The Many “Types” of Cosplayers

When you hear the term “Cosplayer” what type of person comes to mind? Maybe you think of a beautiful girl who shows up on an Internet newsfeed or a heavy duty cosplayer donning an exact, heavy duty  replica from anime or a game, or maybe you think about a friend who dabbles in the world of cosplay for fun. Even though we categorise all of these people under the term “cosplayer”, the way that people approach cosplay and how they express their passion through this art varies drastically from person to person. 


In this article, I will introduce you to the cosplayers I met in Japan by breaking them down into 7 different types. 



1.The Friend Finder Type


This is a person who does cosplay of their favorite character, meets other members of the fandom at events like Comiket and fosters deep friendships. Wearing the proof of their membership of the fandom gives them to talk to total strangers with a newfound confidence. On the flip side, seeing you in cosplay from the fandom that they like encourages others to come up and talk to you as well. And the time you spend at these events with these people then becomes a deeply memorable experience.



2.The Not-So-Daily Fashion Type

Cosplay events are usually held on the streets, at shopping malls and in parks in Japan. This is where you’ll find this type of cosplayer enjoying a day of leisurely shopping and hanging out with their friends in extraordinary guises. Enjoying cosplay in this manner with friends allows you to enjoy these activities as if you were the characters that you’re dressed up as themselves and delve into those relationships between the attending characters, beit siblings, lovers or what have you.



3.The Global Photographer Type


The person goes to great lengths in order to capture their cosplay works on the world stage. Inspired by the source material, this type creates their own costumes and weapons and takes them to far off destinations in order to find the perfect global landscape on which to capture their work. The photographs are taken by a professional photographer and are rendered in layers, sublimating the 2D image to appear 3D.   



4.The Jack Of All Trades Type


These cosplayers look for a deeper means of expression combining their cosplay with  again their own special skills. These skills may include singing, dancing, playing musical instruments, cooking, etc. For characters with exceptional swordsmanship, some people are so enthusiastic they go as far as to learn tactical fighting techniques and stage combat.



5.The Creator With A Plan Type 

This type usually consists of an “idea man” and a team that works together to plan a unique experience for cosplayers. The recruiting of the team and the planning of the costumes including the construction, execution and the shoot, can take months. Sometimes there are 100s of cosplayers who gather to perform supersized cosplay events and they also plan activities that everyone can enjoy like parties and sports events. When one of these plans is successfully pulled off there is an incomparable feeling of accomplishment for the group. 



6.The Master of Image Type 

This type expresses their character by taking advantage of their appearance. The right face and a well-trained body can be said to be the best canvas for the interpretation of a character. This of course requires daily maintenance of their beauty and exercise regimen.There are a lot of this type of cosplayer who have large fan bases and also many who act as the official cosplayer for the character, and are working as models.



7.The Self-Producer Type


Cosplay is now not just in an event hall or reflected in the lens of an SLR. Recently, there has been a growing movement amongst cosplayers to shoot videos on their own and convey the appeal of characters and cosplayers themselves. Cosplayers who post dances and skits on TikTok are artisans who can express their character in a short video clip. In addition, cosplay makeup and weapon construction commentary videos on YouTube have really become a place where cosplayers can fully demonstrate the skills they’ve honed during their cosplay journey.

In addition to these, there are also types like the “Netako Type” who attract attention at places like Comiket to portray storylines that address current affairs or there are the “Homebody Type” who enjoy cosplay in the comfort of their own homes. Beyond these, there are so many other categories of cosplayers, but for now let’s leave it here. 



There are “several men, and several minds” that is to say that there are so many people with so many different tastes, approaches and ideas. However cosplayers do have some common ground and that is the feeling they have of wanting to transform their existence and exhibit the love they have for the characters they cosplay. That being said, it means if you too hold these feelings then you and essentially anyone can become a cosplayer.


Of course, not everyone has the same cosplay skill level at the beginning. Cosplay costumes purchased for delivery, are also a great way to transform yourself as a cosplayer. It’s with courage you put your arms through the sleeves of your costume and it’s with courage that you find friends at events and through social media and share the joy of embodying a character. 


If you come to think of it, by truly thinking “I want to get closer to my favorite character” or “I want to express the charm of the work with my own ideas,” and using these thoughts as fuel for your cosplay, you will naturally come up with ideas on thing like how to make costumes and weapons and do makeup, and through this find your own way of enjoying it. If you turn that feeling of excitement into action, cosplay will become even more fun.


So if you’ve read this far and you’re hesitant to jump into the world of cosplay, I hope this article will give you the push you need to give it a shot.





A registered dietitian and a new writer in the world of cosplay with areas of expertise in otaku culture, food and nutrition.


Rhiannon Charles

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