Cosplay – The Good, the Bad and the “UGH!”

Fantasy and reality have their individual perks. Cosplaying, while attempting to cross the two, more often than not denigrates the both of them into pure farce.

By Smith Stuart. Posted 05/10/2011 11:00 8 Comments     ShareThis

Peach, Bowser and Peach and Peach cosplay photography montage

Though this article is mostly an opinion piece, it is also a work full of facts that should be thought provoking and, yes, even terrifying for all of us. I know from personal study of the very real defacement to humanity posed by the particular breed of fanboy who is eagerly willing to mutilate his own pride for the sake of the fictional characters he loves.

There has been much attention given, since the late 80s, to the wide variety of ways to openly express ourselves and our own personal interests as we embark upon the world stage but few in society have considered (let alone opposed) the grave threat to mental stability known as cosplay, shorthand for “costume play.”

In the following article I will explain in abbreviated detail, using unclassified pictoral evidence, exactly how this art form works and how it will visibly manifest itself when it is brandished by both the right hands and the wrong ones. But I must warn you – many of these revelations are not for the faint of heart. (Nor are they to be taken too seriously.)


The first battle is, interestingly enough, between two Smash Bros. contenders. The two men portraying them have honestly come to believe that they are respectfully representing their respective gaming mascot. The sad part is, only one of them is right. Captain Falcon is so incredibly enacted that he makes me feel like I’m playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl every time I look at him. Sonic, on the other hand, is a feeble attempt at best, a detrimental defamation of character at worst.

But hey, maybe the guy did that on purpose. Either way, Captain Falcon wins this round in a landslide.


Wow… where do I begin?

Samus appears to have jerry-rigged a helmet from Halo, Donkey Kong appears to have taken a Mega Mushroom to the head, and that Mario is as homemade as cosplay comes. Despite these disturbing discrepancies, the cool light thingamajig shining from within Samus’ blaster gives the space heroine just enough edge to blast her way to victory.

Though DK does get bonus points for the barrel. Nice touch.


It has always been my personal conviction that cosplay choices should be selected based upon body type, general similarities and gender; and the Honda pictured above (assuming he’s male) certainly fits those bills to perfection. However, due to the gag factor his crime against humanity generates within my being, I am unable to deem him the winner of anything besides the “Most Likely to Invoke Bile” award.

Which reminds me, when I was younger, I had the unfortunate displeasure of attending Anime Weekend Atlanta – a giant geekfest convention held annually in the capital of Georgia. As you would expect, this three-day event beckoned many a fanboy and fangirl to rise from their basements and surface temporarily under the guise of a cosplay façade.

Anyways, I’ll never forget the moment I passed this chubby dude in overalls who was killing one of my favorite cartoon characters with his costume. Every time he moved, his headlights threatened to pop out and blind me… if you know what I mean. I don’t recall whether they did or not, because I was too preoccupied with the horrors of his unkempt back; which, in retrospect, I suppose was really a blessing in disguise.

I guess this is kind of my roundabout way of saying that both he and Honda seriously should’ve wore a T-shirt. And for that reason, and because of my love for good mascot costumes, I crown King Dedede the champ of Round 3.


The fourth confrontation took place many years ago on the silver screen, but the winner was ultimately unresolved, what with that darn, meddling kid stepping in and stopping the fight. But today, Mewtwo and Mew have returned to clash once again for total supremacy. (How exciting!)

As you can see, Mew has grown much during the long intermission, and apparently torn one of its leg ligaments as well, while Mewtwo has begun to shed his skin from the shoulder line, thus exposing his pink Mew DNA to the public. In other words, the two of them have really let themselves go.

Nonetheless, for the sake of science we will temporarily assume that they are not the real Mewtwo and Mew and are merely humans wearing cheap costumes of them. That would obviously signal Mewtwo as the superior life form.


None of these contests highlights the rights and wrongs of cosplay better than this one does. The first pic is a Link fan; the second is Link. The first got his sister to dress up as Zelda; the second is on a mission to rescue Zelda. The first is in his backyard; the second is in Hyrule. The first embraces painted cardboard over steel; the second pulled his sword from the Temple of Time. The first is in serious need of a haircut; the second could be used to sell haircuts.

Need I say more? I think not.


The closest bout of the day is right here. Both costumes are superbly excellent. I really don’t feel I can pick a winner. If it were based solely on effort, Midna would probably win; but if it were based on natural similarities and a closer resemblance to the original proportions of the character being portrayed, Pit would definitely win.

But since we can’t have two winners, I suppose the only thing I can do is flip a Lincoln.

If it lands on heads, Midna wins. If it lands on tails, Pit wins.

Okay, here we go! *flip!*

*thwack!* It’s tails. Pit wins.


I’m sorry, but this one is just too obvious. The dude in the Mega Man costume is wearing a diaper, for crying out loud! Sure, the Fox is a bit cock-eyed and has the wrong color nose; but regardless, he still tromps Mega Man in every way. (Sadly, when I asked Fox if he would take the trophy, he said “Oh no, sir. We prefer doing things our own way,” and nonchalantly walked away – which means the Blue Bomber wins by default.)


The last battle is between two of the longest-winded series in modern anime history – Pokémon and Naruto. On the left, we have Ash, Pikachu and Misty; on the right, Naruto, Sakura and Sasuke. These three-man cells are inarguably some of the most popular and most important personalities from their corresponding fictional universes. But both parties have their problems.

For starters, Ash is missing his ziggy cheeks, and his pet Pikachu (which screams “bear costume!”) looks more like the legendary Longchu. The Misty, as frugal as her outfit appears, is admittedly the best of the set.

Naruto’s Team Kakashi is larger-than-life and quite perfectly captures my view of how the majority of cosplayers act. Just because their costumes are excellent they think we won’t notice the lack of any honest resemblance. As for a winner… I can’t decide. And since I don’t feel like pulling politics into this one, I’ll just leave it up to you.

Well, there you have it, folks. The world of cosplay is certainly an unusual one, filled with bizarre wonder. For some, it epitomizes imagination; for others, it serves as a surefire trigger for indigestion. I would warn anyone interested in taking part in it to be wary of their own mental contamination and bewitchment towards this darker side of fandom.

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