Anime and cosplay go together like bread and butter. What better way to add to the fantasy than with hot costumes on hot cosplayers? All those crazy characters and situations can actually come to life before your eyes instead of merely appearing on the nearest TV or computer screen.
To the true connoisseur of anime cosplay, the details are important. That’s why many of the cosplayers make their own costumes – that is, if they have the time. Hundreds of hours are often spent crafting the incredibly realistic anime cosplays to an obsessive level of intricacy. When cosplayers don’t have that kind of time, they turn to other cosplayers who do and who develop a side business as costume makers.
What we love most about these cosplays is the level of dedication and fandom that these ladies display. Let’s face it – anyone can come up with a Wonder Woman costume these days, or a Harley Quinn, or any of the other Marvel or DC superheroes. They’re all over the media, and it would actually be more difficult not to know or be familiar with those characters. Anime cosplay is for true fans of the genre – a true labor of love.
Here are 15 of the best and hottest on the planet – we salute your dedication.
15. Jessica Nigri As Mad Moxxi From The Borderlands
Jessica Nigri is often called the Queen of Cosplay, and while there are plenty of cosplayers out there to love, it’s hard to argue with the title when Jessica obviously devotes so much time and attention to her incredibly detailed costumes. The Reno, Nevada native is huge in the social media world, with more than 4.6 million followers on Facebook, 2.5 million on Instagram, and many more on Twitter and Youtube. Best of all, Jessica is an avowed superfan of anime herself. These days, she makes a living at cosplaying, including a stint representing Sentai Filmworks and even voicing Super Sonico in the American version of the anime series.
14. Akatsuki Tsukasa As Junko Enoshima From Dangan Ronpa
Taiwanese cosplayer Akatsuki Tsukasa is a star in her native country and throughout Asia. She’s been perfecting her cosplay game over the last decade or so and first garnered attention with her renditions of Boa Hancock from One Piece and Sheryl Nome from Macross Frontier about three years ago. Since then, her profile has continued to grow in the cosplay community worldwide. She’s appeared as a celebrity judge at cosplay events and has appeared on TV and in magazines in Taiwan and Korea, along with making appearances at events to represent various companies, including SingTel HQ’s anime TV channel, ANIPLUS HD. Tsukasa carefully crafts her own costumes and says she’s inspired to cosplay characters she enjoys from anime or video games.
13. Marie Claude Bourbonnais As Yoko Littner From Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Yoko Littner is often called “Sexy Yoko” with good reason. The character is a fighter in the popular Gurren Lagann manga and anime series, but let’s just say her costume is built for visual appeal and not necessarily the rigors of battle. When her costume is filled out by cosplayer Marie Claude Bourbonnais, the result is perfection. Marie Claude is a native of Montreal who’s becoming a force to be reckoned with in the cosplay scene through her meticulous costumes. Nowadays, she makes her living as a cosplayer and glamour model, but she has hopes of becoming a costume maker for the movies. With her attention to detail and sense of perfectionism when it comes to her cosplay, we think she’ll do well.
12. Nasu Cosplays As Miku Hatsune
Here, she takes on the role of Miku Hatsune, sometimes just called Miku, a humanoid persona who’s given a voice by a singing synthesizer developed by Crypton Future Media. She uses Yamaha’s Vocaloid singing technology and has performed concerts as an animated projection, using the voice talents of Japanese actress Saki Fujita. She was such a hit in Japan that the software, intended for use by professional musicians, became a hit on her own as a virtual singer. Miku has been used by racing teams, is a character in the manga series Maker Hikōshiki Hatsune Mix, sings in and is referenced in a number of anime series. We think Taiwan-based Nasu Cosplays got the character down to a T.
11. Yaya Han As Misato From Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yaya Han shot to fame when she was featured on the Syfy channel show Heroes of Cosplay in 2013, with a little controversy over backstage antics to fuel her popularity. Her cosplay journey began in childhood first as a fan of anime and manga, then later as an artist who specialized in work inspired by Japanimation. She started cosplaying for fun about 17 years ago, and she’s taken on the task of recreating characters from movies, comics, and even J-pop, accumulating over 350 complete costumes, which she makes for herself as well as for other cosplayers on commission. She also appeared numerous times on King of the Nerds as a judge.
10. Cha Ye Xiao Guo (Small Fruit Tea) As Kotori Minami From Love Live!
Cha Ye Xiao Guo, also known as Small Fruit Tea or Apple, is a popular Chinese cosplayer, and it’s easy to see why. She has the angelic face that goes along with so many anime characters – like high schooler Kotori Minami from Love Live! – and a sense of style that brings them to life. She’s busy on the convention circuit in Asia and makes appearances in her native China. She’s not well known outside of China, however, and there’s virtually nothing written about her that isn’t in Chinese, which is a shame for those of us on this side of the Atlantic who can’t get the details. We definitely think that should change. She has the face and demeanor that makes the anime characters she portrays seem entirely real, giving her potentially international appeal.
9. Megan Coffey (Starbuxx) As Sailor V
We don’t think any list of anime cosplay could be complete without at least one Sailor Moon costume. We like this pic from self-described “modeling and cosplaying fan art drawing scientist” Megan Coffey. The Florida-based science geek by day started out with an artist’s booth at conventions in 2013, quickly graduating to a fan fave as a cosplayer. She’s financing her Masters in Biology from Florida U with modeling, combined with her love of anime, gaming, and all things geek. Megan may be getting her Masters sometime soon, (we understand she’s on the cusp of graduating) but she can still pull off that school girl look, we’re happy to note. Manga trivia — Codename: Sailor V, created in 1991, was the prequel for Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon.
8. Calssara As Lucy Heartfilia From Fairy Tale
Calssara is a German cosplayer who’s served as her country’s representative at the World Cosplay Summit and European Cosplay Gathering, and she’s visited 33 countries so far as a conventioneer, cosplay judge, and panelist. Her bio states that she’s a librarian in real life, which may explain the fact that she pursues her passion for cosplay outside the studious – but very quiet and less than colorful – confines of her workday. She lists her other interests as medieval music, bagpipe xD, and, when it comes to books, the usual suspects from Hunger Games to Harry Potter — a total geek, in other words. We’re glad she lives in Germany, where her six weeks of paid vacation allows her to finance her international cosplaying activities.
7. Giorgia Cosplay As Magical Emi
Italian model and singer Giorgia Vecchini has been cosplaying for about 20 years, so we’re guessing she’s left her school days long behind. That being said, it doesn’t keep her from cosplaying roles like the Magical Emi, an 18-year-old alter ego created by a wayward fairy for Kazuki Mai, the schoolgirl who wanted to be a magician from the manga and anime series Magical Emi. Giorgia has won awards for her cosplay work and says her days of cosplaying go back to a photo of her at age two wearing a Heidi costume from Alps No Shoujo Heidi. Nowadays, along with convention appearances, photo shoots, and cosplay contest judging, Giorgia is on screen as a web TV presenter and works as a voice actor for commercials as well as teaching theater courses for children.
6. Shiro Cosplay As Xiao Mei From Shining Hearts
Toronto-based Shiro cosplay describes herself as a marketing student and “professional slacker,” but we’re glad that she’s motivated by all things anime and gaming, with a special mention for nekomimi or cat girls. She’s got a wide-eyed look that works great with anime and cosplaying and can convincingly portray many types of characters. We like nekomimi as well, but we also think she fills out the Xiao Mei costume from the Shining Hearts anime pretty well, too. Not that Xiao Mei doesn’t include a cat reference – an antique seller of the beast race in Shining Heart, but in Shining Blade, she appears as Lin Lin and first appears in a cat form. You’ll find Shiro Cosplay at conventions all over the world and on social media.
5. Spiral Cats As Anyone
Team Spiral Cats hails from the Republic of Korea, where the team photographer Sinme and cosplayers Tasha, Ren, Tomia, and Miyuko create incredibly detailed costumes from the worlds of anime, manga, and gaming. They’ve been making waves and garnering fans in Asia and around the world for about the last five years, and it’s not hard to see why. Not only are the costumes incredibly meticulous and detailed, covering a wide range of characters, but the photography is also consistently top notch. Naturally, the roster of stellar models plays into their popularity, too. They’re at conventions, and you’ll see them in ads in their native Korea, too, including photo spreads for companies like Nexon, Neowiz Games, Blizzard Entertainment, and Riot Games. Quite frankly, we’ll take any character this cosplay super-squad dreams up.
4. Kiera Please As Garnet From Steven Universe
Kiera Please loves to dress up like cartoon characters and kick down racial barriers while she’s at it. The Virginia native and beauty blogger known for her colorful approach has been making a splash in the cosplay world lately with photo shoots that have seen her take on characters from Disney princesses to Hermione from Harry Potter, with an impressive attention to the details. She’s garnered over 450k followers on Instagram, along with thousands more on Twitter and more, with a big boost due to the hashtag #28DaysofBlackCosplay challenge during February 2017. We love her in a cosplay that proves you don’t have to show a lot of skin to be sexy.
3. Vampy/Linda Le As Felicia From Darkstalkers
Vampy, aka Linda Le, lists her interests as art, love, metal, and cosplay, and all of those passions show up in her costumes and photo shoots. The California native makes all of her costumes entirely from scratch, which obviously takes zillions of hours – one of them purportedly took about 710 hours! – but the stunning results are totally worth it. In contrast with the many cosplayers who go after that ever-popular girlish look (not that there’s anything wrong with that), Vampy often likes to explore the dark side of anime, manga, and gaming, and it suits her to a T, we have to say. She’s hugely popular on the convention circuit, and, at the same time, she’s a superfan who’s thrilled to meet her anime and gaming heroes all over the world.
2. Jannet Vinogradova As Masane Amaha From Witchblade
It doesn’t get much hotter than Masane Amaha from the anime series Witchblade, at least not in this form. Masane’s usual form is a casual pair of jeans and cropped yellow top – we’re glad Jannet decided on depicting her first transformation instead, with black and red armor and red hair. It certainly suits the Russian model. Based in Moscow, cosplayer Jannet Vinogradova aka Jannet Incosplay has got the body and the attitude to make it work. Jannet is a professional model, costume maker, and wig maker, and appears at conventions and promotional events worldwide, along with magazine and video shoots. She’s been asked to judge cosplay events, and she also likes to help budding cosplayers with their work.
1. AKcros As Swimsuit Nagato From Kantai Collection
AKcros is based in the USA and makes the rounds of conventions and appearances throughout the country. You may waste a little time trying to figure out the source of her name from anime or video games, but it’s just an acronym — Amanda Kristi Costigan. When she’s not cosplaying, she’s a pre-med student, which reinforces a running theme of brainy women cosplayers in this list that we really love. When she’s not doing either of those things, she’s making her own costumes from scratch. According to her Patreon profile, she has only one request: don’t ask her for Optimus Prime! We’d have to agree that her talents would be wasted inside a Transformer get up.
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