Sunday, November 11, 2007

Coming out to Cosplay?

Coming out to Cosplay?
Do you know what’s the coolest trend right now?
Forget about leggings, polka dot prints or customised t-shirts
and don’t even think of brand name stuff.
The coolest trend right now is Cosplay!

What is Cosplay?

What is Cosplay?
Getting dressed up in costumes for fun,
or Cosplay, began in 1960’s Japan when fans
of cartoon character Ulatraman started to dress
like their superhero. By the early 70s the trend had caught on
with other fans dressing like their favourite cartoon characters
and hanging out at cartoon book fairs.
Since then it has grown into a lively subculture,
with youngsters dressing up as characters from manga,
cartoon animation, video games, Japanese live action television shows,
fantasy movies and Japanese pop music bands.

Cosplay originally arrived in Thailand
along with the JWave of Japanese dramas and musicians
that hit these shores about five years ago.
Since then, many Japanese companies like Mainichi,
a Japanese language institute, and The Technology Promotion Association,
have used Cosplay competitions as a part of their events.
Boom, a weekly Japanese magazine also held an event called
Festival Japan annually.
Cosplay is now the biggest attention grabber in the magazine
as Thai youngsters have suddenly become crazy for Cosplay.

Neeranat “Dear” Kupati, 21, a junior from Rajabhat University Bansomdejchao
phraya and her friends recently joined the J-Cover series held by Mainichi.
Dear dressed up as Guilty Gear Isaku.
“I first got involved with Cosplay about six months ago.
I’m in love with manga, games and animation and
being able to dress up like my favourite characters was the next step,” said Dear.

Isriyaporn “Mind” Abdulrahim, 17, from Satree Phuket School
is also mad about Cosplay and loves to dress like a maid.
“It’s been two years since I started to dress Cosplay.
The style I prefer is Gothic-Lolita,” said Mind.
Almost every school holiday Mind travels to Bangkok to meet like-minded people,
as there is no Cosplay scene in Phuket.
“I pack my bag and head to Bangkok so
I can show off my latest Cosplay outfits to people
who are also into this trend,” she said.

Pornpen “Kung” Methasapipsuk, 21, a junior at Thammasat University
has been in love with the J-Rock style for five years.
She not only dresses Cosplay but also covers some songs
by her favourite Japanese bands.
“I’m in love with Cosplay because
I can use my creativity and apply it to what I wear.
It’s such a pleasure,” said Kung.
And it’s not only the girls that are crazy about Cosplay.
“I’ve been into Cosplay since my friends
invited me to get involved,” said James, 14, from Saint John School.
His most recent costume is Roxas from Kingdomheart 2, a PSP game.

In the beginning, Cosplay was just a hobby that allowed the kids
to show off their own elaborate creations,
see others’ ideas and take lots of photos.
It has now grown into big business.
As the trend has exploded onto Thai shores,
one smart Thai entrepreneur has opened an outlet catering
to the demand from the Cosplay youth.
Pardoza, a Cosplay shop located at Siam Square,
has been open for two months.
90 per cent of the products it sells are imported from Japan.
“The feedback has been very good.
Our customers are 12-25 year-olds
and they can get a complete Cosplay outfit or
just brighten up an existing outfit with new accessories,” said Parinda
“Poo” Assawamanee, 28, the owner of Pardoza.

Poo was working in the fashion industry in Japan
when she first noticed that Cosplay was more than just as ordinary fashion.
She believed in the phenomenon enough that she opened Pardoza,
which sells accessories from Bt190-2,000 and outfits
from between Bt490- 4,500. While the prices are not cheap,
Poo believes that true fans will find a way to get the best for their budget.
“You don’t have to buy an expensive costume, you can mix and match,” said Poo.

“I only buy new outfits during my school vacation,” said Mild.
“I save my allowance all term so I have money
to spend without having to ask my parents.” said added.
Mild now has three Lolita dresses, which cost around Bt2,000 each.

“Bt1,000 is my budget.
I will not spend more than this,
no matter how much I like the outfit,” said Kung.

“Some parents are more open-minded
and support their children; some even shop for their kids,” said Poo.
“It’s good for teenagers to have the opportunity to express
their personality and be more confident.
They can be what they want to be in the Cosplay world,” she added.

New Words

subculture : n., วัฒนธรรมกระแสรอง
like-minded : adj., ที่ชอบเหมือนกัน
elaborate : adj., ประณีต
phenomenon : n., ปรากฏการณ์

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