WHAT IS COSPLAY?
Cosplay is an enchanting universe, where creativity, imagination and passion know no bounds. Cosplay (the quick way to say costume play) is an art form that allows you to immerse yourself in the persona of your favourite character by dressing up and acting out the story.
From simple costumes to intricately detailed, fully accessorised outfits, it’s an opportunity to become a character you admire. Cosplay allows you to push the boundaries of reality and step into a different world for a time.
Cosplay has grown from the roots of Japanese manga pop culture in the 1970’s. Over several generations, cosplay now embraces any type of fictional world - even one of your own making. There’s no limit to a cosplay story, and the best part is joining in with a vibrant and accepting community of cosplayers to explore your wildest costume dreams.
At Capricon, we embrace the diversity and inclusivity of cosplay, inviting everyone to join in. Whether you’re taking your first steps into the world of cosplay or stepping up to new levels of creativity, we will celebrate and connect with you.
TYPES OF COSPLAY
There’s a huge world of cosplay out there! Explore many genres, or zoom in on your all-time favourite hero or heroine. Your journey could begin in one (or more) of these cosplay themes:
ANIME & MANGA
Step into the vibrant world of anime and manga cosplay, where characters from Japanese animated movies, TV and comics come alive. You’ll find brave ronin warriors, powerful and graceful princesses and enchantresses and fantasy creatures both traditional and brand-new. It’s a great way to show your fandom - or step into an episode of your own making.
COMICS & FRANCHISES
Prepare to level up to the Marvel and DC omniverses! Whether you see yourself as an evil villain or powerful (yet humble?) superhero, there’s a character just waiting to be brought to life. From the caped crusader to cunning masterminds getting ready to overthrow the universe, here’s the chance to become one of the timeless characters so many know and love.
There’s plenty of room for non-human characters that are recreated to a human likeness. The Japanese call this form of cosplay ‘gijinka’ meaning personification - the art of giving non-human entities human attributes, personalities and appearances. So yes, you can see the world through the eyes of Pikachu, or Olaf, or Groot. It’s all in the interpretation.
TV & MOVIES
TV and movie cosplay is the place to bring to life timeless cinematic legends from your favourite series or movie. Classic to contemporary, take your pick from the endless choices. Star Wars? Lord of the Rings? Avatar? Or Gone with the Wind, or Mickey Mouse, if that’s your style. It’s a new way to celebrate the amazing cinematic world.
Becoming the character you’ve always admired on-screen allows you to step into a world of mutual fandom, uniting people from all walks of life. Whether you’re re-enacting a classic episode or scene, or adding your own creative flair to the plot, TV and movies cosplay is all about the joy of storytelling and making the big screen reality.
Get suited up, then walk into the immersive world of gamers with video game cosplay. You can champion the pixelated world of nostalgic characters from the earliest Mario and Luigi, or enter the grand and sweeping landscapes of open world epics like Halo, Minecraft, Legend of Zelda - you name it. You become the living version of your favourite gaming avatar.
Video game cosplay celebrates the creativity of game developers and spell-binding narratives, and brings together people who love gaming in a new way. More than escapism, video game cosplay is a testament to the impact of interactive entertainment on several generations. Pixels and polygons are your inspiration for self-expression and adventure, and a chance to join a world-wide community with shared experiences.
If you want to break free of the constraints of already existing characters, free-form cosplay is for you to stretch your creative boundaries. It’s a celebration of storytelling and uniqueness and there are no rules of right or wrong. You can blend characters or genres to make up someone (or something) entirely your own, letting you share your imagination with like-minded people ready to cheer you on.
GETTING INVOLVED IN COSPLAY
Welcome to the captivating world of cosplay. If you’re a newbie to cosplay or interested in exploring how to be a part of the fun, here’s three easy ways to get involved:
RESEARCH, EXPLORE, IMAGINE.
What character resonates with you? What sparks joy? Jot down the characters that inspire you or make you smile from your most beloved movies, series, comics and video games. Then narrow down the list and dig into research about that character - the costumes, the personality, the special powers - really anything that takes you to a deeper understanding of that character. You’ll find you’re not alone. There will be online forums, fan clubs, tutorials and social platforms to learn from.
It’s totally okay to ease into cosplay by choosing relatively simple costumes and accessories that won’t break the budget or require advanced craftsmanship and complex materials. For example, you could start with a character who wears everyday clothes or simple outfits.
Some great places to explore to put together a simple costume or source a few accessories are second-hand stores, pop-up markets or online stores - or even your own wardrobe. The sky’s the limit when it comes to costuming, so start with what you are comfortable with, and embrace it.
GET TO CONVENTIONS AND MEETUPS.
Meeting and interacting with inclusive, welcoming cosplay communities is where the fun really begins. There’ll be some event close by - and if you’re able to get to Capricon in Rockhampton, you’ll be warmly welcomed.
These events offer perfect opportunities to showcase your costume, dip your toe in the water of acting out your character, learn from experienced cosplayers and make new friends who share your interests. Join in a group photoshoot, pick up tips and tricks, and join in the many and varied competitions and fun events. It will be a time to remember.
WHAT COSPLAY EVENTS AND COMPETITIONS ARE THERE IN AUSTRALIA?
Cosplay is huge in the event world. Whatever your location and travel budget, there’s an upcoming meet, event or competition to suit you. While our own region’s premier cosplay event, Capricon, is held in September, there are year-round national, state, regional and local Australian events for every style and level of cosplay enthusiast.
SOME OF THE MOST WELL KNOWN NATIONAL EVENTS ARE:
Supernova - a convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy film and TV, comic books, anime, gaming and collectables, with an event in most state capitals annually.
Oz Comic-Con - welcomes fans of all ages, interests and pop-obsessions with a truly immersive experience across two fun-filled days, also held in most state capitals annually.
World Cosplay Summit - a pop culture festival held in Nagoya City, Japan, centred around a world competition gathering cosplayers who love Japanese manga, anime or videogames.
PAX Aus - hosts the Australian part of the Cosplay Central Crown Championships of Cosplay, a global cosplay competition.
Closer to home, other Queensland regional cities are loud and proud to offer opportunities to enjoy cosplay events and competitions on home ground. As well as our very own Rockhampton Capricon, cosplay is alive and flourishing in:
MackPop Con - not for profit organisation that stages an annual pop culture event for the Mackay region, giving people a safe space to come together in celebration of all things cosplay.
Gladstone PopCon - an annual event that’s a convergence of innovation, pop culture and fandom that celebrates the spirit of the independent creator.
FraserPop - held in Maryborough, FraserPop is a family-focused, inclusive festival held over 2 days in Maryborough.
Townsville Pop Fest - in its early stages, this is an event showcasing all things cosplay, comics, collectables, anime movies and gaming.
The atmosphere at Capricon is electric - so many costumes, so many people, so much activity and fun in one place. It’s great to participate, make new friends and learn from others. But every person there is more than just the costume - everyone has their own boundaries, feelings and wishes.
It’s simple to make sure everyone around you is also having a good time, by respecting a few cosplay ground rules:
COSPLAY IS NOT CONSENT
This is the most well-known ground rule for cosplay. When cosplayers get together, it’s essential that people feel safe and respected. So no matter how awesome someone looks, it is never okay to invade someone’s personal space or touch their person or costume or props. That includes a casual arm around someone’s shoulder for a photo!
Taking a photo of another photographer’s set up, at a distance or close-up, is disrespectful to the photographer and the cosplayer. Photos happen all the time, of course, but just wait your turn, and ask permission before snapping away. You’ll get a better shot that way too!
INTRUDING ON PRIVACY
Not everyone comes to Capricon to interact or have photos taken by people they don’t know. They might want to stay well under the radar. And that’s quite okay. So if it’s a ‘no’ when you ask for a photo, don’t keep asking.
Capricon is not the place for inappropriate photos. Or for catching cosplayers in their down time or in a weird shot. Be kind, and aim to take outstanding pictures with consent only, and when the cosplayer is looking their best.
NO JUDGEMENT ZONE
Capricon is inclusive and welcoming. If you’re thinking something negative about someone else’s cosplay, no one needs to hear it! Many cosplayers are just starting out, and it takes courage and effort to step out in public. So don’t be that person who crushes someone’s dream character.
NO PROP HANDLING
Cosplayers invest heavily in time and money for their props. So any touching without specific permission of that amazing shield, sword or helmet is not welcomed. It’s fine to admire craftsmanship - from a distance.
For everyone’s safety, Capricon enforces a strong weapons policy. So when you’re planning your outfit and props, check out the limitations of what you’ll be able to bring onto the Capricon site.
Read the full details here.