October 21, 2013

The Landscape of Cosplay in 2013

The popularity of anime has shot through the roof in recent years! Did you know the number of and turnout at conventions (cons) has also been increasing? Have you ever been to an anime convention? If you think COSPLAY whenever anime is mentioned or want to know more about why that is a trend, this article is for you!

Since the collective image of cosplay and its presence at conventions has also shot up in the last few years, lets revisit some from this year. During these events people generally observe the activities, take photographs or video, and shop for merchandise (swag) or autographs. Some are in costume but most are not. Those that are take up the task because a character resonates with them, not just because no one else is. This connection to the character may be artistic or very personal.

Below is a graph of the attendance at the top three cons principally dedicated to anime. Videos covering these plus two more follow further below. Consider each one’s videography style, parts which strike you, costumes that you think are made well, and characters who you recognize or want to know about. Give the YouTube player time to load these videos in the highest quality possible. They are worth the watch.


A bar graph of the number of people attending last year (2012)

Anime Exposition

Anime Exposition (AX) in Los Angeles.
This is the largest anime convention in North America, with 22 rooms operating simultaneously in the Los Angeles Convention Center for four days straight. This is the same building that hosts E3, a gaming trade show attracting the same number of people.


Otakon in Baltimore, Maryland.
The term Otaku specifically means anime enthusiast. This is the second largest anime convention in North America and it is increasing in scale. In fact, the organizers will add another convention starting 2014.


Fans at FanimeCon, which is held in California, have made this video. Did you also know that during the event, businesses generate more than $5 million of extra income in the San Jose area?  San Jose is the 3rd most populated city in California, San Diego is the 2nd (where Comic-Con is held), and Los Angeles is the 1st.

Attendance for these three major events has had, more or less, the same volumes in previous years, although videos are not readily available for cons before 2010, suggesting the general recognition of cosplay has tremendously increased recently.

Let’s bring it back to Canada! This is the level of attendance that Animethon in Alberta got last year: 6404, or only 13% of the number of people that amassed at AX (and 30.5% of Fanime) last year. This year was probably similar in turnout, though the event has been going on for the same time that both Fanime and Otakon have been (since 1994). AX has been going on since 1992.


This video by OTL Productions  has the most views on YouTube for coverage of the Animethon event.
It captured dynamic expressions which bring out elevated presence and emotion. It is clear that people have a special determination to cosplay with all their skills at this event. Cool isn’t it?

In our own British Columbia, Anime Revolution (AR) had 5233 in audience last year (10.6% of AX). It may be smaller but the event has been around for only 2 years. OTL Productions has the most viewed video again.

Anime Revolution

People in this video look like they’ve been waiting for this day to take on the forms of their characters, as their facial expressions reveal. You can see the gritty glory of cosplay, and the person behind the character/costume just as you can in the above Animethon footage.

It seems clear from the analysis of 3 highly massive gatherings of anime fans that dressing as a character is an activity that certain people put enormous time and effort into. The only gatherings  larger than AX are Comic-con or Japan-expo, where there are even more people, but the same style, format, talent, and calibre is probably found at those.

 Animethon and AR are much smaller scale events than the top three, but the quality of the videography, community, and gritty glory is not smaller scale. The best of the best may not chase just the biggest gatherings.  After all, the famous Jessica Nigri was at Vancouver’s AR.



You don’t have to be at a con at all. There is zero consumer attendance at this photoshoot above yet the same effect is sensed. These people are totally meant to cosplay. And the art of its videography are independent of any convention or event.

It may be time for a special someone to revisit your favorite characters from an anime, game, film, book or anything else, try out some props, and hit up a few cons in them! Now’s your time to get into cosplay!!



Featured Image: Mohan

Written by Mohan Dho

About the Author

Recultured Team
Recultured Team
This is where you'll find the blog posts that the team has contributed to collectively! What team? Wildcats! -Nope, wrong team. Recultured!

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