While I was preparing for my Japanese studies as an incoming middle schooler, … I discovered cosplaying and a plethora of other Japanese stuff like anime, manga, gyaru (girl) style, visual kei style, …………
Anime and manga fans who cosplay – dress up as their favorite characters – were such “eye-candies” to me as a kid. The homemade or “professionally-made” costumes they wore were much more colorful, detailed, and unique compared to the Halloween costumes you’d see at your local party stores.
But soon after discovering the hobby, I realized that cosplaying is far from glamorous.
1.) Cosplaying is an expensive hobby.
No one wants to be that loser who wears the same costume for every convention. Most cosplayers buy costumes with expensive price tags (not because of the price, of course), and then struggle to sell their costumes.
Convention passes are pricey as well. I’ve paid for a convention pass before, and I believe it was about $70 per person? Convention pass prices vary depending on how big and popular the convention is. So I guess if you live in California, the pass prices for large anime conventions there are probably a lot more expensive than the small convention I went to.
More importantly, you have to consider travel costs when planning to attend conventions. That can include parking, hotel rooms, taxis, etc.
I’d rather use my money to buy clothes that I can wear everyday and not have to worry about getting rid of them than to cosplay. And I’d rather watch anime and chillax with friends at the comfort of each other’s houses than to spend a lot of money on going to and preparing for conventions.
2.) Cosplaying is mostly about popularity.
This is the thing that irks me the most about cosplaying.
I love stories and characters that have substance.
Nowadays, it seems to me that most (not all) cosplayers I see are in it to become popular impersonators. It doesn’t matter whether they actually like the characters or stories they’re representing; what matters is that they look good as certain characters based on their physical features, makeup skills, modeling skills, and sometimes their craftsmanship in creating or modifying their costumes. And a lot of them look for photographers at conventions so that they can be featured on social media.
A lot of the anime and manga characters that I’ve admired ever since I started studying Japanese are guys. (Yeah, I’m into shounen – a Japanese genre that focuses on action and is mostly targeted towards guys.) And those characters that I admire don’t really have sophisticated outfits. That’s one of the reasons why I admire them in the first place – because they’re really relatable in appearance, personality, everything. Since some of the most popular cosplayers are either manly, sexy, or androgynous (partly male, partly female in appearance), they make me and a lot of other fans, in a way, feel that we’re not worthy enough to represent certain characters.
There are certainly a lot of good things about cosplaying, like how the community is mostly accepting of cosplaying done by fans of any sexuality, gender and race.
Cosplaying is just not for me because of those points I mentioned.
I don’t mind looking at pictures of cosplayers online. And I applaud every cosplayer (not just the ones I’ve seen online) for their hardwork and dedication to putting a costume together.
If money weren’t such a big factor, then I’d probably try to cosplay.