Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: All Work and No Cosplay, Makes Jack a Baka Onii-San

Happy Monday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! 4B is back and (hopefully) better than ever! Once again, I’m terribly sorry for the hiatus and hope these next few posts more than make it up to you. To kick off these redemption posts  (wow, that actually sounds kinda badass) here is an installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. In these segments we explore the wide, wonderful, world of Japanese media and the culture around it. Today’s post is going to focus on the latter of those parts, by exploring the incredibly popular and impressive hobby/career/activity that is cosplay.

Cosplay 1

Cosplay, as it is defined in a brief google search, is “the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genre of manga and anime.” This definition is actually pretty accurate. Cosplay is essentially super-mega-ultra-intense dress up. If that sounds like a mockery of the practice, it is by no means meant to be. Cosplay involves individuals handcrafting the extremely complex and often preposterous ensembles of fictional characters. This requires an incredible amount of time, energy, and skill; and it is no wonder that this activity has evolved into a greatly respected hobby or a professional career.

Cosplay 2

(Pictured above is cosplayer and internet personality Meg Turney.)

Cosplay has grown into the massive phenomenon that it is today, mostly due to the mentality behind the practice. Cosplay is, in a lot of ways, a labor of love.  Through cosplay, people connect more deeply with the character and story that they are bringing to life. Nobody would put the massive amount of work that is necessary, into this hobby if they did deeply appreciate the character they are representing. Each and every instance of cosplay can be taken as an expression of love for the character and work that they are embodying.

As cosplay’s popularity has grown exceptionally over the past decade or so, people have risen to fame due to the activity and can be considered the face of modern cosplay. These professional cosplaiers are masters of their craft and all but completely breakdown the barrier between fiction and reality. Some of these noteworthy figures aaaaaaaaaaare:

Cosplay 3

Jessica Nigri. Ms. Nigri is probably one of the most famous modern cosplayers, and for good reason. Not only does she make truly astounding costumes, but she also has a magnificent personality that makes her both lovable and admirable. I personally am a huge admirer of Ms. Nigri and her works and am grateful to her for the astonishing creations that she has crafted during her career.

Cosplay 4

Alodia Gosienfiao. Ms. Gosienfiao is perhaps one of the most famous and recognized cosplaiers in the world. Her works are incredibly impressive and she has been bringing cosplay to a wider audience since 2003. She has contributed more to the world of cosplay than perhaps any other, and will undoubtedly continue to make the practice even more respected in the future.

Cosplay 5

Sev. I had to include this DC area cosplay. With one of the simplest costumes ever constructed, this man  has generated a massive amount of interest in cosplay and will forever be an internet meme. Also, who among us would not want this Magicarp on our team?

That just about does it for this installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. If you liked it, please give it a like and if you leave a comment below I will be sure to reply to you. If you would like to keep up to date with this blog, you can subscribe via email in the upper right tab. Alternatively you can like the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page or follow me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you all have an awesome week and be sure to come back here on Wednesday for the next installment of Pop Culture Wednesday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

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Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: All Work and No Cosplay, Makes Jack a Baka Onii-San

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Sword Art Online Retrospective

Happy Monday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Manga (And Also Anime) Monday, the place where we talk about every and anything about anime and manga. Today’s article is going to focus on an anime that dominated the anime industry once upon a time only to be dethroned by Attack on Titan (which will soon be dethroned by One Punch Man, probably, hopefully), I’m speaking of course, about Sword Art Online.

sword art online

Sword Art Online, usually shortened to SAO, was originally a light novel series written by Reki Kawahara. It was announced in 2011 that the series would be getting an anime, and once the SAO anime released in 2012, the series popularity exploded. Sword Art Online is easily one of the most popular anime in recent memory. I would find it surprising if someone who has been an anime fan for more than two years has not at least seen at least a portion of this program. Right now you’re probably asking “well how did this series get so popular?”. Well, if you’d calm down for a second I’ll tell you.

The short answer is that, SAO got so popular because of quality animation and playing to lowest common denominators. The long answer is, also that, but slightly more complicated. SAO follows the story of Kirito, a loner nerd, who becomes trapped inside of a virtual reality video game, Sword Art Online (*wink*), and the only chance he and the rest of the players trapped in the game have of escaping is if they beat all one hundred of the game’s bosses. This is a fairly interesting set up, even though it most definitely been done before, and arguably done better by other stories. Sword Art Online’s popularity stems from its collection of characters and their interactions. You see, the narrative I just described more or less ends after the first twelve episodes and what kept viewers coming back for the remaining twelve in the first season and the entirety of the second season, was a love for the characters.

sword art online 2

The characters were easy to support and love because they are more or less the embodiment of tropes of the anime genre. The previously mentioned protagonist, Kirito, is intentionally a somewhat bland character so that audiences can more easily project themselves onto him. Asuna, Kirito’s main love interest, is the epitome of anime waifu material. Klein, Kirito’s best friend, is an extremely hapless beta-male who just want’s to contribute to the group, but always winds up falling just a little big short of Kirito himself. These tropes go on for a while and none of the characters ever become too complex. Oh, I almost forgot, literally every female character has a crush on Kirito. This even applies to Kirito’s cousin, despite the fact that the two were raised as brother and sister for the majority of their lives. So yeah, very anime.

This series would later be dethroned by Attack on Titan, but for about a year and a half SAO was the anime that everybody was watching. Convention halls were filled with SAO cosplay and anime forums were filled with SAO discussions and fan art. The thing is though, out of all of the Sword Art Online discussions I’ve heard and all the posts I’ve read, I have only found a handful of people who say that SAO is their favorite anime. Lot’s of people LIKE this program, but only a few LOVE it. Sword Art Online does not try to be groundbreaking or totally original, rather it combines the best aspects of the various genres of anime and the most famous anime series to make a new show. This, by in large, has worked incredibly well for the show and I can only imagine how much the people behind it have made from it.

sword art online 3

If you are new to anime, I would recommend watching Sword Art Online. Is it the best anime ever and entirely worthy of its fame, not really. However, it is more or less a microcosm of what is great about anime in general has a massive fan base that is more than ready to talk about it. I personally glad I decided to watch Sword Art Online a few years ago. At the very least, I understand a few thousand memes more now than what I did before I viewed it.

Alright guys, that just about does it for this week’s installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. If you enjoyed it please give it a like and leave a comment down below. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking on the upper right tab and entering in you email. You can also stay up to date by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page, or by following me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you all have a great week and be sure to come back here on Wednesday for the next installment of Pop Culture Wednesday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Sword Art Online Retrospective