Welcome to the world of Cosplay

Encounter:

In today’s lecture as soon as I saw the words ‘cosplay’ and the video linked to it I knew what my post for this week was going to be.
It was generally easy to access this video, as the link of the Prezi was uploaded by Chris onto this site.
This video was created by – I don’t know – because the Prezi app on my ipad would not allow me to view it on YouTube and therefore I could not access more information on the creators and their reasoning behind this video. Unless I was to attempt to find it via google or YouTube but ain’t nobody got time for that.
I had never watched a video on the creation of cosplay before so I didn’t know what to expect, and in all honestly, this video challenged everything I originally thought of the cosplay culture.

Analysis:

I felt two major feelings while watching; Intrigued as to the time and effort put in and disappointed when they were not completed in time for the convention.
The term ‘Otaku’ (people with obsessive interests) never came up in this video. Instead, the individuals referred to the art of cosplay in their lives as ‘just a hobby’ as they each had a life outside of their cosplay creations and mainly used the act of cosplay to socialise.
To be honest, whenever I think of cosplay I think of it as heavily Asian; based on Asian characters and played out by Asians. This cultural assumption significantly impacted upon the way I watched this video.
The video compared the act of cosplay to costume design in films and TV, so similar yet one is stereotyped as ‘geeky’ and heavily judged where as the other is ‘art’ and considered a ‘real job’. Personally, I have generally considered cosplay as a fairly ‘geeky’ practice, which reveals even further my personal bias toward it (sorry). However, this video and the creative challenges which are brought about by this art form have changed my thinking purely due to the self confidence and individuality which is able to be portrayed through the characters.
One of the main points communicated through this video I believe is the way the cosplay culture breaks down barriers to sexuality. In this ‘world’ a male can be dressed as a female character and visa versa without it being considered ‘strange’.

Further research for me in this topic could potentially be expanding my knowledge of the characters to understand this art and the motivations of the audience. In addition to this, the topic of sexuality within the cosplay culture has many avenues to still be touched on which I believe could lead to some interesting discussion.

Now I’ll leave you with this picture of two of my brothers friends at Supernova with this insane robo-pikachu cosplay character – imagine the time that would have gone into that!! .

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5 comments

  1. Cosplay is certainly an odd culture to grasp as an outsider and like yourself, I have always considered it to be a little ‘geeky’. I had never considered a cosplayer’s costume creation in relation to that of commercial media but after you mentioned it, I realised how much more impressive these feats were. I am constantly amazed by the seemingly impossible creations that are often produced by individuals in their spare time, with limited resources and no monetary motivation. I look forward to your further research as I too wish to have a greater understanding of what makes these people tick.

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  2. I think sexuality in cosplaying is an interesting angle to take. I think cosplaying also has a potentially empowering body positivity element to it as well. I also find it interesting when people use cosplays explore possibilities and “what if’s” (much like the death-robot Pikachu you showed us). What does this deviation from the original artists concept say about the original or the culture surrounding it? I must admit I’d never considered cosplay to be particularly aligned with any nationality, perhaps more with certain types of media and fandom (eg. anime, manga, video games, graphic novels, superhero etc.). But I must admit I am pretty ignorant on cosplaying and convention culture, although I do follow some Australian videogame journalists on Twitter who are also into cosplaying. The two that come to mind are @Charalanahzard and @miss_raej if you are at all interested?

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