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Moon's Costume Blog

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cosplay and LARPing Semantics

The Wikipedia entry for Cosplay describes it as “a type of performance art whose participants outfit themselves, with often-elaborate costumes and accessories, as a specific character or idea…. Cosplay participants ("cosplayers") form a subculture centered around wearing their costumes and reenacting scenes or inventing likely behavior inspired by their chosen sources.”

Wikipedia describes LARP by saying, “A live action role-playing game (LARP) is a form of role-playing game where the participants physically act out their characters' actions. The players pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by the real world, while interacting with each other in character.”

So the main difference between the two seems to be that LARPing is more of an organized game, whereas cosplay may focus more on the expression of the character.

Wikipedia’s Cosplay entry points out that “Western cosplay's origins are based primarily on science fiction and historical fantasy as opposed to animation, and it is more common for Western costumers to recreate characters from live-action series such as Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, The Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter than it is for Japanese cosplayers. Western costumers also include subcultures of hobbyists who participate in Renaissance Faires, and historical re-enactments such as Civil War battles.”

These are genres that have been mentioned in the description of LARPing as well, so it would seem that cosplay in the West has its roots in LARPing. But they go on to say “the rise in popularity of Japanese animation in the late 1990s has led to an increase in American and other Western cosplayers who portray Japanese characters. Anime conventions have become more numerous in the West in the last decade….”

So the next major different between the two would be the genres portrayed. Cosplay seems to have Asian media as its focus, whereas LARPing seems to focus more on science fiction, history and fantasy from Western minds.

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