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Otaku University – Lesson 1: What is Cosplay?

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Cosplayer shown above is JS Cosplay.

Otaku University Lesson 1

Welcome, class! Zaktaku-sensei here for Otaku University, your basic guide to everything in the realm of anime! This series is meant for those of you who are relatively new to anime, or are just unclear on a few concepts. I hope to educate you all on subjects such as moe, mecha, the -dere scale, and possibly every other aspect of anime!

For our very first class session, since the Halloween season is upon us, we will be discussing cosplay!

Cosplay, which is a mixture of the words costume and role-play, is a type of performance art where a person wears a costume that resembles a fictional character. It is not exclusive to any one form of media either. Cosplay can be done in anime, video games, movies, TV shows, comic books, anything!

The art of cosplay also has a lot of liberties when it comes to things such as body shapes, genders, skin color, and even the subtle and complex details in your costume! Cosplay has no rule set of what you can and cannot dress up as, allowing for many creative variations and artistic representations. I’ve seen steampunk Stormtroopers, Iron Man costumes made of paper, and more than one character whose design is altered to have more sex appeal.

You thought you were going to get sex appeal, but it was I! Paper Iron man!
You thought you were going to get sex appeal, but it was I, Paper Iron Man!

One of the main aspects of cosplay is not only the costume itself, but how a person acts while cosplaying! The idea of cosplay is to literally become the character you are trying to emulate, through aesthetics and mannerisms. Simply looking like the character is one thing, but acting like the character brings the costume to life. A Vegeta cosplay wouldn’t be as great unless that person was talking like the prince of the Saiyans, both in tone and style of speech.

There are, however, certain times and places for cosplaying such as conventions and competitions, but outside of those events, you may be subject to awkward stares from the public.

Probably the most popular place to cosplay is at conventions, as they are huge gatherings for geeks. Even the smaller conventions with four or five thousand usually has large numbers of cosplayers, especially at comic or anime conventions. That’s not to say that you should walk into the middle of a home improvement convention in your Kirito costume, even though I’d give you extra credit for it. I’d personally save your cosplays for your all around geek conventions, because not only will people might get the wrong idea about you, but you’re costume would be unappreciated. And nobody wants that, right?

Thanks for attending my first ever class session, and I apologize if the lesson was a little rough around the edges. This one was a bit of a proof of concept, and I hope to refine them to be even better in the future!

Class, dismissed!

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