From $101 to $600: apparently, that’s how much cosplayers spend for a costume. If you, like me, think that this is crazy money, remember that it’s on average, meaning a high-end cos art can set you back $2,000.
For many cosplay aficionados, however, this is not an option, which means they gotta keep their spirits high and put in an extra amount of skill, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to come up with some incredible cosplay art. This is precisely what the internet’s most loved cosplay enthusiast is doing, and he’s doing it very well.
Meet Anucha “Cha” Saengchart, a Thai guy who went viral for nailing his “low-cost cosplay” looks with his DIY skills. “Everything is cosplay,” states the slogan on Saenchart’s Facebook and it seems that his 6 million followers and counting totally agree.
Anucha’s “Low-cost Cosplay” concept has surely resonated with lots and lots of people for its creativity, humor, and DIY skills. The guy from Bangkok, Thailand has already amassed 6,033,160 followers on Facebook (which is almost a million more since we last wrote about him a year ago!) making him somewhat of a superstar bootleg cosplay artist.
His creative and DIY skills are indisputable. With the help of whatever he can find at home, from flour and baking powder to markers and towels, he has been recreating low-key versions of characters like Goku from Dragon Ball Z to Frodo from Lord of the Rings.
Recently, his cosplay creations have had a more surreal take with Anucha rocking inanimate objects like a fried chicken wing, a fresh whole chicken, or a doughnut. Each of the absurdly funny posts amasses more than 100k likes and reactions on Facebook, and around 3K comments.
He started way back in 2013 by making a low-budget Piccolo from Dragon Ball Z, and seems to have nailed the art of budget-friendly cosplay in the past 8 years. Part of the success is obvious—Anucha loves laughing at himself in his absurdly funny DIY cosplays, whether it’s making an illusion of a pair of breasts with his belly or kneeling down to a dog’s bowl.
It’s worth noting that some of his cosplays no longer fit the term, and could be best called a parody of some sort. Anyways, his audience loves him, so who cares if some of his cosplays are almost impossible to recreate!
Bored Panda reached out to Jesse, Starry Dragons Cosplay, a 28-year-old, non-binary cosplayer from Northern Florida. Jesse has been cosplaying solo for 14 years and has been making cosplays for competitions. And they were happy to share some insights into this wonderful community.
“Cosplay—which is a portmanteau of the words 'costume' and 'play'—is an activity that many cosplayers consider performance art. It is dressing up as favored characters in the media,” Jesse explained. It turns out, cosplay got its start in New York in 1939 at the First World Science Convention, though at the time it was simply called fan costuming. “The term cosplay wasn’t coined until 1984,” Jesse said.
The professional cosplayer explained that many cosplayers handmake their costumes, while others buy them from online shops or commission them directly from costume makers. However, Jesse confirmed that cosplay is a very expensive hobby.
“The cost of fabric alone can be very expensive, much less the trim, accessories, and wigs if you so choose. My partner and I made the Crystal Ball costumes Jareth and Sarah wear in the movie Labyrinth, and the fabric alone was nearly $300, with the total cost coming in somewhere around $550-600 for both costumes.” Jesse said that those were done on the more inexpensive side.
“It can definitely be done on the cheaper side, you just have to gather materials over a period of time when there are good sales going on and have a lot of patience,” they added.
When asked what they think of Anucha’s alternative cosplay style, Jesse called it amazing. “I’m always impressed by his creativity and skills. He frequently makes me laugh, but at the same time, I’m always amazed by the sheer creativity he employs. To look at apples, and see he could peel them to look like Momo from Boku No Hero? Amazing.”
Moreover, according to Jesse, those that do alternative cosplay are so creative. “I love this growing trend so much. I’m always inspired when I see the things they can create just with things around them. Alternative cosplay is definitely becoming more popular, and I, for one, am definitely here for it.”
Jesse recounted that since they started cosplaying way back in 2007, the cosplay scene has changed a lot. “In the midwestern US where I lived at the time, there was a focus on buying costumes to put out as much content as you possibly could, and looking as much like the character as possible. Back then, at least my own main platform for cosplay content was either Facebook pages or DeviantArt profiles.”
They said that cosplay now still has that focus on looking as similar to the character as possible, but also how accurate and detailed you can make a costume. “There are so many skilled, amazing cosplayers that put so much detail and thought and planning into every single piece they make. While Facebook pages are still used, the majority of cosplay content is mostly found on Instagram, and TikTok,” Jesse said.
Most importantly, there is really no right or wrong way to cosplay. “You can simply pull something from your closet, buy an expensive costume, or make your own. It can be from a hugely popular series, or even a relatively unknown series. You could even make an NPC from a video game if you wanted to!”
Jesse concluded that cosplay at the end of the day is supposed to be fun. “We come together in this hobby because we’re all a little nerdy in our own ways, and we want to show our love and meet others who share our interests,” they said.