For many cosplay enthusiasts, the appeal of the hobby is deeper than just the clothes. The most dedicated cosplayers don’t just slip on costumes, but also the personas of their favorite characters from Attack on Titan, Final Fantasy, or, well, Persona.
But while the perfect cosplay photograph might recreate the flawlessly cool poses of anime and video game icons, the reality of how those shots get produced is often quite a bit less stylish, as shown in this series of behind the scenes peeks at cosplay photo shoots.
Let’s start by looking at one of the most fundamental truisms from anime and manga for girls: tall guys are cool. So, for example, when our high school heroine is in the library and a dude a full head taller than her reaches up to grab a book off the top shelf, you’d expect that love is in the air.
【コスプレイヤーの理想と現実】 思ったより本棚が低かったんです…orz pic.twitter.com/ydbQMUeOi5
— Ｔｏｍａ (@OkdMsk_vuv) 2015年1月2日
The reality, though, is that they’re both pretty close to the ground.
A similar situation unfolds as this schoolgirl, caught in the rain without an umbrella, is saved by a prince in a white jacket.
But while this dandy may have the fashion sense and kind heart present in his close-up, he doesn’t quite have the height the tight zoom suggests.
The relative height issue comes into play even in non-romantic scenarios. For example, the shot below on the left, labeled “ideal,” shows the redhead backed by two incredibly tall basketball teammates. On the right, though, “reality” shows us that his pals are more likely to be floating in layups than slamming down tomahawk jams.
— i3 (@SAITEN_aimi) 2013年7月21日
One of the biggest anime hits of the past year was bicycle racing TV series Yowamushi Pedal. It’s gone on to similar popularity in cosplay circles, and it’s not hard to see why. The slender, somewhat androgynous-looking cast can be cosplayed by both males and females, the costumes are simple cycling uniforms, and props like bicycles and water bottles are easier to come by than four-foot zweihander swords or grappling-hook-firing 3-D maneuver gear. Still, road bikes don’t come cheap, and when cosplay groups can’t scrounge up one for each member to recreate a tense race between rivals, they’re left with no choice but to improvise.
▲ Don’t laugh! Keeping your balance while standing on a tiny stepstool takes more athletic prowess than you’d think. Of course, for some cosplayers, even one bike is an exorbitant luxury.
— 秋風コウ (@akikaze_kou) 2014年8月31日
While there’re a lot of parallels between cosplaying and ordinary modeling, there’s a problem that’s unique to the former. For maximum authenticity, cosplayers regularly have to contort themselves into poses struck by their anime inspirations while dealing with real-world issues the 2-D characters can ignore, such as human skeletal structure and maximum joint rotation.
— 鼻ｾﾚﾌﾞじゅん@ドメウルいくよ (@mzjyun1) 2014年8月3日
This fan has done a pretty impressive job of doing just that. So how’d he do it without the sort of superpowers routinely bestowed upon the “ordinary high school students” of the anime and manga world? With the emotional, and more importantly, physical, support of friends. ▼ “Hang in there!”