The task of the cosplayer is to reproduce the character as accurately as possible with costume, makeup, hair, and even demeanor. Experienced cosplayers usually make all the details by hand and do their makeup. And beginners are helped by professionals: they know precisely how to make a bulky costume light and strong, realistically draw scars, and securely fasten horns.
A relatively new subculture that originated in Japan is cosplay. Cosplay is the recreation of a mystique costume or embodiment of on-screen actions. In other words, cosplayers completely inhabit the characters they love, adopting their voice, inflection, and even name. They even construct identical hairstyles and outfits.
Modern cosplay first appeared in Japan among Japanese manga and anime fans, so these characters are often the main prototypes of the action. Cosplay initially occurred in mystique costume shows at events devoted to fantasy and science fiction festivals. Then, gradually, anime festivals featuring individual cosplayer numbers emerged.
Cosplay participants identify with a character, for example, from a video game or a samurai movie, wear similar clothes, imitate them in hairstyle, call themselves by their name, and use close turns of speech. Often during cosplay, a role-play is put on. However, the basic premise of cosplay is to be like your character and dress in the required mystique costume. Cosplay mystique costumes can be purchased ready-made or are often manufactured upon request at the studio.
The development of cosplay in Japan was facilitated by the participants’ familiarity with fantasy and science fiction fans. Some people began to model and create various accessories, game mystique costumes, and other paraphernalia in these communities.
This subculture came into the international arena in the early 80s and 90s. Festivals and cosplay cones began to be held, and at significant anime conventions, the program began to include blocks devoted to cosplay
Now cosplay has gained tremendous popularity all over the world. As a result, many of the largest anime festivals are held in Japan, Europe, the United States, and Russia, where this subculture has a leading position.
European and American cosplay is slightly different from the cosplay inherent in the land of the rising sun. For example, Western cosplayers, American comic book characters, science fiction films, historical figures, and characters from movies with a historical theme are more popular. On the other hand, most people in Japan collect events related to computer games and anime.
Since cats are popular in Japan, cosplay and anime culture frequently borrow from members of the feline family. Cosplay typically depicts anime characters with ears and tails. The well-known “nya,” which mimics the cat meow among the Japanese, has become the preferred exclamation of the anime subculture.
This exclamation conveys various emotions: disappointment, sadness, joy, pleasure, or admiration. The phenomenon when animal characters are cosplayed is called Kigurumi.
What do we know about fantasy in general?
Fantasy is a fantasy literature genre that extensively uses fairy tale motifs and mythical stories. A considerable role in the modern interpretation of fantasy was played by John Tolkien, who became the author of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, with which only the laziest has not become familiar.
Books and stories in the fantasy style are characterized by an adventurous nature, which has a connection with history, which can coincide with reality or ultimately be fictional. This fantasy genre of literature can hypothesize about life in the past or the future. Powerful elves, fairies, and mythical creatures settle in the books of fantasy authors, where there is a place for black and white, witchcraft, and magic.
From books, fantasy comes to the screens, and then it can settle in our lives in the form of various attributes of the main characters and mystique costumes. You can find fantasy-style clothing in Internet stores or create your own if you have a predisposition to it – artistic skill and skillful handling with the needle and thread.
How to recreate the style of fantasy clothing?
In books, the plot is often based on the confrontation of the forces of good and evil. Accordingly, you should first determine how the evil sorcerer and the excellent wizard look in your imagination. For example, dark colors – black, purple, red, cherry, blue, and dark green – may be used for the dark forces. The image of the character acting on the side of good is characterized by light colors – white, beige, cream, turquoise, soft pink, light blue, etc.
Having decided on tones, let’s fantasize and imagine what our characters might look like and what kind of clothes they might be wearing
Texture. Dark powers are characterized by stiff fabrics. It could be a combination of dark leather and suede, which would make the character look heavier and darker. For the light forces and positive characters, the accent can fall on natural and light materials – linen, cotton, calico, silk, and velvet.
It is possible to go over the edge and complement the costume with metal inserts, imitating armor. Rough metal will be combined skillfully with feminine flying fabrics, such as chiffon or organza.
Fashion. If, in a fictional world, you want to create an image for the reigning person who is not actively involved in military battles, then a long dress, complete with ruffles, pleats, and flounces, is preferable. Such a dress may be fluffy or fitted, short or long. Not bad looks dress with a V-neck and A-silhouette, having a seductive neckline on the back or opening one leg.
For active heroes involved in combat, you should pick something more functional and practical, such as a suede brown corset and leather pants paired with high boots and lacing. To complete the ensemble will allow a cape with a hood.
Wide and flared sleeves, lantern sleeves, high collars, and asymmetrical forms, which are so fond of mystique costume designers, who are involved in preparing ensembles for actors, are welcome in the style of the dresses.
Finishing and decoration. Various edging, embroidery, metal inserts and buttons, and lacing can be confidently used in the image because, with skillful treatment, it will not suffer. Decorating with fur, feathers, and ideas of mythical and divine beings is acceptable to introduce in the costume for a perfect and complete image.
Type of clothing. Fantasy-style clothing, presented on TV screens, almost always emphasizes girls’ feminine forms and natural beauty. These luxurious dresses highlight the voluminous breasts and thin waist, suits that maximize the opening of the body. The latter is often complemented by a long cape or similar jacket covering the body, and high shoes, emphasizing the slimness of the legs.
Usually, a girl is bet on the likeness of a beautiful creature – a butterfly, a bird, a tigress, etc. Designers use Victorian-era costumes and elements of the Gothic style. If we are talking about a futuristic image, shiny fabrics and jumpsuits are appropriate, harmonizing with bright hair color and catchy makeup.
To the above, do not forget to add the appropriate hairstyle and makeup, as well as massive jewelry – earrings, bracelets, rings, necklaces, and bracelets.
A few fantasy-style looks
If you’re still lacking ideas for a look, you can take advantage of some of the solutions we have listed below.
Snow Queen. For such a fairy tale character, cold shades of blue, white, and silver are characteristic. Ice tones should be present not only in the costume but also in the makeup and hair. The Snow Queen is not the Snow Maiden but an imperious and meek person, chilling with just one look.
A long dress with a high-standing collar adorned with rhinestones, imitating the ice in her soul. This trend can be chosen not only by blondes but also by girls with a winter color type, having pale skin and contrasting black hair. The head is crowned with a headdress of unusual shape, and on the legs are decorated high boots.
Aphrodite. The image shows vulnerability, grace, and tenderness. Beautiful for this image, dresses, and hairstyles in the Greek style, not very bright makeup, emphasizing the natural beauty of the lady. The tone of the dress is predominantly light. In particular, white is relevant. The head is decorated with a headband with natural stones or an unusual hairstyle. Flowing fabrics are welcome, which is worthy of a real goddess.
If you don’t like a white dress, use sea shades – blue, blue, turquoise, green, sea wave color and combine the chosen color with white, cream, and pale yellow details. Dress, shoes, or jewelry can also contain marine attributes – fish, starfish, and seashells because Aphrodite was born of sea foam.
The image of Aphrodite can also be militant because the fantasy style is rich in imagination, which means that you can not limit your imagination and demonstrate your vision in the mystique costume.
10 tips for aspiring cosplayers
1. The perfect costume is impossible.
There will always be someone who likes your mystique costume and someone who dislikes it. It’s a matter of taste and point of view, an individual view of the character. Try, however, to at least like your mystique costume yourself.
2. Think about the recognizability of the character.
Not all characters and not all costumes are easy to recognize. For example, many characters walk around in a regular Japanese school uniform. It’s easy to reproduce, but viewers will have a hard time guessing whose costume it is. On the other hand, you can make an elaborate and unique costume of a character from an anime that few people have seen. And the effect of such a costume will also be ruined.
The audience will not admire but guess and argue. By the way, a roughly made costume of a well-known character can create a more considerable sensation than an accurately reproduced outfit of a little-known character. The audience’s consciousness will “complete” the costume with well-known features, even if they are only hinted at.
3. Before you plan a costume, decide what impression you want to make.
If you wear an unusual costume and appear in public, you hope to become the center of attention. It is essential to imagine – what kind of attention. Say you hope that everyone will notice how exactly matched the color of the skirt is, but everyone sees just how short it is.
Before you go in public, stand in front of a mirror and try to look at yourself from the side. Ask some of your honest friends to comment on your costume. Remember to move – do you remember that when you move, a short skirt tucks? In any case, be prepared for the fact that mystique cosplay costumes are often a cause for hilarity, not delight. If you are being laughed at, laugh with everyone else.
4. Cosplay is as much about the costume as it is about the person.
As you know, many anime and manga characters have “non-human” proportions, which in real life are quite rare – and usually not in those who do cosplay. Some features of the figure can be compensated for; some cannot. In practice, however, it is not the “inaccuracies” of the costume that are most noticeable but the “inaccuracies” of the person wearing it.
Get accustomed to your ensemble. Wear it naturally. Rehearse the most advantageous ways to pose. Try not only to wear a costume of the character but also imitate his gait, gestures, and temperament. These simple techniques can make a much bigger impression than physiological accuracy.
5. The costume is not only the top but also the bottom.
Remember that the costume must match the shoes (especially if the cosplay takes place in a warm room where the boots are not dictated by the weather). At the very least, they should be at least as clean as the mystique costume. However, if you don’t have shoes that match the outfit, try to avoid making it obvious. Usually, simple and not conspicuous shoes are enough to complement a precisely made suit top. The feet are the last thing people pay attention to.
6. Remember the causal items.
Many costumes include magic wands, swords, and other valuable items. Reproduce them! A well-made prop sword can hide many minor flaws in the costume, and you’ll make a much stronger impression on your audience. And be sure to make him a neutral (in a sense – not similar to a sheath) carrying case. Our police love to fight with anyone who takes something resembling a combat weapon on the street.
7. Better to chew than to talk.
If the cosplay is organized and you have to go on stage, come up with a number. And, if technically possible, a number with movement and appropriate music. Wave your sword, dance (if you know how), pose as a fighting character and, sing along to the soundtrack.
It is better to reduce the spoken part of the performance to a minimum – say, a standard chant of your character. Practice shows that clearly and convincingly speak much harder than convincingly moving in the costume (especially if you are not a professional actor). That is why extras in movies are often recruited from the street. Plus, your goal is to demonstrate the coolness of the costume and your ability to feel natural in it. And you can say something clever like that. ^_^
8. Find your match.
Many characters are connected in one way or another. If your anime couple (say, Rei or Asuka, relative to Shinji) is involved in cosplay, try to make some arrangements with them and come up with a number together. This is especially true if you need help to develop a solo number for your character. By the way, if your costumes separately are hard to recognize
9. Don’t sew with live thread!
Unless you will tear something off in the costume during the performance, try to ensure that everything is sewn and attached as firmly as possible. First, it will be a considerable embarrassment if your costume falls apart during the performance. Second, fans will want to feel your creation with their hands. If your outfit has a tail – they will try to rip it off. If you have a sword – they will try to break it. Don’t make life difficult for yourself – sew tighter.
10. No to black under white!
This is a classic tip that should be remembered. Never wear dark underwear under a light-colored top – it shines through. Unless, of course, you want the audience to study your bra, not the shirt on it.