Throughout this course, I have come across the term “cosplay” several times, which I have found out, basically just means “costume play.” But this is a step up from kids dressing up on Halloween. If it done right, that is.
Cosplay began in Japan, and was originally used for anime characters. However, it eventually spread its wings in the 1990s, and is now used for a variety of popular franchises. It is not, “merely costuming, but a very unique form of performance art. It is most widely associated with comic books, anime, video games, and most things that are geeky in nature” (McIsaac). It for this reason, I suspect, that people go to such great lengths to create authentic costumes and enjoy doing it so much. As part of a subculture that may not be mainstream, dressing up and going to conventions with likeminded people is one of the rare opportunities to not only be accepted but appreciated for their work and creativity on something interesting and a little bizarre such as this.
There is a lot of negativity from outside the fandoms on cosplay, but also inside the fandoms and seeking out those who are not “true fans” by the way they are dressed (often in a misogynistic manner, they mean girls who are in provocative costumes to get attention).
However, that does not mean that there aren’t still many fans who use cosplay in a respectful and enthusiastic manner to pay homage to a series they adore. Cosplay, when done right, can be an enjoyable, creative experience that can bring fans in a community closer together. It gives fans an opportunity to participate in their favourite fictional world to take a break from reality and to have fun.
– Diana Harrison
– McIsaac: http://ifanboy.com/articles/what-is-cosplay-and-why-do-people-do-it/