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Cosplayer
Cosplayer

Cosplay, short for "costume roleplay",is a type of performance art whose participants outfit themselves, with often-elaborate costumes and accessories, as a specific character or idea. Characters are usually sourced in various Japanese and East Asian media, including manga, anime, tokusatsu, comic books, graphic novels, video games, hentei and fantasy movies. Other sources include performers from J-pop, J-rock, visual kei, fantasy music stories (such as stories by the band Sound Horizon), novels, and objects from cyberspace or the real world that are unique and dramatic (especially if they have or can be given an anthropomorphic Form).


Cosplay participants ("cosplayers") form a subculture centered around wearing their costumes and reenacting scenes or inventing likely behavior inspired by their chosen sources. In some circles, the term cosplay has been broadened to include simply wearing a costume, without special consideration given to enacting characters in a performance context.

Cosplay costumes are radically different from typical Halloween costumes. Because the object of cosplay is to literally to become one's character, the intricate details of the costume's construction are critical. Costumes must meticulously adhere to the designs of the characters' attire, and even more generic costumes are often elaborately artistic. Rigorous attention to detail may include ensuring the seams are aligned properly and finished, thread colors are appropriate, and fabric colors precisely match the character and their attire. Some cosplayers will buy their costumes from talented artists, while others may spend months creating the perfect cosplay outfit.

Because the costumes are so elaborate, like-minded people gather to see others' costumes, show off their own elaborate handmade creations, take lots of pictures, and possibly participate in best costume contests at different cosplay events. Countless tutorials have also been created all over the internet by cosplayers to aid members of the community.

A recent trend at Japanese cosplay events is an increase in the popularity of non-Japanese fantasy and science fiction movie characters, perhaps due to the international success of such films as The Matrix, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Characters from the Harry Potter films have a particularly high number of female fans in Japan, with female cosplayers playing either male or female characters, Draco Malfoy being an extremely popular choice.

Cosplaying as characters of the opposite sex is called "crossplay", and cosplaying as characters who dress as the opposite sex is called "cross-dressing". The main reason that people do “crossplay” or “cross-dressing” is because in anime there is an abundance of bishounen (beautiful youths), who are very attractive and feminine-looking male characters. Therefore, in the reality, females can often act as these characters better than the males. “Crossplay” and “cross-dressing” often coincide, but since some Japanese characters cross-dress to start with, it is possible to do one without the other.

For example, a female cosplayer cosplaying as a male character would be cross-dressing and crossplaying. However, a female cosplayer dressing as someone like Mana (male artist from the Visual Kei band Malice Mizer known for dressing in female clothes) would be crossplaying, but not cross-dressing; and a male cosplayer also cosplaying as Mana would be cross-dressing, but not crossplaying.

A small niche group in the crossplaying field are dollers, a subset of kigurumi cosplayers; usually male, they wear bodysuits and masks to completley transform into femape characters.

By the late 1980s, rather than cosplay being a chance to roleplay as a favourite character, it was a chance to be seen. A new kind of cosplayer emerged - a cosplayer who attended events not to participate, but to be photographed. Also, photographers came to take photographs of the cosplayers, several of those photographers were from adult magazines.

A recent trend in cosplay has been the increase in use of "social networks" to share experiences and photographs with other players. This has led to great amounts of users congregating online, sharing, rating and socializing about various cosplay events and costumes.

Image from Deviantart, information 'borrowed' from wikipedia.






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