Want to try cosplay? Read this first

Posted at 09/06/2012 5:34 PM | Updated as of 09/07/2012 10:42 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Say the word “cosplay” to a Filipino and he or she will probably have either Alodia Gosiengfiao or Myrtle Sarrosa in mind.

With both entering the mainstream media (one through stints in movies, cable and free TV; the other by winning reality show “Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition 4”), Gosiengfiao and Sarrosa have helped popularize the hobby in the Philippines.

Celebrity cosplayers Alodia Gosiengfiao (left) and Myrtle Sarrosa. Photo from Alodia Gosiengfiao's Facebook fan page

Two award-winning cosplayers, however, stressed that the activity is not as easy and glamorous as what some people think.

Ira Orduna and Erick Torres, winners of Hero Face Off this year and in 2011, respectively, said that while cosplaying is fun, it also requires a lot of time, effort and passion.

They made the statement as some people tend to go into cosplay because they think it is the “in” thing today, or as a means to become as well-known as Gosiengfiao or Sarrosa.

“’Wag kang mag-cosplay dahil lang ‘in.’ Gawin mo siya dahil gusto mo, kasi mage-enjoy ka, hindi ‘yung nakikiuso ka lang,” Torres said.

Orduna, for her part, said: “Sana ‘yung pagco-cosplay ilagay nila sa puso nila kasi hindi po talaga biro for costumes. Tapos ‘yung preparation, paano mo ipo-portray ‘yung character.”

Orduna and Torres went to Singapore last week for the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention (STGCC) as they were among the chosen few who walked down the runway for the cosplay segment of the event.

The two used their winning costumes in the Hero Face Off competition – Torres appeared as Warrior of Light from “Dissidia: Final Fantasy,” while Orduna cosplayed Azure Rathalos from the action role-playing game “Monster Hunter.”

Erick Torres cosplays Warrior of Light from “Dissidia: Final Fantasy.” Photo: Handout

Ruel Ferrer, channel head of Hero, said the STGCC attracts thousands of participants each year.

“It’s not just cosplayers who are going there,” Ferrer said. “They have a lot of international guests in different fields from gaming, comics, manga and animation.”

Tips for aspiring cosplayers

Cosplay, short for “costume play” is a performance art where participants portray their favorite characters in comic books, video games and movies through meticulous costume, gestures and movements.

It is widely popular in Japan and, eventually, in other countries such as the Philippines, with competitions and events held almost every year.

Orduna and Torres gave these three basic tips to those who want to go into cosplay, citing their own experience.

1. Know your character

Cosplay is not as simple as wearing a costume and walking around in conventions, said Orduna, who stressed that the hobby also requires knowing a character inside and out.

Those who want to portray video game characters, for instance, should at least try to play the games themselves, she said.

Ira Orduna cosplays Azure Rathalos from the action role-playing game “Monster Hunter.” Photo: Handout

But it doesn’t stop there. “Pero minsan you still need to review sa Internet, kailangan pa rin mag-research. Kasi minsan ‘yung sa akin, hindi lang ito ‘yung weapon niya, as in marami pa,” she explained, referring to her winning cosplay character, Azure Rathalos.

“Kasi ‘yung iba ‘pag nasa convention as in minsan tatanungin mo sila, ‘anong character mo?’ Alam nila ‘yung name pero ‘pag nagtanong ka pa nang nagtanong, wala na silang masagot.”

2. Choose your character wisely

Knowing a character is easier than choosing one, according to Torres, who said that a lot of factors are taken into consideration before getting down to business.

“’Yung mas malapit sa build ng katawan mo or sa height mo [ang mas piliin mo]. Doon pa rin kasi papasok ‘yung accuracy sa criteria sa cosplay competition,” he said.

Torres added that aspiring cosplayers need not fuss about differences in hairstyles and facial features as these can be easily fixed by wigs, head gear, masks and makeup.

Those who want to compete in cosplay competitions should also stay away from overly used characters so they can stand out. “’Yung mga singer-type characters, mga random Lolita, and schoolboys and schoolgirls,” he said.

3. Save enough money

Cosplaying may sometimes leave a gaping hole in the pocket, said Torres, as it usually takes thousands of pesos to create an accurate costume that can be used in competitions.

“Usually mga P5,000 above. Medyo expensive talaga siya sa gamit, at saka ‘yung labor,” he explained. “Kasi depende rin sa details ng mismong costume.”

Several cosplayers craft their own costumes to cut costs, but it is perfectly fine to hire someone to do it. For instance, Torres and Orduna tapped Clark Navarro of Project 8, a group dedicated to creating cosplay-related items.

“’Yung pinapagawa namin more on armor parts,” Torres said. “Mayroon pa kasing tela na parts, at mga accessories na babagay sa character.”