0 Items | £0.00

VIEW BASKET

How to Cosplay

Wednesday 3rd June 2015


Amber Lawrence on the top ten ways to perfect cosplay without ending up on a snark site. Pics by Paul Jacques.

The most important thing anyone needs to know about cosplay is that it’s all about putting on a silly costume for a day, hanging out with your fellow geeks and revelling in geekish joy. But if you combine the increasing numbers of people getting into cosplay and the speedy and anonymous nature of the internet, you end up with a lot of websites out there dedicated to showcasing “Cosplay Fail”. So, if you want to have some costumed fun for the weekend but are worried about faceless internet critics nitpicking at your efforts afterwards, here are our survival tips…

1. DON’T cosplay as someone you know nothing about

How to Cosplay
They've got it right, unless they think they are Jordan and Peter.

It’s really nobody’s business which character you choose to cosplay as, but it’s one of those weird things that net critics like to jump on.  You don’t have to sit through every episode of Bleach before you cosplay as Ichigo or Rukia (let’s face it, you’d be there a while), but it’s a good idea to know a bit about a character you want to cosplay as anyway. Not only will it give the critics less to moan about, but it’ll also help you figure out cool poses for photos (and give you something to talk about if you meet other fans of your character).

2. DON’T try to run before you can walk

Maybe you’ve seen the photos of last year’s Eurocosplay winners and been inspired to get into the hobby, and it’s understandable that you’d want a costume that’s just as impressive as theirs. But if you don’t have much experience, you may want to think a little smaller for your first cosplay. The cosplayers with the most impressive costumes usually have years of experience, and they all started small too. You’ll always feel happier about a simple, well-made costume than one that’s over-complicated and inexpertly made. And on that note…

3. DON’T cut corners with your costume

How to Cosplay
It wouldn't be the same if she was painted pink.

Everyone has real-life commitments like work, school or family, and it’s normal to feel stressed as events loom. But don’t feel tempted to cut corners just to be finished in time. There are a few things you can get away with – messy seams on the inside of your costume, a fancy dress prop that looks the part – but unfinished hems, unpainted props and cheap party wigs will ruin the overall look of your costume. If it’s not coming together in time then don’t rush – there’ll always be other events.

4. DON’T ignore your body type

Everyone knows that anime characters don’t have realistic body proportions, so we’re not saying that you shouldn’t cosplay if you don’t match up. But there are certain characters with distinctive physical attributes and may look odd on a cosplayer without them – a petite woman cosplaying as Matsumoto from Bleach or Tsunade from Naruto, for example, or a not-entirely-musclebound man taking on Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star. Don’t despair, as there are always ways around these problems, whether it’s as simple as adjusting the cut of your costume or as extensive as building a muscle suit. But it all starts with you being aware of these problems in the first place.

5. DON’T forget your makeup

This is one that can go two ways. No-one has completely clear skin, and cameras can be extremely unforgiving when it comes to an uneven skin tone, so even if your character doesn’t seem to wear makeup, it’s a good idea if you do. A well-applied makeup scheme can do a lot, from disguising blemishes to seemingly changing the shape of your eyes or mouth. Be careful not to overdo it, too (unless you want to look clownish). Practice makes perfect with this, so experiment with your makeup before the event.

6. DON’T use your own hair

How to Cosplay
This would not be improved by an afro wig. Or would it...?

There are exceptions here. If you’re cosplaying as that most unusual of things, an anime character with a normal hair colour, and it happens to match yours, then you can probably get away with it. But don’t be tempted to think that you can save money on a good wig by trying to dye your hair a crazy colour. It never, ever looks right.

7. DON’T forget about your footwear

Ironically, it’s the characters with nondescript shoes that can trip you up. You may think that people will be too interested in your Alucard coat and hat to notice that you’re wearing an old pair of trainers, but internet critics always pick up on inappropriate shoes. You may not have any completely accurate footwear, but at least make sure your shoes match the rest of the costume.

8. DON’T lie about your costume

Not everyone has enough time, money or skill to make their dream costumes, so commissioning one made to your measurements is a reasonable alternative. No-one will look down on you for doing it… as long as you don’t try to pass it off as being your own work. Don’t enter craftsmanship competitions, don’t make up stories about the construction process, and if anyone asks, tell them the truth about where your costume came from. Lying about your costume is the cardinal sin of cosplay, and while internet critics will eventually forget about dodgy seams or a bad wig, they’ll never forget a person who claimed they made something when they didn’t (and won’t let you forget either).

9. DON’T take it too seriously

How to Cosplay
It's all good fun until someone tries dropkicking a passer-by...

Remember what we said right at the beginning about how cosplay is about geekish fun? Never lose sight of that. In internet terms, haters gonna hate, and if someone wants to snark about someone they’ll find some excuse or another for doing it regardless of all of the above. Feel free to disregard everything we’ve said here and cosplay as whoever you want, don’t visit snarky websites, and have fun with your hobby. That really is the best advice we can give you, with the possible exception of…

10. DON’T cosplay as L

Just don’t. No-one ever does it right.

MANGA UK GOSSIP

£
was £

FEATURED RELEASE

RECENT FEATURED POSTS

Ghost in the Shell: Innocence

Jasper Sharp on Oshii's Innocence abroad
Mamoru Oshii’s unashamedly esoteric sequel to his earlier global crossover Ghost in the Shell lent the most credibility to claims for anime as ‘Art’ with a capital ‘A’, when it became the first animated film from Japan to be entered in competition at Cannes.

Garm Wars: The Last Druid

Mamoru Oshii's latest film, fresh from its Tokyo premiere
In his live introduction to the premiere of Garm Wars The Last Druid at the Tokyo International Film Festival, Mamoru Oshii called his film a "a precise recreation of the delusions in my mind." While the truth of that statement is only known to Oshii, Garm Wars is certainly embedded in Oshii-land, ticking off the staple themes and existential worries in his work, while finding a new kind of gorgeousness.
With MCM London Comic Con just round the corner, we thought we’d put together a guide to help convention goers. Here are five things you must know in advance.

Keiichi Hara Interview

Andrew Osmond talks to the director of Shin-chan and Colorful
As the eleventh Japan Touring Film Programme heads through Britain (see here for venues and here for our write-up), we took the opportunity to speak to the director of the anime entry, the feature film Colorful. Keiichi Hara has been working in anime for thirty-odd years, gaining experience through working with two of Japan’s most popular kids’ characters, Doraemon and Crayon Shin-chan. He then graduated to his own projects, and is now a freelancer who pushes at the boundaries of what anime can be.

Wolf Children and Families

In search of Mamoru Hosoda’s family ties
The Wolf Children is a family film about a family. This may help explain while Mamoru Hosoda’s movie was a hit in Japan, something that’s very unusual for a standalone cartoon film not linked to an entrenched brand. A well-rounded portrait of a family offers many ways in for different generations. The Wolf Children is the story of an unassuming ‘ordinary’ mum who must find reserves of superhuman strength; of a rambunctious girl and a troubled boy, each with different relationships to their animal sides; of a magic, mythic love between a human woman and a gentle werewolf; and of everyday, practical living away from city lights and mod-cons.
Fray pays a visit to a Japanese canned food restaurant.
December’s here and it’s time to start thinking about gifts and stocking fillers for your nearest and dearest, or maybe just what to put on your own Christmas list!

Patema Inverted

Jonathan Clements on the movie that turns anime on its head
Boy-meets-girl has never been so strange as in this feature, in which the leads must literally cling to each other or fall away to an uncertain fate. Patema Inverted winningly plays with matters of spatial awareness, perspective and weight, regularly flipping its angles until the viewer literally can no longer remember which way is truly up.
Contact Us   |   Refund Policy   |   Delivery Times   |   Privacy statement   |   Terms & Conditions
Please note your card statement will show billing by MVM. How to Cosplay from the UK's best Anime Blog.