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Fictional characters come into play for Ohio State club

As the semester quickly comes toward a close, members of Ohio State’s Cosplay Club are busy bringing their favorite fictional characters to life.

Cosplay, short for costume play, extends past Japanese anime and manga — students can emulate their favorite characters from novels, video games, comic books and more, said Gwendolyn Haller, a second-year in electrical engineering and president of the club.

“It’s a life,” Haller said. “It kind of sucks you in.”

The club holds meetings in Lazenby Hall on Mondays from 5:30-7 p.m.

It was founded by then-OSU student Katrina Webber. Since its founding, the club has been on-again, off-again for several years, Haller said.

This year was different, however, and the club is now much more structured, she said.

Every week the club presents a workshop on a topic ranging from makeup, armor tutorials, weapon design and more. Once a month, they hold a photo shoot to show off the projects that the students work on, Haller said.

Members are required to pay semester dues of $10 in order to support the workshops, photo shoots and pay for snacks.

“This year, more than anything, we’ve been pushing to do things outside just the workshops,” Haller said.

Cosplay Club recently threw a Halloween party with OSU’s Scarlet and Gray Anime Club and the manga club. The Cosplay Club’s members plan to attend various conventions, including Ohayocon — a 3-day event centered on the art and culture of Japanese animation — at the Greater Columbus Convention Center the last week of January. The group also plans to host a “Cosplay Ball” in February.

Haller said cosplaying is something for people of all ages.

“Everyone when they were a little kid wanted to be either a Power Ranger or Sailor Moon,” she said. “But then you’re an adult and you’re like, ‘I didn’t want to give that up, I still want to do that,’ and cosplay gives you that chance.”

Cosplay also helps a lot of students come out of their shells, Haller said.

One OSU student, Ann Faris, a second-year in exploration, was no stranger to cosplay before joining the club.

Faris regularly wears Japanese-style school uniforms to class and first started cosplaying in elementary school.

This past year was the first year that Faris was officially part of the club. She said she has enjoyed being in a place filled with people who share a common interest and common goals.

“Meetings are always pretty laid back — there’s never any negativity, people are just there to help each other on their projects,” Faris said.

Not all members of the club are as seasoned in cosplay, however.

Kavya Gopalakrishnan, a second-year in animal science, said cosplay was not something she could do in her home country of India. She had no prior cosplay experience before joining.

“We didn’t have cosplaying or conventions or any of that,” she said. “Everything I knew about it came from the Internet.”

Gopalakrishnan first saw Cosplay Club during the Involvement Fair her first year at OSU.

“I was a little overwhelmed at first,” Gopalakrishnan said. “But then I saw Cosplay Club and I was like ‘I’m so joining this.’”

So far, Gopalakrishnan said she has really enjoyed being a part of the group.

“I feel like college is holding your breath, and then I go into a meeting and I’m like —” she exhaled. “It’s a very electrifying kind of atmosphere, to just sit there and watch fictional characters literally come to life.”

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