Tuesday, July 8, 2014


^The "play" (or role play) part of cosplay is what makes the difference between costuming and cosplaying.

But how exactly does one "play" for cosplay?

This question is especially hard for beginners but there are also cosplayers who tend to forget or all together not know...

Remember, from the word itself, cosplay is only cosplay if there is an accurate costume based on a character and there is some form of role play.

Rinoa cosplay by jaRoukaSama
Squall cosplay by Zhel 
photo by J. Gaisano III

What is cosplay?
Click the here to read up on my definition of cosplay. And here for the difference of cosplaying and costuming.

So... how to play for a cosplay?

I am assuming you already have your costume or it is already in process.

For you to play the part, of course, it is only natural for you to know about the character.
The first step is RESEARCH.
Find out as much as you can about the character.
Read the manga, watch the anime, play the game, read back grounds and profiles and just utilize the internet to really get as much information as you can. Look at art, wallpapers, anything you can get your hands on. If you really like the character then this would be easy. Save pictures, stare at cosplays.
Soak up everything you can. EVERYTHING.

Reading profiles and back stories can really give you a glimpse of what the character's personal history is, because sometimes, the anime doesn't really reveal a lot. By rewatching shows and videos you can easily see a character's movements and mannerisms. Research lets you see what a character is capable of, what they will and will not do. With information, you would be able to show different facets of the characters and a new take / interpretation while still being true to the cosplay.

Alan as Madao from Gintama
photo by z3LL
I rarely use photos of other people as I don't want drama, but Alan's cosplay is just too good.
I have never seen any Madao cosplayer go this far.
interesting interpretation of the character, can not be achieved unless 
you know the character really well.
hats off to Alan for this /thumbs up

By looking at cosplays, there is no way that you won't feel inspired.
You'd get ideas for poses and what works and doesn't.

Find out everything you can, take everything in and get inspired.

Related: How I cosplay

Yes, it will feel very silly, but it is also fun.
Do make up trials, try different styles and compare.
Practice poses and facial expressions in front of the mirror, try the wig on, wear the costume around the house (or at least parts of it).

Not only will it help you see what needs adjusting before you debut your cosplay but it will give you some familiarity.
A costume that hasn't been tested takes longer prep time. Familiarity not only will make prepping for the cosplay easier but can also prevent wardrobe malfunctions / costume related problems or at least make you better prepared for it should it happen.

Try to get comfortable in the costume, do your best to lessen any problems so that you can focus on having fun and looking great as you give life to your cosplay.

Here's a tip, take pictures, even phone cams will do. This will help you see how colors show up in photographs for make up and costumes. Having pictures will make it easier as you'd have references for the future (and something to pull out for throwback days XDD).
Years from now, if you are still into cosplay, it would be nice to reminisce and look at how much you've improved :)

crossplay make up trial I did way back in August 2012
prior to taking pics, I thought my make up was just fine.
but in photos, my contouring on the nose was really obvious.
if I hadn't taken photos, I wouldn't have realized that the contouring was too harsh.
seeing that, I was able to correct my mistake and improve on the make up come my actual crossplay

Also, make yourself a cheat sheet. List down your character's catch phrases, signature moves, print out pictures of poses you'd like to try.
Of course you can just remember everything, but forgetting is inevitable.
With a cheat sheet, if you ever have an impromptu shoot, you wouldn't look like you don't know what you're doing and you'd have variety. This would also be helpful as not everyone; your friends, convention goers and most especially photographers or helpers would know who you are cosplaying as. If you want a certain shot, help the photograher get what you want, show them your cheat sheet, this will make it easier for anyone involved.

Cheat sheets would also come in handy should you ever decide on doing a skit on stage. With practice, it would help you strut your stuff with confidence on the spotlight and save you from looking like an idiot who mistakenly wandered on stage.

Another great use of the cheat sheet is, it is helpful for checking your costume. Sometimes you forget which side the belt should hang, or which way your bangs goes. With a cheat sheet, if anything is amiss, then you can easily correct it.

Emabarrassment averted! Regret prevented!

You've reseached, practiced and memorized everything, even made a cheat sheet!
Now let's get out the door and cosplay!

Now, while in costume you don't have to be in "play mode" the entire duration you're in that wonderful costume.
Like if you're cosplaying Naruto and your friend was cosplaying L, don't diss your friend just coz no way in hell L be hanging out with Naruto.
No, don't be that kind of weirdo.
No one will judge you if you cosplay and hang out with friends even though you are all cosing from a different series from each other. Even if somebody does say something about it, it is NOT YOUR PROBLEM, that person obviously has their knickers in a bunch.

Romeo as Masato Hijirikawa of Uta Puri,
 Aruki as Megpoid Gumi and Ces as Luka Megurine in Happy Synthesizer version,
jaRoukaSama as Konata Izumi cosplaying Haruhi Suzumiya, Trix as Rin Kagamine in Matryoshka version,
and Lunaru as Hagane Miku 
photo by z3LL
Friends cosing different characters from different series, having fun and hamming it up. 
No one is in character but everyone is clearly sharing a good memory.

Konata Izumi cosplay
photo shoot time! henshin to being in character!

Since we are already on it, might as well mention it, for example you be cosing Haruhi Suzumiya, if you see a Mikuru Asahina, don't glomp them or grab their boobs with out warning. Cosplay is great because you can make friends through it, but we must always remember to respect others. If the Mikuru cosplayer is a good friend of yours then I guess it is ok but DO NOT INVADE ANOTHER PERSON'S PERSONAL SPACE.

Being in character is important for cosplay but it only comes second to showing respect and being a decent human being.
Learn to behave, be considerate of others. Do not glomp, grab, flip or be over zealous. A convention is still a very public social event and lack of manners is inexcusable.

Related: the Protocol and Etiquette Guide of Cosplay Book II - The General Public

The best you can do is try to channel your character when posing for photos, when doing a skit/ performance or at the very least, copy the way they walk and carry themselves.

If the character has props or weapons, learn to use said prop properly or hold it as the character will.
Pull out all the stops most especially when you are on stage because this is the perfect opportunity to show off your costume and how much you love the character through role playing.

Saber cosplay in AFA Singapore 2012
Channeling Saber with every fiber of my being. 
Tried super hard as I was on stage, cameras every where, international community was watching, nervous and didn't want to embarrass my home country. orz

Photo shoots are great, too. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Facial expressions, poses, set arrangement, location, editing, all these things and a lot more can also give life to cosplay even though they are just stills.
Though, don't forget to work on your costume, too, ok?

Costume and role play together is what makes cosplay, COSPLAY.
Costume and role play with passion is what makes a cosplay, an AWESOME COSPLAY.
Costume and role play with passion and respect towards others is what makes a cosplayer, a GREAT COSPLAYER.

I think, I rambled too long.
Sorry, 'bout that.

For the usual niceties:
I am not targeting anyone in particular. If some of you got hurt, I am sorry, I did not mean to offend. I simply wish to open your eyes to some reality and give you a wake up call. If you get offended it is probably because you are guilty of some of the things I mentioned. The things I mention here are based from my experiences, my thoughts, observations and the things I get on my lurking expeditions. I am merely sharing what I know in hopes that we can all pull each other up and improve our beloved hobby while having fun.

Happy cosplaying, everyone!

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

1 comment:

  1. This is a seriously great read! Loved every word of it. <3 I can't seem to find your +1 button though. D:

    Anyway, take all my likes, my tweets, my faves, my +1's and everything in between!