I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted, but I felt compelled to do something about cosplay here after I did a piece relating the subject for AV’s sister site, Comic Vine. Basically, there’s this guy who got a write-up in Popular Science for dropping four grand to build his own semi-practical, very realistic-looking War Machine suit (an armored character who’s basically Iron Man’s buddy.) Sure enough, the talkbacks on PS mostly ran the line of calling this guy a loser for being a grown man playing dress up. That kind of “commentary” reminded me of a lot of sentiment I’ve heard at comics convention, from fans and pros alike, regarding cosplayers roaming the aisles. Being on this site, I’ve found that the worlds of manga/anime and comics share more than a few commonalities, so I’m sure you've all heard that same kind of poo-pooing at anime conventions, as well.
Will I ever make or wear a costume for a show, myself? Probably not, but I certainly appreciate those who do. Where others’ eyes roll over the geekiness they see, my eyes see creativity. I see craft and ingenuity. I see art. And I don’t think art should ever be discouraged. “Mainstream culture” seems to have an awfully long list of interests and hobbies it deems you shouldn’t enjoy. You’re too old to read books with pictures. You’re too old to watch cartoons. You’re too old to wear a costume to anything except a Halloween party. And so on.
What’s worse, in my opinion, is when fans of one “fringe” hobby stick their nose up at another. They’ll scoff at some guy dropping four grand to make a one-of-kind suit right after they’ve dropped $60 for a box set. Or $200 for a collectible figure. I just don’t get the sentiment. The fundamental appeal of comics, of film, of of manga, of anime, for me is the chance to step into another world. Take away these larger-than-life characters at a show and what do you have surrounding you, instead? A lot of plain, ordinary people - - just like you see every other day of the year.
So I say, bring on the cosplayers at the next convention I go to. I’m hoping I won’t be able to look in any direction without seeing a Sora or a Sailor Moon or even a Pikachu. The more outlandish, the better. You know, I’ve been enjoying Eva so much, I’d love to see a Rei, an Asuka or a Misato on the floor.