In conjunction with Cosplay Commuter 2018, we wanted to celebrate cosplay and the stories behind it. We asked our readers to submit their cosplay origin stories for us to share and we received a variety of submissions; some telling us how they overcame their odds to pursue this hobby, others sharing the less glamorous sides of cosplay that people seldom see. Needless to say, we were blown away.
While we received many submissions, we wanted to share a few that really stood out from the crowd. Hopefully it gives you a whole new perspective on the hobby, or maybe encourage you to pick it up yourself!
Disclaimer: The following submissions may be edited for reading clarity.
“I first started cosplaying in 2013, after getting to know a cosplayer in my college course. She encouraged me to get into the hobby, even to the extent of helping me to order from online shops like Taobao and assisting me with wearing wigs and lenses for the first time.
However, I didn’t fully explore the many different aspects of cosplaying until I moved to KL to pursue my higher education, where I had more time and personal freedom to try my hand at propmaking and even basic costume making, as well as attending more events and getting to know more people in the community. Although I’ve technically been involved in the community for about five years, I still consider myself a beginner when it comes to cosplay, especially in sewing and propmaking, which are also the two areas of cosplay I find the most enjoyable.
I chose to enter a candid photo taken by one of my friends during a propmaking session to express two things. The first is that cosplay is not always glamorous! Many non-cosplayers and even new cosplayers might think that cosplayers look good all the time, and aren’t there to see the time, effort, blood, sweat and tears that can go into a costume or a shoot. I find it admirable that cosplayers are willing to go through so much to look their best for just one day at an event, whether it’s burning yourself with hot glue or accidentally stabbing yourself with a needle for the millionth time.
Second, cosplay is a community effort. From huge cosplay events to small personal photoshoots, cosplay isn’t something one can do on their own. We teach and learn from one another, help one another, and also just hang out and meme together. Beyond the practical skills that cosplay can give you, such as learning to sew or craft, cosplay can also be an opportunity for you to form relationships with other people, whether it’s professional, friendly or even romantic (I’ve gotten to know so many people who met their current partner through cosplay!).
Lastly I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who’s supported me and my cosplay journey thus far–and I hope to see all of you at Cosplay Commuter this weekend :v”
Note: The following post was translated from Chinese.
“Karmen is a 10-year-old cosplayer from Kuala Lumpur. She has been cosplaying with her sister at ACG events since 2013. At the time, 5-year-old Karmen attended her first event and got to meet many kind and friendly coser brothers and sisters. They did not look down on Karmen but were very friendly to her, and even bought her candies and snacks. Their kind acts made Karmen feel that the cosplay community is a very warm, loving family, and so Karmen fell in love with cosplay. She would always look forward to the next event, eager to meet everyone again to take photos together and have more fun with everyone.
During these 5 years of cosplaying, Karmen has entered into the coswalk competition and has won quite a few awards. The reason she participated in competitions was not to become famous, as she only hoped to seize the opportunity of performing on stage to gain courage and self-confidence from the experience. Her life will become so much more vivid and colorful, creating wonderful memories and experiences as she grows up.
We want to thank everyone who has been supporting Karmen and showering her with love. She always receives so many snacks and small gifts at events. We are very grateful. Thank you.”
“I’ve cosplayed for 9 years already, yet I’m still learning how to be good at it. I pick Haseo as my submission as this character was a starting point for me to cosplay serious characters. Before I cosplayed Haseo, I used to cosplay simple, unattractive and fan-art side characters like Hasegawa Taizhou (Gintama) or Kamijyo Touma (To Aru Series).
What’s so special behind this .hack Haseo is that actually I volunteered myself to cosplay this character and there were 8 awesome & talented cosplayers helping out just to complete this masterpiece that I myself wouldn’t be able to achieve. I was shocked as all those talented cosplayers consisted of the likes of Helios E’s Jon Dei Goon and even Team Manboobs (Malaysia WCS rep), but the main point of this story isn’t them. It was an individual that goes by the nickname Lisa Alice or more well-known as NaruKids.
To take up this huge cosplay project with Team Manboobs, to be honest, I was scared. It was Narukids who convinced me. I still remember her sentence until today. “If you don’t take this first step, how would you know you’re not suited to be the suggested character?” From there, I accepted the offer and worked together with Team Manboobs, Narukids and other friends who came over and helped. (Yes, the true cosplay community is warm like a family, so don’t just focus on the drama please.)
During the process of making the impossible armor and weapon, I was like a burden to everyone since I had zero experience in sewing, prop making, electric programming and even prop painting. Most of the time, everyone kept telling me, “nevermind, nevermind, take it slow” but I knew I couldn’t take it slow and I was wasting their time. Narukids was the one who always cheered me up when I was about to break down over my uselessness. In the end, we managed to do it and I learnt a lot from Team Manboobs.
Narukids is not just a friend or a mentor to me, she is like a mother to me to the point that I called her haha-ue (“mother” in Japanese). She didn’t just teach me how to pose, how to act, how to put on make-up properly etc., she even taught me some valuable life lessons and even helped me when I was at my lowest moments. Although she’s no longer around us, her spirit is always nearby or within us who cherish her or know her.
To be honest, I’m not sure where this submission is going but looking at people nowadays only focusing on the drama around cosplay, it makes me sad. We used to be a 1Malaysia cosplay community without any drama, but now… Anyway, I shall end my story with the last sentence that Narukids wished for me in this cosplay community, ‘Help all those in need and make the cosplay community a beautiful place where everyone can have fun and enjoy, kay?'”
Sky of Team Manboobs
“Cosplayers nowadays seem more reserved. Scared to approach people. Anxious to PM people. Embarrassed of being rejected. Having the idea that asking people to cosplay together involves money and a certain level of worthiness. And I wonder…. why?
10 years ago, I didn’t know her. In fact, she was just another random face I see around events from time to time. I loved cosplay and I wanted a cosplay partner for my cosplay of Beatrice. So I randomly sent her a PM, asking her to cosplay Battler from Umineko with me. She didn’t really know the character, but she agreed. I was surprised, but happy! Over the course of a few weeks, she watched the anime and got the costume done. We fangirled together, planned photoshoots and skits together, and ended meeting up quite often. Somehow we became very close, bound by a series we love.
Fast forward few years later, we went through cosplay project after cosplay project. We learn to make costumes together, entered skits together, did photoshoots together, traveled the world together. She makes the props and wigs, while I make the costumes. We went for World Cosplay Summit, AFA Regional Cosplay Championship, Cosplay Invitational, and guested at conventions locally and internationally. And it all began from a single PM of ‘jio-cosplay’.”
Were you inspired by these stories? Do you have your own story to share?
Leave them in the comments below – we’d love to hear them!