Video game and Hollywood movie influences were strong at Anime Boston this weekend, where participants engaged in cosplay (costume+roleplay) featuring characters from an array of different genres. Though not a cosplayer myself, I’ve seen a lot of cosplay events in Asia and I found it very interesting that the general “look” of American cosplayers was very different from that of Asian cosplayers.
A lot of the costumes were influenced by manga and anime (so many girls wearing Sailor Moon outfits!) but video game and Western-made movies seemed to have a stronger presence here than in Asia. For instance, Anime Boston leaned more towards a Halloween party that encompasses all visual genre while the Asian cosplays I went to were tailored more towards manga, anime, and online games that are popular in Asia (like Lineage). This must reflect how cultures can take on regional characteristics.
For instance, the Joker character was a popular one at Anime Boston. Also, there were less women trying to mimic the scantily-clad sexy female characters that are oh-so-common in both anime and video games (This was especially interesting because in general, Asian women have smaller breasts but they dress up more in outfits that show off cleavage).There were some women definitely attracting attention with partial nudity, but one could sense that the participants weren’t as
obsessed about looking beautiful as Asian cosplayers, but more interested in originality. Because of this different culture, I was unable to write about Cosplay fashion because the Cosplay scene was too diverse too generalize. How can you compare costumes from Maple Story from those from Gears of war? It’s not very comparable.
Cosplay reminds us that games, or the act of playing games, is not limited to what goes on in the screen. Like machinima, people will find more ways of creative, derivative play. Anime Boston was also great in that it supported my idea that play is for everyone– regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. The youngest person I met at the event was a four-month old baby wrapped up like a Ninja baby. The oldest person I met looked somewhere between 50 and 65. I also saw several people in wheelchairs, a couple people with mental disabilities, and a group of people who did not know how to speak English. But they were all having a great time and sharing their joy through play.