So there’s this place where the fangirls hangout, you may have heard of it, it’s called tumblr. In this little nook of the Internet where you can find many lingering communities and fangirls that are considered to be in a small, tiny fandoms which may be considered peripheral groups. I for one have always stuck to a particular fandom but I decided to explore this phenomenon of cosplay.
So I began by typing in Asian cosplay, not a good idea unless you were searching for naked people. Finally I found what I believe to be a peripheral group within the cosplay community- manga cosplay as it appears to have much less posts as ‘normal’ cosplay.
First I should start by explaining a few things. The actual meaning of peripheral is relating to or situated on the edge or periphery of something. I feel manga and cosplay (as separate entities as well as one entity) are both peripheral parts of the tumblr community as most TV show fandoms take up a solid part of the site.
Ito & Crutcher (2014) describe Manga as, “a huge and lucrative business and is considered one of the most important Japanese cultural exports to the world today. In Japan, manga is read and loved by all kinds of people regardless of age, sex, social class, occupation, and education- al level.”
Within the tag I found this wonderful cosplay video, which, had everything from Asian rooted costumes to non-Asian costumes to slightly, influenced Asian costumes.
I found this to be an interesting mix of the cosplay scene and to show how this represents the mix of culture within cosplay.
This group mostly uses photos to show their costumes but I managed to find videos from the events and what I liked was how happy everyone seemed when they were taking part in this.
Ito & Crutcher (2014) explain that, “role-playing and public performance often take place at otaku conventions or social events, but cosplay in Japan extends well beyond anime fans em- bodying their favorite characters. Costuming and public performance in Japan has a storied history, and the diversity of cosplay in the last couple decades seems to suggest a deep cultural connection to those traditions.”
By viewing these pictures and the videos I am impressed by the amount of effort and detail put into these costumes and the effort it must take to portray this character, even just for a second and how they are able to capture that through the lens.
I found myself surprised by my own preconceptions of manga cosplay and the expectation that they would all be Asian.
I found this quite interesting to watch and to observe. I liked the world that it took me into and the excitement of the costumes and the characters, even if I don’t know the characters names.
Ito, K Crutcher, A 2014, Popular Mass Entertainment in Japan: Manga, Pachinko, and Cosplay, Society, Springer Science+Business Media New York, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp. 44 – 48