Americans shouldn’t cosplay.
No you are not.
Anything that can make me laugh this much cannot be bad.
Those are some awesome shots of Japanese cosplayers (even if mostly professional actors/models) , and some truly awful shots of American cosplayers.
That said, see these photos from this year’s Dragon*Con for many examples of American cosplayers who know what they’re doing and do a an excellent job at it. (And some who don’t, as is typical anywhere there are cosplayers, even in Japan.)
I’ll try not to get too cerebral about this, but based on the linked post and the sights I’ve seen through years of sci-fi convention people-watching, I think it comes down to a difference in perception. The American cosplayers are just as obsessed with appearance as their Japanese counter-points, at least where intention is concerned.
But the breakdown comes where one group — the Americans — sets out for a goal of reproducing the 2-D appearance of a character, bright colors and all, basically trying to become a walking cartoon. And the other group, their Japanese counterparts, tries instead to bring forth into reality what the artist is intending to express, rather than the results as limited by the medium.
Goku is the perfect example. Me, I can’t stand DragonBall Z, but that is beside the point. Goku (Super Saiyan) in cartoon form looks like he’s got these massive cheddar cheese stalagmites for hair, right? American cosplayers take this cue literally, so they forge these big-ass pyramids of styrofoam, paint them yellow and make a wig that would make a Packers fan green with envy. And they look ridiculous.
But the Japanese cosplayer, he’s going to maybe dye his hair blonde, grow it out as much as he can, but then he’s going to invest in some kind of spiky hold gel to shape his locks in just the pointy way he needs. He’ll concentrate then on the costume, making it real and doing his best to make the character “real” instead of becoming the cartoon.
Even still … the point remains. Some folks, no matter how serious they might think they are, just don’t need to cosplay.
I am reminded of a day at San Diego Comic Con a couple years ago, when I was writing for one of the show daily of a comic news website. I was sitting at our table working on a story when a…cosplayer walked by. It was a guy, with a scruffy beard, and short curly hair pretty much on every visible inch of skin.
He was wearing a Sailor Moon outfit.
I made the instinctive noises that sprang to mind, and then realized that a long term acquaintance of mine, and former RACXer, who happens to be gay, was sitting next to me. I realized that my comments might have been overly broad, and started to clarify, when he interrupted me.
“Oh no, honey,” he said. “Salior Skank is never OK.”
I think you’re all overlooking the most hilarious part of that link- the comments below. Spanning months, those blurbs chronicle yet another flag waving/burning battle unlike that seen anywhere outside of Digg or YouTube.
Fat American cosplayers should be harpooned. Skinny American cosplayers should be force-fed and then harpooned.
[…] while back, I linked to an article about bad American cosplay, and someone in the comments made an excellent point: that […]
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