One passionate cosplayer has shared what motivates cosplayers to go deeper and farther into pop culture to literally step into the shoes of their favorite characters.
For Niccolo Javier, this growing culture is more than just another hobby.
More than just fans
Javier was among the many cosplayers who bared their lovingly crafted costumes at the recent AsiaPOP Comicon 2018.
A cosplayer since 2012, he came in as the Fantastic Four’s leader, the elastic genius Reed Richards, also known as Mister Fantastic.
“I started cosplaying as an escape,” said Javier in an interview with Interaksyon.com.
“It’s always fun,” he plainly added.
Understanding that any hobby takes it toll on anyone’s finances, Javier did not start cosplaying until he had a full time job.
He now works as a freelance photographer and as a tailor and dressmaker, though he was a quality assurance specialist when he started out as a cosplayer.
He has done shoots and visited conventions as characters from several fandoms, but he believes his most interesting cosplay choice was when he dressed up as Apolinario Mabini, the “Brains of the Revolution” who assisted in the founding of the Malolos Republic.
The idea came from a friend who suggested that they should hold a shoot featuring the heroes of Philippine history.
He proudly related how their idea came even before the release of the 2015 hit film “Heneral Luna”, which is credited with renewing contemporary interest of Filipinos in history.
Despite being a cosplayer for six years, Javier does not consider himself a veteran yet.
The veterans according to Javier are his friends who have been cosplaying before he even started and who he looks up to.
“Their costumes are just awesome. I’m still practicing,” he explained.
While he believes he is relatively new to the scene, he has witnessed its growth and expansion over the years.
He is a member of numerous cosplay groups on social media and has made connections with the countless familiar faces he encounters at conventions.
He also agrees that a deep personal connection is what binds cosplayers to the characters that they dress up as, citing his own experience.
“It is a culture that is growing. Once, it was just weirdos doing it, but now it’s such an in thing. Everyone wants to try it,” he remarked.
He has simple and straightforward advice for the aspiring cosplayers of the world: “Just do it. You don’t really have anything to lose. You can just hide behind the mask.”
— gab • #StandWithWorkers (@burntrobots) July 27, 2018
— AsiaPOP Comicon (@AsiaPOPComicon) July 29, 2018
Cosplaying, fulfilling as it may be, is costly both in terms of time and finance.
Buzzfeed approached cosplayers at the 2013 New York Comic Con and asked them how much time and money they had spent on working on their costumes.
Some had to work just under a day and shelve out a reasonable $100.
Others however took a year to prepare their costumes and spent up to $30,000, the equivalent of P1,596,210 under current exchange rates.