Pokémon Cosplay: Four Styles

Greetings little subjects , I have been called into action once more to talk to you about clothes. As a Princess I am sure to have the best opinion and taste on these matters. Today we will talk about the mundane entertainment known as cosplay. Something even I enjoy on occasion. While I could talk ages about MY cosplays as well, we will limited ourselves to strictly Pokémon Cosplay. All images  used are random examples avaialbe in public spaces. Feel free to look up who these people are to pay them tribute…after paying tribute to me. I only used generic terms to search for these images. I will never use a cosplay photograph to make fun of it.

Dressing up as a Pokémon

Pokémon Cosplay can happen in about four different ways. You either dress up as a pokémon, dress up as a trainer, dress up as a Gijinka, which is a human rendition of a pokémon and than there is those people who think outside of the box and put al smile on everyone’s faces with a completely original concept. I will tackle these one by one.

The most common cosplay you will see is people dressing up like a Pokémon, frankly spoken this category we can divide into a high effort and low effort group with the latter being ever so present at conventions. Now do not mistake my words little subjects, low effort cosplay is still loads better than no cosplay at all, your expectations should however be different. The low effort group is the one that wears pokémon onesies or kigurumis and sometimes paint their face. This is by far the most found type of pokémon cosplay at conventions. Because they are so common however, it is very unlikely people will want to take a picture with you if you dress in that way.  A lot of new cosplayers kind of feel like people will jump on any type of cosplayer to ask them for a photo, but this isn’t the case. Not even if you made your kigurumi yourself. People oftenly can not tell. Girls are a bit luckier in that matter but still it’s not a guarantee to success. If you want to be Pokémon Snapped, do not go basic, a rule which applies to basically every common cosplay, even high effort Harley Quinn’s oftenly go unsnapped because there are just so much of the. Onesies are quite partical though, you can put clothes with lots of storage space underneath or even store a small bag there, they are super easy to pack and great for example a final day where you will stop at a restaurant on the way back, just slip out of the onesie and reveal your outfit underneath, apply plenty of deodorant and if possible a quick wash and boom! Back to glam!
The perfect cosplay if you want to look like you belong on a con, without spending the money or effort on it. 

Much like it’s more impressive high effort counterpart however, the Kigurumi has one big flaw. They are incredibly hot to wear. Especially if you wear clothes underneath (and usually with the quality of them .. you better do that) it feels like you are wearing a portable sauna.
While you can still walk through a Dealer Room, going to play DDR in it, in the middle of summer or going outside to hang with your friends, is not a healthy idea. So if you dress up as a Pokémon, make sure to stay hydrated. Lot’s of venues have poor air conditioning at least in certain parts of the Con. Full on body/mascotte  suits usually limit you to these rooms. Lobbies, outside areas and the big open spaces are usually a lot harder to cool, but if you wear a mascotte suit you’ll get plenty of attention. If you want to receive some love and get hugs.. this is your way to go. One thing to note is that you are completely and utterly unable to pull this one off by yourself.  You will need a buddy along if you want to walk across the convention or sometimes he even has to shout to you what others are saying, fake fur blocks a lot of sound and you are quite blind while walking, so this is a two person cosplay most of the time. If not it’s a very lonely one. 

Dressing up as a trainer

Common enough on the convention floor, this one draws little attention as well, at least for those who cosplay Ash, Misty , Jessie or James and even Red will not get you buckets of love. Fans will respond though and go Hey Ash, or Hey Misty so i’d say it’s slightly more interactive than a Onesie. Trainers and Pokémon alike will band together though for fun photo moments.

If you really want some love but still keep your outfit reasonably affordable with no crafting effort (or easy crafting) cosplay famous trainers like Giovanni, Sabrina or honestly even a good Brock might work.. we barely see him..like he barely sees us. While Dragon Trainer Lance, may look super impressive and Blaine is a possible closet cosplay these read a lot harder. Misty and Ash you can pull of without a wig,Lance even with a wig kinda looks like he is a noble from Code Geass and Koga is a ninja… there will be plenty of ninja’s at the convention so it’s hard to tell. To make these clear you will have to use props like plushies, who can get a bit expensive on their own and are very easy to lose.

LT Surge is an easy cosplay.. but you’ll need a Raichu to be fully recognised. Maybe a set of pokéballs will do but most people see you when passing by, they might miss details such as Pokéballs. The clearer your costume is the best reactions you get… unless it’s not very inspirational like Ash or Misty of course. For the last ones go creative… dye your Ash costume grey and play Dead ash from the mewtwo movie or play Misty as a guy and let the girl play Ash. You won’t really get any fans when cosplaying as a trainer but these suits are practical , oftenly fit for most seasons (Misty is not very good for winter) and a fun way to meet other pokéfans. There is room for some appreciation as long as you make sure you have the right props to tell who you are. A lot of trainers look generic so you need context.. whether it be a ! sign or a slew of plushies! Do something to stand out or just have fun in your cosplay on your own! That’s great as well.

Gijinkas 

Humanising Pokémon is one of my favorite artforms, I build a D&D campaign based on Gijinkas once and it was great. It is also a very popular cosplay form of the franchise that is mostly seen on stage. These are the cosplayers that want to hone their craft, compete and look good. Of course there are also more casual versions but those still want to be complimented on their costume let’s be honest. While this usually gives you a LOT of love as a cosplayer, especially from the fans of the franchise there are a few risks here with these cosplays. As I am a total klutz myself , everytime I pick up a needle and threat a professor in my head tells my now is not the time and place to use this. So crafting cosplays is out for me.. I tried once.. ended up bleeding all over it, than I glued my pants to the table.. I cried all over it.. ruined a set of towels by accidently dyeing them and I gave up. Gijinka cosplay however is not easily bought.  Usually commissions or resales there is some risk in purchasing these. As much as I want to Cosplay a Sylveon Gijinka , I can not afford a proper commission even if I am a princess, my treasury is only filled with make-belief-money! Which does not pay for real life commissions, in my dream though I look adorable. Commissions easily run you in the several hundreds and the resales oftenly have very specific fitting. If you buy , try to pick something that is a size to big for you, worst case scenario .. it will look a bit to big on or you have to pay to have it slightly adjusted near you. With a bit of a brain .. like wearing a thicker under-shirt you can at least be sure you have not wasted money on something that doesn’t fit. Try to Gijinka only if you really have the money for it though.. or of course the ability to craft.

A second risk with the Gijinkas is the recognisability. Gen I is safe..everyone will recognise a human jigglypuff or Venusaur. Human Lucario or Human Darkrai though….tricky. While I personally really dig Darkrai it is a somewhat overlooked legendary. Gijinka Cresselia even more so. Pokémon is a massively loved franchise but a lot of that love is nostalgia. Take this into consideration when  you craft. Do you want to make an awesome costume, or do you want people to go like.. oh hey that is Ludicolo from the Pokémon series. If you want people to ‘get ‘ your Gijinka your options are limited or you have to make it very clear. While a Lumineon in human form sounds like it could be an awesome most pokéfans don’t even know the pokémon let alone recognising it when it transformed into a beautiful human being. Masquerain can look super royal but maybe 1% of con-goers will read it as that. 

So before you craft determine what you want to do. Do you want to impress people by your awesome crafting skills, or do you want to impress people by interpreting something they know and love and show how you turned it into something else.  Gijinka photos purchasable for fans have a bit more liberty of course as they can select them and get them in context.. but at a Con.. there is no context. At least go big when you try to craft something like this, make it something really special and unique , that way people will love you regardless. Unfortunately when it comes to this type of cosplay there is a bit of the rule , go big or go home. The subtle ones can get overlooked quite easily and while .. if you craft, you probably have a group to hang out with anyway that will validate you like always .. the less is more people tend to get lost in the sea of spectacular that is a con.

Original

The best way to success however is to be completely original, think of something that hits the brief but is also one of a kind. These are the things you need to craft but it can be cheap yet still fun.  Five dollar cosplay Jinx, Brock with a frying pan or just wear a cardboard actual Pokeball and you are already being eyed by many. Dressing up like a pokémon card or dressing up IN pokémon cards are among your options here as well.  Of course this one is quite difficult to go into details about because originality comes from within you or a very rare idea. The more I push ideas the less original they become. It can be as cheap or expensive as you want. In fact.. the pitfall of this one I’d say is that you don’t need to sink more and more money into it for it to show the appreciation it gets. Usually these ideas are too out there to go on the stage so these are usually lobby cosplayers as I call them. They hang out receive a lot of love and vanish from your life  when they head out that front door. Some are original again the next year others you don’t really notice anymore. Yet they leave the most powerful memory on those whose life they touch. You will always remember that girl who was dressed as a pokeball that can unfold into a gardevoir ish dress. You will always remember the bloke that dressed like a Pikachu card or the guy who made a playable version of pokémon blue on his costume. with a controller and screen on his back. These are one in a life encounters and that is how they should stay. The guy can not really play a pokémon at the same convention again and the pokémon game people have played isn’t that impressive the second year around. Original cosplays have a very limited life span (at least in a small country like mine) yet in our minds that single weekend cosplay will live on forever…or at least until something does something even more awesome and unique.

Now while I have spoken about the “rules” of cosplay a lot but this is only based on mindset , too often i see a subject who gets disappointed because they had different expectations of how cosplay is viewed at a con. It is easy to get lost between the passion to cosplay and the goal you actually want to reach with it. There is nothing wrong with any of these cosplays as long as YOU want to wear them, but sometimes in our excitement we set ourselves up for disappointment .. or fainting from the heat. So you do you, but do ask yourself why you do you and cosplay accordingly!

The Pinkest Poké Blogger is blasting off again.
XO
Pinkie

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