It’s not every day that you get to abandon reality, let loose your imagination and unleash your dress-up prowess on Qatar. Luckily, the Ajyal Youth Film Festival offers both first-timers and seasoned veterans of cosplay the chance to don crazy outfits for our Cosplay Competition, which takes place at the Cultural Village Katara on 29 November at 4:00 PM. Judges will grade participants’ costumes and how well they perform in front of their fellow cosplay fans. With six different award categories and countless cosplayers, the competition will provide some unique entertainment that is seldom seen in this neck of the woods.
Those who are clueless about cosplay – like the present writer, for instance – need a little guidance, so this article seeks to provide some background about this fascinating hobby and offer an insider’s guide to the best cosplay gear Doha has to offer.
First and foremost, ‘cosplay’ is a combination of the words ‘costume’ and ‘role-play’, and refers to the preferred pastime of a large number of people who enjoy imitating and interpreting their favourite film, comic-book, anime and pop-culture heroes and heroines by wearing attire that is equal parts amusing, true to the spirit of the chosen character or characters – and often way out there.
The origin of this hugely popular and eclectic hobby was born of the idea of paying homage to some of the most famous and obscure figures in the world of entertainment and media. Cosplay also provides fans of a particular genre with the chance to become a part of a foreign universe, while also providing the freedom to revise and personalise every aspect of their costumes. It doesn’t matter if you’re a kid who loves Pororo or a Wonder Woman-crazed adult, cosplay lets you enter the realm of the Jedi, march into Mordor, or make yourself at home in Wayne Manor.
You’ll see the usual suspects at most comic-book conventions, but there is a significant counterculture element to cosplay that encourages cosplayers to bring obscure characters, ideas or styles to a somewhat distorted version of real life. Whether it’s steampunk Ghost Busters, zombified historical figures or a hybrid Ironman-Thor-Superman, a lot of what you will see at a cosplay gathering is far from ordinary and is only limited by the imagination of the participant.
If dressing up like your favourite entertainment icon is exactly what you want to be doing next week, you have a few options for transforming notebook scribbles into an outfit that will make your friends envious. Option 1: buy your gear online and have it shipped to Qatar. Option 2: visit Party Kingdom, located at Nasrallah Center, on Al Khaleej Street near Jaidah flyover. The third (and, frankly, the coolest) option is to get your DIY (do-it-yourself) on, and build a one-of-a-kind costume that gives everyone else a run for their money. The Instructables website offers a host of tutorials on how to build realistic armour, a cyborg ninja with motorised face shield and of course a Batman and Bane costume for those who are fans of the film ‘Dark Knight Rises’.
Cosplay is all about creativity, having the guts to get out there and express yourself, and paying homage to a medium or idea that inspires you. So plug in, turn on, surf the interwebs and buy a glue gun, because you won’t want to miss the copious cosplay creativity taking place during Ajyal.