Larp and Cosplay

For a long time, Cosplay and LARP were two very different worlds that rarely came in contact with one another. Though members of both communities were invested in fantasy literature and movies, Cosplay attracted primarily fans of Japanese cartoons and comics (anime and manga), whereas LARPers were more focused on depicting a romanticized version of the European Middle Ages. This distinction has, however, since disappeared. Large-scale fantasy movie productions, TV shows, novels, and video games have not merely served to grant those hobbies greater societal acceptance in general, but have also brought LARP and Cosplay closer together.

How are LARP and Cosplay connected?

While LARPers usually fashion their garments themselves, Cosplay focuses on recreating an existing outfit that is as true to the original design as possible. Nonetheless, both communities use roughly the same materials and crafting methods, leading to amazing synergies. For various reason materials that substitute for fur, metal, or leather, all of which are well established within the Cosplay scene, have found their way into LARPing as well. At the same time, the Cosplay scene appreciates LARP weaponry—which is made out of foam and crafted around a fiberglass core—for its sturdiness and fighting qualities.

But that’s not where the intersections end: the role-playing aspect has started to gain traction within the Cosplay community as well. These days, a great Cosplay performance—on stage at a convention, for instance—involves more than the mere presentation of the costume. Ideally, the entire demeanor of the chosen character should be portrayed in a manner as lively and true to the original as possible.

LARP and Cosplay in practice

Because movies and video games often depict themes that are loosely based on the European Middle Ages, at LARP conventions you can see plenty of players in garments that bear a striking resemblance to the costume designs from these media. A lot of LARP events are specifically set in and inspired by some of these particular universes, such as The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, World of Warcraft, or Harry Potter. At the same time, a lot of LARPers compete successfully in Cosplay competitions, showing off costumes based on that background. As a result, nowadays the given scene you belong to or identify with is less important—you can feel at home in both.

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