By Ragna Cook
SAN DIEGO–Costume roleplay, or cosplay for short, is a trend among fans of TV, movies, video games, anime and manga to dress up as their favorite characters. Some of the costumes are elaborate, while many can be very simple. Popular use of the term cosplay has been used since 1984, when Nobuyuki Takahashi combined the two while he was at the Los Angeles Science Fiction Worldcon. In Japanese it is referred to as kosupure.
In San Diego, the place to see them is the annual four day event known as Comic Con International. This year, many of the Con goers were in costumes, crossing many different genres and types. There were the traditional costumes, such as stormtroopers from Star Wars and superheroes (with a few supervillians thrown into the mix). But there were also other interesting costumes to be found there.
Cat and Pamela, two attendees in Mokona costumes (from the xxxHOLiC and Tsubaba manga by CLAMP), enjoyed the fact that their costumes were very customizable. Cat, who was Black Mokona, said “I just thought it would be simple and cute. Mokona doesn’t really have anything to it, you know, as long as you have the ears and the jewel, I guess. You can be creative with the outfit.” Pamela dressed as White Mokona because “it was really Cat’s idea. Like, she reads it more than I do, and she wanted to do Black Mokona, and we like doing stuff together.”
Video game characters were also prolific this year. Stacy, who was dressed as Zelda from the Legend of Zelda games, said she did so “because it’s been my favorite series, ever since I was a kid.” Melody, dressed as Mario from the Super Mario series, had similar
reasons. “I really really like Nintendo and I’ve always wanted to dress up for Comic Con,” she said.
But some of the more traditional costumes had great reasons behind them. David dressed as Static Shock from the Millstone comics (who last year was moved to DC Comics proper as a member of the Teen Titans), to honor Static’s creator, Dwayne MacDuffie, who had died recently. He said it was “to show honor” to him, and he planned on attending the panel in MacDuffie’s honor during the Friday panels. Leah, who also dressed as a DC Comics character, Mary Marvel, said she did so because “I like her character, but also, for a long time no one paid a lot of attention to her.” She also wanted to “give her more of a spotlight.”
So no matter the reason, people in costume at Comic Con always makes for a more entertaining and more interesting experience there. And it looks as though there will be no change in the future, so long as people love these characters.