From The Ewok's Lair (25/03/2009)

From The Ewok's Lair (25/03/2009)

Hello there! Oh my, you're soaking! Hang your wet coat on the hook over there and come and sit by the fire. It's so nice of you to come out in such horrid weather! I've got some hot chocolate just about ready and I made some chocolate muffins - here we go, I'll put the plate and mug next to you. I put some marshmallows on the hot chocolate too! Comfy? Good!

So? Well it's been a fairly quiet week, no trip out with the Star Warriors - they are very good about that and try to make sure that we don't go out every weekend. It just wouldn't be fair, some of them have little humans to take care of and they have to work too, and that's a strange thing! Did you know that some humans pay other humans to work for them and then go off and work for someone else - odd! Of course on Endor we have no use for mo-ney, well there are no shops for a start! Actually, since the Evil Empire has been defeated it's become a bit of a backwater - pretty much all retirement villages now, you can't go 5 yards without falling over a zimmer frame. They've converted all those old speeder bikes and the geriatric Ewok's use them to go and visit their friends, my Great Uncle has one, oh my, he's a devil once he gets on it! They even have that game now, what do you call it? Guff? Gulf? No, Golf! Can't see the point of it myself and most of them are walking around with lumps on their heads, well at least those that can walk! The others sit in their chairs and throw the little white balls at anyone that they think has annoyed them! Honestly, geriatric Ewok's are the most ornery creatures you could ever meet!

Look at me, waffling away again — we're supposed to be talking about costuming and here I am telling you about my crazy uncle! I don't know we just can't seem to stay on topic, can we? Never mind. Here have another muffin, would you like some more hot chocolate? We've eaten all the marshmallows! Gosh! Oh well, we'll just have to have whipped cream and grated chocolate on it instead! Hee hee.

Right, back to costuming - you asked me exactly what costuming is and it would make sense if I tell you what I know before we chat about the different costumes. Well now, I'm probably not the best person to ask - after all I'm the only real character here! Incidentally, what do you think of my fur? Isn't it soft and fluffy? I got wet yesterday and our horrid Klingon said that I smelt like a wet dog! I ask you, really, how mean! We have a lovely Darth Talon and she kindly lent me her hairdryer - ooh that was fun all that warm air blasting out, it tickled! It made my fur go all fluffy, not really a good look for an Ewok but she meant well and it'll soon be back to normal. See, there I go again, wandering all over the place! Right, back to costuming - again!

As I understand it the dictionary definition is "The term costume can refer to wardrobe and dress in general, or to the distinctive style of dress of a particular people, class, or period. Costume may also refer to a particular style of clothing worn to portray the wearer as a character or type of character other than their regular persona at a social event such as a masquerade, a fancy dress party or in an artistic theatrical performance." Wow! That's quite a mouthful! And it sounds so boring! And then there's this other word "Cosplay" which, apparently is a Japanese fan term for Costume Play and is an amalgamation of the two words. In Japan (so I've been told) cosplay covers pretty much the spread that convention masquerades in the West cover, from sci-fi to fantasy, from medieval to military uniforms. It's basically a time for fans to dress up in their favourite garb or as their favourite character and have a bit of fun. There is a condition though; most fans insist that you not only play the character in dress, you also play the character's nature. In other words, whilst you're in costume, you must be the character, in thoughts, words and action. Ha ha, that's why they think mine is such a good costume; the poor humans don't know that I'm real!

Now, since I can't answer the question for you I thought the best thing was to invite some of the Star Warriors over and let them tell you what they think! Here they are now. Oh my, I hope I have enough muffins to go around! Come in, come in... make yourselves comfortable, Mister Vader will you sit right over there, you make me nervous! Help yourselves to the muffins and to the hot chocolate; there's plenty in that jug over there. Gosh it's a bit of a squeeze isn't it! If I introduce you one at a time I think that may be a little less confusing! Guardian, really! Mind your manners, one muffin at a time if you don't mind!

First off I'm going to introduce you to Nadesico, he's also known as Optimus Prime, has an SG-1 Medic costume and is the owner of Otaku Punch Pictures and Media, and he's got a lot of experience with cosplay and anime. So Mister Nadesico; costumer or cosplayer, what are you?

"Wow that is a loaded question and then some. I ask this question a lot in interviews and get some very different answers depending on whom I am talking to.

A person that calls themselves a cosplayer or Otaku normally started out on the Anime side of costuming. The word Cosplay comes from Japan and means exactly what it sounds like Costume-Play. However, in Western slang it has come to be a word for people who dress up as things from Anime. A costumer started out on the mainstream Sci-Fi real world side. Most would never use the term cosplayer but it can apply to both.

A lot of Anime cosplayers tend to make their cosplays by hand rather then buying something off the shelf. As for a Costumer, it can be off the shelf and be just fine. However, the two rarely see eye to eye on the subject of bought and made. In Japan cosplaying means both costumer and cosplayer. You do not have to be an Anime fan to be a Cosplayer. That is the word they use to describe any one who dresses up in a whimsical manor.

I have found after 40+ interviews in Japan, USA and the UK that the two words mean just about the same thing when you boil it down. It all depends on your preference I like the word Cosplay over Costumer since it embodies what dressing up in a whimsical manor is all about."

Gosh! Thanks, that's very detailed. Now the tall chap over there is Mister Havoc he's Darth Vader and a Tie Pilot! No, no need to get up Mister Havoc, you just stay right there and I'll stay way over here! What do you think about all this?

"I just tell people I'm real bendy and there's more room in a TIE fighter than you'd imagine!

I tend to think of myself as a costumer rather than cosplayer for no real reason other than familiarity with the word. Maybe I am more a cosplayer in essence - I will make or adapt my own stuff whenever my skills make it possible and remain in character all the time I'm in costume. But maybe (by Guardian's definitions) the fact that I'm a bit of a stickler for accuracy makes me more of a costumer. I don't know.

Basically, I'm just a bloke who dresses up as Darth Vader or a TIE fighter pilot."

Hee hee, well you make me nervous! Have another muffin! So Mister Guardian, what were your definitions that Mister Havoc mentioned? Oh my, look at the state of you, all over muffin crumbs; here's a napkin, no finish that muffin before you say anything! Oh, by the way Mister Guardian is also a Sand-trooper, Robocop and an SG-1 Marine!

"My understanding is that there is very little actual difference between the two... although this is my own understanding, others may differ...

Cosplay stems from the amalgamation of two words (Costume and play), where as Costumer is a single word that implies action. Cosplayers tend to come from the anime / manga side of the genre and generally make their own costumes. There is no real regulation applying to dress or skills as it is the overall concept of the costume that is important - so long as it's recognisable then that's good enough - although, an individual may have the skills and ambitions to be as faithful to the original character as is humanly possible, and some of the cosplayers that I have seen are absolutely stunning in concept and visualisation...

London Expo in October that Bob and I attended was also attended by the largest group of costumed individuals I have ever seen... The standards of dress varied massively and no-one cared...

Costumers tend to buy their costumes where they don't have sufficient skills or know-how to manufacture their own and tend to be more cohesive in outlook (i.e. members of a specific and / or specialised group etc) with a need to be as accurate and faithful to the original image as possible, such as military re-enactment and so on...

However, both Cosplayers and Costumers are all engaged in the self same thing - dressing up in costume to have fun and enjoy themselves by displaying their love and passion for their chosen field...

Cosplayer / Costumer - it's all the same really..."

Wow, that was very detailed Mister Guardian! Here have some more hot chocolate! Mister Bob you're very quiet over there, what do you think? Actually would you mind moving closer my fur is all ruffled... Mister Bob is one of our lovely shiny Cylons!

"I do prefer the term cosplay, for I believe it captures the essence of why we dress up, to have fun. My Dalek build will be from scratch, so that also fits into the Cosplay ethos. However, at the end of the day, whether you call yourself a Costumer or a Cosplayer it all amounts to the same thing."

Indeed, I do like you Mister Bob, you're so shiny! Here, I baked you a special muffin with chocolate sprinkles on it! I made one for you too KellyJane, our lovely Darth Talon, but tell us what you think first.

"I'm definitely a cosplayer, by my own admission.

As well as making as much as I can from scratch where possible, I also role-play when I am in costume. I like to get into character, and stay in it where possible. For me, it makes the experience much more enjoyable!"

Here's your special muffin, thank you. I guess it's ultimately one of those subjective topics that are pretty much down to individual preference. At the end of that day I don't care what name it's called by - the important thing is that it's fun!

Oh my, look at the time it's getting late! You'll never find your way through the woods in the dark! Off you go, Mister Guardian you can take those muffins with you. Thanks for coming, have a safe journey and I'll see you soon! Bye.

« More Costuming News
08:24 pm (GMT) 08:24 pm (GMT)
Author :
UK Conventions
Carole Connor
Date :
28th March, 2009 Time :
06:09 PM (GMT) Category :
Costuming Related Links :
Otaku Punch Pictu... »
Star Warriors »
Mini Gallery

Bob as Cylon Centurion

Bob as Cylon Centurion

Guardian as Robocop

Guardian as Robocop

Havoc as Darth Vader

Havoc as Darth Vader

KellyJane as Darth Talon (Photo by Otaku Punch Pictures & Media)

KellyJane as Darth Talon (Photo by Otaku Punch Pictures & Media)

Nadesico as Optimus Prime (Photo by Otaku Punch Pictures & Media)

Nadesico as Optimus Prime (Photo by Otaku Punch Pictures & Media)

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