Way back in 2002, I got my first XBOX for Christmas, and there was this two-game combo disc it came with. One of the games was Jet Set Radio Future, and I just absolutely fell in love - I knew I had to be one of the characters like Beat.
Honestly, I've never been good with a lot of cosplay stuff. I first tried making the costume in 2008 - it was actually my first cosplay ever, and it wasn't very good. There was another guy at the convention dressed up as the same character, and his outfit was spot on- he looked like he'd stepped right out of the game. So he sees my costume, and he's just so excited about it, saying how good it looked and everything, and it really made me feel awesome about the whole thing. That interaction really left an impression, and I have it in my mind every time I wear the costume now.
I left it alone for a few years before I decided to try again, and I got help from friends this time. I commissioned the shirt from my friend Lauren, and I painted and fixed up the headphones, skates, etc. myself. I originally had these whole elaborate jet engine props on the skates, but they broke off within the first five minutes of the convention, so I just left them off for good.
The response was phenomenal, especially because my friends and I organized a whole Jet Set group for the convention. We debuted at Denver Comic Con 2013, and it was some of the most fun I ever had. Half the group had no idea how to skate, but they went all out and wore the skates anyway. It really made me proud.
I first heard about cosplay because of my older sister. She dragged me to NDK back in 2007. I was an impressionable young freshman at the time, and as we walk through the doors I see all these people in costumes talking about things they loved, and this fellow in a kilt and tophat walks up to greet us. I knew right away this was for me.
Most of my friends are convention-goers themselves, so they're familiar and comfortable with it - heck, some are award-winning costume makers now, so I don't think there's a whole lot to explain to them! My family has never really cared for it, but they're not really negative about it either. They'll talk about it the way you talk about the weather, but sometimes they really do seem impressed by the finished product. Oh, and puns. They will crack puns any time they get the chance.
I keep cosplaying because it's a break from the normal life and a chance to be someone else, a chance to immerse myself in the role of some character. You can feel invincible sometimes, like you really are that superhero you're dressed up as, and it's so awesome to see how everyone else interacts with you. I can't tell you how many great friends have come into my life because we were dressed as characters from the same game, or just liked each other's costumes at all. Not just friendships either- cosplay led to meeting my girlfriend too, and that li'l lady is lightyears ahead of me in creative talent.
Oh man, too many stories. So there was this time I was at a small convention, dressed up as Ezio from Assassin's Creed. I was really big into Parkour and Freerunning at the time, so I'm climbing around on the side of the building, and really just getting way too into character with the whole thing. I never thought much of the whole event until a few weeks ago, when I found out from a friend that a wedding was happening in the building- and they could all see very clearly what was happening outside the windows. Oops.
Overall, cosplay has been a big part of my life, helping to shape who I am today. I'm not very good at crafting; I can't knock out ten new costumes in a year like of my friends, and I'm no authority on what makes a cosplay great or not. But what matters to me is just having fun, getting to meet good people, and becoming someone else for a day.
Cheers to you!