Cosplay has many sides to it. I’ve seen it all. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The more conventions you go to the more of a repertoire of stories and experiences that you build up. I’ve contacted a good number of seasoned cosplayers, photographers, and con-goers to give a decent spread that runs the gamut of all varied types of experiences within the cosplay and convention scene. Of course, I even included a story of my own that still makes me shiver to think about to this very day.
Conventions are an interesting microcosm. They’re honestly, if you think about it, a world of their own. The environment is different, the atmosphere has a certain feel to it. It’s a great place to meet your favorite voice actor, attend a fun fandom panel, or show off your cosplay skills in the cosplay competition. However, a lot of these stories don’t make for the best experiences, but are ones that you can definitely reflect back on.
No two are alike, just like no two convention experiences are alike. You could have an amazing, wrinkle-free, smooth sailing time at a convention while someone else could have everything that possibly could go wrong well, actually go wrong. I have experienced easygoing conventions, and some that have been so stressful I wanted to just throw in the towel call it quits! Here are 15 of the most interesting, scary, disturbing, and even surprisingly nice stories that people have been kind enough to share.
15 People Are Not Who They Seem At First
Anonymous got scammed:
I knew a cosplayer once who I befriended when I moved to town. She then mysteriously got sick, saying it was a terminal heart condition. She asked me to help her make cosplays while I was job hunting because she wasn't going to live past the con. After a while, I started to suspect something was wrong with her — past lying about being ill. Her behavior got worse.
I found out she had been scamming money out of ten male friends, lying about being sick, and conning money out of her former workplace (where she stole things to resell).
We called the cops when she showed up at my house refusing to leave because I blocked her after con. She demanded money for emotional damage because she said I was slandering her with dangerous lies. Now, I don't sew for free anymore, no matter how well I know the person.
14 Sometimes The Internet Can Be Really Cruel
Photo by: www.facebook.com/AshBphotos[/caption]
Paradiigm Shift tells her story of shock:
Two years ago I cosplayed Juvia from Fairy Tail, and I used a wig from Gothic Lolita Wigs. I got photos taken at a con and posted them on Instagram, and to my surprise, the Gothic Lolita account shared one of the photos and I freaked out. About 90% of the comments on the shared photo were really nice (that wig is great for Juvia, she looks awesome, etc) but a few of the comments were focused on my breast size. Juvia is super busty, and I'm not, so a few comments were along the lines of "she's a cute cosplayer, BUT her boobs are too small for Juvia, so that ruins it." That upset me. I didn't reply to any of these comments, I just let it go.
13 Feeling Unsafe In Cosplay Is The Worst
Anonymous tells a true horror story:
I crossplay and this one evening at Otakon I was out with friends. When we split up for the night, I decided to walk my friend back to her hotel which was several blocks away. It was a pretty short walk. We got to her hotel, but I had the feeling I was being watched the entire time. We said our goodbyes for the night and I made my way back to my hotel which was connected to the convention center, alone.
I walked about a block and realized two guys were following me. They mentioned my cosplay earlier and other things. I crossed the street, and they followed. They kept up the pace and got closer. I was scared especially being in the outfit I was in. They began calling out to me and asking me to come over. I eventually made it back to my hotel, but they were about 5 steps behind me and followed me in. Thankfully I got into the elevator and lost them.
12 Props Can Definitely Be A Party Foul
Photo Brand Cosplay talks about getting attacked by furries:
I was cosplaying Professor Ozpin from RWBY, and I had my cane prop with me. I somehow ended up taking jello shots with a group of furries on New Year’s Eve, and then some crazy dude showed up. He kept getting closer to me and asking me to kiss him. He also really wanted to know if I'd ever done acid. I got so uncomfortable that I kept backing up.
Little did I know there was a Bluetooth speaker near me that my cane ended up getting caught in. It toppled over and broke, and the furry that owned it was livid. He started chasing me. and that was the time I ran from a random creeper on drugs and a few angry drunken furries.
And that was the time I ran from a random creeper on drugs — and a few angry drunken furries.
11 That One Guy Who Doesn't Know Cosplayers Aren't The Character
8 Bit Ambitions talks about fending off the creeps:
I was at Magfest in my Lalafell about to get food, and this guy comes up to me and quietly asks for a picture. I'm a big push over so of course I said yes and started to pose while my friend waited off to the side. He was a little awkward but nowhere near as bad as I've dealt with before. He starts to take a couple pictures, and he asks me to do an in game emote, and again I'm too nice to say no, so I do the pose and then it starts to get creepy.
He starts muttering under his breath "You're so precious, so precious, so precious." He slowly, possibly unconsciously, starts to move closer and closer and getting a little louder and I instantly shoot my friend a look that must have screamed 'Please help me I don't know what's happening.' Thank God he was standing there because he just swoops in and says "Didn't you want food? I want food, come on!" and dragged me off.
10 When You Give Your All And It's Not Enough
Anonymous talks about gossip and rumors:
I had a friend who had a big problem with sewing and always asked me for advice. I helped her with pattern making, and even made small tutorials for her (I never really had time to go make a complete costume for her since I made all of my costumes myself).
One day I found out that someone commissioned her and she was lying saying that she knew how to make these elaborate costumes. She begged me for help, so I wrote out everything, sent her links, and even drafted patterns for her so she could start making her "customer's" order. Soon I learned that my friend had taken the customer's money and never actually made the costume.
Once I found this out I was extremely upset that my friend lied and scammed someone. Eventually, I told her that I had no interest being friends with a liar and we parted ways. A year later I heard rumors from people about me in the cosplay community. Turns out, my old friend started spreading rumors that I was the one that couldn't sew and that I lied. It broke my heart.
9 Yaya Han Is Your Cousin?
Anonymous dating nightmare:
I went out on a date with a guy that I knew had a crush on me. He’s a cosplayer, but also a compulsive liar. He was ready to tell me any lie he could to impress me. While we were driving, he was telling me about a convention he was going to and that he managed to get extra perks. I was curious about how he did since it's difficult to get them.
I asked him, and he turned to me and said, "My third cousin is Yaya Han." Mind you, he was a white boy who has no trace of Chinese in his blood line whatsoever. Despite making it really obvious that I knew it wasn’t true, he proceeded to explain to me how he helped Yaya Han make her costumes and even worked at her studio (we live nowhere near her). Eventually, he told me he lied and was trying to impress me since I'm so "talented at what I do.
8 That One Guy Who Just Didn't Get It
Anonymous explains why Cosplay is not Consent:
A big message in the cosplay community is: "cosplay is not consent." People need to realize that just because they are at a convention does not mean all social rules don’t apply. Pretty simple: just act like a decent human being.
Believe it or not, after a Con Horror Stories Panel, one creepy guy just didn't get it. When my friend bent down in her dress to pick up her prop and leave, this perverted guy said to the person hosting the next panel, “Oh when she bends over you can see her ___.” I can’t remember what exactly, but it was obviously a reference to her character plus saying he could see her lower area.
Luckily, the person he said it to responded like a normal human being saying, “ ARE YOU [Prophanity] KIDDING ME THAT ISN’T COOL. DIDN’T YOU GET THE MESSAGE OF THIS PANEL !?” and stared him down with such a look in his eyes the guy took off in an instant. I thanked the guy for saying something and defending my friend.
7 Having A Camera Doesn't Make You A Photographer...
Anonymous tells a tale of terror:
I was cosplaying Pyrrha Nikos at AnimeNEXT, and there was a man who pulled me to the side for a photo. However, he ended up asking me for another and another and soon he had kept me with him for almost an hour taking photos of me.
He wasn't a photographer or anything because he was using the camera on his Android tablet with no additional professional equipment. I told him I had to leave, but he was so rude and scuffed at me while I was trying to make my escape from him. What's even worse is that I ended up being late to a panel I was helping out at!
6 The Fire Drill From Hell...That Was Cold?
Photo by facebook.com/aleestudios[/caption]
Kris Kittie (Article Author):
After years of trying to perfect my Pyrrha Nikos cosplay, in February of 2016 for Katsucon I finally crafted my masterpiece! Obviously, for Maryland, it is decidedly cold at the start of the year and walking around in armor and a corset isn't the warmest attire.
While milling around the convention center, loud beeps started blasting over the intercom. Of course, no one took the fire alarm seriously until people started physically herding us out of the building into very chilly temperatures in the teens. Many Con-goers were able to take shelter in a nearby hotel, but some weren't so lucky. Some cosplayers didn't have shoes to go inside anywhere, and some even needed to be wrapped in blankets by paramedics and treated for hypothermia.
5 You Worked Hard On That Prop! What A Shame If...
Blossoming Cosplay tells the tale:
This was at Castle Point Anime Convention 2014. Due to a cosplay group that had fallen through, I had opted to throw something together and go as Strong World Nami from One Piece. One accessory I made was her Clima-tact weapon.
This is a 5+ foot tall staff. I made it from 2 separate pieces of wooden rod, and 3 Styrofoam spheres. This was a big deal because I’m horrible at prop making — it's not my calling. The day went fine, until late afternoon when a guy approached my friends and me and proceeded to pull the staff from my hands.
My reaction was to hold on tighter and prevent this stranger from taking my prop. He continued to try to take it from me, and one of the wooden rods in the bottom sphere snapped, ruining my prop.
When he realized what happened, he let go. I had already started shouting at him because he ruined my prop. In the midst of my anger, he tried to blame me for what had happened. He told me that "maybe I shouldn't be so harsh, and just let people see my things." I was livid, and ultimately had to trash my Clima-tact."
4 Getting That Perfect Cosplay Shot Can Be Dangerous
Hikaru Cosplay's close-call:
This happened a few years ago when I was still in college. One of my friends (who's an incredible photographer) wanted to do a golden hour shoot in the snow on campus. Naturally, I said yes. I didn't have anything that would be a good fit in the snow. So I went with my newest cosplay, Ryuko from Kill La Kill We ended up shooting for 2 hours (with me exposed only for pics).
After one round of photos, I put my jacket back on and immediately started sweating and felt too hot. I have low blood pressure to start with, and I hadn't eaten much that day prior to the shoot, combined with getting too warm too fast. I ended up passing out and scaring the heck out of my friend. Unfortunately, when I fell, I broke my scissor blade prop into three pieces! Luckily it was a quick fix with some glue.
3 When The Con Crunch Is Too Intense
Azure Valkyrie Cosplay talks about stress:
When I was making Nora's hammer, Magnhild, closer to the time of the convention I came to the conclusion that I had no choice but to drill things together. It was the only way things would hold. The only drill we had was a huge and bulky one that took two hands to hold.
I tried doing it myself, and I almost messed up a months worth of work. I started screaming at the top of my lungs, and I think I bruised my hand. The good thing is, it turned out great! It was just really hard to maneuver. Next time around, I want to make a transforming one so I can actually transport it more easily.
2 Cosplay Done Quick Isn't Always Wearable
Loose Canon LTD talks about disappointment:
I needed a pair of blue pants to match my Roy Mustang military uniform but couldn't find any in the shops, so I had to make them. I managed to cut the patterns out of the fabric I bought the day before leaving for Otakon 2012. On my way there, I was hand-stitching both pant legs and then, about a half-hour away from Baltimore, I started sewing them together.
However, it wasn't until much later that evening in the hotel room that I discovered I'd sewn one of the pant legs inside-out and no one had a sewing machine to spare. Needless to say, Roy Mustang would not be making an appearance at Otakon that year.
1 When The Con Staff Has Your Back
Anonymous depends on the kindness of strangers:
I once lost my badge while at a photo shoot and I was so distraught that I had lost it, that I ran to con-ops crying because I didn't want to spend the money to buy a new badge. It also didn't help that I was wearing armor either and it was extremely hot, so I was probably in the middle of heat stroke as well. Thank God for the con-ops who helped me so much.
They allowed me to sit with them in their office and we talked for hours, and they gave me so much water to help me feel better and also bought me some pizza from the hotel lobby which I'm forever thankful for. I didn't end up finding my badge, but I actually helped three other people find theirs! Even if something bad happened to me, I just took it as a chance to help others.