Cosplay: From Fandom to Identity

25 min read

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techgnotic's avatar

Welcome to a whole new level.

Cosplay is taking over the world and our only surprise is what took it so long. There is so much to explore in this current Cosplay crusade. Let’s take a look beyond the headlines and thriving Con event circuit and get to the heart of what makes Cosplay so special to so many around the Earth Sphere. This is your chance to share with us the important elements, storylines, issues, and community members you would like to see highlighted.

To get this party started we’re running a series of profiles and tutorials throughout October starting with Lillyxandra.

Now there is the ongoing process of the multiplying and diversifying of distinct cosplay communities into so many different ways of coming together, online and in–person, to express themselves (not just becoming characters from manga, anime, comic books, graphic novels, videogames, TV & movies, but also transforming themselves with renaissance, fetish, “furry”, gender–reversal and even entirely Virtual immersions). It seems to us that what had once been an expression of group fandom, and then morphed into a sort of mass “political” expression of a specific cultural sensibility—is now becoming something more for some: a true commitment to a set of pop cultural characters, in their world and according to their rules and ethos.

by metalguppy

Cosplay is my way of showing my dedication to my favorite comic, film or game. When I cosplay, I say, “I love this character, and I want to bring it to life.” I've put literal blood, sweat, and tears into my costumes, and the final transformation has always been worth it.”


Halloween costume play has come a very long way.

It’s passed even beyond consumer culture fandom and now become an important part of who we are—our virtual identity. Who can even speculate on where things are ultimately going? At least, right now, rather than being circumscribed in your “identity” at all times by where you were born and to whom you were born… now it’s possible to don the costume of whomever you have chosen to be—the “identity” that is your free choice, not the one the world “gave” you without your permission. That just might be a really great thing, even if it is for just a week, or weekend, at a convention somewhere in the world, we can all go on a voyage of discovery to find out the person we truly are.

One of the greatest experiences in cosplaying is seeing the face of a complete stranger light up when they see you, because they are suddenly standing face to face with their favorite character. The passion fans have is simply inspiring. They shout your character’s name from across the convention hall as they brave the crowds to get close to you, or tap your shoulder while you check your phone, and wait eagerly but patiently while you are engaged in conversations to ask for a photo. Knowing that your little expression of fandom love has brightened the day of another human being justifies all the stress and money that goes into building a cosplay.”


Questions for the Reader

  1. Which elements of the Cosplay movement would you like to see highlighted?
  2. Which deviants in the community might be best to contact for an interview about their process?
  3. Are there any elements in Cosplay that never seem to get mentioned that you feel need to be brought to the forefront of the conversation?
  4. In your opinion which Cons represent the best that Cosplay have to offer?
  5. Even if you have never dressed for a Con which character would you choose to emulate if you did decide to particpate?
  6. While dressed up in a costume, is there a difference between people who role play versus people who don't embody the traits of the character?

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MasterPlanner's avatar
I love cosplay and have nothing but respect for those artists who work hard to bring the characters they love to life! That said, I see way too many slobs squeezing their fat rolls into skimpy costumes of characters with thinner body types, people who don't make an effort, and "slutty" versions of characters who are reserved in canon. Like it or not, your looks and body type are part of the cosplay, and if you're not going to embody the characters, you're not truly cosplaying, you're just dressing up.