Friday, January 6, 2012

Confessions of A Cosplay Hipster: On Cosplay Accuracy Part 1 of 2


Imagine if someone drew a picture of Mickey Mouse. Obviously just for fun, it wasn’t a commission or an exercise, they just like Mickey Mouse and wanted to make some fan art. But they drew the nose drooping down, and instead of his characteristic round ears, they gave him small, pointy ears like a cat. Now imagine that when it’s pointed out that Mickey doesn’t look like that and it looks pretty bad, they respond by saying, “Well, it’s just for fun, not perfection, so shush!”

Is that an acceptable response?

Just because something is for fun doesn’t mean it can’t be critiqued. If we can freely critique people’s drawings or sculptures (then again, some people seem to think we can’t do that either!) then we can critique people’s cosplay, too.

It’s just another art form.

Half of the participation in a cosplay is the audience, otherwise cosplayers wouldn’t be showing it off in public and they’d just be doing costumes for themselves in their bedroom or something. If they go out in public, they’re opening themselves to public scrutiny and people are going to have opinions about it.

Honestly, I think trying to modify costumes to look sexy even if the character is supposed to look cute looks dumb and it’s kind of like dressing up like Link by putting an almost-green sock on your head and wearing fringy Minnetonka boots. Yeah, it’s vaguely close, but not very Linky and it looks ridiculous. The point of a cosplay is to dress up like a character, and making it look bad and only partially recognizable doesn’t make sense and certainly doesn’t seem very fun. At best it looks cheap and at worst it looks lazy.

So here are some of my tips concerning cosplay and how to choose your character... 

1) Anyone can cosplay. But just because you can doesn't mean you should. 

You must be wondering what I mean by that, basically I'll be splitting the contents into several pieces as to describe what is entailed here. 

a) Consider your body type and the character you want to cosplay. 

Are you on the hefty side but want to cosplay an overly-sexualized and/or sexy character? I'm so sorry but I suggest trying to find a character that doesn't bring out the flaws of your body, but if you insist on doing this character don't start crying about being made fun of. On the up side doing some modifications to a character's designs may help you, I've seen a pretty good Ashe cosplay that was done by a plus size girl and it look absolutely beautiful, basically I'm just saying that you should be realistic with your body image. If you want an example of what NOT to do... Look up Pixyteriyaki on Deviant art... Nuff said *shivers*

Are you a "well-endowed" individual but interested in cosplaying a male character? Too lazy to bind or wear a compression shirt? I suggest a character that would fit you a bit more, boys don't have boobs now do they? Always consider how the character looks, I know binding is painful (coming from a girl with a 38B sized pair of mammary glands) but we all have to make sacrifices to pull male characters off flawlessly. I suggest doing some research on "Drag-Kings" I basically learned most of my crossplay know-how from reading various articles on the matter of pulling off male characters. 

Are you a Male who wishes to pull off a flawless female cosplay? Too lazy to tuck, pluck and wax? Again I suggest re-considering another character, preferable of your gender if you cannot be bothered with these simple formalities, girls are supposed to be pretty and very "feminine", no? There's no place in the crossplaying world for boys who can't pull girls off but insist on doing so. WE DO NOT WANT THINGS TO SCAR US FOR LIFE. research on Drag Queens and get yourself SOME RU PAUL GOODNESS for extra credit! 

Are you a flat-chested girl insisting on cosplaying a *ahem* well endowed character? Don't want to use push-up bras and silicone boob pads? Then I suggest doing some adorable and cute DFC (that stands for Delicious Flat Chest XDDDD) characters, lolis or even some really kick-ass crossplays (No need to bind! Win-Win!) but if you insist on doing so get yourself some boob and butt silicone fillers as well as a good push-up bra. Try to make them look natural than going for HENTAI BOOB-MONSTER SIZED BREASTS!!!!!  DO NOT WANT!!!!

Basically these examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to body-types. Don't let me or anyone dictate what you should and shouldn't cosplay, just remember that there are ramifications to your actions, ok?

b) Consider the personality of the character you will cosplay

Lol. As part of the "Cosplay CODE OF AMADEO" that I personally follow here is one of thee most important rules that I follow. TRY TO READ/KNOW YOUR CHARACTER! Character-Bastardization is a definite NO-NO!

Is Sakura Kinomoto a emo-weepy bitch? Is Dante from Devil May Cry the type of character who'd do "Moe-Moe Kyun" poses? Is Sasuke the type to weep like a little girl? Is John Egbert a Yaoi-gay-boi? The last part, for those familiar with Homestuck would hit the biggest issue I have, he isn't, he's blatantly expressed his sexuality as, as fans put it "NO HOMO". But most WEEABOOs and Herpa-Derpa "cosplayers" would break and bastardize the character. Why? It's probably because they DON'T KNOW CRAP ABOUT THE CHARACTER. You don't post "Hey guys who should I cosplay?" and take the first suggestion written there, consider if you know the character or even LIKE the character to try to even attempt to do a cosplay of said character. I know, I'm ranting, but I'm trying to make a point, If you like a character and consider cosplay as a way to bring homage to a character then do your best to bring that character to life but also be selective of the personality traits that you would mimic which is to say that just because your character is a douchebag doesn't mean you need to be one, pick another less insulting trait and try that. Wearing a wig and costume doesn't automatically make you a cosplayer, proper research into your character's personality, signature poses (that work for you) and your effort to make the character come to life are essential to the cosplayer's arsenal.

Take my advice and READ, RESEARCH AND UNDERSTAND your chosen character. Because I don't see the point of cosplaying a character you don't even know or like.

c) Consider your skill level and resources to do the cosplay you've chosen

Not everyone is automatically made to be top-tier cosplay material. All of us have started in shit-tier standards (Hell, I started in creepy-weeaboo standards). I'm pretty sure that older people in the cosplay community will tell you their "In my days.." stories and you should never ignore their wise advice on the matter, they aren't "cosplay veterans" for nothing.  Even if some of them come off as elitists most of them really mean well, but if you absolutely cannot get any help from people around you there's always internet tutorials to the rescue, remember, GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND! Now, in terms of skill it is now up to your nimble fingers to make your costume. Although I don't make most of my costumes (I've commissioned most of them, but who hasn't really? I'm pretty much in the intermediate level I guess) I do make my own props and paint on details needed to my costume, I am absolutely helpless with the sewing machine. But if you do get your things commissioned, always remember to CREDIT THE PERSON!!! DON'T BE A CREDIT-STEALING-SNAKELADY!!!! *winkwinknudgenudge* 

As for resources, now a days you can find shops on FB and Multiply that sell wigs, contacts, etc. Just ask around first if the shop is reliable and READ FIRST BEFORE ASKING! 

Usagai-chan is not pleased by your character bastardization :|

End of Part 1

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