We’re going to take a bit of a detour from genderbend and chat about genderbend’s sister: gjinka. Gjinka is, in the most simplest terms, cosplaying a non humanoid character as if they were human. Pokemon cosplays take up the majority of this group, but lately My Little Pony cosplayers have been coming out if the woodwork to join in on the fun. Gjinka is such a fun creative process, because instead of trying to decide if so-and-so were a woman what would he be like, we’re asking ourselves if so-and-so were human what would it be like.
Now let’s get this much gjinka does not include a slutty cat costume you wore to your last Halloween or that J. Alexander wolf costume I have in the back of my closet (although it’s still totally awesome) . We’re talking about about a complete design process for some people it’s finding that one piece of clothing or accessory that inspires them to a complete outfit, or maybe there’s one part of the character that you have a grand plan on how to make it a practical thing to put on a human body. Or maybe you just love the character. In my opinion genderbend allows for a great deal of creative licence, but gjinka allows more. For those cosplayers who also take a huge interest in fashion if you haven’t tried it I highly recommend looking into it, especially if you love casual cosplay (you know the kind you can to the grocery store without having people stare at you weird).
I made my break into gjinka with My Little Pony cosplay. I’m a huge Rainbow Dash nerd! If it has to do with Rainbow Dash, I’m on it. Well while searching through pictures of what others have done, I noticed A LOT of track shorts. So I got to thinking: Would Rainbow Dash really wear track shorts everyday. The answer I came up with…no. Sure, she’s athletic and gym shorts are a great way to portray that, but let’s face it with a fashionista friend like Rarity wearing track shorts everyday would be a huge no no*. I took a few bits from Scruffy Rebel (aka Victoria from Heroes of Cosplay) since in my own opinion her Rainbow Dash cosplay is bangin’. I loved the idea of the letter jacket and goggles to portray her athleticism and I went from there. I would love to share photos but unfortunately I find myself always adding and adjusting the cosplay so I have yet to actually shoot it to share it with you here.
I remember when I was first looking into joining the D20 Girls, one girl Pop Tart had a gjinka of the Nine Tail Demon Fox from Naruto that I just fell in love with. “The Kyuubi was my first [cosplay]. I knew if I ever got to cosplay I would do that.” she says about the cosplay. But this foxy cosplayer has big dreams for her cosplay, and in a true cosplay fashion always looking to one up herself. “In the future I would like to re-do the cosplay with mechanical ears and tails so I could TOTALLY do a tailed beast bomb picture! And I would be happy forever.”
Now, genderbend goes 2 ways. A man can genderbend a woman, so why can’t someone who’s not human cosplay as a human. I became totally enthralled a few months ago with people who put their pets in cosplay (it’s always cuter if it’s a pug). Now I’m going to straighten this out before I get flogged. I am a dog person, always have been and always will be. I am allergic to cats and assume they are all possessed demons…to put it lightly I don’t get along with cats. So from this point forward I will not mention them (although if you want to put your 4 legged sack of murder in a costume I’m sure it will find it’s way through the interwebz, because the interwebz loves those little demons). I encountered a problem when I got excited about bringing my dog into my cosplays, I own a labradoodle. If you have ever seen a labradoodle you know they are the least threatening dog on the planet they look goofy and have a personality to match. A labradoodle can’t be batman…he just can’t. That’s when a friend gave me an awesome idea I would have never come up with on my own (Lesson 1: it pays to have nerdy friends). The hair, the silly demeanor…why not make him the 11th Doctor (Doctor Who). It was pure brilliance, let’s face it, if you had to put a type of dog to Matt Smith it would totally be a Labradoodle. So with $5 I turned my 75 pound ball of fluff into a daleks worst night mare….The Dogtor.
The biggest problem with putting any animal into a cosplay is that they probably don’t want to be wearing whatever it is that you’re putting on them. They don’t have the do-it-for-the-cosplay mentality that we have when something that we’re wearing is uncomfortable, they just want it off. Simplicity is always best. Use key pieces from the character’s wardrobe, add props dress up with your pet to help make their costume more clear, if you are doing it only as a photoshoot make sure you choose a good location. Another good tip if you are doing it as a photoshoot keep treats or something to distract on hand, keep posing even if it doesn’t seem like your pet is doing what you want you never know what you’ll get.
*By no means does this mean if you cosplay Rainbow Dash with track shorts that you are wrong….it’s cosplay…is there such thing as wrong?