Cosplay (also known as costume roleplay) is basically dressing up as a character from a series or franchise, much like people do for events such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Comic-Con. I’ve only been “cosplaying” for about a year, but I’ve learned that this hobby takes dedication, time and skill. Recently, I had the opportunity to go to an anime/cosplay convention called Anime Weekend Atlanta from September 29th to October 1st with my fellow cosplay friends.
Day 1 – Friday
Some of my friends and I inside the artist’s alley/dealer’s room.
On the first day of going to the convention, I dressed up as Saison Margurite from the Youtube series Most Popular Girls in School (the link to watch the series can be found here; be warned, though, as some of the content contains crude humor). My friends and I first stopped by the artist alley and the dealer’s room in one of the main halls; if you’re not familiar with either of those terms, an artist alley is basically where independent artists sell their fan art and handcrafted merchandise, and a dealer’s room is a marketplace usually for licensed toys, books, posters and artwork. They are usually put into one huge convention hall together.
This is what the outside of the convention looks like in the gardens. The beautiful scenery is ideal for photo shoots and taking personal pictures.
After my group and I meet up with some more friends inside, we head across the street to the mall that is connected to the convention center for some food. (Going to public places while dressed in cosplay is always a fun time, from the people staring at you weirdly to those curious enough to ask what is going on.) We all head back to the hotel afterwards to change into our first round of “party outfits,” and by 11 p.m. we are back at the convention center. Nighttimes at cosplay conventions typically consist of raves, hotel parties and, for the legal and of-age guests, alcohol. After the night comes to an end, we get back to our hotel super late. A side note: at conventions, you’re almost guaranteed to not get a lot of sleep, just due to the nature of them. It’s something that even I, a chronic napper, have become used to.
Day 2 – Saturday
A picture of my costume for Saturday. All of it is completely hand-made, and I owe so much of it to my friend Shelley who helped make the jewelry and accessories. I actually made the top and the skirt!
For the biggest day of the convention, I cosplayed a character from the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise and joined a huge group of people also cosplaying from the show. At conventions, you can either be an individual character by yourself or join a group with other characters from a series; usually, the larger your group, the more attention you will draw. The costumes that some of my friends and I had on turned out to be very tiring (this tends to happen when you wear high heels while running around a large convention hall), so after a couple of hours we went back to our hotel room to rest.
At nighttime, we changed into our second set of party outfits and made it back to the con around 10:30 p.m. to meet up with some friends. While of course we have fun, during this time is an excellent opportunity to network and meet other cosplayers that share the same interests as you. We make it back to the hotel room around 3 a.m., and I immediately pass out after a much-needed shower.
Day 3 – Sunday
After waking up on the last morning of the con, my friends and I immediately begin to pack our bags because check-out for our hotel is at 11 a.m. Hotel rooms during cosplay conventions are guaranteed to be a hot mess full of makeup, superglue and various costume parts strewn out across the floor, so cleaning up is definitely a struggle. I usually just do really easy, comfortable costumes during the Sundays of conventions because by the time that day rolls around I’m exhausted, and I definitely don’t want to be stuck in a car for a long period of time feeling uncomfortable. After packing up and leaving the hotel, we go to the artist alley and dealer’s room one last time to get any merchandise we held off on buying. Before embarking on the five-hour car ride back to Gainesville, my group and I head back to the mall connected to the convention center, with our costumes still on, and order food.
Overall, I would say I had a fantastic experience. I’m definitely planning on going to Anime Weekend Atlanta next year, and I can’t wait to shamelessly be a nerd with my friends again. If you would like to keep up with my future cosplay adventures, make sure to look for me on instagram at @elenamika!
All photos are courtesy of the author, Elena Kallergis.