Azmar Mudpongtua went from playing games to being a player of games. She did so through Cosplay.
Cosplay, which stands for “costume play,” has become a ritual of sorts in some countries of Asia, principally Japan, Thailand and South Korea, where young people assume the identity of famous fictional characters of anime, manga, comic books, video games and, in some cases, movies. While in costume, they also select a pseudonym or moniker and gather as groups to play out their roles, take photos, attend conventions and just plain hang out.
The practice is similar to what’s usually seen each year at Comic-
“Any entity from the real or virtual world that lends itself to dramatic interpretation may be taken up as a subject” in cosplay, and it’s “not unusual to see genders switched,” says Wikipedia. Through costume play acting, participants form social networks, much like Facebook, in which they share stories, photos, and what’s going on in their lives.
Azmar got into the act after seeing a gathering near her home in Bangkok, Thailand.
“I saw people dressed up in a variety of cartoon costumes. I was stunned and suddenly fell in love with it,” she recalled. “Some of them were singing, some of them were acting, but they were all – wow -
The character she portrays is modeled after the hero of a Japanese manga, or illustrated comic book, “Eyeshield 21.”
After an initial introduction, said Azmar, “I searched everything about cosplay through Google and Facebook and found a group of people. I asked them about costumes and props and started saving money, looking for the right price to suit my budget and ordered my first costume.”
When done playing, she added, “you can sell it as second-
The word “cosplay” was coined by a Japanese impresario, Nobuyuki Takahashi, after attending a 1984 science-
The annual Comiket, or cosplay convention, in Japan annually attracts hundreds of thousands of participants and is larger than San Diego’s Comic-
While many adults see cosplay as youngsters frittering away their lives, for youngsters or young adults it’s a good thing.
“Cosplay can do many things to help the community,” says Azmar, who also goes by the pseudonym“ Ayumu. For example, we used to do a student open hat donation for flood (relief).” Her group first did an it without costume. The next day they came back in costume and raised five times what they had raised the day before.
Costume acting also teaches youngsters teamwork, diligence and the value of practice.
“Cosplay contests are not easy. We have to do a hard practice, have a costume done 100 percent, act with weapons and also have to do this so it fits into a budget,” said Azmar. “I don’t think all of this is nonsense, do you?”
A member of Azmar’s group. Who goes by the name Ployly, chose the character Furukawa Nagisa, because of her innocence, sweetness and, of course, looks. The cartoon character Nagisa is a shy, clumsy girl who loses school time because of illness but bounces back to create her own drama club.
“Another good thing about cosplay,” says Ployly, is that a gathering may feature someone who originated the role in the birthplace of Cosplay – Japan. “They come to Thailand and it makes us attempt to learn the language to understand our favorite cartoons.”
Another player, who goes by the name Zero, said that assembling and paying for his own costume has helped him better manage his finances.
“Some people think that cosplay is nonsense,” said Shin, who took part in fundraisers for an animal shelter and an orphanage. “It’s a different vision of a different group of people. In Thailand, most adults are still old-
Shin also sees cosplay as a daring attempt at self-
“I don’t think any of this is nonsense,” she added.