BY LEAH MORROW
It was 1984, the year of Ghostbusters and Terminator and the year that Dune was turned into a movie. It was also the year the term “cosplay” was coined.
According to the website strangelandcostumes.com, Japanese reporter Nov Takahashi invented the term to describe what he saw at the 1984 Los Angeles World Science Fiction Convention (more popularly known as Worldcon). What Takahashi saw were people wearing costumes in the halls and a masquerade stage dedicated to the most extravagant of those who had chosen to come in costume.
Though many had attended conventions in costume long before 1984, the tradition had finally been given a proper name.
The popularity of cosplay – or costume role play – has grown immensely since the 1990s, becoming a staple in Japanese pop culture, parts of Asia and the Western world. Part of the beauty of cosplay is that inspiration can stem from anything: video games, television series, comic book heroes or villains and anime characters, just to name a few.
“I’ve always loved movies,” said second-year broadcast television student and avid cosplayer Erica Adam. “So when I found out that people would actually dress up in elaborate Halloween costumes for fun, anytime of the year, it was really exciting to me.”
Adams said she would recommend that everyone try cosplay. She said a lot of people may be scared to try it because they believe they would not do the costume justice. Adams said as long as you are having fun, that is all that matters.
“It won’t matter if your shield isn’t quite round, or your cape isn’t quite the right shade of purple,” she said. “Cosplaying has been a huge social experiment for me. It’s taught me to open up more, and be comfortable around people I don’t know.”
She said getting the chance to talk to strangers while acting as the character you have dressed up as is a great way to boost your confidence.
“Honestly, if you can walk around downtown Toronto in tights, carrying a giant battle-axe or a stuffed dog, you’ll have a very hard time being self-conscious about your own self later on,” said Adams. She said comic conventions are a great way to meet like-minded people.
The Toronto ComiCon has been held each year at the Metro Convention Centre since it began in 2001. This year the three-day convention was held from March 19 to 22 and for some, unlike Adams, it was their first time attending such an event.
“This is my first time coming here,” said Jordan Shorey who was dressed as Ash Ketchum from Pokémon. “It’s almost like being famous for a day.”