Engineering student wins cosplay competition


Daniel Caudill

Anthony Vu, a junior engineering major, poses for a photo during Saturday’s Air Capital Comic Con. Vu won Best of Show in the convention’s contest for his portrayal of Evelynn from PC game “League of Legends.”

Engineering student Anthony Vu becomes a different person on the weekends.

On Saturday, Vu attended the Air Capital Comic Con and competed in the cosplay competition, taking home the top award, Best of Show.

Cosplay is more than just Halloween year-round. It’s a whole community. People dress up as their favorite characters from TV, movies, anime, video games — and sometimes even characters from their imagination. The outfits can be simple or incredibly elaborate.

“There are two ways that someone can do cosplay,” Vu said. “You can buy your costumes, which will cost you about $100-150, unless you commission something. Then it can cost over $300. The method I typically use is, I make it from the ground up. It should usually cost me about $150.”

While dressing up in costumes is an ancient practice, “cosplaying” is relatively new. The University of Montana traces the word back to 1984, as an anglicized version of the Japanese word “Kosupure” and a fusion of the words “costume” and “play.”

“When you become that character and how you express yourself as your character, other people react accordingly,” Vu said. “I think that’s one of the best things about cosplay, in general, is that the community is just so tight.”

Cosplaying has grown in popularity over the years along with the boom in geek culture and conventions on everything from comics to sci-fi to horror.

“I got into cosplay . . . from losing a bet with someone,” Vu said. “I first cosplayed at Wichita E-Sports Convention 2014, which I went as a completely different gender altogether, and ever since then, all my characters have been female.”

Vu only had three weeks to complete his costume that first time. It normally takes around six months of planning and work to create a good cosplay.

“You have to learn to grow from the mistakes,” Vu said. “Whether that’s replacing altogether or using hot glue. Hot glue is used universally when you have to rush. You just can’t let it show.”

Mickey Haynes and Vu started the Society of Cosplayers, or SOCS, at Wichita State. In October, they gained RSO status. They said they wanted to create a community on campus and provide people with resources to get better at cosplaying.

SOCS plans to host workshops to teach practical skills for cosplaying — everything from sewing to foam work.

Haynes and Vu both gave some advice to people trying to get into cosplay.

“Plan ahead,” Vu said. “Timing, planning, and scheduling is key. Give yourself two weeks before the convention as your due date.”

“You have to learn skills along the way,” Haynes said. “Youtube is a great resource. So are other cosplayers.”

Saturday, Vu went as KDA skin line Evelynn from the popular video game “League of Legends.” The costume took two months to make. He made most of the costume but he bought the shoes and the jewelry. Everything else he handmade.

“One of the things that makes me want to continue doing cosplay is going to those competitions and competing at a higher level,” Vu said. “I originally wanted to do [another character] but I got stuck on Evelynn and that’s what I ended up doing.”

Vu had a bright pink wig, high heels, and a tight skirt. He walked with confidence and was ready to compete. The competition consisted of two rounds, pre-round judging and a stage walk. Vu took home Best in Show and a $50 prize.

“It’s such a confidence booster when someone comes up to you and asks to take a picture,” Vu said.

While being interviewed at Air Capital Comic Con, Vu was stopped several times for pictures.