Manga character designs are a key source of inspiration for cosplay (kosupure), a fan practice centering on the construction and wearing of character costumes. Driven by an affinity for the character or its source text, an admiration for the aesthetics of the character design, or the desire to create a costume that is valued by the cosplay community, cosplayers can spend considerable time, money and effort in recreating manga character designs in the form of wearable costumes. Drawing upon ethnographic fieldwork, this chapter will explore the processes of (re)creation of manga cosplays, charting the cosplayer’s transformation of an illustration into a costume. It will examine the particular ways cosplayers “read” manga during cosplay construction: as a source of creative inspiration, as “research” materials, and as a style guide for achieving accuracy in both costume and the performance of a character.
The chapter demonstrates how in the contexts of convention competitions and photo-shoots, the costumed cosplayer attempts to recreate the manga character through physical and/or verbal performance. In these contexts, cosplayers may draw more heavily upon the narrative of the manga as scenarios, poses and catch-phrases may be incorporated to create an “accurate” and entertaining performance of the character.
ADDITIONAL ONLINE CONTENT: Cosplay Photo Gallery