Monday, 14 January 2013

Why I Love Cosplay

I’ve been cosplaying for two years now, but I’ve loved it for much longer. I don’t remember how I discovered it. I’m sure I was aware of it for much longer, because while it may not be an everyday sight in a lot of places the idea of people dressing up as characters isn’t exactly unusual. I mean, it’s pretty common even in childhood and it’s something almost everyone does at Halloween. Of course, I’m from London so it’s not uncommon to see cosplayers there either. A big part of it was probably when I became obsessed with anime a few years ago and started looking up everything I could to do with my favourites. I remember watching videos of people cosplaying as my favourite characters and thinking it was so cool and looked like so much fun. So yeah, I wanted to do it for a while.

So a couple of years ago a friend and I decided to go to the MCM Expo in London, something else I’d wanted to do for ages, about a month beforehand, so there wasn’t a lot of time to get ready. I was determined to cosplay for it of course and I was so excited about it all. My first cosplay was Sealand from Hetalia, which I decided on because I’d bought the DVDs that day and I already owned the perfect shirt for the costume. The rest of it was pretty bad if I’m being honest but it was my first time and I was more interested in actually cosplaying and being recognised as the character rather than being 100% accurate.

Since then I’ve had three more expos and four more cosplays and each time I’ve done my best to make the costumes as accurate as possible. While I hold the belief that cosplay is for fun and doesn’t have to be completely accurate, I am a bit obsessive about things like this. It can get expensive, but then so can any hobby. Plus they’re not exactly for one time use, after the expo or whatever they’re for, my costumes become every day clothes. I love them too much to leave alone and I don’t care about getting weird looks on the street. Actually it’s kind of entertaining. Well, I’ve used my Zexion cosplay almost monthly for my Kingdom Hearts group and the coat for it has been my every day coat for over a year. All the leathery material has come off the bottom now and my cat left a big scratch down the front once, and I’m surprised by how much I don’t mind. Actually, I think this was a really well made cosplay coat to last so long with so much usage. Well, I’ve bought all my coplays so far aside from a few parts I made for myself for the October 2012 Expo but this year on I’m making it all myself.

So yeah, that’s my cosplay history, it may have gotten slightly off topic in places but I hope it serve as a good explanation for why cosplay is one of my favourite things. As I said at the beginning, I don’t even need to be the one cosplaying to find it enjoyable. It’s great seeing other people do it, and I also like watching others make their costumes. Doing it myself is great because I’ve always loved roleplaying and it’s even better when you can actually look like the character. It’s fun being some of my favourite people and it’s fun getting the bits of the costume together. I love going out in cosplay, whether it’s for an expo or other event or if it’s just going out on a normal trip in costume.

Cosplaying as a character, regardless of whether I’m in character or not, feels amazing to me. I always feel happier and more confident around strangers when I’m doing it which is good because I also get more love than when I’m dressed as me. There are always people who start up conversations, even on the street where they usually ask what I’m dressed up for, and my favourite part is when people want to hug me for it. Very few people on the streets offer random hugs when you look ‘normal’ and those that do are not usually doing it out of good intentions.

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