In light of certain conventions (and as our own Adam can attest to), I’m sure that any of you who have ever gone to any geek gathering of any great multitude can say they’ve seen cosplay. I’m sure that those same people can admit that 90% of most cosplay is bad cosplay.
This isn’t a new concept. Certainly, there are people out there who genuinely try to make their own costumes featuring their favorite anime or geek culture character, and just fall short. There’s no shame in that, as long as you tried, right? Well, it truly depends. Take a look at my nice little list here and see if anything on it applies to you. Then we’ll talk.
1.) If Your Body Type Doesn’t Fit the Cosplay
*A lot of cosplayers tend to lean towards dressing up as a character who is their favorite. Unfortunately, what a lot of people don’t quite have is a little thing called shame, that prevents them from doing things that would otherwise make them look ridiculous. This is the case of cosplayers that dress up as a character who simply doesn’t fit their body type. Case in point, if you are 200+lbs or have certain features about you that, ahem, “stand out”, then perhaps you should rethink that Sailor Moon outfit. This may seem mean, and it is. However, the truth hurts. If you’d like to change it, either find a different character to dress up as that’s more toward your body type, or work on your body. Making cosplay awesome isn’t just about the costume. It involves in all-encompassing dedication to the character. If that means doing some sit ups to pull off a good Pyramid Head cosplay, well then do it. Otherwise, you’re doing it wrong.
2.) If You Only Have a “Partial” Costume
* Now I know what you may be thinking, “I couldn’t get all the accessories for a costume, how does that make it bad?” Calm down there buddy. I’m talking about the people who get a Naruto headband, who aren’t dressed up as any character in particular, and are just walking around with it to be cool. The same applies to Akatsuki coats. The concept of going around wearing just cat ears applies to this category as well. If you’re doing it just to be silly, that’s your choice. However if you’re doing it to be cool and accepted as a “cosplayer”, then you’re just being a lazy ass and you’re doing it wrong.
* I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done a loop around a convention center, and seen gobs of cheap, poorly constructed costumes that look like they were done the night before the con. Please people, if you’re dedicating yourself to a costume, then give it some damn attention. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to do a costume justice. Going to a thrift store has proven lucrative for a lot of cosplayers, myself included. In some key parts of the costume are going to ungodly expensive for you to make, then rethink your costume. Work within your limits, people. Don’t slap some brightly colored crappy spandex pants on, and expect to call yourself a superhero. If your costume is naturally bland, then it’s alright. However if you made Cloud’s sword out of a few pieces of cardboard that you duct taped together 6 hours beforehand and try to pass it off as being wonderful, then you’re doing it wrong.
4.) If You Cross-play Without Thinking
* Usually if a cosplayer is dressing up as a character that is of the opposite gender, it’s usually the girls dressing up as guys. I myself have cross-played numerous times, and have seen it done well by girls because many male anime and game characters are classified as “bishonen” pretty boys. However at this year’s Otakon, I was amazed by the amount of guys who were cosplaying as female characters, and not one of them was doing it right. Unless you’re doing it as a joke, or you are very effeminate, the guys out there should stick to the male characters only. Lest we get ourselves another Man-Faye, in which case you are doing it oh so very, very wrong.
5.) If You’re More Than 25 Years Older Than Your Character
* Uhh, this one’s pretty self-explanatory. Don’t go playing a child’s character if you’re 30. Don’t go playing any character if you’re over 50 and it shows. You’ll be doing it wrong.
So, the next time you want to go to any kind of convention and feel the need to join in the masses that cosplay for the event, just keep things in perspective. If you’re doing it to be silly and as a joke then you knock yourself out and do whatever you want. We’ll be sure to have a laugh at your expense. However if you are doing serious cosplay and want to do it right, keep the following list in mind, otherwise we’ll still have a laugh at your expense.