Students dress up and get animated
Updated: 2013-09-03 10:49
By Hu Yongqi in Kunming (China Daily)
A cosplayer performs at the Yunnan animation festival. Yin Jianguo / for China Daily
Hidden behind the curtain, Bai Bingju was making up in front of a small mirror to prepare for the next drama. In 15 minutes, she would perform on the stage for her favorite role - Sabre in the cartoon Silver Soul. The 18-year-old high school student, from Mengzi, capital of Honghe Hani and Yi autonomous prefecture in Yunnan province, was confident that her team could be a strong competitor at the 6th Animation Festival of Yunnan, which ran from Aug 9-14.
Bai's team rehearsed more than a thousand times before arriving at Kunming, the provincial capital. "We face ferocious competition as other contenders are here for the title," says Bai, who won a third prize in the competition. "But the point of costume play is not all about winning the championship but having fun."
About two years ago, Bai first heard of something called costume play and the curiosity drove her to see how the participants got the colorful costumes and played their favorite roles in well-known cartoons or animations. Since childhood, Bai was trained in painting and dancing, which helped her new hobby.
Bai's story was about how social perception has changed on costume play. It has gained popularity in many cities - more than 3,000 cosplayers from all over the country competed for the championship. The young generation can spend more time on their own interest with adequate financial supports from their parents.
The fancy costumes showed the exciting side, but there were difficulties behind it that onlookers couldn't feel.
Bai's mother Li Yao says she strongly opposed the new fashion of dressing at the outset. "It was really odd for my husband and me, not to mention her grandparents," Li says. "Therefore, we cautiously let her try it because we didn't want her to be too disappointed."
At Mengzi High School, cosplay was once taboo for students because it was regarded as a huge distraction from classes and tests, which are the top priority for most Chinese parents and students, says Bai. Therefore, Bai and her teammates must rehearse during the weekend. "If you are interested in something, time could be squeezed out," she says.