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Extreme Cosplay in Japan – a Few Little Known Facts

People cosplaying is always interesting to look at. It takes courage, confidence and a whole lot of boldness to nail playfully portraying someone (or something) else. For some of you who don’t know what that is, cosplay is a mashup from the two words 'costume' and 'play'.

Just like the name, people wear costumes and accessories according to whatever character from comics, cartoons, movies, or any other popular media they want to portray. Cosplay is a popular activity, especially in Japan, where the people usually take inspiration from their favorite characters in anime, manga, and video games. When they are in costumes, they’re not only wearing their favorite character’s outfit, they are also channeling the personalities into their own. They are becoming the characters they watched or read about.

In Japan, cosplaying is so common that they even have their own set of rules called the “cosplay etiquette”.

Cosplay Etiquette

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Bring your costume with you to change into. People who want to cosplay should come to the event in their regular clothes and bring their costume instead of wearing it on the way to the convention or event. And then right after the event is finished, they can change into their original clothing again. This is because the sometimes complicated costume can disturb and get in someone’s way, so there is no cosplaying in public allowed. Another rule is that one should pay extra attention to what they do when they are in costume.

Photo by Altan Dilan on Flickr.

Since children are quite familiar with anime, manga and games, the people who portray the characters should behave nicely and be careful to not make a bad example.

Cross Play

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While it is common for females to dress as female characters and males to dress as male characters, some take it to the next level and dress up to portray characters from the opposite gender. So the female cosplayer will make the male character’s outfit seem more feminine, and the male cosplayer will make the female character’s outfit more masculine. This is called gender bending.

Expensive and Detailed Costumes

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Depending on how complex the costumes are, cosplayers can spend thousands to tens of thousand on just one costume. The costume itself can be bought from various companies and manufacturers, or if they choose to get craftier, they can also make their own costumes. Cosplay costumes can range from just simple, themed clothing, to very detailed costumes.

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For passionate cosplayers, the more details in the costume, the better. This is because the whole point of cosplay is to replicate the character they choose. This is what makes cosplay events different from Halloween or Mardi Gras. You can often see the passion every cosplayer puts into their costume by how much detail is in every part of it. The skill of a cosplayer is measured by how close to the original they can make the costume to look like. Many skills may be inputted into this including face painting, fashion design, sewing, and even impersonating to improve their costume making skills.

In order to look even more like the characters, usually cosplayers will need to change their eyes and hair color. Thus they will have to wear contact lenses and wigs or color their hair. They will also copy their character's tattoos if any.

Animegao & Zentai

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Animegao (アニメ顔) means anime face. Animegao is the name called for cosplayers who wear a mask made from clay or fiberglass so their whole face looks like an anime character. They will also wear zentai or flesh-covering body suit.

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