Trick or treat! Don your outfits and go a-gathering, alongside some of the finest of theatrical traditions and human habits, the desire to adorn ourselves in the appearance of another for the fun of it. Geeks are perhaps the most enthusiastic when it comes to taking to the sewing machine and the welding torch in pursuit of a new outfit.
Join us fare and geeky folk, as we celebrate those times when our favourite characters have donned new duds, assumed new guises and costumed themselves from boot to scalp. Welcome to the Top 10 characters in costumes.
10) Faust – Guilty Gear
Ah Faust, we’ve mentioned this guy in a much older Top 10, where we spoke about his rather large scalpel. No innuendos, he really does have a large scalpel, which is bigger than an anchor. Faust was an incredible doctor, if a little unhinged, but an incident saw him go from an insane doctor to basically a shell of his former self. At least, that was the case until he realised the world needed his medical genius and thus, he stepped back into the world.
The weirdest part, is after he was sane again, he decided that he didn’t want the world to see his face. So, he donned his paper bag – which is all he’s seen out in public in. Now, Faust only gets the tenth place, but that’s simply because all of his costume is just his doctor’s attire and then a paper bag on his head. But, without that iconic paper bag, he just wouldn’t be Faust now would he?
9) Every MOBA
A MOBA is usually free, which means that to monetise their games, they need to add something the fans will like. So, they often add in skins. A skin doesn’t affect the way the game is played, but is just a nice little visual change for the gamers. People who genuinely love the game they’re playing are more than willing to part with some cash to put their favourite characters in a bizarre outfit, because who doesn’t love seeing the Hindu Giant of Sleep in pyjamas as pictured above?
This is a very vague entry, hence the low placing on our list, however MOBAs are filled to the brim with costumes. Whether you play League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Awesomenauts, Smite or any other MOBA, you’ll no doubt understand where we’re coming from on this front.
8) Jinnosuke – Afro Samurai
Straight away, I bet you’re thinking “What on earth is this guys deal”? And in all truthfulness, there’s a very simple explanation for the odd teddy bear head he wears. Jinnosuke, or Jinno for short, is an android who wears a teddy’s head as a way to disguise the fact he looks so similar to the Afro Samurai himself. Oh that and the fact that this guy is a freaking android.
The best part about this bear costume is the complete transformation Jinna goes through. When wearing the bear costume, he’s known as Kuma, which of course is basically Japanese for bear. Antagonistic, but sympathetic, this is an incredibly well fleshed out character who deserves to be mentioned. Plus, the style of this show is through the roof. Well worth checking it out if you haven’t, but be warned: It’s graphic.
7) Knights of Badassdom
Peter Dinklage is a massive nerd, and it’s awesome. If it’s not enough to know him as the crowd favourite from Game of Thrones then you can get a slice of the Half-Man as a berserker in LARP comedy Knights of Badassdom, alongside Summer Glau, Danny Puddi and Brian Posehn (and a handful of lesser-known names). Our heroes don their costumes, take to the forests, and get ready to beat the living hell out of one another with foam and latex weapons.
Ahh, but all goes terribly wrong when somebody reads from a “prop” book they brought from home for some convincing looking rituals for the XP and accidentally summon an actual demon. Either way, this is not your normal costume drama, not by a longshot, it’s a heavily armoured and fully armed costume comedy that’s about the pros and cons of taking things too far.
6) South Park Heroes
This series addresses the very worst aspects of humanity and shines a big light upon them, all against the backdrop of a child’s ability to see things in the most direct fashion, and also through the lens of make-believe. We have seen the team play as ninjas, (twice) fantasy archetypes, and superheroes. We could have gone with the fantasy characters as they’re the basis for The Stick of Truth, but between the legend of Mysterion, his tireless war with The Coon (and The Fractured, but Whole coming soon) we decided to go with the super-heroes.
The band of foul-mouthed nine and ten year olds have fashioned their identities from what they know and what they have to hand, that’s why we have heroes such as Tupperware, Toolshed, the Human Kite, and Mintberry Crunch. In the middle of all of this is Mysterion, the undying hero born of occult practices, and The Coon, who is Cartman.
This one depends on exactly which version of the minions you follow. If you’ve watched the prequel to the Despicable Me series then the Minions have lived forever, adapting thematically to whatever dark overlord they attach themselves to, high collared capes for a vampire, linen kilts and gold for pharaohs, and for pirates whatever looks cool. Gru’s demands being mostly for hardware means they’ve switched to dungarees, but no doubt the future holds something new.
But the original film clearly shows designs for the minions on Gru’s wall, meaning that he designed them for a purpose, and every costume change is done for a reason. They adapt to changing situations, like cleaning, fires, and the dark with a quick change of costume (or luminosity), and it’s a habit that’s getting worse now there’s adorable kids in the house.
4) Scooby Doo Villains
Hah, this is great. Somehow we’ve gotten a staple childrens show into a Top 10, but when you think about it, the Scooby Doo villains are the ultimate cosplayers (Unless we count the next one on this list, but bare with us here). These are characters who are often depicted in their normal human forms at an earlier point in the episode, before being chased around by Scoob and the gang and then revealed.
The most iconic part about Scooby Doo is how all of these villains run around, often sporting the most ridiculous of costumes. From zombies and ghosts, to full on swamp monsters, these guys and girls are the ultimate cosplaying baddies. Put a costume on these evil men and women who just want Scoob and gang to go away, turn into fully enraged devils in their own rights.
3) Costume Quest
Did you ever cosplay as someone and fantasize about possessing the powers that they wield? Well fantasize no more… well, less, this is a videogame not an upgrade. Your characters scoot around the neighbourhood, gathering sweets and treats from the neighbours, making new friends, uncovering strange mysteries and saving your sibling with the powers granted to you by whatever you’re wearing.
Tim Schafer’s knack for simple yet brilliant ideas transformed into games shines through in this cross between an RPG and an arena-fighter. Your cardboard box robot suddenly becomes a Gundam-scale killing machine fully capable of toppling the monsters that stand in your way. Or adopt the guise of a noble knight and become a champion against the darkness. Or french fries, a unicorn, or the entire solar system. Hallowe’en was never this good.
The truly valorous seek to become symbols of what they stand for, to become something memorable, something immediately recognisable that inspires others to become something better than they are. Some people just really want to be superheroes, people like Dave Lizewski, who has taken it upon himself to beat up the villainous sort while wearing a distinctive costume he made out of a cheap wetsuit.
It does at least serve as an inspiration to others, and after a tragic death makes him the city’s premier hero, suddenly dozens of costumed vigilantes come wriggling out of the woodwork. The extra armour isn’t much of an upgrade, especially as he can barely feel pain as it is, and he still looks kinda dumb, but that look becomes something of a flagship that the others can rally too. It’s not about hiding who he is, or becoming who he was always meant to be, it’s about doing what’s right, and making a point about it.
1) Tanooki Mario
Hardly surprising that the number one pick for us had to be Tanooki Mario; an iconic costume for Mario. Much like the aforementioned cosplay qualities of the Scooby Doo villains, once Mario gets inside of this very warm and snuggly looking Tanooki costume, he’s on his way to gliding all around the place like a madman. Plumbers don’t always fly, but when they do, they do so in a Tanooki outfit.
Now, this gets our number one slot because of just how popular this outfit is. From people cosplaying Tanooki Mario, to people who build whole Mario Maker levels around the Racoon Mario costume (Which granted isn’t Tanooki, but shares many similar properties), this is a well known and well loved outfit.
Not all of our costumed crusaders are good, not all are bad. Not all of our costumed characters do it for a reason, some do it as it’s confidence building. These are parallels to real life costumery which is why we love the Halloween spirit of Trick or Treating. These next two deserve a nod, for they’ve taken costuming to a different level.
James – Pokemon (Anime)
James beat out Mimikyu for the Pokemon slot, but of course James often doesn’t wear a costume because he wants to be loved. Instead, he wears a costume as a form of disguise. However, it’s sometimes he wears an outfit that’s just so over the top that the party instantly say “But this is Team Rocket again!” Honestly, why won’t Officer Jenny listen to Ash and his friends from time to time?
Regardless, James appears alongside Jessie and Meowth, as well as their rather amusing companion Wobbuffet. James isn’t afraid to cosplay and crossplay, making him a braver man than most. Besides, when you have legs like those, who wouldn’t want a chance to show them off?
Rick Castle (as Space Cowboy) – Castle
Nathan Fillion has made no small point of how much he loved Firefly, how much he misses it and resents its’ cancellation. In his biggest role following he took as many opportunities as he could to drive that point home, most memorably during a brief moment in one Hallowe’en episode, that makes it to the honourables section purely because it is just that brief.
As Richard Castle emerges from his costume change, you’d swear he was the spitting image of Captain Malcolm Reynolds of the Serenity, the resemblance is uncanny. Not the first time he’s worn the outfit too, as his daughter comments on his having worn it about five years ago (harr harr, because of when the episode aired, how deliciously nerdy). It’s one of many such references throughout Castle, but it’s easily the least subtle.
That is all for our sartorial selection, now get back into your day to day threads – be they clothing or forum – and get back to work. Before you wander back into normality, take the time to help us pick out a list for next week.
Ok, don’t dress it up, how did we do? What do you make of our little ensemble? Did we miss any of your favourite characters playing dress-up, or alternative outfits? Let us know on our Twitter, Facebook and Reddit pages. And join us next week for another fantastic Top 10.