Cosplay convention etiquette at anime conventions
Heading to an anime con? Amalia suggests going easy on that yaoi paddle. The key to anime cosplay convention etiquette is: be polite!
Even though normal kindness and politeness still counts at anime conventions, some people have a hard time accepting it. It is understandable that people need a place to express themselves – especially if they are from a small community or don’t know anyone else who’s into cosplay – but there should still be a line between what is acceptable at a cosplay convention and what isn’t.
The yaoi paddle
First things first: the yaoi paddle. This flat baseball bat of pure evil gets slammed into your butt without any warning by excitable fangirls. Let’s not do that! I don’t mind people carrying the paddles around, or using them on their friends, but when they hit random people they’ve never spoken to… all folk are entitled to their opinion, but for me? My butt is kind of a private thing. I – and only I – can decide whether I want to get spanked or not. It’s absolutely fine to be into yaoi. But that’s no reason to hit people who haven’t actively welcomed it. A lot of conventions have banned these godforsaken things, but sadly, where I come from, that is not the case.
At my first convention, I was pretty nervous, since I only knew very few people who cosplayed. Actually, only two. I got separated from them and was walking down the hall in a state of confusion, looking for something I could recognise, when – all of a sudden – SMACK! Someone smashes my ass with that f****** paddle and laughs. I know it was a joke, but I was underage, a girl, and lost. So my eyes teared up and I ran away. Since that day, I have hated those things more than anything.
Cosplaying a nasty character? Great! But you don’t need to roleplay it 100%
I genuinely like it a lot when people act like the character they cosplay – it adds an extra dimension of community, fun and creativity to a cosplay convention. But if they are cosplaying as an evil/mean character, they should understand that there are some points in the day when they should just act like themselves. Here are some cases in point:
I was waiting in line to get to the cosplay show. Everyone was pretty worried, since there weren’t many seats left, and everyone wanted to see it. Me and some friends was talking happily, but all of a sudden, two guys skip the line and stood right in front of me. I have never been good at conflicts, so my friend asked them very politely if they could please go to the end of the line instead of just skipping it. One of the guys just looked at her coldly: “I don’t have to wait in line. I’m God.” He was cosplaying as Light from Death Note, and had taken on his ego. I think he got Light all wrong, since he wants to create a better world, not be an asshole. Even when me friend said: “Could you just please go out of character for a minute, and go to the end of the line?” he replied in the not-so-godlike negative. After a while we decided to let it go and just let them be.
Another example of taking cosplaying too far? I was attending a convention close to a big shopping mall and went in with some friends in our cosplay costumes. We thought it could be fun to see people’s reactions, but of course, we weren’t the only ones with the idea. There were about 50 cosplayers running around. Most of them knew how to behave in public, but there was one person, a Naruto cosplayer, running around and shouting “DATTEBAYOOO!” A little girl got so scared she was close to crying! The Naruto cosplayer then started to throw plastic kunais at strangers. Oh, come on. I felt embarrassed to be seen in my cosplay costume, since people now thought we were all antisocial.
Remember: You’re not the only Hatsune Miku in town…
Last but not least… accept that if you’re cosplaying a famous character there’ll be others dressed the same way! A girl I know went as Hatsune Miku from Vocaloid, and she was well aware that there would be other Mikus. But she just went over and talked to them – and most of them were very nice and talked back. After a while, my friend saw a big Vocaloid group enter the room. They had a Miku too. When my friend walks over to say ‘hi’, the other Miku just smiles, a little awkward, and walks away. She tries the Kaito cosplayer. Same reaction, only he says a small “… hi…?”
So this girl I know is really confused and wonders what she ever did to them. One of her friends tells her later on, that she heard the other Miku preaching about her, saying that all the other Miku cosplayers were stupid, and idiots, and blah-blah-blah, and that the other Vocaloids in her group weren’t allowed to talk to her. Oh, how silly! Shortly after, my friend hears the other Miku scolding at Kaito because he said “Hi” to her. It doesn’t take a seasoned cosplayer to see this is ridiculous and unsupportive behaviour. Hatsune Miku is really popular, and there is no way you can count on being the only Miku at a con. Accept the fact that there will be other people wearing the same as you, unless it’s a REALLY original costume, and consider that ignoring or snubbing people dressed similarly to yourself isn’t the way to go!
So my point is…
A cosplay convention is real life, not an anime. You can’t be the main character all the time. Nor can you act in a way that infringes on others’ fun, because you might end up offending people. Please don’t feel nervous about attending a cosplay convention – the good experiences far outweigh the bad. But if you’re the one throwing plastic knives at strangers and making young children cry, maybe consider toning it down a little.
Here’s a thing: If you’re cosplaying Light from Death Note, don’t start thinking you’re a god. Or, if you must, at least think of yourself as a benevolent, loving god.
You will not be the only Hatsune Miku. There will be many others. And you – and they – will all look beautiful.
Three cheers for the yaoi paddle… Use it wisely.