CSUN students dress cosplay

Casey Delich

They are dressed up at comic book or anime conventions, as their favorite characters from different genres, but not everyone understands why they do it.  Those that are dressed up are average people, taking part in something that has grown in popularity along with the conventions since the early 2000’s, cosplay.

Cosplay has many definitions even to those that participate in it, each person can come up with their own interpretation.  A couple CSUN students sat down to tell us what their definitions are.

Heidi Pak
Senior business management major
“Cosplay is the appreciation and replication of a beloved character from whatever it is, the possibilities are endless,” said Pak.
Not knowing what cosplay was when she even started, Pak, a big Star Trek fan, bought a costume online and went to her first convention.  The moment she walked through the doors, she fell in love, feeling the energy that everyone shared in such a niche community.
“I moved over from Star Trek to anime through going to conventions, I love Star Trek and am saving up for an outfit that can do it justice.  Right now 99 percent of my outfits are anime related. “
Pak picks her character by narrowing down to someone that she would enjoy to emulate and who is the opposite of her normally reserved personality.
Some of the characters she portrays are Suou Pavlichenko from the anime “Darker than Black,” Alois Trancy or Meirin from the anime “Black Bulter/Kuroshitsuji.”
While some of her costumes are bought, many of her outfits are handmade by herself, having learned to sew just for cosplay.
“I continue to cosplay because of the people who share the world of cosplay with me, those that respect and love it too,” said Pak.

Lauren Berman
Senior CTVA and English major
  “Cosplay is an art form that is an expression showing love for the characters,” said Berman.
To Berman it is a social event, where someone can walk up to you at a convention, bond over your costume and start a conversation with ease.  Wanting to dress up as her favorite characters since she was a child, Berman feels as if “she was born to do it,” needing to perfect her outfit no matter the occasion.
At conventions, Berman enters the competitions that are held for the best outfits.

“I work so hard at what I do, why can’t I show it off on a stage?” said Berman.  “I make them all, I sew, and every time I am doing a new costume I need to teach myself a new craft to do it.”
Her characters transcend every genre, picking characters that inspire her.
“The characters let me express a part of myself that isn’t normally expressible,” said Berman.  “I alter my personality to what is needed based on the group size and my surroundings.”
Harley Quinn from “Batman” and Integra Hellsing from the anime “Hellsing,” are her two favorite characters to play.

One thing seemed to resonate among all those that cosplay, the message is to have fun with it.  It’s not always about who has the best costume or who played the part the best, but about sharing the love of something with those that will appreciate it.