Disney, Cosplay, and Anime Boston 2007

23 Apr

In a recent Disney Blog post, John Frost linked to a video of Disney Princess cosplay at the 2005 San Diego Comic Con, and asked:

Cosplay is heavily Anime oriented. Anyone know why there isn’t more Disney stuff? (Aside from the fact that it originated in Japan.)

Stitch at Artists AlleyWell, um, if we’re talking strictly cosplay, we’re talking about a particular cultural phenomenon rooted in Japanese animation fan culture, and expressed in the US almost exclusively at anime conventions. Disney characters show up at anime cons mostly in the context of Kingdom Hearts cosplay. And in all fairness, the word is sometimes bandied about a bit more casually than cosplay purists would prefer. Here’s the definition currently listed on wikipedia:

Cosplay (コスプレ kosupure?), a portmanteau of the English words “costume” and “play”, is a Japanese subculture centered on dressing as characters from manga, anime, tokusatsu, and video games, and, less commonly, Japanese live action television shows, fantasy movies, or Japanese pop music bands. However, in some circles, “cosplay” has been expanded to mean simply wearing a costume.

(I’ve cosplayed a couple times myself. Once as Sgt Keroro from the Sgt Frog manga, accompanied by my son as Private Second Class Tamama; and once as Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service, accompanied by my son as Gigi. Trust me, you don’t want to see the pictures.)

But if by cosplay we mean “people wearing costumes,” I’d have to argue that Halloween is the single largest cosplay event in America, and that Disney characters are hard to avoid. While Disney’s supremacy in the US animation market is surely a major reason for this, there’s also the easy availability of mass-produced costumes of Disney characters, which is very much outside the DIY aesthetic of cosplay.

Captain Jack SparrowCaptain Jack SparrowAnd even at anime conventions, bits and pieces of Disney crop up, for better or for worse. (Despite my Disney fandom, I’d rather see anime cons stay focused more strictly on anime and Japanese culture.) Given the long-term battle of Pirates vs. Ninjas, you know you’ll always find at least one Captain Jack Sparrow. This year I found two, one of whom had found himself a rather large key to Davy Jones chest.

Warning invadersThere were also a few Stitch sightings, including one in which several Stitch heads were placed atop poles in the Dealer’s Room, as if to warn potential invaders as to how strongly the locals will defend themselves. Or perhaps the proprietor had recently been to Stitch’s Great Escape, and left with a few things to work out in his psyche. My son tells me that the pink creature looking much like Stitch is Angel, Experiment 627.

Power RangersTotoroPower Rangers showed up, though of course Disney acquired rather than created them. And finally, one of my favorite anime characters of all time, not created by Disney but now distributed by them, My Neighbor Totoro.

Does all of this look like fun? Well, ConnectiCon, July 13-15 2007 in Hartford, CT, has a broader focus, including Star Wars and Harry Potter, so there’s a little something for every geek. Time to start planning your costume, anime or otherwise.

10 Responses to “Disney, Cosplay, and Anime Boston 2007”

  1. Anthony January 12, 2008 at 5:23 pm #

    I was the White Ranger in the photo in your blog. 🙂 There are many more pics on my site, and I will be returning to AB08 next year. Abarekiller rules!

  2. Jennifer January 13, 2008 at 8:33 am #

    Thanks so much for stopping by Anthony! I’ll be at AB08 of course. 🙂 I hope to see you there!

  3. Anthony January 14, 2008 at 1:07 am #

    Yep. I will be there. and Dino Thunder will ROAR! 😀 See you there.

  4. minamito March 17, 2008 at 6:45 am #

    keroro video animation at comtoon blog
    Keroro video animation

  5. Jennifer March 17, 2008 at 10:31 am #

    Woo hoo Sgt Frog!

  6. HaruHime March 23, 2008 at 12:41 pm #

    Actually I saw three or even four of the Johnny depp Pirate Cosplay, what’s up with that???

  7. Jennifer March 23, 2008 at 4:35 pm #

    It is pretty impressive how many Captain Jacks show up every year at AnimeBoston . . . this year, I lost count! There was also a pretty awesome Davy Jones.

  8. Yan March 27, 2008 at 9:46 pm #

    I was the green one last year.

  9. jonah November 8, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

    whats the date this year?????? i want 2 go this time

  10. paul August 8, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    Sound like you guys had a gret time! Thanks for the post.

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