Costume play, which is famously known by many as "cosplay", is about dressing up as a character from cartoons, animes, comic books, video games, science fiction or historical fantasy fandoms. The popularity of cosplay in Japan led to a misconception that cosplay was specifically an Asian hobby. Some are not aware that the term "cosplay" is Japanese in origin, but costume play was originally a hobby from the United States. Cosplay is an ultimate form of art. It combines sewing, designing, painting, hairstyling and acting, all into one. You may be wondering what makes people want to spend money and long hours in representing a fictional character. There could be a couple of reasons why people are hooked into cosplaying. It can be because of love and adoration for a character, enjoyment and self-appreciation, or simply an expression of art through complex makeup and costumes.
Cosplaying has always been a passion for Melissa, a 22-year old cosplayer from the Philippines. She attended a lot of conventions for almost 4 years, and it has been 4 months since she has decided to pursue her desire to become a cosplayer. Melissa has an office mate who also loves anime and cosplaying. She was influenced by her, and they do cosplay together on their free time. Melissa is not that active in cosplaying, but she always makes sure that she be making the best out of it whenever there is a chance. She loves this activity, though she is aware that most people find it unusual.
“People around me thinks that I am weird because cosplaying is an unusual hobby”, she said.
Most people think that cosplaying is costly that’s why they tag it as “Cost Playing”. Melissa believes that anyone can afford to cosplay as long as they know how to use their resources wisely. For someone as passionate as Melissa, money is not an issue. Her strong interest and talent have made it’s way to support her cosplaying needs.
Melissa loves to portray her favorite anime and online game characters. Her favorite anime genres are love story, mystery, slice of life, and adventure. She's already cosplayed as Sniper, a character from the famous online game called Ragnarok. In the future, she would like to cosplay as Lux, a character from an online game called LOL (League of Legends).
Her Ragnarok costume was sewed by a tailor that was referred by her father. She has only spent a total of P800/$20 for her Ragnarok cosplay. She made her own cosplay weapon that’s why it didn’t cost her too much. Her ability to create her own cosplay props, accessories and weapons is something that she is very proud of. Only few cosplayers would exert their time and effort to create beautifully-crafted cosplay materials. Her skills and creativity are what makes her different among thousands of cosplayers worldwide.
Participating in events and conventions has been a part of Melissa’s way to fulfill her yearning to cosplay. The last event that she went to has become very memorable and engaging. Games, booths and freebies were all part of it. She enjoyed meeting new friends, most especially if they would ask to take some pictures with her.
Melissa believes that she’s not too old to keep enjoying this kind of interest for at least the next 10 years.
“This is a kind of hobby that I will enjoy for the coming years and I know that there would be a lot changes in myself when it comes to improving my cosplay. For those who are planning to show their talent in cosplaying, just always be yourself. Follow your heart’s desire and portray the character that really fits you and your interests. Be humble and don’t forget to respect others”, she said.
People outside of Melissa’s circle would always wonder why she loves cosplaying. It may be perceived as a time-wasting and a money-consuming interest, but for the cosplayers themselves, it could be their badge of pride. It could build true friendships, or perhaps boost one’s self esteem. It could be as simple as "they just love it". A person who love cosplaying can be compared to a die-hard fan of the football game who would pay big bucks for a ticket to a event that can be seen on TV for free. They could be considered as "all being in the same boat" and therefore should not be judged by how they put their heart into something that would bring happiness and contentment to their lives.