Subcultures can meet a lot of strange reactions from bystanders who are not familiar with them. Truth be told, when you see a group of people participating in some activity that just doesn't make sense at first glance, it is only natural to get confused. On the other hand, people tend to judge things too quickly, and you need to put things into perspective before you can actually form a conclusion about a particular cultural phenomenon. Sure, outwardly, it may seem silly and redundant but once you get to know the people and the story behind it, you might start to change your mind!
While the culture of dressing up in costumes has been around for centuries, the cosplay culture (yes, it is a culture) is a more recent phenomenon. This is why cosplaying can come off as a bit strange to people not familiar with it and may put them in a situation where they ask questions like: “What is the point of the whole thing?”. Well, let’s clear this mystery up, shall we?
While cosplaying, as social activity, has been popularized in recent years, it really isn't something that is actually new. Actually, the term cosplaying is a portmanteau that was created all the way back in 1984 by Nobuyuki Takahashi of Studio Hard, and this is actually a term of Japanese origin. This is only natural since it is mostly connected to anime culture, and the Japanese really have a fanatical fan base for the manga and anime.
Who are the cosplayers?
There really isn't a frame you can fit all cosplayers in. Age really isn’t the factor since cosplayers, although usually young people, can come from all age groups. Nationality? Pff, people that like cosplay come from all nations and consider nationality an irrelevant factor. The only thing that truly matters is passion for the characters they are dressing up into. This is the only thing that is truly relevant.
While it may be true that its roots lie in the anime community, now it has grown, and these days, it is an active part of the gaming community, it is practiced by movie fans, sci-fi fans, epic fiction fans, etc. In all actuality, everyone who has ever wanted to become a fictional character for a day has the potential to get into cosplay. Cosplayers are people who actually decide to go for it. This is the only thing that sets them apart from everyone else.
There are two options when it comes to where you get your cosplay costume. You can decide to make it yourself or you can buy one. If you are good with crafts, sewing and things like that, you can attempt to make one yourself, and there are cosplay costumes that can be quite easy to make but there are also those that are a challenge even for professionals. This is why there are costumes that are designed by professionals so as to avoid making a costume that can’t even be recognized as a particular character by hard core fans. In most cases, it also involves putting on makeup in order to make it as realistic as possible. Making your own costume can be very tricky since anime and game characters usually have a lot of details on them which are hard to pull off in real life. It can be problematic to transfer a character that comes from a 2D environment of cartoons and games into our 3D environment.
We cosplay because we love!
It is important to know the character you are trying to cosplay. They all have specific personalities, trademark moves and so on. You can’t really get into the character without being really familiar with what he or she has been through. But every true fan already knows this and they don’t take the whole thing lightly.
Well, that’s about it. There really isn't a great mystery to these people who run around your town in colorful clothing looking like they came from another world. To some extent, they did and they are trying to share a piece of that world with you, so don’t turn a blind eye to it and join the fun.