What does it take to be good at cosplay?
As a first-time cosplayer (and con virgin), I had much to learn.
When I told my cohorts at the SFU radio station that I was interested in covering COS & effect, most blinked and said “What’s COS & effect?”
My reply of “it’s a cosplay convention” was met with blank stares.
Such a reaction is not uncommon for any subculture that has a cult following. COS & effect is a breakaway convention from Anime Evolution.
The art of cosplay, dressing up in costume, replicates a character from an anime, comic/manga, or video game series. COS & effect caters to those with a passion for costumes and people who love to dress up, and encourages fans to show off their own costumes.
My attempt at Jimmy Olsen paled in comparison to the Tony Starks, Sailor Moons and Freddie Mercurys, and I seemed to wander aimlessly through the halls while the regulars were bee-lining for their favourite panels.
Panels included topics like the Pokemon Conspiracy Theories, a history of Gundam, cosplay improv, and – most importantly – the difference between costuming and cosplay. There was even a panel on convention etiquette, which I probably should have attended.
But most attendees could be found outside in the courtyard of the Student Union Building.
Which brings me to glomping.
The game is a geek combination of kick-the-can and spin-the-bottle. One person kicks a bottle and they must hug the person it points at.
Glomping for geeks
Believe me when I say, it is one of the popular events at anime conventions. At one point, the glomping circle had 30-40 people.
You are not truly a con-goer if you have not tried the game. Perhaps that is in store for me at Anime Evolution.
Not everything at COS & effect was kid-friendly. Geeks like to get a raunchy on occasion. Friday night saw Nerdlesque, hosted by my favourite burlesque troupe, Geeks After Dark, and Saturday had a Pirate Pub Sing-a-long, hosted by the B.C Renaissance Festival. A plethora of other 18+ and 19+ events were well attended.
The biggest and most universal idea was respect, especially when dealing with some of the more risqué costume ideas. Photos were always asked for and glomp hugs were only given with consent. Speaking of consent, a popular poster around the festival was “Costumes are not consent” (which fits in well with UBC’s plastering of anti-sexual harassment posters). Geeks are a courteous bunch.
Nerds, geeks, cosplayers and costumers not all alike
So, what did I learn from my from my first con experience? First, that there is a distinction between nerds and geeks. Cosplayers and costumers – who fall into the latter category – can be very picky about it.
Secondly, I met some of the friendliest people I have ever encountered, geeks or not.
Finally, the atmosphere is addictive, you may not always know what is going on (I still have no idea what Gundam is), or who someone’s costume or character is, but the geeks will be more than happy to tell you and invite you into their glomping circle.
Speaking of which, I should probably prepare to glomp as Anime Evolution is coming in November.
In the meantime, I will read up on Gundam and start preparing my costume for next year: Kung Lao.
Did I mention these geek-fests were addictive?