The term cosplay derives from the fusion of the words costume and play and it indicates the practice of dressing (and behaving) like a well-recognizable character from the world of comics, movies, manga, anime and video games.
I don’t think it needs any presentations to you though because Japan is the birthplace of Cosplay and it seems that this practice started spreading between the 70s and the 80s.
Here in the United Kingdom, there are some people who have turned it into a job: the most famous cosplayers are called upon to collaborate with software houses and publishing houses, or as guests at events.
At the base of Cosplay, however, there is above all fun and passion.
Fun and passion in creating your own costume, in taking care of every detail, in representing for a few hours a character and a life different from one's own.
London is a great place for Cosplay events.
The capital is obviously a reference point for British (and in the past also International) fans of miniatures and models of the characters from both anime and manga, as well as movies, TV series, cartoons and much more.
Here in Europe Cosplay was born as a niche phenomenon, so the easiest channel to get in touch with other fans is the internet.
The cosplayer communities are widespread online and are used as virtual places to share passion, exchange advice and information and organize events and group outings.
There are many websites dedicated to Cosplay here in England, from the more generic ones to those that bring together those who are inspired by specific sagas (such as those dedicated to Harry Potter or Marvel comics).
In many online communities you can find the annual calendar of contests, fairs and events to participate in.
In recent years there has been a proliferation of Cosplay fairs and festivals dedicated to young entertainment that offer a mix of sales, costume parties and exhibitions.
People can visit these events either as visitors or as exhibitors and most events are interactive meaning that people can participate in group activities, play role games and have exchange sessions (when it comes to exchanging figurines or other themed gadgets for instance.)
The London Anime & Gaming Con is one of the most famous Cosplay events here in London and this year it took place from July 31st to August 1st.
Cosplayers on the way to the cosplay event
I visited the event on Saturday and it was a blast!
I personally do not dress up but I participated because a friend of mine does and he participated in the Cosplay competition.
It was real fun!
First of all I must say that The London Anime & Gaming Con is possibly considered the most important British fair dedicated to comics, animation, games (role-playing, board, card), video games and fantasy imagery and science fiction.
At this event, comic and book pavilions intersect with stalls of gadgets and themed clothes and there is no shortage of areas used for shows, meetings with famous people and concerts.
Among the pavilions many people walk by dressed in every way possible, with wigs and unusual accessories!
They had a sort of ‘catwalk’ for Cosplayers to present their costumes and there was also a voting session to elect the best costume. There were too many people around the stage though, so I did not participate even if my friend was a bit disappointed I did not.
The best part was people/characters watching I think so I took a seat and had a drink while observing the weirdest characters walk by…
It felt like being on the set of a movie or like being in a fairy-tale. It was very special.