Whatever you want to do, do it. That’s really the whole point of this, you can go home now.
Seriously though, this is a topic I see every now and again popping up. Its almost as prominent as fat shaming, skinny shaming and whatever shaming. Now I’m not going to say I haven’t diverted my gaze from some of the more full figured slave Leia’s I’ve seen and I’m not going say I haven’t stared at the attractive gender bender Marios and Luigis out there. I’m a dude, basic instincts happen and I look at what I want to and I try to avoid what I don’t want to see. However I also won’t be saying that the slave Leias in the world all have to fit a certain body type. Everyone should be able to cosplay what they want to cosplay… as long as it is appropriate for the younglings, bless their hearts. Cosplay really is for everyone. That being said lets delve a bit deeper into what I believe makes good cosplay.
The most attention grabbing and praised cosplay is something that simply looks good. This doesn’t mean all good cosplay is skinny girls in tight revealing costumes (because sometimes that really doesn’t look good), its mainly that certain cosplay is more accurate with certain body types. It doesn’t mean not to do it, but if a person looks more like the actual character and has a highly accurate costume then I’d say they did a pretty good job playing to their looks. As an example check out my buddy Choji of the West . He’s a bigger dude, as you can see, but really he fits that costume well. From what he’s told me there’s a skinny Choji thing that happens too where he could wear the same costume even if he slimmed down and it’d be accurate. Even so, he’s still one of the best Chojis I’ve ever seen out there. However if he and I swapped costumes (me as Noriyasu Seta circa 2006). You could see where a few inconsistencies would occur, despite there also being a skinny Choji. Then again with my current build that Seta costume would still look inaccurate, lets just say I’ve put on a few dozen pounds… Not saying that’s why I don’t wear it anymore, more so that I no longer care for that specific character.
What really counts in my eyes is how much the person enjoys cosplaying as the character they are. Just because I look like someone doesn’t mean I’m going to have fun cosplaying as them. This also translates to how well you take a photo as that character (camera shyness aside). Many people have different reasons to dress up as certain characters and they’re all correct for having them. However my favorite reason is just loving the characters. This is something that really shows when a person dresses as them and poses for pictures, since its kind of like just being the character. Often times you get called by the character’s name when people ask to snap a shot. At least as a photographer I try to as much as possible (as long as I know the character they’re portraying). Then you get a few moments to pull some poses as the character. I’m not gonna lie, if I cosplay I practice a few poses for each costume and even a few moves from the show, like Date Akira’s henshin. Simply donning the costume and looking just like the character isn’t enough sometimes. If someone has no idea how to portray the spirit of that character you can end up with a handful of shots of a really pretty person wearing a costume, not really cosplayer.
In the end, we really shouldn’t be shaming anyone that cosplays. Since it really does take courage to walk into the hall trying your best to exude the spirit of your favorite characters. Some harsh words can really hurt a person’s experience doing something that took a lot of guts to do. That can go for just about anything really, but when it comes to cosplay there really isn’t a rulebook that says you have to look a certain way to do a certain costume. You don’t have to be the same skin tone, the same dress size, the same body time, even the same gender to be whatever character you want. You just have to go and be that character. So if you cosplay, work hard on your costumes, have fun and don’t let what anyone says ruin your day. If you’re just a casual observer of cosplayers and you don’t have anything nice to say, keep it to yourself.