Project Educate: A, B, C's of Cosplay 2:
Cosplay, short for costume play, is a type of performance art in which participants don costumes and accessories to represent a specific character, or idea. Characters are often drawn from popular fiction in Japan, but recent trends have included American cartoons and science fiction.
Favorite sources include manga, anime, tokusatsu, comic books, graphic novels, video games, hentai and fantasy movies, as well as anthropomorphic manifestations.
Cosplayers often interact to create a subculture centered around role play. A broader use of the term cosplay applies to any costumed role play in venues apart from the stage, regardless of the cultural context.
Informational text cited from Wikipedia.org. and Costuming.org
For the rest of the week, I would love to do enough featurettes to cover the entire alphabet, and hopefully help educate about interesting animes, mangas, terms and events which happen all around in the world of Cosplay!
J is for J-Pop/J-Rock:
You must be wondering why I would include a genre of music in an article about Cosplay. The answer is fairly simple! J-Pop, which is short for Japenese Pop, and J-Rock, which is short for Japanese Rock, while they are popular in Japan, have gained extreme popularity worldwide for anime and manga fans. It is common for J-Pop/Rock bands to record introductions and endings to anime/manga and video games, as well as play at conventions, which often leads folks to not only enjoy their work, but they also end up cosplaying as the artist(s) themselves. Con-goers can and will cosplay as their favorite J-Pop/Rock band members, some to extreme likeness!
A list of some J-Pop bands can be found here.
A list of some J-Rock bands can be found here.
K is for Kigurumi:
Kigurumi is a form of cosplay which utilizes a full body suit. It is a part of Japanese culture which represents performing people who dress up like popular cartoon characters. The word is actually two words in one - Kiru, which means 'to wear', and Nuigurumi, which means 'stuffed toy'.
In North America, your local teams mascot can actually be considered kigurumi cosplay suits. There is really no limit to what a kigurumi cosplay can be. Notiably, Pikachu and Hello Kitty would be the top two that you might think of when you consider full body suit costumes.
A lot of kigurumi cosplay revolves around sex appeal, and the costumery can be revealing...and sometimes explicit. The size, shape and overall attractiveness of a character is then a leading force in choosing a kigurumi costume.
Kigurumi, while most active in Japan, has rubbed off in North America, as well as most European countries. With the limitless ideas of what you can dress up as, kigurumi can be enjoyed by anybody, young and old.
L is for L.A.R.P:
L.A.R.P, which is short for "Live Action Role Play", is essentially where you dress up like a character, and then you become that character and act out your role. It can be a very simple encounter, such as friends meeting up for a few hours and just hanging out, or it can be incredibly advanced, where organized groups of people show up and spend hours, sometimes DAYS, being in character and acting out scenarios and situations. Thousands of people might attend a larger scale L.A.R.P event, and acres of land have been known to be leased for Medival festivals. Historical reenactments can also qualify as Live Action Role Play.
A history of live action role playing games.
Though LARPing has been around since the dawn of time (think childrens games, playing house, learning to hunt through watching as adults acted out mammoth hunts, etc), and around commercially since the 1970's (1982 marked a critical stage of LARPing in Europe, with Treasure Trap), a vast majority of LARP gaming was centered around Vampire: The Masquerade. I will even admit to participating heavily in this particular genre of cosplay! The game uses the cursed and immortal vampiric condition as a backdrop to explore themes of morality, depravity, the human condition (or appreciation of the human condition in its absence), salvation, and personal horror. Last line cited directly from Wikipedia.org.
Dungeons and Dragons, with it's vast array of characters to develop, is also a very common theme with Cosplayers.
In the early 1990's, Summerfest had gained an attendance of over a thousand players. The Lorien Trust, formed in 1992, epitomised the principal of 'fest LRP' with an annual event called The Gathering, which features huge scale battles with over 1000 players on each side - not to mention politics, a real licensed tavern, and a marketplace for OOC (Out of Character) costume sales, weapons, props, etc. Sadly, the Lorien Trust had internal conflict and branched off in to other sections - which isn't to say it is gone, it is just now different manifestations!
LARPing is an excellent way to really feel the depth of a character, one which in most cases the cosplayer has created, from the top of its head to its feet!
Project Educate: Welcome to Cosplay Week!
PE: The A, B, C's of Cosplay 2 (A, B, C)
The A, B, C's of Cosplay 2 (D, E, F)
Costuming for a Cause - by ^j-z-belexes
The A, B, C's of Cosplay 2 (G, H, I)
Project Educate: Steampunk