The Not-so-Good of Indonesian Cosplay: A Year After

So you thought there wouldn’t be a second one. Hah! You were wrong. I’ve waited a year to write this piece. During that time, I’ve accumulated some more experience in the cosplay world and am back with the piece that started it all.

First of all, this is the Internet, so fuck you. Second, this piece is purely personal. If you would like to refute any of my claims and assumption, feel free. I’m open to criticism and don’t mind losing an argument as long as it’s logical and civilized.

Let’s get this on.

From Where We Left Off

A summary of the previous post:

  1. Get your fucking theory right.
  2. Know who’s above and below you.
  3. Social media is for stabbing people in the back and belittling people.
  4. Nobody loves you, from the community to the judges. Unless you’re brown-nosing here and there or have tits.

That’s pretty much what I observed last year. But, a year is quite a long time. Perhaps some things have changed. Or not.

Incompetent Maker Fraud (IMF)

Ah, a case that happens quite a lot. The previous year was plagued by many cases of IMF; I’ve only been informed of a few, however, because I’ve stopped caring. Oh wait, let me explain what IMF is.

IMF, or Incompetent Maker Fraud, is when a costume maker takes on an order that they think they can finish, but ends up wasting their customer’s time and money. Eventually, after getting tired of being hounded by their customers, they mysteriously vanish and end up on the unwritten blacklist of costume makers.

That pretty much sums it up. Now, my friend was a victim of IMF. It cost him around 120 bucks (that’s over a million in IDR). He ordered an Archer costume, a full set. After two months and a couple of failed conventions, the maker finally sent him his order. But when it arrived, it ended up looking like shit. Like Archer had his armor forged by a noob blacksmith. Infuriated, he demanded a re-work. Two weeks later, his replacement armor came. It looked even more like shit. He was livid, and ended up posting the entire thing on Facebook, complete with an angry rant condemning the maker. He also asked the maker’s cosplay community to watch their members more carefully.

I don’t know how it was settled, but it cost my friend a hefty sum and wasted his time.

I have also fallen victim to IMF. I requested a piece of fabric clothing for my Lyner costume. But the maker had all of these excuses until finally, they disappeared from the grid, leaving me confused and furious. My money was gone and my costume lost in the abyss.

So, next time you want to order armor or anything online, request a trusted maker, preferably a friend of a friend. Or better yet, try making it yourself. That’s the essence of cosplay.

On the Customers

If there are incompetent makers, there are also unknowledgeable customers. It’s a pretty broad generalization, however. Let’s see…

UCS, or Unknowledgeable Customer Syndrome, is when someone, either deliberately or involuntarily, looks like a jackass when trying to order a costume.

For example:

cosplayer-1

In this picture, the person is requesting someone to make a Lolita costume for a maximum budget of IDR 150K.

Let’s point out what’s wrong: It’s impossible to make such a complicated costume with only 150K. For a decent one, a person would have to dish out at least 300K.

What do you think happened to the original poster (for the sake of simplicity, let’s call her “Amy”)?

The initial assumption is that Amy is a total newbie who has just recently entered the cosplay world and has no knowledge of virtually anything related to cosplay other than the fact that it’s cool.

As we the community is full of jerks, what happened was Amy got told off by a supposedly “senior” cosplayer, belittling Amy because she doesn’t knows shit, calling her “brainless”. In this case, the one in the wrong is this jerk in the guise of a cosplayer.

Amy is one of the many cases where newbies are rejected before they even try one costume. Stop newbie hate. You were once a newbie too. (But if we do’t bully newbies, how will we vent all this anger and resentment of ourselves?)

At least Amy learned that cosplay was an expensive hobby. But, there are those cheapskate customers who are just so irritating. Which brings us to another case: Irritating Customer Syndrome (ICS).

Similar to UCS, an Irritating Customer is a customer that is just an asshole. They’re spoiled, whiny little fucks who don’t know that costume-making is an exhausting process like writing a 100-page thesis. I can explain better with examples.

Example case:

I am an armor-maker. I get an order for an Iron Man costume. You all should know how complicated it is to make a full body Iron Man suit from EVA foam. I say that it can be done with a budget of 1.5 million in two months. The customer insists that they need it in a week and can’t provide more than 500 thousand. I try to explain, but they don’t understand and call me a capitalist pig.

[Screams internally]

Another case:

I somehow agree to finish an Iron Man costume in a month with a budget of 1 million. Every fucking day, the customer phones me and texts me five times a day, asking when it’s done and for photos of the work in progress. After two days, the customer gets fed up from waiting and starts spreading rumours that I’m an Incompetent Maker.

[Snaps my phone into two]

That pretty much sums up ICS.

Breaking Tradition is a Sin

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I’ve seen costumes getting better and better at events I attend. I saw some of the best cosplays in my book at Ennichisai 2014, and even more at AFAID 2014. At the surface, events and conventions are fun and enjoyable. But what’s juicy is the after-event talk on Facebook. There’s ALWAYS something going on.

After AFAID 2014, the buzzword was “Bikini Miku”. A cosplayer tried to break conservative tradition that sexy costumes were to be reserved only for personal photo sessions. At the largest convention in Indonesia, she appeared in public as Racing Miku in a white bikini. Of course, her determination was met with lecherous gazes, fiery comments, heated arguments between people who aren’t even related to the person, and mostly desperate singles trying to get her attention by standing up for her on Facebook.

Of course, her costume was far from perfect. She still got a few parts wrong, but that could be fixed. What’s wrong was that people started questioning her religion and other personal business, leading a series of flame wars online and ultimately (almost) ending in a real-life bitchslap contest. So apparently, when you try something new, you’re sinning and deserve to be ridiculed by the entire cosplay community.

But after that, bikini and swimsuit cosplay became quite the rage. The fuck happened?

Introducing the Return of Feudalism

CASTE COSPLAY

When was the last time I heard the word “caste”? Oh yeah, in feudal India and seventh century Hindu kingdoms. Apparently, the caste system has made its way from the grave to the cosplay community. Just like last year, as a cosplayer, you need to know your place. Thou shalt not question a cosplayer in a higher caste than yours.

Just for your information, here’s how the caste system works.

At the top are the God Tier cosplayers. Their word is law, whatever they say is absolute no matter how ridiculous it may be. How to get to the God Tier? Kiss butts here and there. Or, if you prefer the hard way, work hard and beat the crap out of everyone else with your awesome skillz.

In the middle are standard cosplayers. This tier makes most of the cosplay community and is where all the shit happens as people try to get to the top or end up being pushed downwards.

At the bottom are the “unpeople” or newbies. As newbies, their opinion doesn’t mean shit no matter how reasonable they are, their cosplay SUCKS, and they cannot criticize a higher tier cosplayer.

And next I’m supposed to believe that we’re supposed to wear stripes on our shoulders indicating our ranks.

Conclusion: Same Old, Same Old

After a year, it would seem that Indonesian cosplay still suffers from the same old problems it had last year. Only this year, they’re packaged differently. Jerks are still there, the community is pretty accommodating (not!), and everything still seems like shit. Anyway, it’s still no fun cosplaying in Indonesia. Elitism still exists, dramas get even ridiculous by the day, and the internal politics get more and more complicated as more and more groups appear like mold during the rainy season. Anyway, an essential skill to have is desensitizing yourself to all this bullshit. Get together with a few friends you trust and enjoy the world of cosplay without the bullshit.

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23 thoughts on “The Not-so-Good of Indonesian Cosplay: A Year After

  1. And one year after… Again I agree with you. I’ve been so busy with real life and got a chance to think things through. I still like and am going to cosplay, but this time with the IDGAF spirit in mind regarding the above no-good factors.
    I’m sorry if this is practically whining, but I just find it a little sad how fast cosplay lost it’s wonder to me. Even though I really enjoy the craft, the ever-present rejection ever since I began was too much for me. Nearly all RL good friends of mine that love anime dislike/are indifferent to cosplay. I could act all tough-lone wolf on the outside, but honestly I want someone I can regularly talk to about cosplay without boring them to death.
    The primary hailed method of getting friends -Talking to other cosers in an event- does NOT work in Indonesia. ANY talk beyond a photo request has like an 80% chance of getting you ridicule. Online? More ridicule. Thus the demonic cycle has been set. It is extremely likely for a cosplayer to be among a hundred others and feel alone.

    Like

    1. Re: making friends via talking

      Yeah, I know that feeling. It’s because most cosplayers go in groups, a little circle of friends, and given the introverted nature of Indonesians, it’s rather hard to strike a conversation. You have to be either (1) eloquent or gregarious, or (2) reputable. Other than that, you’re basically just trading niceties, nothing more.

      When online, if you try to introduce yourself, you’ll end up with either (1) minimal response if you’re a dude or (2) desperate singles trying to get in your pants if you’re a girl.

      I’d just stick with hanging out with friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Get together with a few friends you trust and enjoy the world of cosplay without the bullshit.”

    But still have irony if there was break up lovers…
    Sorry broken english…

    Like

  3. Sorry, this is going to be a little bit personal.
    As I said a year earlier, I’ll skin them alive and wear their skins.
    Why? because those assholes think that they are so uber alles. Hey, I’d like to be uber alles too, but I won’t be like those assholes who have no ethics. Now I’m angry because of all the resentments by those asshole, and oh I’m a little bit schizophrenic too, and when I am hated by someone, I will usually try to be that someone. You see, to know his/her thoughts to understand why the hate. Thus the skinning them alive part.
    Lets just say, I do carry my grudges, although I may forgive but I will never forget.
    I am, a psycho, a person with drugs treatment to calibrate various neural hormones in my brain. To balance my neural hormones, I enjoy anime, and then when that’s not enough I enjoy cosplay too. I like cosplay because it lets me be someone else for a while, it lets me forget who I am (also to satisfy my schizophrenic ID, ego, and super-ego).
    But then some (many) asshole people have to come and ruin everything, makes cosplaying no fun. I hate people who ruins things that I like. I hate them.
    The community, of course, it’s pretty accommodating and you will be helped a lot by the self-titled “leaders” of the community (caution: only if you like to lick and kiss their asses 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year, otherwise it will always be noob to you)
    And regarding the Bikini Miku, of course! Always ask one’s religion regarding all their actions! because my god is always much better than your god and thus all your actions are wrong!! oh wait, nope, there is no other god, only my GOD! ALL HAIL MY GOD! DEATH TO THE HEATHENS! :sarcasm:

    Alright, that’s all my rant for now, I’m tired and I really need to take some Risperdal because right now there is Miku Hatsune sitting beside me telling me how to preserve human skins. I’m sorry.
    I’ll write again when she’s gone, I can’t concentrate right now.

    Thanks.

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  4. Why don’t you use your native language? You don’t need to make this problem worldwide known. Also you’ll get to your point easier. I can see you’re trying too hard with english.

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    1. That’s because I feel more comfortable writing in English. It’s more playful than the rigid Bahasa Indonesia.
      And I’m not trying to get the entire world to know; I’m just recording my observations of the phenomena I see and experience. The world ain’t purely good; there has to a balancing bad. That’s what I’m observing and sharing.

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  5. For the first, sorry for my bad English for this comment.

    As an observer I think it’s much more complicated than what’s outside. I’ve met with various personalities from cosplay world (in Jakarta), even my staff currently is an active cosplayer. To say: most of this article is true, but not exactly true. I even dare to say there’s struggle inside about “who should be the leader?”. At least if we just look at the hinterland of cosplay in Jabodetabek.

    Then, this very kind of problem, albeit at lesser extend, also happening inside Indonesian comic community. That “same old narration” there such as “manga vs. American style” or “your comic is not Indonesian” or even “I don’t like your comic because it’s not manga style!”.

    One thing worth to mention: it’s much better if you do cosplay in eastern Java. There’s still “guyub” thing and most of cosplayer in anime events there are joining one of the cosplay community. Yes there are some rivalties (like cosplay team in Malang and Surabaya) but from my observation, usually no more than few pranks and high level insider jokes.

    PS: if you’re interested about cosplay from academic perspective, you can start from this journal, published in Mechademia. Your university should provide you the access. http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/mechademia/v001/1.winge.html

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    1. Nonsense, your English is quite fine! Thanks for the reference, I’ll go check it out. Mechademia is one of my go-to journals for things related to Japanese pop culture.

      Frankly, I’ve only known the East Java cosplay world from the lens of my friend’s girlfriend who happens to be living in Malang. I’ve yet to go there myself, so I can’t confirm whether whatever she says is true or not, but I trust her. Perhaps some day.

      Like

  6. unintentionally stumble on your article and…..my god how long i have gone from the jejepangan community. Honestly speaking, i used to be a cosplayer back there when the japanese community were young and the community still small. I remember we help each other with what we have using everything i can get as close as possible [although it was still too far hahahahaha], encourage each other, and most of us know each other quite personally.

    but honestly, i didn’t recognize the community now…..when i came to Ennichisai 2014, there is so many things i didn’t recognize. It was also hard for me to strike a conversation with everyone [including cosplayer] nowaday…and it was the big difference i felt if i want to compare it with my past experience…

    what has happened?

    Like

  7. welp, after i see this article… everything has just started like it was new again… even when i see someone who cosplay to be honest some of them are afraid of cyber bullying while others keep the flame on (IYKWIM)

    seriously people?? just keep cosplaying and forget about those shitty things… even from the Higher ups or whatever the noobs, coz i see people are same in the END.

    i always keep my principles… “Be what you wanted to… as long it doesn’t hurting people and not disturb them”

    if them disturb you.. better leave them be.. there is always a quote “tong kosong nyaring bunyinya”

    -lolehcon-

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  8. first,sorry for my bad english >w<
    this is my opinion. i think i'm neutral in this "case". why?
    hmm.. i don't think cosplay is expensive hobby. cosplay can be more "cheap" if the cosplayer is creative. not only buy buy buy and buy. cosplayer can make they own costumes and acc. at least, that can make the budget more lower and they can make like they want.
    and then, sometimes i don't like cosplayer in indonesia. why? i'm a cosplayer too, but. oh,please. i'll think and consider a few times before going to an event. why??
    the only blabbering thing i heard.. "your cosplay isn't right" "you shouldn't be that character, it doesn't suit you" and many more.
    cosplay is a hobby and cosplayer isn't a GOD who can be a perfect 2d character. cosplay isn't that easy. every cosplayer want to look perfect. but..
    *sigh*
    i think i'll just eat my potato chip for now -_-
    cosplay in indonesia = the biggest cosplay "theater" ever..

    Like

  9. Well… i consider a cosplay as an stress relieve and self express. Unfortunately, the result are different… they get bullied in social media sometimes make them even more stressed….
    To be honest, i want to do cosplay too, since my Junior are doing so…
    sorry for bad english… :3

    Like

  10. OMG! I completely agree with you! >.<

    I'm actually one of those 'newbies' and tbh I've never bothered asking people from facebook groups, because I saw how these 'seniors' saying all these sh*ts they typed without thinking, I don't want to get into a troublesome 'drama'.

    Well, and what's funny about some of these 'seniors' is that, I don't even think they're that godly to be considered great cosplayers, considering how they treat people. Not just that. Some Indonesian cosplayers, from what I've seen, wears all these awesome costumes, but.. No make up! XD

    Like

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