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Jun 27, 2012

Cosplay - Are there people trying to find an identity they can be proud of?

Reposting this critical analysis of cosplay from an outsiders persfective.  I value Sir Cornel Bongco's insight since he is one of the respective icons in advocacy and also one of my respected mentors in life.  Here is his article which was originally published as a Facebook Note.  My reply is at the end...

Last weekend at a mall in Metro Manila, hundreds if not thousands, flocked the mall dressed in their favorite cartoon character. You will certainly be amazed at how elaborate some of the costumes were. And if you know how much the costumes costs, you will wonder why these people spend so much time, energy and money to dress up in an event that catches the attention of so many!
 
From what I know there are people who go to the extent of undergoing medical procedures (reconstructive surgery) so that they could be more like the face of their favorite cartoon character.
 
Cosplay or costume play has been around for quite some time. While it provides entertainment for some, it made me think about something deeper. Do we have people in our midst trying to find an identity they can be proud of? Is our generation remiss in the responsibility to leave a legacy that the next generation can hang on to as their own so that they would not have to copy or identify with a culture that is not their own?
 
And it may provide a peek at how we need to engage some people at this time.  
  • Affiliation
  • Affection
  • Achievement 
These are three of the factors that may have induced people to engage in cosplay. 
 
Affiliation - cosplay events have become some sort of a sub-culture. People in the know can identify with you and if you engage you can certainly identify with them too.
 
Affection- there is a certain appreciation and sense of affection given cosplayers that you cannot find anywhere else.  
 
Achievement- just being in a very costly costume may be an achievement in itself.
 
How could we respond to it? How do we engage it?
 
Could we excite people with innovative characters that somehow reveal God's love and showcase our individuality at the same time?  
Could we have characters that build the character of someone else?
Could we have characters showcases reasons to celebrate being Pinoy while not taking the fun out of it?
 
Could we develop a cosplay group that could engage people in cosplay events while we share the Good news? 
 
Prating that this happens soon!
Here is my reply to my mentor, Sir Cornel Bongco's very good insight:
I myself am a cosplayer and also an advocate... I am an activist and an environmentalist. When I began cosplaying I see the possibility of bringing the axiom of making a positive difference to others through the cosplay community - the power of a helping hand. At first my friends told me that it was not possible, that people will lose respect in me as a blogger and an advocate.

Nearly 2 years now since we founded Naruto Cosplayers PH (NCPH) we have proven that indeed cosplayers share the same passion and even deeper than anyone else for helping others... sharing a hand to cancer patients, students, and those in need. Check us out at www.facebook.com/NarutoCosplayersPH and www.youtube.com/ncph2010

Plus besides NCPH there are other organizations and individual cosplayers who also do causeplay or cosplay for a cause :)

Indeed costumes are sometimes costly but there are those who do their own costumes and spend not too much for them. What matters most is enjoying a hobby and an art. Cosplay is an art because not everyone who wears costume can be considered a cosplayer.

Could we excite people with innovative characters that somehow reveal God's love and showcase our individuality at the same time? - definitely yes ...

Could we have characters that build the character of someone else? - definitely yes... Naruto for example or Jiraiya or Kakashi and many others with deeper understanding builds the character of those people cosplaying them and even others.

Could we have characters showcases reasons to celebrate being Pinoy while not taking the fun out of it? - definitely yes, Kalayaan and Luzviminda had been well received as well as Kapayapaan, our very own creation. I am even planning to cosplay as Bagwis which are local superheroes. We even started https://www.facebook.com/pinoysuperheroesguild to support Pinoy characters.

Great insight and thanks!
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