Cosplay: Why We Do What We Do featuring Oshare Cosplay
If you didn’t know, February 2017 is the third anniversary of the 28 Days of Black Cosplay hashtag started by Chaka Cumberbach to celebrate Black cosplayers. This hashtag movement has only grown and continues to spotlight the amazing work done by Black cosplayers.
It’s no secret that I love cosplay. I think it’s potentially one of the most creative and fun ways to express yourself. Every costume I do speaks to and of a specific part of my personality and I love the versatility and problem-solving required to fully realize an idea and every time I do it, I learn something new.
This hobby speaks to me in a way nothing else does. It speaks to many people differently, while simultaneously bringing us all together. I spoke with several cosplayers in my immediate network about why they do it and the impact it’s had on their lives. This time, I’ve taken the time to ask some cosplayers in my extended network what cosplay is for them.
Cosplay as individuality - Oshare Cosplay (Misu), cosplaying 3 years
"Cosplay is important to me because it allows me to express my creativity. Since I've mostly cosplayed humanized Pokémon, it allows me to create something that may have otherwise been non-existent or it allows me to put my own personal spin on something. It allows me to express and perform my devotion to fandoms that are important to me. It's allowed me to see sides of myself that I never thought I'd see or get in touch with. See, before cosplay, I was a very much a plain jane. Wasn't interested in make-up or anything of the sort. But being a cosplayer, in learning to apply make-up and coordinate outfits, it has allowed me to see myself as an individual of unique beauty and worthy of living the best life possible. In dressing up as someone else, I've learned to be more of myself.
I'm also a Magical Girl Researcher. I go to various conventions in my area and present about magical girl anime and other aspects of Japanese popular culture.
If I had to improve the cosplay community, I think I'd want there to be more empathy. While I'm lucky to be around empathetic, amazing people, I do feel like there could be more room for cosplayers to be respectful of each other and our experiences. I am the first to admit that there are tons of talented individuals who work hard to produce quality work and they should be commended. But cosplay is also a community that prides itself on having fun - you are performing your devotion to your fandom in the best way that you see fit, after all. But such devotion should never overstep the agency of others, and right now, there are too many instances where it does."
A little more about Misu
Misu is a Magical Girl Researcher. She attends various conventions in her area where she presents information on magical girl anime and other aspects of Japanese popular culture.
Anyone involved in cosplay knows it takes a village. Misu's cosplay co-conspirators are:
Heather Lanigan, the talented seamstress who makes many of her costumes.
Emilie at Hanamaru Photography, the go-to photographer she adores.
Chris at Skookum Props and Armour who she finds to be an absolute gem!
Misu also gives a shout out to Princess Mentality/Chaka Cumberbatch-Tinsley, #28DaysOfBlackCosplay creator. "Interviewing her in 2015 inspired me to really step up my cosplaying game and I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if I never met her!"