Cosplaying as a Sentai Hero or a Kamen Rider is arguably one of the most difficult things you can do as a cosplayer (besides cosplaying as a fucking gundam, anyway). Not only will the costume be hard to make (and wear for the entire duration of the con you’re cosplaying for), but the costume in itself will conceal your identity, thus making it lack that personal touch that other lesser cosplays have the privilege of. But is that really bad? Some circles seem to think so, but I myself don’t see it that way.
I think it’s more of a good thing, since you’re focused on making the costume look better, and lets you get in character more since your face is concealed. Wearing the actual helmet and the entire gear really makes you feel like you’re that hero you’re cosplaying as, and that sense of being one with your hero gives you a better handle on the role you’re supposed to play. So overall while it is definitely harder, it definitely is more rewarding. Thus, if you’re willing to go down this particular road of cosplay, then let my tips help you.
1. Get your proper henshin/transformation device, no matter the cost.
Whether you’re cosplaying as Kamen Rider Kabuto or the Gold Shinkenger, one thing you absolutely must have in your posession during cosplay is your henshin device (or transformation device for the unitiated). Thankfully, today’s toy boom has resulted in a LOT of henshin devices being put back in production, namely the Heisei Era Kamen Rider lines before Den-O. The Showa Era Kamen Rider henshin devices are a bit rarer and hard to get, but all it takes is a bit more effort (and a bit more spending money) to get a working model. And after you do get it, unless you’re a 10-year-old kid or anorexic, properly mod it so you can wear it during cosplay, as it will undoubtedly form the centerpiece of your costume.
I’d advise you to make your own henshin device if you really can’t, but really, if your henshin device fails, what more of your costume? At least, if it’s really impossible to find the one you want, then you’re free to pick from the many Riders/Rangers of today, and their henshin devices are definitely more accessible and affordable. Same goes for the weapons too, but you needn’t mod them to be their proper sizes (since Bandai only gives us DX sizes).
(ADDENDUM: If you really can’t find the henshin device of your choice, then you’ll be glad to know that Kamen Rider Decade’s Decadriver is a good substitute. You just need to find the right card.)
2. Practice your signature Rider/Toku movements and lines.
THIS IS IMPORTANT. When you’re wearing a Toku/Sentai costume, people WILL ask you to perform no matter what, and it’s up to you not to disappoint. And don’t be halfassed like most of the cosplayer community, do it with vigor! With honor! With hotblooded righteousness coursing through your veins! Every movement should be made with energy, with vigor, with all the danger and passion of someone about to Rider Kick someone in the nuts should they even so much as look at you the wrong way.
Practice your movements (henshin, entrance, fighting pose) in front of a mirror. Repeat your lines until you can say them through rote memory. The moment you do them in a half-assed, I-don’t-really-want-to-do-this way is the moment you destroy the illusion, and the moment you besmirch the concept of the Rider you’re supposed to be playing as. Rider Kicking yourself in the teeth will not be enough.
3. Take as long as you have to in constructing a proper costume.
Unlike lesser cosplayers where all they have to do is dive into their mother’s closets to throw on whatever they can grab onto to get something that they can call a ‘costume’, your cosplay of the Kamen Rider/Sentai Hero of your choice will take more time and more work. The reason is simply because your costume has to look as accurate as possible.
There’s no going around it – either you look AS the Rider or Sentai Hero you’re cosplaying as or you don’t. Sure, you can get away with that IF you’re cosplaying as a Naruto character or a complete FAG, but if you’re going as a Warrior of Justice then you have to put in some serious work and resources into making your costume look good. Don’t cut corners, don’t make shortcuts. Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help, either.
4. Be a Warrior of Justice first, a gentleman second, and a cosplayer last.
When in costume as a Warrior of Justice, it usually goes without speaking that you act the part and protect the image of the hero you’re dressed up as. Be polite. Help the elderly cross the sidewalk or get into or out of elevators. Serve the public trust. Be especially nice to the ladies. Never begrudge anyone a chance to photograph you or shake your hand if they ask you for it. Rider Kick mankind’s enemies such as RG, Sinackular or even the owner of low-quality-material-peddling CSCENTRAL in the balls should you ever cross paths. Dispose refuse properly. You know, that sort of thing.
But one thing a Warrior of Justice must never do is to act like a cosplayer. Don’t participate in cheesy, exploitative skits; don’t pander to screeching yaoi fangirls trying to pull you to make out with the nearest male in the vicinity (although, really, this will only happen if you’re cosplaying as Kamen Rider KIVA) and DON’T act like a complete faggot. You’re a Sentai/Kamen Rider cosplayer. We have different standards, and it would be wise for you to uphold yourself to a different standard than those clowns in store-bought Naruto costumes.
5. Respect your fellow Toku/Sentai players in the vicinity.
Needs no other explanation, I believe, unless you see them disobeying #4.
Most of all however, don’t forget to have fun. Sure, I’ve spent quite a lot of paragraphs making out the act of dressing-up as a childhood hero as serious business, but you also have to keep in mind that if you’re not having fun doing it, then it’s pretty much pointless, right? In any case, that’s all for now. Whatever Kamen Rider or Sentai Hero you’re cosplaying as, I hope to see you doing proper tribute to the Warrior of Justice you’re portraying.
As for me, well, you already know who I’m going to cosplay.
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