Cosplaying Characters

Written by Marianna Foran

The sun is rising and your bank account suffers from cardiac arrest. The bathroom smells like Urban Decay makeup as the face staring back in the mirror is now a mask for the next 24 hours. This created identity allows many to practice, cosplay.

“I like it more as an escape,” psychology major Kai Arguelles says. “When you go to the convention it’s a three to four day weekend of just complete fun with strangers, that you connect with on a different level because you like the same thing.”

Dressing up, for many, has its pros and cons. “I like it more as a theatrical appeal,” theater major Tori McElroy says.

“The best way to decide what character you want to be, is to choose somebody you really connect with or admire,” Arguelles says. “Some people like to pick characters that are completely the opposite of them, because they get to be somebody else.”

The term cosplay was invented by Japanese reporter Nov Takashki. Looking to combine the words costume and play, Takashki introduced this term to the world while covering the World Con in 1984.

Cosplay has continued to grow, with the largest attendance on record in 2013 at Comiket with 590,000 players. Costumes vary at every convention in skill level.

McElroy says she chooses her characters for the fun of making a costume. “It’s something small…also, [I like] to see how it goes with my sewing skills,” she says.

And in fandom. Some of the more popular categories of fans focus on Anime (66.9%), video games (70.6%) and comics (36.1%), according to

According to the Daily Dot, 32.1% of cosplayers spend between $100-$200 on their costumes, while 27.7% spend $200-$400 on each of their costumes.

Some cosplay to take a break from daily occurrences.

“My family was alright with cosplay as long as I’m happy. It’s another way to express my artistic self.” McElroy says.

Arguelles says, “My family thinks cosplay is a little weird but they’re OK with it, I guess.”

One thing cosplayers seem to have in common, is their love for stepping into someone else’s shoes for a day and walking out into public.

“I would love to keep cosplaying 10 years from now,” Arguelles says. “It’s such a great experience and a great pass time for all ages there. There is no restriction, which is what’s so nice about it. Plus the older you get, the more experience you get, and the better your cosplays turn out.”

“I think I will continue because it’s fun to be a completely different character or person,” McElroy says.

Cosplay Costume