We all have our passions, right? And sometimes, when you love something so much, whatever it may be, it becomes easy to take that love a little too far, maybe without even knowing it. Like everything, hobbies are good in moderation, and if not moderated, so to speak, there can be a darker side to the things you love. At the worst, people can lose their lives. At the best, they kind of need to just get a life.
Cosplaying is one hobby that seems like it would be easy to lose track of yourself while doing, probably because it requires you to be someone else and live another life entirely, or at least pretend to. And for those tried and true cosplayers who really give it their all, taking it too far is a real worry.
There are many ways one can take cosplay "too far", from offending others to putting oneself at risk, to letting it totally take over one's life until it is an obsession and not much else is left. Some cosplayers even hide their hobby- or in some cases, addiction- from friends, family, loved ones- even spouses! Some have spouses they do not even recognize publicly (for their own reasons, but still). In these ways, cosplayers, like anyone with a very strong passion in life, maybe need to back off a little and regain their perspective. No matter how much you love something, your perspective should remain. Generally speaking, the nature of your life should be well-rounded and not only centered around one thing; that is not healthy.
I have found 14 people who in my opinion could use a little of that perspective. They are folks who I respect (well, for the most part), if only because to love something so wholly and put your energy into that passion is admirable. But they are also people who may need to focus on other things, as well, because that same passion that is so good, is also bad when it becomes such a massive part of your life. Like I said, everything in moderation. Read on, and see what I mean!
10 Dude Sacrifices His Eye
The Cosplay duo known as Hybrid Cosplay has one member that may love his art a little too much… So much, in fact, that he risked the body part that people tend to be most squeamish about even touching: the eye. Johnny Santos (stage name: Johnny Hybrid) was told that he may now lose his eye after damage was done to it while he desperately tried to remove his contact lens. Apparently, Johnny’s girlfriend and Cosplay partner, Yami Hybrid, had accidentally sprayed hairspray on the $300.00 lenses, but Johnny simply washed them and wore them anyway. Big mistake! His eyeball was burned by wearing them. But at least Johnny, who is best known for his remarkable cosplays of Gambit from the X-Men, has a good attitude about the whole thing, as his latest cosplay project is making a leather eye patch. Contact lens safety is a definite concern of cosplayers, who often use special-effect nonprescription lenses, often from overseas, where they are not regulated.
You know when the phrase, “Cosplay is not consent” starts popping up and becomes an actual catchphrase in the cosplay community, that there is a problem. Or at least enough of a threat of a problem to warrant the phrase’s use (or its creation, in the first place). Sexual harassment and assault has become a not uncommon part of the cosplay world, unfortunately, as Deviant model and cosplay enthusiast Vivid Vivka can confirm. And she does, opening up about her darker experiences in an interview. The nude model has been harassed both online and in person countless times. Vivid is representative of all the harassees who are too high in number to fit on one list, but who should perhaps have a spot here because they return to conventions where they will knowingly be harassed. It is a testament to their love of cosplay, but also raises the question of how much they are willing to take for it. As Vivid Vivka says, herself, “At every convention I go to, there are a handful of horror stories… both to me and that happen to my friends. The worst is when the harass-ee doesn't speak up about it.” Yikes.
Ok, obviously we love love love anyone who does a Kim Jong-Un cosplay. The guy is a freaking dictator who is funny-looking and embarrassed his father and predecessor by sneaking into Disneyland, for crying out loud. But it is the dictator part that is the reason he deserves a lot more than being made fun of in a cosplay. He simply makes it easy! Anyway, it may be hilarious, but it is also dangerous. Case in point, the dude who did a cosplay of the human rights violator that was so good, people thought he was the real deal, and as you can imagine, did not react well.
The North Korean imposter is inarguably a good one, but he is also perhaps behaving riskily. Or at the very least, insensitively (though it is hard not to find the pudgy ruler amusing). But as we have learned lately, it takes a lot less than being the enemy of the free world to get yourself killed. Hopefully this cosplayer does not learn any lessons the hard way. Juan Angelo Tan Custodio (a.k.a. Jello Custodio, which is so much more fun) lives in the Philippines, so it is not exactly a stretch of the imagination that the people there thought Kim Jong-Un was among them.
9 Lara Croft Lover
Now I am thinking this could just as easily be a case of someone being just as obsessed with photos and selfies as they are with cosplay; people these days are obsessed with taking pictures of every little thing (my 17-year-old sister would pretty much go to any length to take a selfie she wanted). But cosplayer Jenn, dressed as Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, stepped off a 165-foot waterfall in Victoria, Australia, and dangled from a rope for her photo. Obviously, Jenn (like bad-ass Lara Croft, herself) is an adventurer, to say the least, whether or not she is more obsessed with photos or cosplay. And honestly, she might also be an idiot. Maybe she knows what she is doing, but then again, maybe not. I mean, she is definitely dedicated (and has been playing Lara for over a decade), but it is unlikely she is an expert climber, or even knows how to correctly tie a rope to hold her weight that high off the ground. Yet another risk-taker, which I can respect, but the photos also make me cringe. I wonder what other crazy stunts she has done in the name of her love for Lara?
Some people just really need something to b*tch about, huh? They have to take something fun that makes people happy, and be pissed about it. I am talking about the men and women who think Westerners should not be cosplaying anime. This group encompasses a large amount of people, but wouldn’t you agree that they are taking it too far? It is one thing to have an opinion and keep it to yourself, but these haters have message boards and are openly hating on their fellow cosplay lovers across the ocean. They insult Westerners' looks and call them racist (hypocritical much?). I mean, isn’t the whole idea behind cosplay to look different than you do in real life?
From what I gather, these are mainly Japanese cosplayers who feel that the western look ruins anime for a multitude of reasons. One particularly avid hater even calls them “sickos” and accuses them of “ruining” anime and therefore “hurting” those who love it. Wow. What a psycho! This is definitely taking it too far and really, this guy needs to do himself a favor and really think about getting a freaking life. He even posted a how-to on participating in the movement, along with a bitter message to western cosplayers. Some people, I tell you. Smh.
8 Seattle Justice Fighter
Is this a real-life superhero (or at least a person with good intentions), or a Kooky (and kinda pathetic) dude with no life? You decide. In Seattle, Benjamin John Francis Fodor (a.k.a. Phoenix Jones) patrolled the streets wearing a skin-tight black and gold rubber suit and mask. One day, he got his chance to serve and protect when a guy wearing all black sprung on a group of friends leaving the bar and pepper-sprayed them. Naturally, Phoenix Jones was there to save them, and bravely, he tried to do just that, thinking he was breaking up a fight. Like the attacker, he sprayed some pepper spray, too. But while the first sprayer did wind up in jail (it was his second spraying of the night), the sprayees were not amused by being sprayed by both their attacker and their “savior”, and even got some of Phoenix’s in their eyes! One woman in the group said, "A little argument broke out between our group and the other group, and all of a sudden we were attacked. I turn around and we're being attacked by these guys wearing Halloween costumes."
7 The Cosplaying Doctor
In Florida, a group of cosplaying doctors (because most doctors have that much free time) went out for some drinks. Doctors have a stigma of being into themselves and thinking they are better or that they can get away with anything because of their status as medical professionals. They are real-life lifesavers and not the heroes this group so liked to dress up as. I am just speculating here, but maybe that played into the actions of Dr. Raymond Adamcik, 54. He was dressed as Captain America, and that night at the bar, he stuck a burrito in his pants and went around asking women if they wanted to touch it (as a woman, I speak on behalf of all of us- yes, all four billion or so- when I say, “Ewww”).
When he actually started groping women, the cops were called. When he was identified, he was taken to jail, but not before being caught flushing a joint down the toilet. Now there is a man I want advising me on medical decisions, for sure! And someone definitely not worthy of donning Chris Evans’ superhero outfit! That is one cosplayer/doctor (what a combo!) that is just plain sad. Maybe he was just drunk, though I would like to think my own doctor would never behave that way, whether or not they are at work. Creepy.
6 Three Years To Make One Costume
Wow, now that is dedication… or insanity. I really don’t know which. I do know that I would never have the patience to work for three years on one costume, though. But cosplayer Hylian Jean is a very patient woman. It took her nearly three and a half years to create Ocarina of Time’s subterranean lava dragon Volvagia. She went into crazy detail, beginning the project in 2012 and beginning with things like the costume’s movable cardboard vertebrae neck, even running tests first. And that was only the beginning. Over the years, she worked from top to bottom, ending with lava rocks at her feet. It is not only impressive for the amount of work that went into it, but in its detail, creativity, and more than anything, the love Jean has for Volvagia (and dragons in general) that led her to do this. I don’t think I love anything that much.
I give this girl serious props, though I can’t help but question how much money she spent on this project, both in the sense of the physical materials and also the time it potentially took away from her actual job, or even other areas of her life. Hobbies can cost more than just money, you know. I am not here to judge, but in the end these are the things I wonder, and it seems to me that three and a half years and what is undoubtedly a lot of other sacrifices may not be worth it in the end, no matter how much you love a hobby.
5 Secret Life
In my opinion, things are taken to a whole new level when your hobby or what you love to do remains hidden from your family and friends. It’s not like cosplay is a shady thing, so it is sad that anyone feels the need to hide it. Nevertheless, people do. Having such a big secret would suck, and likely influence a big part of how you live your life. One 23-year-old university student has kept her secret from her friends even after eight years (yes, eight!) of cosplaying, even when her fans were beginning to recognize her without any makeup or even a costume! The young Japanese woman has her reasons (including that people think it is a “weird” hobby and she finds it “easier to avoid talking about” so she doesn’t have to explain it). But cosplay is not just a hobby to this student; it is her job! She has made over 250 costumes in seven years, making an average now of five per month and keeping her rates under $200.00. It just seems like it is taking it too far to go out of her way to hide her passion (and her work) from those she is closest to, and sooner or later, the years of hiding it could potentially blow up in her face and even ruin relationships. Yikes.
And perhaps even worse (but completely different) is cosplaying a military uniform! Oh yes, people have done it, and not just as a Stargate officer or something fictional like that. I read an account of a man (anonymous because, well, obviously) who dressed up like a soldier. As we know (or should know) there is a strict code of conduct one must follow while wearing the uniform of the people who so selflessly serve our country. They represent America and thus must behave themselves, which seems obvious, but people can be stupid. Anyway, maybe this guy was already drunk when he put on the costume (or thought to) but he proceeded to go out drinking with a few buddies who were also in costume, though not nearly as offensive. The cosplayer in question became belligerent and those who were telling this story (on Reddit, where else?) say they saw a group of guys drinking beer in the corner who looked extra enraged. These men allegedly had buzz cuts and one had a tattoo of a flag on his arm, so the storyteller was pretty sure they were soldiers- real soldiers, that is. Anyway, much worse could have happened, and perhaps it is an anticlimactic end to this non-story, but the bartender kicked the jerk out and all’s well that ends well. Moral of the story: respect the uniform, people. This dude definitely took it too far.
I don’t know if there is anything I love enough that would make me make out with a live grizzly bear (ok, I’d do it for a person, if there were a gun to my head, but definitely not for one of my hobbies!). Aren’t grizzlies like the most dangerous kind of bear out there, anyway? Well, one Russian extreme cosplayer named Tina Rybakova did a photoshoot with an Ussuri brown bear, also known as a black grizzly. She was portraying Princess Merida of Brave, and though she does have the fiery red waves, I hardly think Merida wore a skimpy leather bikini, nor did she make out with a bear. Just sayin’.
But we cannot ignore the fact that this is one cosplayer who is far ballsier than any man I know, because she kissed- on the mouth!- a 1,000-pound live bear. I know, wtf, right? That is some real dedication to her art right there. But really, is that supposed to be sexy? I don’t know; it doesn’t do it for me. Anyhow, she definitely deserves a spot on this list, because in my humble opinion, risking your life in this way (or at all) is insane, and more than qualifies Miss Rybakova as “taking it too far”.
3 School Lockdown
Sadly, in the past decade or two, school lockdowns have become more common. Still terrifying, they are something that is not out of the realm of possibility now, and we hear about them almost frequently. But to lockdown a school is something not to be taken lightly, of course, no matter how often you hear about it. Well, one man’s love of cosplay led to exactly that. Some guy walking around a school in Massachussetts to show off his stormtrooper costume was arrested for charges of disturbing a school and loitering within 1,000 feet of a school- an elementary school, which is even worse. His name was George Cross, 40, and while unintentional, his offense was idiotic and he should have known better. I mean, is he seriously that obsessed with cosplay (or that desperate for attention) that he has no common sense at all? A grown man walking around a school would probably get arrested even without looking like he was carrying a rifle. Dude, come on! I think this guy was not only dressing like he was from a fantasy world, but was living in one, too.
2 Children Cosplaying The Walking Dead
Ok, this sounds horrifying… and kind of funny. But no, really, this is taking cosplay too far. Kids are scared of the dark, and monsters, and pretty much everything. Playing dress up is one thing, but what Mother Hubbard Photography did was just… well, how did they even think to do this, anyway? Points for creativity, but otherwise, no.
The photography company recently did a children’s cosplay photo shoot featuring kids aged seven and under who portrayed the show’s characters as well as zombies and dead people. One photo (above) even had them positioned in a pile of bodies with bloody wounds and others brandishing guns. According to the Popsugar article written about this photo shoot, “While fans of the show will likely find the whole series to be pretty hilarious, the photos do depict pretty graphic scenes and aspects of the series — like Negan's barbed wire adorned bat — that might not be funny to all parents.” This sparked both controversy and conversation, and (what else is new?) people were divided on how to feel about it. I, for one, would never want to see a picture of my kid covered in blood and playing dead, no matter how fake I knew it was. No, thank you, not in a million years. Honestly, it disturbs me just to look at.
1 The Nazi Cosplay
Nope, nope, nope. Always a bad idea, and unquestionably if you are going to cosplay a Nazi, it is taking it too far. Some will disagree, of course, but I ask these people- why? Just why? Is there no other costume on the planet that will satisfy your urge to portray a villain? Because honestly, as fun as being bad is, I would never, ever want to pretend to be a Nazi. W.T.F? That is so offensive (and yes, I think people nowadays are waaaaay too easily offended by every little thing, but this is genuinely offensive, and always will be). It is not appropriate to “costume play” a person who contributed to the murders of millions of people when all was said and done in one of the worst genocides of human history. It is not cute, it is not funny, it is a awful thing to do. If you would not wear a KKK robe, why on earth would you wear a Nazi costume? If you absolutely must be a bad guy (I get it, I really do), then be a made- up bad guy who did not actually attempt to wipe out an entire population of people and came dangerously close to succeeding. You would think that would be obvious, but no.
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