Cosplay is a clear trend of the last years. The fancy dress fever originally comes from Japan, but has also gained more and more followers in Germany.

in Germany
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Closely connected to cosplay is of course the anime and manga industry, which is booming in Germany as well. Japan seems to be very popular, as well as other Asian trends such as K-Pop – Korean Pop.

Here you can find out more about cosplay!

Costume Hype from Japan

Japan is known for anime and manga series, but also Kawaii fashion and J-Pop – Japanese rock. These trends merge in a wonderful way in cosplay. Japanese people seem to enjoy elaborate costumes and extravagant appearances. No wonder that sometime in the early 1990s anime and manga fans started to dress up as their heroes (and anti-heroes). This went hand in hand with the boom in comic conventions, which offered the opportunity to show up as real fans in full outfit. Quickly the new fun was taken up, more and more people joined in and more competitions for cosplayers were offered.

were offered
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The term cosplay is a combination of the words costume and play. This makes it clear that cosplay is not just about dressing up, but the cosplayer’s goal is to replay the chosen character from his favorite anime or manga as accurately as possible, including movements, language, personality, fighting techniques and other things.

Meanwhile, not only anime and manga heroes are used as models for cosplay, but also create comics and even books from film and television, video games. Needless to say that the latter are very often fantasy or sci-fi novels.

What makes cosplayers stand out?

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Besides the fun of dressing up, the love for manga and anime – or sci-fi, fantasy, video games, etc. – most cosplayers are also quite creative and skilled in handicrafts. Because real cosplayers usually sew their great costumes themselves. Often a certain amount of craftsmanship is required. Many a cosplayer has already made whole armours, movable wings, elaborate accessories like weapons and the like in painstaking work. And today you can do a lot of great things with sophisticated LEDs

And fun in acting and a penchant for exhibitionism are naturally also part of it. Accordingly, cosplayers are typically quite self-confident. According to their own statements it’s mainly the fascination to slip into a completely different role for a day and act as superhero, villian etc.

As far as the fun of acting is concerned, this is particularly pronounced among those who participate in competitions. Because very few of them are in catwalk style, where people simply walk across the stage or catwalk. Typically, short scenes are played, monologues are recited, fake fights are made, etc. – and all this in front of an audience.

The big question for the beginner: sew costumes yourself or buy them?

As already mentioned, most die-hard cosplayers make their great costumes themselves. Some even accept commissions for less skilled cosplayers. Accordingly, cosplay costumes are typically not cheap, especially if you count the time spent on them. For a beginner who wants to get a taste of the scene, making a really good cosplay costume might be too much of a challenge. With time you get experience, practice and more and more skill. Our advice to beginners is to get a good costume ready. Meanwhile there are some good sorted online shops where you can find great options for a good price. You can also find the oh so important accessories like wigs, masks, jewelry, weapons, artificial body parts like noses, horns, elf ears, etc. and of course a lot of make-up articles for stage-ready performances. By the way, this is also a widespread habit among cosplayers, especially those who have little time and lack the necessary skills in sewing and crafting. You buy a finished costume and then you improve and individualize it with additions, special accessories, etc.

Where do you meet cosplayers?

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Besides private parties and meetings, you can meet cosplayers at conventions and special photo shootings. In Germany and elsewhere, it is now also common to meet cosplayers at trade fairs such as Gamescom or the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Another place where cosplayers like to show up in great outfits are movie premieres or marathon screenings of multi-part cult movies like Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc.

The absolute highlight is of course the World Cosplay Summit in Japan. The World Cosplay Summit (Sekai Kosupure Samitto), also known as WCS, is an annual international cosplay event. In 2012 the WCS was founded as a company. It was previously organized by the events department of TV Aichi. It is supported by municipal organizations, companies and the WCS volunteer organization Omotenashi. The parade and championship will be held in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. Various events take place in the Kanto, Kansai and Tokai areas. At the Aichi Expo in 2005, a cosplay stage performance competition called “Cosplay Championship” was held for the first time. National representatives for the event are selected from preliminary rounds and regional rounds held at partner anime / manga events in the respective countries of the participants.

Interestingly enough, the WCS has evolved from a weekend event in 2003 and has now become a full week event. Since 2006, the parade and championship have been held on Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend in August.

At this international competition, participants from 22 countries present themselves in their self-made fairings. Germany also takes part in the World Championship every year. The preliminary round usually takes place at the Anime and Manga Convention Connichi in Kassel.

Conclusion – A creative hobby – that makes you happy

Cosplay is great fun and incredibly creative. The cosplay community is known for camaraderie and most cosplayers especially emphasize the international exchange at the fairs and conventions. Cosplayers are open-minded and quickly get into conversation with each other. The atmosphere at the events is exuberant, friendly, tolerant and open.

All cosplayers agree – once you have taken the courage and tried it yourself, you quickly become downright addicted and can hardly get away from the fascination of cosplay. Our advice? – Just try it yourself!