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It's nice to be somebody else and escape from reality.

Capturing the Heart of Cosplay

Capturing the Heart of Cosplay; Masubi and Locust Cosplay

 

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The term Cosplay was coined back in 1984 by Nov Takahashi while attending a Sci-Fi convention in Los Angeles. Impressed by the level of skill and craftsmanship within the performance art, it entered the minds of the Japanese through Takahashi’s writing. Today it is a global phenomenon practised and adored by many fans of comics, sci-fi, anime, gaming and fandom culture. So what is it that attracts those to pursue and participate in cosplay events? I sit down with Masubi and Tim to find out the heart of the art form.

 

For many, cosplay stems back to childhood. Masubi passionately talks about her love of being creative, making costumes for her dolls.

“I’ve always loved dressing up and making things. So when I found out about cosplay it kinda made sense.”

The pair both shared memories with me about their love for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Sonic.

“As a kid, I was always the nerd in a small village. Marvel, Games Workshop etc. was all I wanted to play with when I was a boy” says Tim.

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Cosplay manifested itself as a way to outwardly express more than just a love for a particular character. Tim personally trains on his physique to project parts of himself outwardly through his costumes. Starting as a Halloween project, Tim built his first cosplay ‘The God of War – Kratos’ which represents the beast he feels inside of him through his monster cosplays and suits. His outward love for mythology and the narrative the character follows takes physical and emotional effect on the cosplayer resonating itself together. Tim, in that moment when he puts the cosplay on, is ‘The God of War.’

 

Masubi’s cosplay of choice ‘Morrigan’ allows her to capture and explore parts of herself she believes she doesn’t possess. Qualities such as confidence, control and sexuality.

“I just love cosplaying her and feeling like I can be in her shoes for a while. It’s nice to be someone else and escape from reality. Especially pretending to be someone you’d love to be.”

 

It’s interesting to explore the art form in this manner as it exposes the heart of each individual cosplayer by examining both their costume choices and lifestyle choices. The craftsmanship element of cosplay comes from designing the costumes itself. Many costumes carry a physical burden as Masubi explains,

“Morrigan’s wings were made from plumbers piping, fibreglass and craft foam. Then I used strapping to keep them on which went under my corset. Pretty painful, think the first time I wore them the straps actually cut my ribs.”

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It also utilizes individual skill sets as Tim explains,

 

“Well having a background in car bodywork helps – specifically polyester resins and body filler work. I made huge cardboard templates of the swords, foam cored them and fibreglassed them, then sculpted the details with body filler and sanding. Second port of call was repurposing some of my ice hockey kit and fashioning into armour using Sintra. Lastly, I had to make the fabric sections myself. My sewing being atrocious, I used my amazing technique of sewing like a man. Or ‘stapling’ as other people call it.”

 

The time and effort put in by these Cosplayers, even the pain of wearing the costumes themselves really shows why people are so passionate about cosplay. But why do cosplayers go through all this pain and hardship? The rewards of cosplay far outweigh the time and energy put into the form. Cosplay isn’t an individualistic form, it’s shared by the love of an entire community:

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“I love everyone’s enthusiasm, the majority of it’s just a great place to share everyone’s love for all things geeky. Everyone wants to help each other make the best costumes they can. I’d like to think we’ve all made a lot of good friends through cosplay, and that’s a very good thing to take from it. We respect the ones that make the effort. In my opinion if they’ve done their best to make it, I think it rocks. I’d rather see a cosplay that isn’t perfect but someone has put their heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into.”

 

Cosplay also has the ability to produce more than just amazing costumes and a fantastic community, it has the ability to give something back. Tim has shaved off his beard, a staple of his face and cosplays, for charity.

 

“It was like breaking up with a girlfriend despite thinking it’d work out haha!”

 

He joins dozens of charity groups and fundraisers who use their costumes and cosplay fame to raise thousands of pounds each year.

“The money is going to a cancer victim hospice that’s treated members of my family, my friends and their family. It’s a very important place to a lot of people in Wales. I just wanted to help however I could and show my gratitude”

 

Tim managed to raise a grand total of £1740.88!!

 

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Masubi – https://www.facebook.com/masubii?fref=ts

Tim Lucas – https://www.facebook.com/masubi.locust?fref=ts

 

Credits

 

Photography – Alex Keen – https://www.facebook.com/AlexanderKe…graphy?fref=ts

Sebastian Matthews – https://www.facebook.com/sebastianmatthewsphotos

Queens of Winn – https://www.facebook.com/QueensOfWinn?fref=ts

Video – Queens of Winn – http://www.youtube.com/user/QueensOfWinn

 

Featuring and dedicated to Tim’s beard “Gone but not forgotten.”