed parties and they expect that what ever they are in need of, you have it on hand and will gladly hand over the items in a blink of an eye. Should you decline, then you are a maramot (selfish) and weird cosplayer.

***People think that cosplayers are weird yet come parties and other social gatherings or even special holiday related shindigs, these people will come to you and assume that you are an artiste, good and willing to be in charge of decorations, props and other party stuff. If you are and you do want to help then good, but if you don't really want the extra workload, learn to say no in a polite way as people will assume that cosplayers are all around artists.

***They will ask you about Alodia. Yep, so be careful about what you say, 'nuff said.

***Most people think that cosplay is a huge waste of time and money, with out even trying to understand why you would be so passionate about it. Cosplay is like any other passion, if you feel very strongly for something, you will save and shell out for it right? Most people just see it as means to mindlessly send money flying out the window.

***Ironically, although most people think that cosplay is a huge waste of money, they also think that it is EASY, very very easy. Just put on a costume and pose then ta-dah! It's cosplay! Oh the irony....

And the thing that I hate most about people who don't even cosplay is...

***They easily judge cosplays as either EPIC FAIL or WIN.
Ironic really, just coz the hair is a little bit shorter, the pose isn't exactly the same, the skin is too dark, body proportions not suited for that cosplay or what ever the reason is, just miss some tiny, petty detail and these people will easily pick on you. 

Come on! What do you guys know? Did you slave over the costume? When they see something that they don't like, or something they think of as inaccurate, the whole cosplay is automatically an epic fail, they wouldn't even notice how the costume is well made, how great the styling of the wig is, how the cosplayer is getting into character with facial expressions, the effort put into the props and things that really should matter... 

Sometimes I see cosplays that aren't really that wow as a whole but just because the cosplayer is cute, it is an epic win. Cosplay is not a beauty contest. People, please be realistic. Yes it is nice when a cosplayer can get the details correctly and look like the character portrayed as much as possible but please be reminded that these are 2D characters made to be as perfect as possible to tickle your fancy but cosplayers are 3D people living in the real world.

Cosplayers are people, too. Appreciate and give critics for improvement, don't just go around and bash bash bash with out understanding anything...

And here is another big BUT. BUT! Not everyone on the street is like this, some are mildly interested and will be nice. In general, dear cosplayers, just answer questions as best and politely as you can, be civilized, courteous and diplomatic. Just because some people are rude, don't mean you have to be, too. There is still hope that cosplay will be appreciated and be known by people someday. Don't let negative things beat you down. Just do your thing and enjoy. =) 

Now for the customary niceties:
This blog post is not intended for anyone in particular, these are things I got from my lurkings in the internet and my experiences as a cosplayer for nearly three years. Read with an open mind, otherwise don't. If ever I did offend someone, please know that it was not my intention to purposely hurt you in anyway. I apologize in advance but these are my thoughts and I'd like you to respect that. Thank you.

thanks for reading!
 jaa! visit me again, ne!
     arigatou! (*^3^)/~


  1. Totally AGREE!!!!


  3. VERY VERY TRUE! In my class I'm always called "Alodia" just for being a cosplayer.

  4. As a person who has never cosplayed, I can say that below are a lot of the reasons I have found some cosplayers weird. Pulled them off of another persons list, as that list is pretty accurate.

    Full list is "things cosplayers do which piss me off" :
    Abridged to the big ones for me,
    2. Imitating the character very loudly
    4. Touching or glomping - I don't know you. Stop.
    5. Inappropriate Japanese or claiming you speak japanese - particularly for me, pretending you're Japanese when you're not. Mainly annoying out-of-con.
    7. Wearing the costumes day-to-day
    9. Talking down to people who may not know your thing
    10. Taking the "game" outside - often comes across as a reality impairment and pretty weird, especially when you call your friend "Sakura-chan", even though we all know he's actually a guy named Jim.

    1. well, as a cosplayer, i will admit that there are other cosplayers who are weird... and not just weird but super weird.
      but not all cosplayers are like that, most of us just want to cosplay, have fun and not bother people so other people wont bother us too.

      i read the list and yes, those are the same reasons why people in my country also think cosplayers are weird.

      but not everybody is the same....