Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Too bad this isn't a Massive Multiplayer Crossover.

Cosplay is a Portmanteau of the words "costume play". It refers to the fan hobby of making costumes of their favorite characters from anime, TV, movies, comics, video games, etc. and wearing them at fan gatherings. At anime conventions cosplay is one of the most popular events.

And to some people, it is Serious Business. Don't even think about trying to get them to wear the Official Cosplay Gear. They will often wear a Sexy Whatever Outfit though.

If it's a character meeting cosplayers of the character in the same universe, the actual character might get told Your Costume Needs Work. This can even happen to celebrities in Real Life.

The concept and practice of Cosplay is decades old, but the term itself is of more recent vintage, having been coined in Japan in the 1990s, after which it spread to North America in the early 2000s.

See also Cosplay Fan Art, Cosplay Otaku Girl (characters in works being cosplayers), Whole Costume Reference, LARP.

Examples of Cosplay include:

Anime and Manga

  • In episode 16 of Bodacious Space Pirates, pirate captain Marika has members of the Girl's Yacht Club help out on her ship, the Bentenmaru, while the regular crew is stuck in quarantine due to a virus they got in an earlier episode. When they raid a ship, the girls all show up in various cosplay costumes. Marika chuckles nervously throughout the entire "raid", but the guests on the ship don't seem to mind the costumes overall.
  • Cosplay Complex is all about this.
  • As in the picture, Lucky Star has this at both a convention and the Haruhi Theme Cafe.
  • Miyashita Masashi from Onii-chan to Issho (official English title: Me & My Brothers) occasionally cosplays as high school girls, and is in general a Wholesome Crossdresser. As a romance novelist, he does this in order to be more one with the female mind and thus use this as an incentive to write better stories.
  • In Genshiken this is Ohno's hobby, while Tanaka's is costume designer for Cosplay. She often wears his creations for the club and to conventions. In Genshiken 2 they finally officially start dating, thus creating the dream Otaku couple.
  • In Genesis of Aquarion there is an episode called "Cosplay for the Soul" where Fudou has all the Element Users dress and act as each other to great (and hilarious) effect.
    • Honestly, this Troper was expecting Aquarion itself to cosplay as a different giant robot from another anime/manga during some point.
  • Persona 4: The Animation has Nanako doing a cosplay so convincing that she fools some kids into thinking she's the real Loveline (an in-universe, fictional, magical girl detective).
  • One episode of World of Narue has Narue entering a costume competition because her boyfriend likes the character (and she thinks he likes the voice actress better than he likes her). She's the only one who actually makes her costume, the other contestants buying theirs off-the-rack.

Comic Books

  • Transmetropolitan: Spider Jerusalem at one point raids a religious convention while cosplaying as Jesus.

Fan Works


  • Downplayed, in Anne of Avonlea. Rather than cosplaying as particular characters Anne and Diana simply dress in white muslin dresses as the heroines in Charlotte E. Morgan's stories are known to wear.

Live-Action TV

  • In one Freaks and Geeks episode, three of the guys dress up for a science fiction convention.
  • In season five of Supernatural Sam and Dean meet people cosplaying as them. They're understandably creeped out by it.
    • And that's before they find out that the Sam and Dean cosplayers they interacted with throughout the episode are a couple.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • The Closing Credits Sequence of Daria features the characters in various alternate costumes. Most of the time, the costumes are generic, like a cheerleader or a business woman, but occasionally they make specific references such as Brittany dressed as Edward Scissorhands.
  • When the cast of Futurama goes to Comic Con 3010, they take part in the costume contest, with some of the contestants dressed as characters from the very show they're on. Lrr tries to invade Earth during the contest, but is dismissed as just another guy in a costume. The winner, by the way, is Bender, who dresses as "every nerd's fantasy", Leela.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Nerds of a Feather", the boys go to a convention where almost everyone is dressed up as characters from either "Space Adventure" or "Stumbleberry Finkbat". And Candace goes dressed as Ducky Momo.
  • In the final match of the pro-bending season in The Legend of Korra, you can see two groups of cosplayers in the stands; one dressed as the Wolf-Bats and one dressed as our heroes, the Fire Ferrets.