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By Shannon Hernandez, Oct. 12, 2021

The anime and video game community grew over the pandemic as millions of people had to follow the COVID-19 stay at home order, which left everyone to explore new interests and new personas.

Cosplay is an activity used to bring characters from shows, movies, comics or video games to life with the creative process of making a costume, wearing wigs and using crafts in order to portray a fictional character in the cosplayers own unique way.

“Cosplay gives me a major confidence boost and kind of serves as my alter-ego since I’m normally such an introverted and reserved person,” said Brionne Moore (’21, applied mathematics), former Cosplay Corner president.

Amid the pandemic, Cosplay Corner at CPP was created virtually for all students interested in the process of cosplaying. Moore and Savannah Palombi, biology student, bonded over cosplaying as they met in CPP’s Anime Club during one of its cosplay events.

Palombi and Moore started the Cosplay Corner to display their passions and engage with other students who are interested in cosplaying or want to learn more about the process.

“When I started reading manga or watching anime and saw that there’s a community of people who make their own outfits to look like these characters, I was really fascinated with it,” said Moore. “I see cosplay as a major hobby and creative outlet that allows me to express my ideas and show off my skills.”

Moore cosplays an original character, a fairy named Hana. (Photo courtesy of Brionne Moore)

The club has weekly meetings in order to share cosplay tips. At the end of each meeting, club members have the chance to provide any extra information on the topic.

“I love going to conventions because you are surrounded and get to interact with people who enjoy the same manga, anime, or even comic books as you do,” said Moore.

These conventions and the cosplay community  are growing in popularity as many individuals are learning about the cosplay phenomenon and how the creative aspects of it can make anyone feel welcome and accepted. “Like how some people join sports clubs or fraternities to become a part of a community, conventions build a sense of community amongst a crowd that doesn’t get much attention otherwise: the nerds, geeks, weebs, gamers and the cosplayers,” said Moore.

Conventions contain many different aspects for cosplayers and anime lovers to enjoy such as panels from animation companies and the opportunity to see exclusive sneak peeks and trailers of shows or movies. Q&A sessions are held for audiences to learn about the process behind a show, to ask the voice actors their experience working on the show and any question the audience wants to direct toward the cast or creators. At conventions, cosplayers dress as their favorite character, and if asked politely, individuals can take photos with their favorite characters brought to life by the cosplayer.

According to Anime Expo’s website, Anime Expo hosted 350,000 attendees in 2019 from across the world. Although the 2020 event was online, the event welcomed over 500,000 views on the live streams.

Faith Kim, a computer science student, has been a huge fan of watching anime and reading manga. She began cosplaying during the pandemic and creating her own props to complete the character.

“Cosplaying is really fun, and I love that the community continues to grow because the same characters will be cosplayed, but each individual brings its own creative style to it,” said Kim. “It takes a lot of time and effort, but the result is always worth it because you get to feel like the badass character you chose.”

Featured image courtesy of Brionne Moore. 

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