So I have a beard. It’s become a fairly defining feature for me, and people often comment that it would be very strange to see me without it. I like it; it gives me something to scratch when I’m thinking, serves as a topic of conversation, and makes me feel like a wizard. I have found only two problems with all this hair on my face: it’s itchy, and you can’t do cosplay with it.
|This is cosplay done very, very well. Good grief. I mean look at him!|
|This is cosplay done poorly. Good effort, but oh dear....|
Now, I’ve never had a particular interest in cosplay before university, and I still wouldn’t say I’m in anyway passionate about it. Ruth is much more interested in it, and her interest got me looking at the whole culture, and it's quite fascinating, especially when it's done well. Cosplay, for those who have never seen the internet before, is essentially the act of dressing up as a character – generally from anime or video games. Cosplayers can most frequently be seen at anime or comic conventions. More than this though, usually the people create the costume themselves as well, making it a far more impressive achievement when it is done well, and slightly more understandable but no less amusing when done poorly. Since so much effort goes into the costumes, people take a great deal of pride in them, and frequently do photo shoots to really show off their work. The internet is full of these photos, and some are incredible. Every character from every possible reference has been cosplayed before now, I suspect. I have no skills in crafting, no ability at all to really create any kind of decent costume, but having seen so much out there on the internet I have wondered who I would be, if I could manage it. I’ve considered a number of options, but I keep coming up against the same barrier over and over again. There are very few characters out there with beards, and that tends to skew the look significantly. Sora with a beard will always be wrong, no matter well you’re dressed.
The bearded options that I can see:
Captain Kyouraku Shunsui - Bleach
This is by far my best option. He’s incredibly cool, a lot of fun, and has a great costume. It would be hard to find a large pink kimono cheaply, but it’s at least possible. Best of all: he has a beard. Win. Ok, maybe it's not the fullest beard ever, but it's totally there!
Solid Snake - Metal Gear Solid
Yes, he’s very cool. But I’m not a huge fan of the games, and I’m pretty sure that he’s been done to death in costumes.
Wolverine – X-Men
Yeah, like I could pull that off.
That pretty much exhausts the possibilities for characters with beards. I’ve thought about it for ages and can’t get much more than these three. Again, I doubt I would ever have the skills to make a costume, but it’s infuriating that there is so much possibility out there but only a handful of characters that I could ever be, even if Ruth could be persuaded to do the difficult part. :)