American River College is notable for bringing together students from all walks of life. It is a home to athletes, politicians, musicians and even cosplayers.
Cosplaying, a growing trend in Sacramento, is the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially from the Japanese genres of manga and anime.
ARC nursing major Viktoria Rygg has been a cosplayer for two and a half years.
“I grew up in Los Angeles, right by Koreatown, and so I watched some anime a little bit,” Rygg said. “When I moved up here, it was the thing I went to, to start conversations with people. As I was a sophomore in highschool, I had a whole bunch of friends, and one of them said, ‘We have conventions here,’ so she took me to a convention, and everybody was dressed up, and she was dressed up. Then about a year after that, they finally convinced me to cosplay.”
Cosplayers also participate in competitions, and Rygg is building a name for herself through her award-winning costumes.
“One (award) was “Best Prop” for a book that I made for Hetalia Norway,” Rygg said, referring to a supporting character in the anime series “Hetalia.” “I spent days translating old Norwegian folk lore into Norwegian, then translating that into Norwegian runes, and calligraphy every single page. I only finished about 20 pages but all together it took me about 100 hours.”
At Kraken Con in San Jose on March 6, Rygg competed for the award of “Best Outfit” with her Cosplay of Krusty from Log Horizon. She took second place.
“It’s one of the favorites to win, because one of the representatives came to the NorCal gathering, and one of the representatives totally didn’t realize that I was a girl. He actually had a huge shock and jumped back and everything when I first started speaking,” Rygg said, describing how she was invited to Kraken Con. “He said that I had an amazing costume and took a picture of it and sent it to whoever’s in charge so they could put it up.”
Cosplay costumes can take a massive amount of time to create, which could be difficult for some students.
“My most recent (cosplay), I spent probably ten all-nighters, and then additional time with no all-nighters, so I’ve been working on it for about a month and a half. For simpler ones, I created them in two or three days,” Rygg said.
Cosplay can be a lot of fun, going to conventions, dressing up and meeting people with similar interests. It can also be expensive.
“There is is huge joke in the cosplay world that drugs would be cheaper,” Rygg said. “It’s extremely, extremely expensive. Each costume I make, especially the bigger ones, are over 100 dollars, just for simple materials that I went out and bought.”
“I do most of my work at night. If I want to do anything that involves my costume, I would normally do it in the afternoon after I get home from school or something. At night … I do my homework, then continue doing my costuming,” Rygg explained.
While Rygg loves her craft, she feels that there are elements of cosplay that may not be inclusive to women.
“I do find a problem with the fact that most female characters in cosplay have to wear these skimpy outfits,” Rygg said. “Almost all female leads that are actually decent characters that actually do something tend to wear skimpy outfits, and thats really hard, and I tend to lean away (from it). I don’t like doing those characters that don’t do much.”