In this day and age, it’s not often that we get to escape the monotony of life. Day in and day out, we get up, go to school, study, and then go to bed. We then repeat the same process all over again the next day and the day after that. But sometimes, we get that small sliver of excitement when we try something new. We get exhilarated when we try out a new hobby or go on a spontaneous adventure. It’s because it’s so out of our ordinary routine.
In the world of cosplay, cosplayers feel this kind of excitement every time they dress up and act as the characters they love.
Although one might ask, why do cosplay in the first place? And what is it really all about? To answer these questions, we interview two Lasallian cosplayers, namely Kanra and Zed, to better understand what it really means to be a true cosplayer.
Art and Self-Expression
First things first, we asked, why did they choose to cosplay? Both Kanra and Zed said that cosplay was something that not only made them happy but allowed them to realize their inner artistry. “[It’s an] art form that encompasses theater, craftsmanship, make-up and prop-making,” Kanra adds. She said that cosplayers take great time and effort in making their costumes and props. Sometimes, it takes months to get the right materials just to make one part of their character’s outfits. Not only that, she said thorough research, in the form of film and literature, is needed to fully immerse oneself in the characters you would choose to portray. The reason for this, as Kanra says, is that “cosplay is the highest level of appreciation for [your] fandom because you embody the fandom [itself].” In turn, this shows that to be a cosplayer, you must be fully invested in your craft.
Zed, on the other hand, said that cosplay was more as a medium to self-discovery. He describes cosplay as the release of his “other self” or “alter ego.” Cosplay had allowed him to express another version of himself – something that he didn’t know was there to begin with. For him it is as much as form of expression as it is an art form.
Indeed, cosplay is a true art form in itself and these cosplayers are more than just their fashionable get-up and over-the top make-up, they are artists themselves.
On persona and fans
Not all cosplayers use their real names such as famed cosplayer Alodia does. Some of these cosplayers opt to adopt a name other than their own. This is the same with our fellow Lasallians, Kanra and Zed. So, why adopt a different name? Kanra explains it as “a separation of yourself.” She says that by choosing or creating another persona for cosplay, you will be able to fully identify yourself with the characters you intend to portray. Zed also adds that it’s a way to freely express yourself. With a new name and identity, you will no longer be hindered by society’s expectations of you – as a student, child or even as a friend.
Kanra adds that another reason for this is for differentiation purposes. In the cosplay community, if everyone used their own names, there’d be a lot of people with the same name.
With regards to the characters they play, both Kanra and Zed agree that they choose their characters based on their characteristics and over-all personality. Kanra says she chooses characters that are similar to her as well as characters she aspires to be. Some of her more recent portrayals include Anna from Frozen and Marceline from Adventure Time. Also, she mentions that she chooses characters with either a hyper yet sassy persona, or that of an anti-hero.
Zed, however, chooses the character with the attitudes and qualities he aspires to embody. He usually goes for characters that have a god complex and narcissistic quality to them. His portfolio of characters includes Gundam Tanaka from Dangan Ronpa and Yato from Kill la Kill. Although there are various other ways on how a cosplayer chooses their character, this is just how Kanra and Zed narrow down their choices, and true enough, they’ve chosen right as they’ve garnered fans of their own in the online world. Kanra says it’s nice to be appreciated for her work though it’s her passion for cosplay that drives her to do it. Nevertheless, she still acknowledges her fans by creating online contests for them through social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Cosplay community and conventions
Kanra and Zed are just some of the cosplayers in De La Salle University, but there are more outside of school, and even more nationwide. They are a community, in themselves, so we just had to ask how this community was like and what conventions and events can cosplayers attend.
Both agree that the cosplay community is a generally friendly and welcoming one. Zed even says that some cosplayers would provide online tutorial videos, on their respective online pages, to help other cosplayers prepare. Moreover, Kanra adds that “you find the greatest friends in cosplay.”
Over-all it’s a very tight and solid community, full of individuals who not only have same love for cosplay but also have genuine concern for one another.
Cosplay conventions bring cosplayers of different fandoms together. Other than the world-famous comic-con, there are other conventions happening all around the nation. Some of these conventions include the Philippine Cosplay Convention (PCC), the Ozine Festival, and Fantasy Quest. Other than these major conventions, some cosplayers can even set up their own events to express their devotion to their fandom. Cosplayer Kanra has mentioned hosting some home-based events such as Hetalia Day and Promstuck. It is in these ways that cosplayers make their presence in pop culture present.
At the end of the day, like it or hate it, cosplay is here to stay. Cosplay is not just a passing fad but an exciting art form that has a diverse culture in itself.