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What is this cosplay?

From a friend who was in the Nippon2007 (Yokohama Worldcon) masquerade:

The Japanese contestants were confused by the American way of doing things. Apparently, they don’t do skits and the audience usually gets to inspect the costuming up close.


( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 21st, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
Thank the maker for that!

Cosplay is just.... alien to me. The one Anime con I attended, I dressed up in my Jurai Noble (from Tenchi Muyo) which is about four layers, all detailed. I was not even considered worth going up on stage because I didn't have a skit that either involved dance or lesbians.

Siiigh. And the quality of some of their stage costumes, not to mention the skits borders on appalling.
Sep. 21st, 2007 07:43 pm (UTC)
We're also talking (for the most part) American F&SF costumers, not American cosplayers. If they're baffled about our sorts of presentations, I would love to see their reaction to cosplayers who think they're doing things the Japanese way.
Sep. 24th, 2007 04:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I also find that hilarious. Acting out the character in a skit is SOOOOOO much more authentically Japanese!
Sep. 24th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
I was thinking the same thing. XD Stop reading my mind!

(Deleted comment)
Sep. 24th, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC)

"I was not even considered worth going up on stage because I didn't have a skit that either involved dance or lesbians."

XD Har!! This makes me alternately laugh and weep.
Sep. 21st, 2007 07:14 pm (UTC)
Gotta admit that I like the Japanese way far better, skits have no place in a costume contest. Hold on while I change feet - Masquerade is the wrong word, IMHO. Historically a masquerade is a dance and/or party where people dress in costumes and wear a mask as a mandatory costume item. I'd just call it a costume contest and exhibition.
Sep. 21st, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)
We are aware of this semantic difficulty. Andy's written about it, in fact.

Unfortunately, it is a term well-established in fannish tradition.
Sep. 21st, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC)
But isn't it dead boring to just go up, stand around, have a costume loked at and saunter off again?
Sep. 21st, 2007 07:41 pm (UTC)
As a friend of mine put it, "It's not a talent show... well, not that kind of talent show."

Kate Morgenstern refers to presentation as "Theatrical Haiku," refined, condensed, distilled to its absolute essence. Set a mood, present a character, and use that to show off the costume to best effect.
Sep. 21st, 2007 07:53 pm (UTC)
Hmmm ... boring, then. *grins*
Sep. 21st, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)
Nope... just short.
Sep. 21st, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
Okay ;-)
Sep. 21st, 2007 08:27 pm (UTC)
Believe me, short definitely does not have to be boring :-)

You can still sell the story while you saunter across the stage.
Sep. 21st, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
the short part is the most important part of avoiding it being boring.
Sep. 21st, 2007 10:23 pm (UTC)
But isn't it dead boring to just go up, stand around, have a costume loked at and saunter off again?
Nope. If it was, hundreds of fashion models would be unemployed.

I'd love to see a cosplay competition as a separate event. Documented well, the best ones could be nominated for best performance Hugos.
Sep. 24th, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)

Not at boring as long, badly presented, skits where people prattle on in a way they think it clever, making references that perhaps only 1% of the audience gets. A whole competition of these often needlessly long and esotaric sketches is INCREDIBLY arduous.

A short "walk on" presentation, (well under a minute), can include a quite a nice bit of dynamic showmanship.
Sep. 21st, 2007 07:35 pm (UTC)
The term "masquerade" has been around since the dawn of fandom. The earliest convention masquerades (Worldcon 1940 is the first I've seen record of) were costume dances, although they did feature awards for "best costume" and such. The modern convention masquerade is 60 years of evolution from that beginning. I'd have to talk to Karen Anderson, but I believe that the presentation-style masquerade had already come about in the late 50's.
Sep. 21st, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks - Sounds about right for fandom: the event morphs but the name doesn't. :-)
Sep. 21st, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC)
Best costume?
...although they did feature awards for "best costume" and such.

Are you sure?

I thought they avoided the word "Best", but used "Most" a lot. "Most Beautiful" and so forth.

(And at one point, the award simply called "The Most" was for the prettiest girl wearing the least, I believe...)
Sep. 21st, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Best costume?
I've got two reports from the '40 Worldcon that indicate that a "Best Costume" award was given, although they disagree on who won it. I need to get a copy of All our Yesterdays and see if there's anything about the early masquerades in there.
Sep. 22nd, 2007 12:45 am (UTC)
Re: Best costume?
Ah. Okay, you have information I don't have.

(Wasn't Joni Stopa instrumental in both the sea-change of the Masquerade and the first Art Show?)
Sep. 22nd, 2007 01:27 am (UTC)
Re: Best costume?
Joni Stopa is credited for taking the presentation masquerade and making sense out of it, providing back-stage and greenroom support for the entrants. And yeah, she and Bjo were responsible for the first art show. I'm not sure when that was, though. It had to be long before she ran the Chicon IV masquerade, I'd guess in the late 60's or early 70's. There's not a lot that isn't buried in paper fanzines about this; Joni was never one to toot her own horn.

Bjo and Peggy Kennedy were responsible for the division system in the early 80's (at the last Denvention). Peggy came up with the framework, and Bjo put it into her rules for Denvention II.
Sep. 22nd, 2007 01:29 am (UTC)
Re: Best costume?
Not sure when Joni's reorganized masquerade was. The artshow is is heavily documented.
Sep. 22nd, 2007 06:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Best costume?
Pittcon (1960) art show..

If we figure out when the masquerade change was, I'd be interested in updating that page.
Sep. 22nd, 2007 12:30 am (UTC)
at my first con (FC '04) I was excited to attend the masquerade - and then surprised to learn that it was actually a costume contest.

now, I like to watch the masquerade on the tv in my hotel room, with a cold beer and a tasty snack (the fact that I've just spent all day on my feet vending has a great deal to do with this, of course.) that, and you can MST3K it without disturbing anyone else! ;-)
Sep. 21st, 2007 07:34 pm (UTC)
The masquerade debrief at Nippon 2007 was very strange, since the whole thing was translated between the two languages.

I found the idea that the audience would come up and inspect the costumes almost as much of a shock as the idea of no skit.

Sep. 21st, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC)
I just find it hysterical in the context of western cosplayers for whom it's all about the skit, sometimes to the degree that caring too much about the quality of your costume and your work is "elitist."
Sep. 22nd, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
I find the idea of this kinda cool. I am a serious newbie to costuming, but went to the last 2 costume cons. My favorite part is being able to take pictures, close up, of the costumes, and admire everyone's amazing and fabulous work. I have learned so much about sewing, some of it just from seeing how 'experts' make some of these fabulous clothes.
Sep. 21st, 2007 08:07 pm (UTC)
Yes, just like most American ARE really too loud in Japan, you have some who claim ALL Japanese are nice are quiet...... riiiiiiiiggght! Especially if you find them in a party after one drink :-)

Of course those cosplayers are probably the same one who said Harry Potter etc. are not cosplay *roll eyes*
Sep. 21st, 2007 08:12 pm (UTC)
Wrong way around... it's the American cosplayers who complain that Harry Potter isn't cosplay. I've never heard a Japanese cosplayer complain about Harry Potter.
Sep. 21st, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC)
That's what I meant: you have American cosplayers who think XYZ is not cosplay because it's not Japanese etc. as if they know which way the Sun rises...
Sep. 21st, 2007 11:44 pm (UTC)
Of course, they think what they're doing is true Japanese cosplay...
Sep. 27th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
Oh God. -_- We've been fighting this notion of some 10+ years now. -_-;;;
Sep. 21st, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC)
Ah, I see the way I wrote the original reply is semantically confusoooo. Sorry.
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )