Cheers filled the room as Chloe Patrick walked the Ohayocon anime convention stage Saturday, wearing her handmade costume. Dressed as one of her favorite characters, she posed for the crowd and photographer.
Moments later, the third-year in Japanese won a judge’s choice award for the 20th-annual Ohayocon’s craftsmanship contest. Pulling from anime series, “Puella Magi Madoka Magica,” Patrick recreated the show’s protagonist Kaname Madoka’s frilled, pastel outfit, wearing a pink pigtailed wig and contact lenses to complete the transformation. Although Patrick has cosplayed for four years, this was her first competition, and she competed in the novice division.
“I wasn’t expecting a lot,” Patrick said. “I cried a little bit when I got it, but it was very exciting.”
Cosplay is a popular hobby of anime and comic convention attendees everywhere. Some Ohio State students dress up for local cons like Ohayocon and choose to participate in competitions. Some judge solely on craftsmanship, while others ask competitors to perform skits or choreographed routines in character. Although the product is shown off for only a weekend, the design and construction can be a year-round commitment.
Mallory Snyder, a second-year in neuroscience and treasurer of Scarlet and Gray Anime, also participated in the craftsmanship contest. Snyder entered as Pit from Nintendo’s “Kid Icarus” video game series, although the character has made more recent appearances in the “Super Smash Bros.” series.
Snyder said she started on her costume — the first cosplay she made herself — this past June. She said a lot of her time consisted of teaching herself the essential techniques of cosplay, such as sewing, pattern making, prop fabrication and wig styling.
Patrick’s prize-winning costume took at least six months to create. She said she created some of her own patterns based on ones she bought throughout her design process. A pair of bright-red heels she found thrifting initially inspired her to recreate Kaname’s costume.
“As an art form, I like learning new techniques and growing as a designer,” Patrick said. “On a personal level, I like being able to sort of relate to characters and express my love for them through dressing up as them.”
Patrick said that in some cases, she relates to a character on an emotional level, and dressing up as them can feel cathartic.
For Snyder, the reactions of other attendees are a motivating force.
Snyder said she was stopped several times throughout the convention by fellow congoers who requested pictures as she walked the halls wearing her handmade, 6-foot articulating wings.
“You’ve worked so hard on your costume and to have everyone else appreciate it, it makes you happy, and it makes other people happy because they get to see a character that they like,” Snyder said.
Snyder added that having friends who cosplay with her encourages her to continue pursuing what can be a labor-intensive hobby. Snyder and Patrick are members of both Scarlet and Gray Anime and the Costuming and Cosplay Club.
Zoe Sikon, a second-year in biology and librarian for Scarlet and Gray Anime, said cosplaying can be intimidating, but having a support system that shares the same interests is incredibly helpful for her. Sikon dressed as Olivier Armstrong from anime “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.”
This was Sikon’s first time cosplaying a female character; she said she has only portrayed men in the past. She said she wanted to cosplay a strong character for her first female costume to give her confidence.
Sikon said she cosplays to bring fictional characters she admires to life for not only herself, but also for others.
“For anybody who’s getting into cosplay, it might seem really weird or strange or you don’t know what people are doing or why they look the way they do,” Sikon said. “But if you like the character and you maybe want to dress up or do a costume, don’t be afraid.”
The Ohio State Costuming and Cosplay Club meets at 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday in Lazenby Hall Room 018. Scarlet and Gray Anime meets at 6 p.m. in Campbell Hall Room 200. More information on the clubs can be found on their’ Facebook pages.