Is cosplay really required of real anime fans?
Do we really have to love anime?
No anime, no cosplay?
If you’ve ever gone to one anime convention where people swap anime artwork as well as comic books and videos, you might be thinking that there is some sort of unwritten rule as far as this community of scene is concerned. You might be thinking that at some level or another, people who are really serious about the anime lifestyle should dress and act like their favorite actors. Well, this is a bit too much to assume, seriously.
If you’re into the electronic dance music scene or go to a lot of raves, you would probably see a lot of very interesting people there. For example, the raves that I’ve gone to and the dance parties and DJ parties I frequent usually include people who are almost all naked but painted head to toe in a certain color. I’ve seen tons of golden guys, lots of green women and quite a number of blue individuals, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that I believe that everybody who goes to such functions should look the same way.
Using that same logic, it doesn’t really make any sense for people to think that if you go to some sort of anime fest or consume a lot of anime content that you necessarily have to dress and act like your favorite anime characters. These two things are distinct because if you are really serious about slicing and dicing the sociological realities behind the typical anime fan meat, the answer should stare you straight in the face. A lot of these people are actually paid to show up like that. I’m not saying that all of them are, but there is such a thing as a starter effect.
Here’s how the starter effect works. If you are promoting a dance club, it’s a good idea to show off people who highlight the desirability of the event you’re promoting. In other words, it’s a good idea to publicly show people near the door or in the promotional materials associated with your event the out and about, loud, and larger-than-life personas of people. When they see this, they automatically connect this with some sort of fun, unconventional and truly out-of-this-world experience. In other words, you’re selling a lifestyle thanks to these interest-starters. Once people show up, you can bet that there will be other people whom you’re not paying but would show up in costumes. That’s how it works in the dance music scene, and it definitely also works this way in the world of anime, comic book conventions, anime video seminars, so on and so forth.
It really is all part of the overall scene and boils down to trying to get eyeballs or trying to get attention. Either you can promote something or you can draw attention to yourself. There’s really nothing to write home about when it comes to this issue. You don’t necessarily dress like Pikachu or your favorite Pokemon character to show your love for everything and anything related to Pokemon. I hope this clears it up because it would really suck if people were somehow, someway persuaded not to show up to their anime community meeting or eyeball because they feel that they have to wear some sort of costume.