Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Height issues

The six years elementary school lasts here in Finland were horrible for one of the tallest girls in the class. For lunch the class had to line up; short ones first, tall ones last. Sometimes the best bread had already run out when we tall girls got there. The boys were midgets compared to you. You couldn’t ask anyone to dance the slow songs in the disco and you really couldn’t have a crush, because it would have looked ridiculous if you walked hand in hand.

How I view my height today is quite the opposite. I'm comfortable of how tall I am. Me over fifteen years ago didn’t appreciate it, now I kind of love it. Still it took long time to change the way of thinking about a thing you really just need to accept at some point. With cosplay we take in consideration my and Yoki’s height when we choose characters. Usually it comes along rather naturally, we don’t over think it. As a duo we try to respect the height differences, even if we don’t match the heights exactly. Few of our planned cosplays we have dropped unnoticed because of differences were really off. These have been pairs, in which I would have cosplayed a character who is significantly shorter than Yoki’s.

I personally think that I would look really silly, if I even tried to cosplay some cute, little moe character, especially if the character is perceived as a cute, little moe. Some characters have such a strong image, that fighting against it seems futile for me. As an opposite example I must bring up Samara, who is a little girl killed at young age. Still I had no problem cosplaying her, because next to her scary looks the height simply didn’t matter that much. The height usually comes along, if it’s a descriptive feature of the character, like in cases of Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist or Allen Walker from D.Gray-man.

In animation and comics, preferably in Japanese ones height usually connects to age and gender. Tall characters are typically male or/and adults. This has probably caused us to crossplay a lot; I’m 174cm or 5.7 feet and Yoki is almost 169cm or about 5.5 feet. Only recently we have found female characters that we can cosplay and feel comfortable in with our bodies. There are strong ladies with a real body out there, sisters.

It doesn’t bother me to see two meter tall Luffy or short Kakashi. We don’t follow the characters sheets slavishly and twit others for not following them. But I must admit, that height issues gets to me sometimes. This happens when I see a great, accurate cosplay. I admiringly slide my eyes from nicely styled wig down to hand embroidered jacket, ribbon decorated velvet pants and BOOM! Dominatrix platform shoes! Like wee-tee-ef! Height is not that important that it should ruin a great ensemble. The illusion is more likely to break because of unsuitable shoes than ten missing cents. Again I call for proportions and self-esteem whether you are missing or having too many centimeters.

You can wear any color on your hair you like or change your eyes with a flip of the fingers. But one thing you can’t subtly change is your height. If I were to add any height for a character I would do it if I can hide the what ever I’m going to use to lift me higher. This would work great with long hems or capes. Or use heeled shoes which would resemble the characters footwear or fit the period of time or the spirit of the series. Photography offers many ways to fool the eye. With cropping, angles or taking the composition with many characters in consideration you can do miracles. If the feet doesn’t show pretty much anything can be used, like a stool to fake height.

So yeah, for a person who really doesn’t think about height, thinks about it awful lot. Doing accurate is a lot of fun. Still there are many things about cosplay you can stress out next to height, which really is something that you can’t do much about… other than stress of course. Height is a perspective thing to say the least.


  1. Much love to this post. I'm rather short myself and quite often I end up cosplaying characters who are taller than me, but unless it's with a group it really doesn't bother me that much (and even with a group it's not that hard to play around with the setting so shorter people appear taller and vice versa).

    It's the same when other people cosplay – I won't judge until I see the... err... dominatrix shoes as you put it. 'D Heel and plain platform are something I can understand, but if it looks like something the character wouldn't really wear I just don't get it.
    My pet peeve has actually gotten so bad that shoes are one of the first things I notice in a costume...

  2. I must admit that shoes might be my pet peeve also! When I go throught cosplay pictures from aniki in full size, I immediately scroll down to feet. These days I rarely dissapoint; Finnish cosplayers have really stepped up with shoes. ;)