Cosplay concern

When it comes to borrowing things from other countries, the Japanese are generally very good at it, seamlessly slotting whatever it may be into society and more often than not making improvements along the way.

On the other hand, the path isn’t always so smooth for stuff going in the opposite direction. Admittedly Japanese food has made a successful journey across the seas, especially of late, but other ideas sadly seem to get lost in translation – some of them spectacularly so.

Take cosplay for example, a concept that its Japanese practitioners take very seriously indeed, with the vast majority of them (mostly) managing to successfully pull it off.

Japanese cosplay

Taken away from its natural habitat however, the practice isn’t quite so professional.

non Japanese cosplay

Or indeed appealing.

(image via the FG Forums)


  1. Aimee says

    There are plenty of bad Japanese cosplayers too though, and there are plenty of American and European cosplayers who are extremely professional-quality. One of the best Felicia’s ever was an American cosplayer (she got the wig right and everything, something I haven’t seen done in Japan, yet.) So to say that in translation it becomes crappy, isn’t really fair.

  2. The Truth says

    Talk about getting lost in translation. Why do sloppy, obese Americans think they can pull this kind of stuff off?


  3. says

    Ummm…ok…I’ve seen cosplayers here in America and I admit most are not as high quality as those I’ve seen from Japan. About 8/10 times the cosplay here is nice but not of high quality, the other 2/10 is high quality which took a lot of effort to do.

  4. The Truth says

    That fat slob American needs to waddle back to Burger King and leave the sexy stuff to the Japanese.

  5. says

    I’m curious as to where that picture originated (of the western woman in the costume) and if you had permission to post it from the photographer.

    I also believe that, if you’re going to mock someone else’s appearance in a public forum, there should be a full-length picture of yourself in a bathing suit alongside it.

    It’s interesting that everyone assumes the woman in the picture is American when there’s nothing to indicate her origin. She could be European, Canadian, Australian, or British (or whatever) but all the anti-Americans can’t resist reaching conclusions.

  6. Justin says

    @Shari: The author of this post makes no mention that this is an American, and says only “natural habitat”. Someone must be pretty insecure and think all is aimed at their country.

    • Braaaains says

      Shari never said that he author said she was American. If you go back and read it, you will see that Shari said “interesting that -everyone- assumes” not that the author assumed. If you read the postings made by others, this has indeed been done.

  7. says

    I felt I had to The Truth, as it was a bit too nasty and personal. I’m more than happy yo have debate in the comments, but insulting other visitors isn’t in keeping with the feel of the site.

  8. Tish says

    The secret with cosplay is finding the RIGHT character to dress as. If your fat, find a fat character! Don’t think you can pull of anything like that, what was she thinking!?!

  9. says

    Yeah I guess that’s one example of a bad non Japanese cosplayer… But there IS plenty of good ones! And I bet there’s plenty of bad Japanese cosplayers too!
    I didn’t think the Japanese one there was even that attractive… I guess she is better than the other one but still! There is WAY too many great non Japanese cosplayers to hate them all. There’s always gonna be cosplay failures, I can’t exactly say my first cosplay was amazing but still! Cosplay isn’t about race, gender, age, weight really is it? It’s about the costume, acting like your character and having fun!

    • Sabrina says

      I agree wholeheartedly! I’ll admit that seeing the non-Japanese one wasn’t pleasant, butt, hey! They both put a great effort in, and they both cosplayed proudly.

  10. Braaaains says

    If anyone here would like to go and google a picture of Felicia, you will see that it was the overweight woman who is more accurately portraying the character. I know from being on the internet that not many people are willing to look past someone physical appearance to see the craftsmanship of a costume, and I understand that. But! It should be well known that the Asian communities view on what cosplay IS is very different from what most western countries feel it is. Neither one has a claim on the origins of cosplay, seeing as how the word was first coined by a Japanese visiting an American convention.
    Honestly, I feel that the word has been more distorted by the Japanese than by other cosplayers. Break the word down. Costume + Play. Most Japanese are extremely serious about their costumes, making what they do more just costuming than any sort of “play” I am familiar with.
    Lets look at even more base origins: Halloween. There you go.

  11. says

    As a person who hosts large Halloween parties with Japanese students, I can assure you that the average Japanese are no better and possibly worse because of the concern they have with others views of themselves.

    A select group are great ( I wouldn’t REALLY know because outside of Halloween I have no interest) but the costume parties in Hawaii were an assortment of amazing original and store bought creations. Halloween in Waikiki can rival anything I’ve ever seen in Japan including stuff I’ve seen on the net. This (Japanese are ..? I dunnoh? RE: costumes) seems to be a case of image pales to the reality. Foreigners seem to have a creative edge even in Japan when it comes to originality while the Japanese (that I have seen) do some good shopping for character based costumes. Nothing shockingly original like a giant used tampon or a giant rat’s ass (the asshole being where the guys mouth was) Waikiki circa 2003.

    My 2 cents.
    which will not be adjusted for inflation this year because of the recession.

  12. Ayana says

    I find it funny that whenever someone tries to compare Japanese cosplay to Western cosplay the Japanese version is always of a well known cosplayer who is basically a professional, more often than not a model, has hired a professional photographer, and has the image treated with photoshop. In comparison the Western version will be a photo that was deliberately chosen for the fact that the cosplayer is a novice, not a model, not stereotypically beautiful, often the pictures are taken by a friend who is not a photographer, with a low quality camera, and is not given photo editing of any real kind.

    You will almost never see on one of these comparisons someone like PikminLink vs. a Japanese professional cosplayer. You will never see a naturally voluptuous western girl dressed as Yoko from Gurren Lagann ( I have a friend who cosplayered her last year, she is a NATURAL 34 F! and a size 3 aka TINY body, huge bust, and no need for a wig or contacts) and girls who naturally look like characters like Yoko, Matsumoto from Bleach, ect. ect. who come out of the west, people will always point out the less than attractive versions. Why is it that? Why is it that people are more willing to sit and sift through cosplay networks to deliberately find the worst of the worst and claim that they represent the average.

    More often than not people use professional cosplayer from Japan such as Kipi for the Japanese example, then use some poor girl who just made her first cosplay and is having her friend take snap shots in her back yard as the western example. If you’re going to talk smack then at least have the balls to use a real examples that are on par. It would be stupid to say that all Japanese people are bad at everything they do based on a bias pole where Japanese people where compared in fields they just started in to Western individuals who were experts in those very same fields.

    I like how often the western kitty girl pops up when this topic rears it’s ugly head. As if almost to say, LOOK WE’VE FOUND A BAD EXAMPLE LETS MILK IT FOR ALL IT’S WORTH AND HOPE NO ONE CHECKS TO SEE IF THERE ARE ANY BETTER! Try reading this to get your head on straight.!5432053/can-the-west-cosplay-with-the-best-of-them×389.jpg

    So yeah, plenty of amazing Japanese cosplayers, and plenty of amazing western cosplayers. The difference, the west doesn’t have entire chain stores dedicated towards nothing but cosplay. We can’t walk into a store and pick up professionally made cosplays at the drop of a hat, nor can we simply go and buy a pattern for that cosplay. We have to make this stuff ourselves, and in the west, if you haven’t made 100% of your cosplay yourself with the exception of like tights and shoes, then you don’t qualify for the competition, no matter how good you look. Oh sorry, you bought that costume/more than 10% of it…. you don’t qualify.

  13. Jessica says

    Am I the only one who has noticed that the western woman is pretty much naked? She has glued fur too her boobs at least the Asia. Girl used a body stocking. This is no comment on her weight but basic legalities it’s pretty much indecent exposure the girl is in a g string and not much else. However I’m a huge fan of cosplay and I think the only reason Japan does it better is because they’ve had it for years the western work has only recently been introduced to anime and manga it’s going to take us a while to catch up.

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