Can you cosplay as your own character?
If you’re new to the cosplay community, you might be wondering if you have to dress up exactly like how the character looks in the show or game. Does cosplay always has to be accurate? Or can you bend the boundaries and do whatever you want?
Let’s get down to it…
Can you cosplay as your own character? Absolutely! There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to cosplay (except for anything offensive, sexist or racist). While lots of cosplayers find doing accurate cosplays a lot of fun, others find joy in doing something more creative. You can make up your own character if you’d like. In fact, there is a whole section of costumes called OC, which stands for Original Cosplay!
Are you trying to decide if you should go conventional and cosplay an established character? Or should you go for the creative route? I can help you decide!
In this post, I’ll go through 5 different reasons why you potentially should or shouldn’t go for an Original Cosplay. It all depends on your skill level and preferences.
Let’s get down to it.
1. Should: No need to follow exactly the character like you would with a normal cosplay
While doing accurate cosplays can be fun for a lot of cosplayers, it also can be very frustrating as well. Imagine cosplaying Junko from Danganronpa. While you might think that a modified schoolgirl outfit is easy to do, it actually can be very challenging. Her long pink wig can be difficult to get down perfectly. And Junko has a bunch of little accessories on her uniform and hair. So it can be frustrating if you’re going for Junko’s exact look. For some cosplayers, accurate does not mean fun!
Therefore, if you decide to go for the OC route, you can customize your Junko cosplay to whatever you want her to be. Maybe you’ll give her curly straight hair instead of the buns she has. Maybe you’ll go for a more casual outfit, rather than the dress shirt and skirt that she wears. It’s really up to you. This is the beauty of OC cosplays; you have freedom and flexibility to do what you want with your costume.
2. Shouldn’t: No one will recognize you
If you’re a cosplayer that wants people to recognize and acknowledge which character you are, then you should avoiding doing Original Cosplays. While OC can definitely be awesome and creative, they are also harder to recognize, if at all. If you’re doing a completely Original Character, no one is going to know who you are! This is why a lot of cosplayers prefer not to do an Original Cosplay; they want to be known and recognized.
As Senpai would say…they want me to notice them!
3. Should: You get much better reactions
On the flip side, if you cosplay as your own character, you’ll get some very amazing reactions from people. If you cosplay an original character that looks beautiful and amazing, you’re going to get tons of people asking for your photo. And of course, that totally makes sense. Pretty much anyone can buy a popular costume online and wear it. But it takes quite a bit of effort and creativity to make your own character. So there’s a far more fulfilling feeling when you cosplay as an OC and you are redeemed when people validate your amazing work.
4. Shouldn’t: Can be difficult if you’re not good at sewing or crafting
Unlike popular cosplay costumes where everything is pre-made and finished for you, Original Cosplay will require you to have sewing and crafting skills. Unless you commission someone to make a creative cosplay for you, you’ll have to modify and make an OC character by yourself. Because only you have the concept art and design down. So it’ll be difficult to make your own character if you don’t possess the sewing skills to do so.
5. Should: You could start your own trend and get huge engagement from followers!
While Original Characters don’t always go viral, there have many instances where someone did an OC and everyone else started cosplaying them afterwards. But if you’re the first cosplayer to jump on a creative idea, you’ll get a ton of engagement and followers on your social media!
Some examples of Original Characters that went viral:
This weird-looking sweater started going viral after the first few cosplayers starting wearing them.
For those who don’t know, Bowsette is not an actual character from a Mario game; it was fan-made. When the New Super Mario Bros game was coming out for the Switch, there’s an option for Toad to transform into Peach. One day, someone did the same thing for Bowser…and then Bowsette was created and went viral!
Pokémon Trainer from Pokemon GO (when it first came out).
When Pogo first came out, Ginnydi quickly made a Pokémon Trainer cosplay and it went viral because of the hype at the time for the game.
So you never know; you could be a trendsetter when it comes to cosplay!
And there you have it; 5 reasons to answer the question, “Can you cosplay as your own character?”
While there are valid reasons such as the difficulty and not many people knowing which character you are, there are also many reasons why you’d want to try an OC cosplay, such as the creative freedom and potential virality you’ll get from your ingenuity.
Have you ever tried an Original Cosplay before? Do you plan on doing one? Let me know in the comments below!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!