What is the difference between costume and cosplay?

Cosplay, We can find it at comic book conventions, concerts, video game presentations or in movie theaters. We know that there are people who dedicate their entire lives to cosplay, who invests large amounts of money in their clothing or who creates their outfits from scratch. But why invest so much in a costume? Is that the cosplay it is not a simple disguise! So, What is the difference between disguise and cosplay?

The same word, cosplay, can help us understand what makes cosplay so different from costume. Cosplay is a compound word that comes from English: on the one hand the word costume (which in Spanish has its equivalent in “suit” or “disguise”) and the word play (which means “game” or “interpretation”). Thus, we understand that that person who does cosplay not only does he dress like a fictional character, he also plays it: the cosplayer he moves, thinks and lives as the character he pretends to personify.

cosplay disfraz full metal alchemist

Each cosplay is unique because each person who plays it is different | Image: KICKAcosplay (DeviantArt)

For its part, the person who only disguises himself tends to do it at a specific time and with a very precise intention. For example: a fancy dress party at work or when someone trick-or-treating on Halloween. The person who dressed up as Batman to trick or treating in the neighborhood has no intention of playing Bruce Wayne. He is not Batman. He is someone who dresses like Batman. That person does not stop being himself, which greatly differentiates him from cosplayer.

Let’s make it a little clearer: a person who is doing a cosplay Goku won’t do it just with the intention of dressing up or looking like Goku. The characterization of cosplayer is fully detailed: his way of moving, speaking and thinking will be the same way of moving, speaking and thinking of Goku… at least in theory. The cosplayer he truly transforms into the character he’s playing.

cosplay anime serial experiments laine costume

There are those who buy their clothes, and there are those who make them from scratch | Image: Siddi-hartha (DeviantArt)

Whether the cosplayer play characters from manga, cinema, movies or literature, many of the people who dedicate their time to this hobby they sometimes spend more money than they will get for doing these kinds of things. Why? Because the cosplay it is not only a way of creating community, it is a way of life and therefore it is much, much more than a disguise.


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