What is Cosplay?



Cosplay is the practice of dressing up as a character from a film, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga or anime. – This is the first definition of cosplay as you hit google.

Cosplay, however, is a play of words from COStume PLAY wherein participants are called as cosplayers (also called as cosers for short), who wear costumes and act (as the “play” part) as they wear. It is also an act of role-playing while being in costume as the character you are portraying as, where these cosplayers engage themselves into different creative interpretations of their favorite characters.


What is Cosplay, what is not Cosplay?

Cosplay is a bit different from people who just wear costumes as cosplay has a specific character they are trying to imitate. Refer to the image below.

Photo in right by Baozi & Hana Page

First image is a person wearing a vampire costume for parties. This is a common costume we buy in stores for Halloween. The image in the right is Cosplay of a character named Ferid Bathory of Owari no Seraph and is a vampire. The one in the left pertains to no character at all, hence is not an actual “cosplay” but just a person wearing a costume, the right picture says other wise.

Actual appearance of Ferid Bathory in the anime Owari no Seraph.

This is also one of the most tackled subject in the cosplay community, “How do you know if the person is a cosplayer or just wearing a costume?” If a person wears a costume of Spiderman but is not acting like Spiderman at all, is he cosplaying? If a person acts exactly the same as Goku’s personality but his costume does not seem to be so much like Goku, is he cosplaying? These are the most common questions in the community that even now cosplayers are trying to answer.

Cosplay is for everyone. Some people might be awkward in portraying a character in public or probably the other person might have a really low budget but really wants to cosplay. So the answer is YES. These people are still cosplayers.

From left to right: Lolita fashion, seifuku or school girl, kimono and visual kei girl in Harajuku.

One things to consider as well, if this person is wearing a costume or just having a weird fashion sense. These days, people love to wear Japanese fashion like visual kei, mori girl or walolita which looks like cosplay to the eye of the public (who are not really into this type of culture). But again, cosplay is imitating a character you like so these type of fashion is still out of the list.

Is cosplaying my favorite celebrity considered cosplay? In popular forms, cosplay is usually cosplaying a fictional personality, not an actual person. The closest thing to that is “impersonating” which people are practicing since forever.

Some people even wear costumes while impersonating.

 Cosplaying in Qatar

Cosplay in Qatar is relatively new. Compare to the SouthEast Asian Countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand where the practice is widely spread and popular, cosplay in Qatar is a baby in comparison.

Tomb Raider Cosplayers taking photos with a fan at Mirqab Mall.

Most cosplayers in Qatar, as observed, lean more on western culture like DC Comics, Marvel Superheroes, Movies like Star Wars and Tomb Raider. It is very rare in sight to see people having knowledge of new anime and manga in the market. Also, in regards to the ratio of male to women cosplayers, most cosplayers you can see in geek events these days are composed of male cosplayers. (Short trivia though that most of us in IACQ are girls)

Despite all that, it is not a bad thing. Everyone starts on something and though the cosplay in the country is still developing and growing, we can always hope for more people being engage in the hobby. Maybe someday you don’t know, we might even be part of the WCS in the future. We don’t know.


Now that you’ve read our article regards to cosplay, did it make you feel more enthusiastic in starting your own? Let us know in the comments!

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Post Author: Yukimura Sei

Sei is veteran cosplayer who started out as cosplay events organizer to a cosplay community manager. She now resides in Qatar with her family while maintaining a blog, developing games, writing novels and designing as her primary hobbies.

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