So let me paint you a picture of every convention I have ever been to. I stand in line with my friends for nearly 2 hours to get in to the convention. While we stand in line we can usually see about 200 billion million people (because exaggeration is best way to describe anything) dressed up as something from somewhere. Now normally these people are waiting in the line to then go sign up for the cos-play competition, and about 50-60% of these people are dressed as something from Japan and about 80% of them are dressed as an Anime character.
The Japanese have embraced this cos-playing culture to the extreme and it is something that they promote at every opportunity they can. “In 2006, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs started their support of the summit (World Cosplay Summit) that includes cosplay contests on TV, parades in various cities, photo shooting and more. The Ministry of Land and infrastructure and Transport also included the WCS as part of Visit Japan campaign in 2007 to promote tourism.”(Ito, Crutcher 2013) Cos-playing in Japan is a huge deal, bigger than I could ever have imagined. The fans even go as far as re-enacting scenes from their favourite shows Ito and Crutcher describe these events having their own area at most otaku conventions. While this phenomenon has reached the western world the better cosplayers are those from Japan. Online, cosplayers have become famous and are instantly recognised when they are at conventions. People might know of the famous Jessica Nigri who makes money off cosplaying and being a cosplay model. Jessica has been able to reach her target Audience by having a facebook page with photos of her dressed up. She is constantly being interviewed and being asked what her next creation and she has come up with lots of great costumes.
So when I first saw these people dressed as their favourite anime characters I never really got the concept of it. I never understood why someone would go to all that trouble to create these elaborate costumes. However, after reading about this phenomenon that is cosplaying in Japan it dawned on me how truly incredible this idea is. Sure you can go to a convention and dress in a T-Shirt that says “I’m going Cakeless” but dressing up and going looking like Goku and finding a Vegeta and filming a fake fight to put online sounds like the best idea ever
Image sourced from http://tmsfiguregame.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/0108.jpg
Ito K, Crutcher P, 2013, ‘Popular Mass Entertainment in Japan: Manga,
Pachinko, and Cosplay’, SYMPOSIUM: SIGNS, SYMBOLS, AND SEMIOTICS, Vol 51, Issue 1, pp-44-48 <http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/208/art%253A10.1007%252Fs12115-013-9737-y.pdf?auth66=1409470864_16ff257c42481d546e9306a3f6fa55d0&ext=.pdf>