Halloween is almost upon us - the day everyone and their grandmother enjoys the greatness that is cosplay. (That, or at least moderately accepts it as a part of life, if not yelling about the destruction of young minds) So are you ready? NO? Well never fear, Baka Guides are here to help with our special guide to last minute Easy-Cosplay!
Tips and general guidelines
There are a few major guideline to consider when choosing a cosplay, no matter when you do it. However when you’re on a tight schedule and budget, considering your options becomes ever more important.
- Play to your Strengths/ Wardrobe - When doing last minute costumes the best practice is to find something which you already have all of (or at least most of) at your imminent disposal. Got a wig handy? Great! Got black robes from somewhere? Great! Does your dad have old suits you can “borrow”? That works too. Have long hair, or a beard or both? Use ‘em! Don’t let your aspirations trump practicality here, you need a costume stat! So keep it simple.
- Play Against Type - Remember any set of clothing is potential cosplay material, but nothing is more disheartening than being unnoticed because people don’t realise you’re in costume. So make sure to wear something outside of normal conventions for yourself/ the social expectations. Wearing a straw hat to an Amish gathering simply won’t do you any good.
- Play to Stereotype, Not to Character - Now it is highly unlikely that you will have an excellent ready-to-go cosplay of a certain character, for if you did, you would not need this guide at all. Therefore don’t try to go for a specific character. Instead what you want is something distinctly recognizable as anime, but not specific enough to be thought of as a sloppy version of a specific character.
- A Note Wigs and Hair - Since most Anime character types have specifically themed hairstyles, it is paramount to start there when choosing your feasible character types. Having a selection of wigs, or hair products to change style/colour will also expand your options, but remember you’re on the clock - the less work the better here.
- Half of Cosplay is PLAY - The best way to make any costume work is to actually play the role, the difference in your attitude is the biggest hint that you aren’t being “yourself” but being another character. So liven it up, get into role, and have fun. ‘Cause if you ain’t here for fun, you’re digging in the wrong place.
Below we have compiled a couple lists of simple generic stereotypes along with the essential pieces needed to pull them off. Remember you can elaborate as much as you want, but keep a single theme together. This is an exercise in straightforward design, the more singular your focus, the more recognizable you will become.
Suggestions for Female Costumes:
Abusive Tundere: The classic tsundere look is mostly a two part selection. Namely Red, pink or possibly blonde hair (usually long); and a signature weapon, like a baseball bat, katana, or a big stick. For clothing, either violent reds, or else japanese “schoolish” uniforms are preferential. Your job here is to look both cute and potentially violent at the same time. So smile in public, but don’t be afraid to yell or scream “BAKA!” too.
Reclusive Dandere: A dandere’s cool collected nature is best conveyed through silence and mysteriousness. Costume wise, blue or purple or a natural black color should work excellently as both clothing and hair color. Our suggested version of the dandere for quick cosplay is the reclusive genius, so glasses, and an oversized book should do the trick in terms of props.
Fanservice Girl - A staple anime type, that can fit almost any hairstyle, and most mature body types. The fanservice girl is a confident female, unafraid to show slightly more skin than actually necessary. There is also a wide range of styles to choose from, including Swimsuit-as-normal-attire (possibly with long coat, scarf or cape), the sexy-night-clothes look, or the boob window and short skirt combo. Make sure to only show as much as you are comfortable with showing, the self assurance you portray is your biggest asset in pulling this cosplay off.
- (Fanservice Girl Variant) Clothes Mishap Girl: (not recommended, 18+) A variant of the Fanservice Girl, Clothes Mishap Girl, are those plagued by unfortunate wardrobe malfunctions, such as unbuttoning shirts, getting soaked in water, losing one’s bra, or even acquiring battle damage. While easy enough to cosplay as, utilizing normal anime attire (school uniform/ office clothes) the risque nature of the outfit, and the embarrassing NSFW situations required from playing this archetype makes it a highly unappealing one in most normal situations, and should only be done by those supremely comfortably with their bodies.
Renge Girl: - Are you someone with a collection of royal or frilly dresses at your disposal? Then Why not try the Haughty Renge Girl look? Another fairly universal one in terms of hair/body type. The trick to pulling this off is coming off extremely pompous, almost royal in demeanor. Lacey dresses or extremely proper school uniforms are both good options. Possible accessories include parasols and fans. Overly immaculate hairstyles are good too, long curls especially. To pull this off, simply act as if everything else is beneath you, (at least partially) as if everything is there for your amusement. Also remember to get the Renge “O-ho-ho-ho-ho” laugh down pat.
Animal Girl: A simple cosplay, if you have animal ear accessory/hats, tails, paw mittens or anything of similar variety, simply add these to the most “anime” outfit you have, be it tsundere, schoolgirl or a fanservice outfit. Then simply add animal characteristics (usually the cute variety) to your performance, and you should have the perfect animal girl.
Suggestions for Male Costumes:
Generic MC-kun: One of the easiest anime stereotypes to cosplay as, the issue with it is making sure you stand out as a cosplayer, and not look just like your normal self with a bad case of bedhead. Standard Mc kuns usually have a fairly standard repertoire of jeans and bland long sleeve t-shirts, though if you have a form of Japanese school uniform hanging around that works too. Hairstyles will usually be short to mid length, and if you can gel it into a funny wave/spike pattern all the better. As for playing Generic MC-kun, your best bet is to be slightly naive, generally helpful to everyone, and indecisive on every decision (except whether to help people.)
- (MC-kun Variant) Harem man: A possible group costume for those of you with 3 or more female cosplayer friends, The harem man is equally available to those with a collection of SFW body pillows. In terms of personal costumes it is basically the same as the as Generic MC Kun, just you will be spending a lot of time amongst your Harem of cosplayers/pillows.
Glasses-Kun: The stereotype when it comes to the brainiac, intelligent, or cunning characters, Glasses-kun is a relatively easy Cosplay to do. Relatively preppy school uniforms, collared shirts, fancy sweaters and dressy pants are good go-tos, as well as lab coats, and “smart” jackets. The main necessary prop is of course the glasses, which you should make sure to adjust as epically as possible at any reasonable opportunity. Assuming either an slightly pompous, cunning or intelligent disposition will carry this through very well.
Shounen Protag: No matter who you are, you can always be a hero. Whether you are naturally built, or a shrimp, or overweight, so long as you act confident and never give up you, can play a shounen protagonist. As for the costume, bright gym clothes, sparring outfits or random collection of ancient “armor” costumes will work. If none of those are options, then shorts with vests/ sleeveless shirts work too. And if you have Sports equipment, then the sports shounen variant is also very easy. As for hair styles, almost anything works, but to those with mid to long-ish hair, spiking it into points will be the easiest way to increase your costumes power level.
Shoujo man: The shoujo man is the romantic cosplay, excellent for those of you who have easy access to classy casual menswear. Cool blazers, blue suits, or even a nice button up shirt will do the trick. The point will be to choose your specific archetype (check our harem guide for some examples). For the more prim-and-proper princely varieties, keep your shirts buttoned up, ties tight, hair tidy, and your manners courteous. If you choose a more dark, brooding, or trickster variant, then loose ties, unbuttoned collars, messy hair, and a mischievous or brooding demeanor are your bread and butter. Also remember to practice the Hand-on-wall girl trap, as that is the go to signature move for more dominating/rambunctious shoujo male leads.
Sensei: The sensei is one of the classic stereotypes for male Anime Characters. Excellent for those older male types, the typical wardrobe would consist of either polo/ Hawaiian shirts, martial arts training gear (or a suitable bathrobe). A mustache, goatee or beard are not required but encouraged, and in terms of demeanor acting either cluelessly “sage-like” or stubbornly strict are your best bets.
But remember The Whole Point is to HAVE FUN! So get on out there!
Special Thanks To Maelwys, MementoMorie, and Unimplied, for helping this post be awesome!
Image Credits in order of appearance:Kawai Complex , Toradora, Haruhi Suzumiya, Gurren Lagann, Hatsune Miku Project Mirai DX, Himouto! Umaru-chan, Fate/Stay Night UBW, Ben-To, Golden time, Fairy Tail, Nozaki-Kun, DragonBall, JoJo’s Bizare Adventure.
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