Cosplay is a hobby where participants create elaborate outfits based on their favorite characters from video games, anime, comic books, movies, television series, and other entertainment media. The hobby dates back as early as the 15th century, though the term cosplay was only coined in 1984. Even then, the hobby was relatively unknown and considered strange and unusual by most people.
Today, the cosplay community is booming. Whether this is a result of the Marvel and the DC comic book universes thriving in mainstream entertainment or the surge in popularity of video games in the past few years, it seems that cosplay is a hobby that will be around for a long time.
There’s a great debate within the cosplay community as to what is and isn’t acceptable. For a very small percentage of cosplay fans, overly sexual costumes are frowned upon. But, for everyone, it’s what’s made cosplay popular. Anyone who plays video games or grew up playing video games loves seeing their favorite characters portrayed by beautiful models. Looks aside, a number of these cosplayers have serious talent. It takes talent to make a number of the Nintendo characters on this list look hot. Thankfully, they make it work. To celebrate the 127th year that Nintendo has been in business, here are 15 hot cosplays of classic Nintendo characters.
15. Jessica Nigri — Samus / Pikachu / Fox
The Cosplayer: Jessica Nigri is one of the most recognizable cosplayers even for anyone who isn’t super involved in the scene. With over 4 million fans on Facebook, Nigri is adored by casual and hardcore fans in the cosplay scene. Her outfits are sometimes a little too sexual for cosplay fans who enjoy the hobby for being a DIY, but other times, she aims for accuracy rather than sex appeal. In any case, she always looks fantastic.
Though incredibly famous now, Nigri was just another casual cosplayer until 2009, when her sexy Pikachu (as seen above) went viral. Today, due to her fame in the video-game scene, Nigri has been hired to promote Gears of War 3 when it was first released. She gained further attention when she was interviewed by YouTuber KassemG at Comic Con in 2009.
At 28 years of age, Nigri has expressed that she’ll eventually retire from modeling. Nigri told an interviewer that instead of posing in front of a camera, she plans to pursue a “behind the scenes” career, focusing on marketing and advertising.
14. Lindsay Elyse — Navi the Fairy
The Cosplayer: Lindsay Elyse (sometimes referred to as Lindsay Komlos) has been working in the cosplay industry for 10 years. With over a million likes on her Facebook page, Lindsay Elyse makes her living traveling to gaming and comic conventions around the world, all while promoting herself on social media. In addition to having a fairly active Facebook page, Lindsay Elyse loves to stream on Twitch. You can catch her every day from 11am-3PM PST.
The Character: For video-game fans, you’ll know Navi from The Legend of Zelda series, particularly The Ocarina of Time. Though she only appears as a floating ball with wings, Navi was loved by gamers around the world for three iconic phrases: “hey,” “listen,” and “watch out.” Without the sign in Lindsay Elyse’s hand, you would have no idea that she was dressed as Navi. It’s the phrases that really connect the cosplayer to the character.
For unknown reasons, Navi leaves Link at the end of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time after defeating Ganondorf. Navi is only ever seen again in the Hyrule Warriors (2014) series. That said, you can briefly hear Navi in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask during the opening scene, where it’s stated that Link is looking for a “beloved and invaluable friend.”
13. Misa Lynn — Misty
The Cosplayer: Misa Lynn has been a cosplayer since 2011. She broke onto the scene by appearing at conventions. Recently, Misa Lynn has been working as a guest at a number of major conventions, including Defend The North, NJ Comic Anime Con, YourMiniCon, Gameacon, and New Jersey Gamer Con. Like many of her fellow cosplayers, Misa Lynn tries to support herself by selling prints of her work.
The Character: Due to her appearance in early Pokemon she is, without a doubt, a classic Nintendo character.
Misty is a very popular character portrayed by cosplayers. It could be that many of the cosplayers grew up during a time that Misty (and the Pokemon show in general) was watched by everyone on TV. Maybe cosplayers are constantly getting requests from fans to dress up as Misty due to their childhood crushes. Most likely, it’s because Misty has a very revealing outfit that allows cosplayers to show off their best assets. As a wise man once said: if you’ve got it, flaunt it!
12. Vera Bambi — Fire Mario
The Cosplayer: Vera Bambi is one of few cosplayers shrouded in controversy. While she does stream on Twitch and is highly active in the cosplay community, Vera Bambi makes a living by streaming on My Free Cams. If you aren’t aware, My Free Cams is an adult-entertainment website. While some people believe there’s nothing wrong with using your body to make money, a number of people in the cosplay community look down on cosplayers who also work on adult websites. Some feel it gives cosplay a bad reputation, but that’s neither here nor there.
Though she looks gorgeous now, Vera Bambi looked awkward through her teenage years. Due to her skinny frame and problems with acne, she was teased mercilessly as a teenager. On her own website, she cites this bullying as one of the reasons she decided to get into modeling.
11. Does Anyone Know Who This Is?
The Cosplayer: Serious question: does anyone know who this cosplayer is? This photo has been circulating on the internet for the past year and a half or so. We have reason to believe that she’s just a casual cosplay fan with a passion for dressing up as Italian plumbers. It takes serious talent to be able to make a character like Luigi. After all, most people don’t even like playing as him.
The Character: Since his very first appearance in Mario Bros (1983), Luigi has always been the character played by young brothers. As a younger sibling myself, Luigi has always been my favorite Nintendo character. Most people consider Luigi nothing more than Mario’s sidekick, but it’s about time he was given another chance to shine in a game of his own. Doesn’t anyone else want Luigi’s Mansion 2?
10. Byndo Gehk — Shy Guy
The Cosplayer: Byndo Gehk takes pride in her work. In short, she enjoys creating art. Whether it’s sculptures, drawings, crafts, or making her favorite animated characters a reality, Byndo Ghek is an artist at heart. Usually, her outfits are incredibly complicated. But, as seen above, every now and then, Byndo Gehk takes a more simplistic approach to creating a costume.
When a cosplayer decides to create a non-human character, it’s always interesting to see their approach. It’s even more interesting when that cosplayer manages to take a normally unattractive character and turn them into a hot cosplay.
The character: Officially, the troublesome Shy Guys first appeared in Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic, a game only released in Japan. The game was eventually reworked, renamed, and released internationally under the title Super Mario Bros 2. As Shy Guy is one of my favorite characters from the Mario universe, I light up every time I have the opportunity to play him (as rare as that is). For how long Shy Guy has been an iconic Mario character, you’d think he would be playable in more games. Hopefully, that’ll change soon!
9. Manzi DeYoung— Bowser
The Cosplayer: Manzi DeYoung is a freelance model working and living in Los Angeles. Outside of the world of cosplay, Manzi has an extensive fashion portfolio that can be found on her Instagram page (@Manzinat0r). With that in mind, looking at her working portfolio, it’s clear to see that Manzi’s passion lies in the world of cosplay. For most cosplayers, the pleasure of the hobby is derived from creating the costumes that they wear. That couldn’t be truer for Manzi, who boasts her creative abilities online.
The Character: Bowser, sometimes referred to as King Koopa, is not the original villain in the Mario series. For those who don’t know, Mario made his first appearance in the game Donkey Kong under the name Mr. Video. Bowser didn’t make his first appearance until a few years later as the villain in Super Mario Bros. Since then, Bowser has appeared in almost every single Mario game. Early versions of Bowser were drastically different than what they are today. For example, when he was first shown on box art, he had gray skin and lacked horns!
8. Molecular Agatha — Rosalina
The Cosplayer: Hailing from Costa Rica, Molecular Agatha is a cosplayer with a strong background in graphic design. With 53,000 likes on Facebook, she’s one more well-known cosplayer from Central America. Though she’s been part of the scene since 2006, she’s found success traveling to conventions in Central and South America as a guest and cosplay jury. In her Rosalina outfit, Molecular Agatha was featured in on the Playboy website. Not too shabby!
The Character: Rosalina looks a lot like Elsa — just saying. She’s a fairly new character to the Mario franchise, making her first appearance in Super Mario Galaxy (2007). Based on what Rosalina looks like, it’s easy to see that Nintendo had originally planned to make her a relative of Peach. That idea was scrapped during Rosalina’s early development stage. After the success of the Super Mario Galaxy series, Rosalina was introduced into the spin-offs Mario Party, Mario Tennis, and Mario Kart.
7. Ely Renae — Ganondorf
The Cosplayer: Due to her red hair, Ely Renae has a very distinct look. Her social media profiles are built around characters with red hair, though she’s dyed her hair a few times for other cosplays. Since the release of Horizon Zero Dawn (2017), Ely Renae has focused her cosplay talents on building the perfect costume for Alloy, the main character of Horizon Zero Dawn. Painting herself entirely purple for a Ganondorf cosplay is risky because it could’ve turned out terribly. Thankfully, it didn’t. She looks fantastic.
The Character: Debatably the most famous villain in The Legend of Zelda, Ganondorf hasn’t actually appeared in too many games as the antagonist. Making his first appearance in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998), Ganondorf only appeared in two other Legend of Zelda games: The Wind Waker (2002) and Twilight Princess (2006). The character has appeared in the Hyrule Warriors series as well as the Super Smash Bros. series.
6. Tara Babcock — Mario
The Cosplayer: With 154,000 likes on Facebook, Tara Babcock is one of the more social media-savvy cosplayers on this list. In addition to having a strong YouTube following, Tara Babcock also has a strong presence on Twitch. If you like what you see, any fan of Tara Babcock can tell you that there’s a lot more for you to see if you know where to look in the right places.
Oh, wait, did I not mention that she does p*rn? Because she does. Officially, you have to buy the content directly from her on Patreon — but there are definitely ways to see photos and videos of her through other means. Get creative! Look through your favorite sites. You’ll find something.
Even if Tara Babcock put on a mustache in the above photo, it would still be sexy. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: if you can turn an overweight, Italian plumber into a sexy outfit — you have a natural talent that many people do not.
5. Liz Katz — Princess Peach
The Cosplayer: Featured on Playboy’s Sexiest Cosplayers of 2014, there’s no doubt that Liz Katz deserves the recognition that she receives from the cosplay community. Being gorgeous isn’t enough in the industry. You need to know how to properly market yourself to maximize your social media reach, something that Liz Katz knows exactly how to do! Despite how she markets herself on social media, Katz has said she’s actually a very introverted person.
The Character: Princess Peach, often the damsel in distress in the Mario series, is just as iconic to the series as Mario himself. However, Princess Peach wasn’t actually the first woman Mario fell in love with and tried to rescue. It’s commonly believed that Princess Peach was the damsel in distress in the original Donkey Kong game. That’s incorrect! The woman that Mario rescues in Donkey Kong is called Pauline and is an entirely different character. Princess Peach wasn’t introduced to Mario until Super Mario Bros, which was released in the years following the success of Donkey Kong!
4. Holly Wolf & Karli Woods — Samus Aran
The Cosplayers: Holly Wolf is an internationally renowned model who’s expressed an interest in video games and the cosplay community in general. She’s been featured on the cover of Playboy, had countless photo shoots published in magazines, and boasts a whopping 4,000,000 likes on Facebook. Hailing from Toronto, Ontario, the Canadian model has slowly started focusing more on her career as a cosplayer. She’s following her passion! She’s a nerd at heart, after all.
To contrast Holly Wolf, Karli Woods is a much smaller cosplayer. Though she hasn’t found international success like the Wolf, she’s made enough of an impact of on the cosplay community to be featured on this list.
The Character: Samus Aran is usually dressed a lot more modestly. Instead, she’s usually seen in an orange and red armored suit, though, she’s been known to appear in the outfit on the left, which is known as her zero suit. Samus was first introduced to the world in the 1986 game Metroid. Through the game, players were purposefully misled to believe that Samus was a man. However, if gamers completed Metroid in under an hour, it was revealed that Samus was actually a young woman in a bikini.
3. Miss Nikida — Link
The Cosplayer: Miss Nikida is one of the hidden gems of the cosplay community. With an incredibly small following (only 3,000 followers on Instagram and 1,600 likes on Facebook) Miss Nikida still manages to create some of the sexiest cosplays to date. Based in Australia, it’s hard for Miss Nikida to market herself at the major conventions, but her following is slowly growing. She’s still new to the scene, but hopefully, we’ll see more of her in the years to come.
Genderbending as Link, Miss Nikida turned the badass character from The Legend of Zelda into something that we all don’t mind looking at. Though Link isn’t seen as the ‘main’ Nintendo character, he really should be. Since first appearing in The Legend of Zelda (1987), Link has grown in gamers’ hearts as one of the most popular video game protagonists. For many gamers, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the best (and hardest) games that they’ve ever played. Seriously, did anyone else almost shed tears of joy after beating the Water Temple for the first time?
2. Jane and Emily Slater — Waluigi & Wario
The Cosplayers: In the photo above, Jane and Emily Slater are dressed as two underrated characters from Mario: Waluigi and Wario. Jane and Emily are part of the very small (and mostly unknown) cosplay group, Bangarang cosplay. Due to how relatively unknown Jane and Emily are, there isn’t much to say about their mostly amateur cosplay careers. The characters they’re portraying, however, have a much more interesting history.
The Characters: To start, Wario was created to be a contrast to Mario. Though his physical features are an exaggerated version of Mario’s, he’s often thought of as the evil (or opposite) version of Mario. Wario’s first appearance was in the game Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (1992), and he’s become a staple of the series. The character was so popular among fans that he’s starred in a number of his own video games.
Waluigi was only added to Mario in 2000, when he made his first appearance in Mario Tennis. Since Wario is the exaggerated version of Mario, Waluigi is the exaggerated version of Luigi. Since his release, fans and critics have had mixed feelings about Waluigi.
Because Waluigi wasn’t created by Nintendo (and instead created by Camelot, who makes the Mario sports games). He’s often seen as an illegitimate Mario character. He’s yet to appear in a main Mario game and has been relegated to only appearing in spin-offs.
1. Valentina Ivankov Yamamoto — Midna
The Cosplayer: With over 53,000 followers on Instagram, Valentina Ivankov Yamamoto is no rookie in the cosplay scene. There isn’t a lot of information about Yamamoto online, and her posts on social media are often criticized by fans of cosplay. There are numerous photos of Yamamoto where she tries to show off her assets more than the outfit, something that the cosplay community can’t stand. For the community, the focus of the hobby should be creating accurate depictions of animated characters, not posting soft core p*rn on Facebook!
The Character: Midna isn’t the most recognizable character from The Legend of Zelda series because she only appeared in Twilight Princess. Usually seen with a funky helmet on her head (known as the Fused Shadow), Midna is a devious character that resides in the Twilight Realm. Throughout the game, Midna hides in Link’s shadow, acting in a way similar to how Navi did in The Ocarina of Time. The only difference between Midna and Navi is that Midna is a whole lot more forgettable.
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