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Unread 03-26-2013, 02:00 PM   #1
Amanita
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Why do you think OCs get a bad rap sometimes?

Sometimes, cosplaying Original Characters can get a bit controversial- some folks are cool with it, others really have a problem with it.
I remember one member here a while back asking if it was okay to cosplay something they had made up, and mentioning how some of their friends seemed downright horrified at the idea.
I've heard others say that "they frown on" originals.

So why do you guys think that is, why OCs get a bad rap, or are looked down on sometimes?

I think there's a couple of reasons. One is that when it comes to cosplay, people have different reasons for getting into it. (See my post in the "would you ever leave cosplay thread)
For some people, cosplay is an outgrowth of a specific fandom they're involved in. They started to cosplay because they were fans of something, and to them, that's what cosplay is- it's a means of expressing their fandom. Since originals aren't from an established fandom, they don't "count".

Some people also believe that Cosplay refers to Anime/Japanese media only, and since OCs are outside that, they aren't "real cosplay", along with anything that isn't Japanese.

I think another part of the problem lies with some OC cosplayers themselves- Some people will do closet cosplays with varying degrees of success, and say "I'm an original character".
That in itself isn't bad, but closet cosplay can be tricky to pull off. Some folks just take too much (grab everything out of the closet that looks cool and throw it on), and the end result is a mismatched mess. Or others might start out with an idea of what they want to do, but throw on too many distracting/disparate elements, and the end result just looks really confused. I have a friend who had done this- she wanted to cosplay an original series Klingon, but added a whole lot of other extra stuff (a metallic gold skirt that didn't match her vest, a strange colored fur purse), and left out other parts of the outfit, such as suitable footwear.
I've also seen her attempt her own New Republic Jedi, using strictly closet parts. It didn't work- too many mismatched layers, and aside from the lightsaber, nothing that helped distinguish the outfit from regular street clothes. (Some outfits in the SW universe look very much like our civilian clothing, but there's usually a unique element that gives the outfit a sci-fi look, whether it's extra detailing on a piece of clothing, bits of armor, footwear, and accessories, or other unique yet not too extravagant design elements)
Let's face it- closet cosplay is easier when you have a really interesting closet- not everybody does.

So with that, some Original cosplays can end up looking mismatched, or thrown together, and end up being dismissed as lazy. Sometimes the cosplayer in question really was lazy, other times they're just working with what they have. But after seeing a lot of those closet cosplays, some observers might be tempted to say "Originals are lazy, they can't be bothered to research a character, it's an easy way out."
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Unread 03-26-2013, 02:04 PM   #2
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Yeah, I guess the bad rep comes from closet cosplays and the type of obnoxious people who make 'mary sues' who are associated with OCs.

It's always obvious when people have actually put effort into their OC cosplays and I can appreciate those just as much as a non-OC cosplay. You just can't be expected to be recognised, I guess, but if it looks awesome then people are sure to appreciate it anyway.

Personally, I'd cosplay a OC just for something fun but not really all that serious.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 02:26 PM   #3
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I like when people cosplay their OCs. Especially when the character is incredibly thought out, has some cool uniqueness to them, and when you can tell the wearer really cares for them.
I even have plans to cosplay an OC of an artist I really adore (I would cosplay my own...if I were creative enough to make them) XD So yeah~ I personally see nothing wrong with doing OC cosplays^^

Thinking about the other side~My sister once said, that she doesn't like when people just pull random stuff from their closet, and call it OC cosplay. But that can be said about non OC cosplay too right?
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Unread 03-26-2013, 02:29 PM   #4
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Sturgeon's Law - most of the people who do "original" cosplays are doing it just to be lazy. The way to beat the rap is to make your OC well fleshed-out and to put lots of effort and care into your cosplay.

That said, horrible mismatches of closet items can be awesome - I'm guessing everyone would love an Enoby cosplay.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 03:11 PM   #5
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Generally there's an opposition to OC creation as a whole, whether it's through cosplay or fanart or fanfiction. Mainly due to the prevalence of individuals who do not put forth effort and creativity that often manifests through stolen themes, ideas, designs, or even outright stolen artwork that's been manipulated.

I believe that people automatically default OC's to the 'Mary Sue' category:


Which, for anyone unfamiliar with the term, is a negative phrase directed at character's that are not particularly creative, go outside of the realm of realistic, or otherwise represents an idealized characterization of the creator. (IE: Bella Swan representing Stephanie Mayer)


That isn't to say original characters are actually bad, they're not. They're great. Be creative and make your own unique person in their own unique world because that's really goddamn badass and creative. But people just automatically default to the concept of them all being uninspired 'Mary sue's'.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 03:46 PM   #6
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^It's a shame that people can be close-minded like that, assuming that all OCs are of the Mary Sue variety. Funny, I've seen enough Mary/Gary Sues in published media. A series of novels called "The Last Vampire", which I think were written by Christopher Pike stands out as the prime example I can think of off the top of my head.

Let's see- the character is originally from somewhere in India, and she is described as looking naturally like a blond, blue eyed California valley girl. She also claims to be a master of every martial art ever devised. That alone makes me go "What the actual fuck?" Considering how secretive many martial arts schools have often been, it would have been very hard for an outsider to gain admittance, and that would have gone double if said outsider was considered to be the wrong race or gender. Even in the 20th century, a lot of Kung Fu masters felt that their art shouldn't be taught to non-Chinese. Now, I could accept that in her 5000 year lifespan, she had picked up quite a variety of styles. But every single one that ever existed? I could write a whole essay on that alone, but I'll stop there.

She was also an expert on "everything" when it came to practical skill. Yes, she would have gathered many skills over her long lifetime, but she seemed to be a master of every bit of 20th century tech she laid hands on. She could fly any helicopter, she was a demolitions expert, and so on. I would have found it more credible if she were a master of old-school survival skills, still working on mastering the newer stuff.
And this was a published book, not bad fanfic.

Heck, one of the special characters in my Warhammer 40k Dark Eldar codex comes across as sue-ish. One of those master swordswomen who can kick anyone's butt, yet somehow in her long lifespan, she has managed never to get so much as a single scar. Unless she knows a really, really good plastic surgeon, this strikes me as a bit implausible. Sure, she may be that good now, but nobody starts out that way!

I remember somebody telling me how he had been kicked out of an Anime con masquerade for dressing as his OC- his concept was that he was a kind of superhero whose power was interdimensional travel, and his specialty was acting as a "fixer", going from one place to another to fix various things out of place- things out of the time stream, events not unfolding as they were meant to, and so on. They had two reasons for kicking him out- one was that he wasn't Anime. (This was valid, although if they had a rule stating Anime only, they should have stated this beforehand), and the second was that they thought he was a Mary Sue.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 03:57 PM   #7
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Well OC's are cool and all but I don't like when they get mad at me for not knowing what they are... How am I suppost to know? O.o

Also about the masquerade, isn't it a contest to see how much you look like the character? If its a OC then any mistake you can say it was planned out like that because some 'xyz' bs.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 03:58 PM   #8
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That's one of the reasons why I usually wear my OC cosplays to the con raves. At the raves, cosplaying isn't the main focus. The main focus is to dance and have fun.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 04:00 PM   #9
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I don't really mind them! It's just a little annoying when someone cosplaying their OC from ____ anime, and they jump into the photoshoot like their a character from the show, if that makes sense!

Like at an FMA photoshoot a few years ago, a women dressed in the stereotypical blue uniform, kept changing her character. She'd say she was an OC, than when someone called for another character, she'd jump up and say she was that character. It was really annoying, and I could tell other people thought it was too.

But yeah, no problemo with people cosplaying their OC in general
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Unread 03-26-2013, 04:10 PM   #10
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I think a lot has to do with ignorance since you are creating a character from the ground up. I like it when people put a lot of time and effort into an original design and it always shows. However I don't appreciate it when people don't do the time and effort and/or knock off a much more well known character.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 04:20 PM   #11
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Well OC's are cool and all but I don't like when they get mad at me for not knowing what they are... How am I suppost to know? O.o

Also about the masquerade, isn't it a contest to see how much you look like the character? If its a OC then any mistake you can say it was planned out like that because some 'xyz' bs.
I thought masquerades were much more than simple lookalike contests- workmanship is a much bigger factor than physically resembling your character. Now, some cons DO have rules pertaining to subject matter, such as "Anime or Japanese stuff only". But for cons that have no subject matter restriction, there should be no penalizing somebody for being original. Now, a judge might have to use some discretion- if somebody looks just like Anakin Skywalker, save for some missing parts and obvious shortcuts, that might provoke an eyeroll or two. But if they designed their own jedi costume- used his for inspiration, but made it their own- changing tunic length, wearing a divided skirt instead of tight pants, that would be different.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 04:20 PM   #12
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Generally, if something is visually appealing to me.. my reaction is going to be "Holy Frijoles! That looks awesome! I must have a picture!" Regardless of the source, OC or not. However in a convention setting where there's a TON of visually appealing things to take in, my filter is usually set to "find things you know and like". That's just the way it is. A beautiful ball gown or elegant furisode will catch my attention.. but a skirt, jacket and cat ears probably won't.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 05:50 PM   #13
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OCs are kind of instantly labeled Mary Sues -- a lot are, some are not.

Personally, I have no problem with OC cosplay, because I used to do it all the time when I either couldn't afford to make a real costume (and people don't know when you swap things out on an OC), and because I used to be really proud of my characters. Now, it's not that I don't still love my own characters, but...I can afford/have the skill to make "actual costumes", if you will, and I also like to be recognized. If you're cosplaying an OC, the chances of getting recognized are virtually none.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 06:00 PM   #14
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I think aside from the Mary Sue and/or "closet cosplay" factor, there are a couple things that do tend to put people off OC cosplays:

The first is the, "OMG, WTF do you mean you DON'T know who I'm cosplaying?!?! Why aren't you taking my picture?!?! I hate you all!" attitude that people can sometimes have - i.e., getting angry that they're not getting the same amount of attention that other people cosplaying non-OC characters are getting.

The second would be the people that come up to you out of the blue and proceed to spend the next five hours telling you every single detail of the character they've created, down to what the character ate for breakfast yesterday morning, completely disregarding whether or not you actually care to find out or are trying to get somewhere.

Unfortunately for the perfectly non-obnoxious people who make up the majority of OC cosplayers, these two groups tend to be the most noticeable, and so everyone gets a bad rap. Personally, as long as you're not throwing a fit about photos or going "Let me tell you about me..." when I've only just said, "Hello," it doesn't bother me a bit who you're dressed up as.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 06:22 PM   #15
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Because people have know idea what you're supposed to be. They have no frame of reference for the accuracy of what you're supposed to look like. Just because you think that something you made up is cool doesn't mean other people have to give you props, and someone's insistence for recognition for something that sprung out of their head can be off-putting.
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