If you have a friend who is a Star Wars fan, chances are your Facebook news feed was littered with “May the 4th be with you” updates all day long on Monday.
Maybe it annoys you a little, or maybe you’re one of those few who spend the whole of Wesak Day watching marathons of the epic science fiction saga – whatever your response is to your friends geeking out, you can’t deny the fact that the geeks have invaded Malaysia.
Malaysian geek culture is a unique segment of our society comprising diverse fandoms from fanboys and fangirls of Marvel and DC to Anime-sans and Tolkienites and much more. It is hard to keep tabs on the exact number of this ever-expanding eccentric community which include groups such as the obscure Malaysian Whovians. These are local fans of BBC‘s Doctor Who, gaining 300 devoted members within the span of a year.
With the Whovians one of the ‘quieter’ fandoms in Malaysia, it is safe to presume that the geeks among us are in greater numbers than previously anticipated. Though there are differences in opinion on which fictional material is better than the other, there is one thing that they all can agree upon: cosplay is awesome!
The majority might not understand cosplay and assume it to be a childish hobby or sexual perversion but this is not the reason why fans do it. Cosplay (short for costume play) is a chance to actually live out your fantasies and be the characters you love and cherish. It’s an opportunity to forget daily life and escape into a fictional world that you’ve spent time obsessing over.
Cosplay conventions such as Animangaki and Comic Fiesta are a chance for many of the fans – mostly working adults – to show their true nature in public without worry of judgement and ridicule. There are people who tend to think that this is just a Halloween party except that it’s not happening in October but this is not about cheap, last-minute costume parties. A cosplayer is an artist.
Many of these cosplayers are dedicated fans who don’t merely buy ready-made costumes online, but tediously make their props by hand. These are people who passionately spend hours perfecting their make-up, ensuring that the characters they’ve picked will be brought to life as imagined.
Of course, not all cosplayers are professionals or have the skills necessary for cosplay. There will always be fans in Pikachu hoodies around but even then you’ll see plenty of creative ways these fans overcome their low budgets.
You might still cringe at these fully-grown adults wearing outrageous clothing, carrying cardboard swords while donning colourful wigs but I ask you this: don’t you want to be Batman – at least for a day?
Even if you don’t feel like dressing up, come and walk among samurais, ninjas, Timelords, bathrobe Jedis and various other characters. We’re talking anime, sci-fi movies, fantasy TV shows, video games and comic books; they are all there and the entry price for the event is just an open mind.
There will be merchandise from action figures to fan art prints and if you feel like singing Japanese songs, you could participate in the ‘Anime Karaoke’. There will be plenty other activities such as meet-and-greets with their special guest, famous Taiwanese cosplayer Neneko.