You might have seen these fancy looking people who dress like characters in anime, manga, and video games trending on social media and television. They look amazing, and you might wonder where they got their costumes. Some even wear intricate makeup and act like their characters. What is this craze all about? Welcome to the world of cosplay.

Defining cosplay

Cosplay is a kind of performing art in which participants dress themselves as their favorite characters in elaborate costumes and accessories. The characters usually come from different sources such as manga, anime, tokusatsu, graphic novels, video games, and other Japanese and East Asian media.

Origin of cosplay

The Artifice website traces back the history of cosplaying, which was coined “costuming,” as early as the 1930s in the North America. Back then, attendees at sci-fi conventions were only required to dress fittingly for the genre. But Forrest Ackerman showed up in costume which eventually became a trend in the following conventions.

In Japan, students dressed as their favorite characters at conventions. They even re-enacted their characters, which added excitement and expressed affection for the series.

The term ‘cosplay’

It was in 1984 when the term “cosplay” was coined, Nobuyuki Takahashi, a Japanese reporter, was the one who first used the term when he was trying to translate the word “masquerade” to the Japanese audience.

Cosplay, コスプレ in Japanese, is a combination of two Japanese words: “kosu” means costume, and “pure” means play. It is a contraction of costume play.

Cosplaying today

Today, many people are into cosplaying. For some, cosplaying is a hobby, while for others, it has become a lifestyle. Some create their own realistic cosplay costumes, investing a lot of money, time, and skills; others buy their costumes from costume professionals, or online stores.

The result of wearing cosplay costumes is generally seen at conventions, which often hold contests for the best cosplays. Conventions such as anime conventions, comic book conventions, gaming conventions, are noteworthy, and are held around the world. The United States holds the most number of anime conventions in the world.

The fascination with cosplay

What people may not understand is the dedication and hard work spent by cosplayers to dress themselves as their favorite characters. But for cosplayers, their time and dedication in creating/having their costumes is rewarding. Many of them do it for fun and for some, they monetize their hobby.

Cosplayers have different reasons why they are into cosplaying. Here are some of the reasons that could explain their fascination with cosplay:


Cosplayers have fun planning and creating the costume they want. They pay attention to details in creating their costumes, including the weapons and armor.

Sense of belonging

Attending conventions and seeing other cosplayers makes you feel belonged to a community who share the same passion and interests as you. Fellow cosplayers smile when they recognize your character; some even ask to have a picture with them. It is the perfect venue to showcase your talent and express your admiration of the characters.


Cosplay is a form of fandom wherein cosplayers express their admiration and love for a specific anime, manga, or video game. They enjoy the world of anime, so they dress up like one of these characters.

The cosplay costumes

Cosplay costumes are a lot different from Halloween costumes. They have much more intricate details and the construction and the materials are more elaborate. They are meticulously sewn, and cosplayers stick to every detail of the original costume.

The secrets of having a realistic cosplay costume are kept by professional cosplayers. Fortunately, here are some of the techniques they share to the cosplay community:

Have pictures of your character printed

While working on the costume, print some pictures of the character. You might have the picture in mind, but often, you won’t be able to remember every detail. Have as many pictures as you can so you can have more details to work with.

Spend enough time creating your costume

If a costume is done in enough time, it will look realistic and more durable compared to costumes constructed in rush. It will also be more durable, avoiding parts unexpectedly falling apart. It will even last for the next convention or can even be sold on eBay or specialized cosplay websites if you’re tired of it.


Cosplay is a fun and rewarding experience. Try it and you’ll have one of the best hobbies shared by fellow cosplayers around the world.