Anime Reel – Anime & Manga TV News

Cosplay is Love – Thursday Talking Point

Posted on: December 31, 2009

One Mario having fun, one Mario as an excuse to run around in a bikini top.

Which Mario would you rather see? I know my answer.

The inspiration for week’s talking point comes from the flood of cosplay pictures that accompany every Comic Market, which remind me of how much of a cosplay snob I am. By “cosplay snob,” I don’t mean that I hold cosplayers to a high level of quality (though I do tend to poke fun at the more obvious corners they cut). No, I judge cosplayers by how much fun they’re having, and I think more people should as well.

The line “Cosplay is love” comes from the legendary game/anime Comic Party, Leaf’s love song to all that is good (and some of the bad) in the fandom represented at every Comic Market. I was still a fledgeling fan when I started playing Comic Party, a college student being introduced to the full range of Japanese anime/manga, and it had a strong impact on how I view the Japanese fan community, especially the cosplay community and its split into the cosplayers who do it for the attention and the cosplayers who do it because it’s just plain fun.

In Comic Party, the cosplayer character Reiko is caught in a dilemma between those two extremes of cosplay: she can either cosplay as the character she likes and have fun doing it, or she can dress up as a sexier, more prominent character to draw more camera lenses and popularity. She tries out the camera whore approach for a while, but she finds no satisfaction in it and goes back to her philosophy of cosplaying out of love for the character and for fun. I’m a big fan of that philosophy myself (I have some goofy cosplay photos around somewhere I may show you some day, but only if you ask real nice), so I usually skim past the glamour shots of wannabe Internet idols and seek out the pictures that make me grin.

Ronald McDonald cosplay makes everything more fun, except for coulrophobes.

Ronald McDonald cosplay makes everything more fun, except for coulrophobes.

When I went to Comic Market 74 in summer 2009, my attention didn’t go to the same places as the legion of cameramen who flocked to the costumes with the most cleavage and the highest-cut skirts. Most of my pictures came from the guy who dressed up as the Chuunichi Dragons mascot Doala and goofed off with all of the baseball fans in the crowd. Everyone who saw him left with a smile, and while he suffered under the heat while wearing a mascot suit, he had so much fun that it was all worth it. The girl dressed as Mario was having a blast too, jumping around like it was her birthday party and spreading joy without having to show skin.


Kintaros from Kamen Rider Den'ou having fun. Thanks to

The kusomiso technique folks (don’t look up kusomiso if you don’t know what it is, trust me on this one) who come out every Comike have the same kind of vibe, and their enjoyment is so infectious that I fall in love with the hobby all over again when I see them. Anonymous commentators on the Internet be damned, it’s not about who looks the best, it’s about who’s having the best time. It’s not a beauty contest, it’s a hobby. That’s how it should be viewed.

The mimic monster eats Ayanami Rei

I know what I'm dressing up as next Halloween. Or Anime Expo.

I’ve wandered a bit with this post, but what I really want to say boils down to this: a cosplayer doesn’t have to look like an underwear model to be good; what you should judge the costume on is how much effort and love went into it and how much fun came from it.

2 Responses to "Cosplay is Love – Thursday Talking Point"

I agree with you completely. While there may be some sexy cosplays, for the most part I enjoy fun cosplayers, or those who put a lot of effort into a costume. From the pictures of Comiket 77, my favorites were the Hayao Miyazaki cosplay, One Piece admiral trio, and the Friend and Salesmen from 20th Century Boys. The ‘kusomiso folk’ always make me lol; there was quite a bit of variety this time, too.

I agree as well. I enjoy looking at people who not only put effort into creating their costume. But also enjoying themselves at the same time. The ‘skin’ may grab peoples attention, but I think the ones that truely stand out are always ones that bring a smile to your face.

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