Dress up for grown ups

Although Halloween is over, there is still an opportunity for people to dress up as their favorite characters through an increasingly popular hobby called “cosplay.”

Cosplay, or “costume play,” is a popular Japanese subculture that has steadily spread throughout the world. Kosupure, as it is called in Japan, is a type of costume role-play. Not everyone who participates in cosplay acts as the characters they portray, but many end up spending exorbitant amounts of time and effort on elaborate costumes rendered in the image of their favorite anime, manga and, more recently, sci-fi/fantasy movie idols.

Costumes can sometimes take more than a year to make, depending on the difficulty. Polyurethane resin, vacuum forming, silicone molds, sewing and other complex creation techniques are all part of the production process.

“It does take a lot of money sometimes because if you want to do traditional cosplay, you have go through the whole process of making the costume yourself by hand, which can be a little troublesome, especially on a student budget,” said “Sachi,” secretary for the USF student organization Oushi Anime.

OA “strive(s) to provide a place for anime fans to meet other fans, while also providing a starting place for those interested in Japanese/Asian culture,” according to club’s Web site, www.oushianime.net. Its next meeting is Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. in ENA 105.

Many cosplayers show off their creations at conventions that take place all over the world. There are more than 80 sci-fi/fantasy/anime conventions in the United States alone. Most of these “cons” are judged competitions where cosplayers perform skits based on their characters, which is called “masquerading.” These stage costumes are usually not built for comfort and are commonly extravagant in appearance.

Another type of costume contest – without the role-play and grandeur – is called “hall costuming.” These are worn by the casual con attendee and are more practical for walking around the convention for hours.

Florida Super Con, an annual multi-format convention for comic book, anime and sci-fi/fantasy fans, starts today and runs until Nov. 5 in Fort Lauderdale. The convention includes celebrity guests, writers, artists, filmmakers, vendors, costume contests, cosplay, workshops and more.

Anime South also starts today and runs on the same dates as Super Con. Located in Destin, Anime South is the only convention of its kind in northwest Florida.

For more information, go to www.floridasupercon.com, www.animesouth.com. Visit www.cosplay.com for additional conventions around the world.