Does Cosplay have to be Anime?
Cosplayers are fans of all genres. You’ll find fan conventions for TV, fantasy, sci-fi, anime and manga. And, although movie cosplay costumes are wildly popular right now due to the popularity of the Marvel movie industry, more and more cosplayers are choosing to cosplay anime characters.
The history of Anime.
Anime, or colorful, character-driven cartoons from Japan, were first enjoyed by viewers back in 1917. And, in the 1960s, the art form gained momentum and began spreading westward. Anime is everywhere these days. On TV, Netflix, your local movie theater, YouTube, you name it. Currently, there are around 430 anime studios worldwide and the anime art style accounts for the majority of TV cartoons produced globally. The anime market reached 2 trillion yen in 2017 and it is only going to get larger!
Anime character style.
You’ll find that body proportions in anime characters are pretty normal looking. It’s the characters’ extremely large eyes that sets anime apart and makes for striking cosplay costumes. Hair styles and colors are also exaggerated, you’ll notice. And there are so many different characters, some human and some animals with anthropomorphic features. With the hundreds of animation studios producing so many TV cartoons, not to mention the books and movies, there are tons of unique characters to cosplay!
What’s the attraction?
Children and adults both are anime fans thanks to the fantastical plots and stylized characters. The brightly colored clothing, wild hair and big eyes make for a truly exciting cosplay experience. And the storylines are darker and sometimes involve death and violence, themes not usually seen in traditional U.S. cartoons.
There is no limit to who you can cosplay. You may have to do a deep dive into the world of anime to find a character that is right for you. And, remember, you can cosplay more than one character. Perhaps start out with a simple costume. One that will be easy to make or less expensive to buy. And, then, as your crafting skills grow or you save some money, you’ll be able to buy or make more elaborate costumes.
But your main goal should be to HAVE FUN. Cosplaying is all about meeting people, showing off your crafting skills and having a good time. So, read about a famous and successful cosplayer below and learn about some fun and exciting anime characters that you could cosplay.
Who is the most famous cosplayer?
39-year-old Atlanta, GA, resident Yaya Han visited her first cosplay event in 1999, and the rest is history. Han was born in China, lived for a time in Germany, and eventually landed in the U.S., where she honed her cosplaying skills. She started making her costumes with a cheap sewing machine and a used sewing book. She is passionate and enthusiastic about the world of cosplay.
Fast facts about Han.
- She’s a self-taught costume designer with over 300 costumes under her belt.
- She has her own cosplay accessories line, selling angel wings, cat ears, unicorn horns and many other accessories!
- She has been invited to events all over the world to judge contests, discuss the cosplay world as a panelist, and even host events.
- She stars in her own calendar modeling different cosplay costumes.
- She also works as a cosplay costume model, cosplaying many popular anime characters.
- She even has a branded line of cosplay materials sold at Joann Fabrics, offering metallic, holographic and textured fabrics, great for any cosplay costume!
- She is all over social media, with a presence on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler and Pinterest. She has over 600,000 followers are Instagram alone.
What Anime Cosplay Character Should I be?
There are hundreds if not thousands of anime cosplay characters to choose from. So, it may be hard to choose just one. Well, no fear, cosplayers these days sometimes cosplay more than one character! You may start off with one character, and then, as you become more adept at designing your costume, applying your makeup and styling your wig, you may want to try a more complicated cosplay.
I’ve compiled a list of the some of the most popular cosplay characters today to help you choose the perfect costume. Check out the descriptions below. And, don’t forget, there are plenty websites that offer tutorials on how to DIY a complete cosplay costume. You’ll get makeup and styling tips. And you’ll find instructions on how to construct a costume that will stun your friends. So, take a look and see which costume is right for you!
1. Yumeko Jabami from Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler.
Who is the Compulsive Gambler?
The red-eyed transfer student to the elite Hyakkaou Private Academy is unlike her new classmates in the popular Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler anime universe. They gamble as part of an intricate class hierarchy. Winners gain respect while losers are treated like pets. Yumeko Jabami doesn’t gamble to gain respect and honor. She’s addicted to it, and her addiction disrupts her new school.
Dress for success!
It’s pretty easy to cosplay Yumeko Jabami. You can buy a complete costume or make your own. Her school uniform with red jacket will be easy to pull off; check out Pinterest for a tutorial! And a wig with straight black hair is a must. It’s Yumeko Jabami’s red eyes that could be tricky, however. If you want to be truly accurate, you’ll have to invest in a pair of red contact lenses. You’ll be the hit of your next cosplay event
2. Zelda from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
Cosplaying a video game.
Another popular anime cosplay character is Princess Zelda from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess video game. Zelda and ranch hand Link are the only two people in the kingdom who haven’t been turned into spirits by Zant, the King of the Twili. The character of Zelda has been given divine wisdom and magical abilities and wants only to protect her people. Though the Zelda universe began as a video game in Japan, it has also been made into an American cartoon and there’s even an encyclopedia!
A costume fit for a princess!
Zelda’s cosplay costume includes a stunning dress, gloves, headband and 3D-printed shoulder props and waist decorations. You’ll be the belle of the cosplay ball when you wear this dress! But don’t forget Princess Zelda’s beautiful sword to round out the beautiful costume. You’ll look and feel strong and determined, like a powerful fighter!
3. Kirito from Sword Art Online Cosplay Costume.
It’s time to practice your swordplay!
Japanese illustrated novel series and anime TV series Sword Art Online features protagonist Kirito, one of thousands of beta testers trapped in the Sword Art Online VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game). He becomes involved in online skirmishes and frequently changes allegiances in this ever-changing online universe. He is eventually given the moniker “Black Swordsman” due to his affinity for wearing all-black clothing.
Putting together a swashbuckling ensemble!
It’s not that hard to cosplay Kirito if you have a lot of black clothing. Here is a DIY guide to cosplaying the Black Swordsman. If you’d rather purchase a costume, you can purchase a black leather outfit that includes Kirito’s coat, shirt, pants, chest piece, gloves and armband. You’ll have to buy a cosplay sword separately, however. Amazon sells an entire set of Sword Art Online swords for all your anime cosplaying adventures! This is a popular outfit for men who cosplay anime, so have fun!
4. Asuna Yuuki from Sword Art Online Cosplay Costume.
A swordfighter with moxie!
Another wildly popular anime cosplay character is Asuna Yuuki, also from Sword Art Online. Her father owns the Sword Art Online Servers, and she too is one of the thousands of beta testers trapped in the game. Asuna is a gifted swordfighter, earning the nickname, “The Flash.” She and Kirito are said to be an item, so they could be fun to cosplay as a couple!
Although you’ll have to buy her strawberry blonde wig and her sword separately, here’s a great outfit if you going to cosplay Asuna. It includes her coat, skirt, socks, apron, gloves and 3D breastplate. Sword Art Online’s creator Reki Kawahara says he makes his characters strong and capable, so you can feel confident and powerful when cosplaying as Asuna!
5. Son Goku from Dragon Ball Cosplay Costume
The loyal warrior.
Son Goku, the start of Dragon Ball, is an alien programmed to destroy all life on Earth. However, he loses his memories and instead strives to protect Earth and keep the universe safe! He wants to be the greatest warrior ever and is loyal member of the Dragon Team, a group of highly skilled fighters who use martial arts to save mankind!
Get comfortable and look cool!
If you’re going to cosplay Son Goku, here’s a striking outfit that includes his shirt, pants, belt shoe covers, and wrist guards. But, don’t forget Son Goku’s wig. Son Goku, more than many other character, wears his hair with a specific number of spikes, so you’ll want to make sure you look right. This is a fun and easy cosplay costume. And, since it is similar to a martial arts uniform, it’s also very comfortable!
Cosplaying in style.
The world of anime.
Anime has been around for decades and it’s easy to see why. Stylistically and thematically, it’s light years ahead of the Saturday morning cartoons we all grew up watching. Anime characters are multi-dimensional, the emotions are complex and the plotlines are serious and sometimes dark. It’s an art style like no other. It’s easily recognizable all over the world. And it’s wildly popular with kids and adults.
Making a career of it.
It may not just be an unachievable dream. People like Yaya Han do make a living as a cosplayer. So, please don’t think of cosplaying as a silly hobby. It’s a multibillion-dollar industry and if you dream of making a living at it, work hard and you just may do it!
Choose your character.
There are some fascinating and fun characters to cosplay out there. Some are empowering, some are strong and loyal, and some are just plain fun! I urge you to explore the world of anime to find a character that is right for you. Visit youtube.com for some great vintage anime and previews of upcoming fall 2019 anime for cosplaying ideas. Check out amazon.com and visit your local library. You’re sure to find a character or two that would be perfect for your next cosplay costume.
And remember, cosplay is a very rewarding activity. Not only will you gain a new pastime, but you’ll be sure to find like-minded people at conventions or other cosplaying events that have the same interests as you. You’ll make lifelong friends. And you’ll gain entry into a community of creative and fun-loving people from all over the world.