What if you could dress like Jesus for a day and taste the admiration of a third of our world’s population? I want to hear from our ethnic and female readers; how’s about donning a wreath of thorns and having old folks lay palm fibers in your path while riding on the sweet ass of a good friend willing to walk on all fours? Surrounded by the 23 952 ticket bearers dressed up at Toronto’s Anime North, we all become critic, admirer and hypocrite; all it takes is the right (or wrong) costume.
Toronto is a city where people dress up. We all don a costume at one point, even if we leave those “childish” tendencies behind in simpler Halloween loving days when we jumped at the opportunity to become something surreal. I for one still brag about the retractable claws on the Wolverine costume my mom made from my designs in grade 2. While the regular folk become Mad Men's Don Draper or that quirky girl with glasses at work, or wear the peon outfits thought up by corporate executives of Mc-whatever, many at Anime North spend their time plotting to become what they want. They spend hours after work and school using skills they’ve honed for regular life to become something extraordinary, like Garen Crownguard or Ahri the nine tailed fox from the Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) League of Legends (LOL).
Jocks hypocritically scoff at the Ryu or Robin ordering a double-double at the nearby café but gladly paint their bellies to cheer on a football team, shaking themselves like nobody’s business for that big screen. “There’s a difference,” they’d object. And I can’t argue too much. There’s something taboo about this whole Anime scene isn’t there? Cross dressing knows no limits here (I think I saw a hot Son Goku), and we’ve all seen our favourite characters take a strange erotic hentai turn in the anime universe [cue nose blood].
One minute you’re reading about some wide-eyed girl in glasses from Love Lens innocently pining over some young stud, the next she’s provocatively posed on a full sized body pillow half nude and can be yours to sleep with forever for a low low price. Even Final Fantasy VII’s Zack teams up with a hot maid for shopping here.The boundary between what is adult and what is for children is blurry amid all the heroes and villains here, but the skill and passion around keeps me digging for more. You can’t just look like a real life action figure on a whim, after all. You become Samus Aran from the Metroid series “sewing nights away.”
There are some real heroes around too. A cursed Midna from Legend of Zelda’s Wind Waker and a busty Lily Spitfire sit at a booth in the bizarre charging $2 per picture for those who want to immortalize their cosplay. This foxy duo is helping raise money for cancer under the Cosplay For A Cure banner. And what's more heroic than taking on a debatable New 52 Poison Ivy cosplay so your insane Harley Quinn friend won't be alone with all the "ecchi" people?
Is reality so skewed in this anime wonderland? One of my favourite moments at Anime North was when I dared a small kid to put his hand into the mouth of How To Train Your Dragon's Toothless, played by an epic female quadruped walking cosplayer. He tried but in the end backed out, like a smart little boy.
Its Gay Pride weekend and Canada Day in real world Toronto and I can’t help but feel there’s some lessons to learn from these otaku dreamers. Sparks fly like fairy dust outside my balcony as fireworks blast near Lakeshore, and I remember all the work and epic executions I saw at Anime North like Navi the fairy from Legend of Zelda and Spirited Away’s No Face.
I asked a blonde Taokaka from Blazblue with big paws why she cosplayed;
“I get to be a character who I admire and who I really enjoy listening to or reading about or playing as and
this is the one time of year I get to express those feelings where I won’t be mocked.”
Sounds like a good dream. Someday… maybe someday.
See you Space Cowboy,