It might look like child’s play but “cosplay” – the act of dressing up as a favourite character – is becoming big business. Cosplay first started gaining popularity in Asia in the ’90s but has gradually spread across the world – and now, everyone wants in. In fact, whatever movie or comic you’re into, you’ll sure to find a cosplay competition and a cosplay convention for it.
But dressing up can cost fans a fortune, too. Enter Anucha “Cha” Saengchart, then, to demonstrate some much more affordable – and much funnier – cosplay alternatives. Take this creative DIY Titanic poster replica, for example. Sure, a household iron is much cheaper than an unsinkable ship. But which one is currently lying at the bottom of the ocean? Point: Saengchart.
During the day, Saengchart works as a carer for the elderly; his hobby, though, undoubtedly allows him to express a more creative side to his personality. Saengchart set up his “Low Cost Cosplay” Facebook page in 2013 to show off snaps like this Life of Pi one, with the response to it proving totally overwhelming. Indeed, Saengchart was quickly launched to internet stardom within cosplay circles – and his pics proved a massive hit in his native Thailand in particular.
As you might have guessed, Saengchart is a big fan of cosplay, but he uses everyday household items rather than expensive fabrics to create his costumes. For example, you wouldn’t have thought anyone could make themselves look like Pirates of the Caribbean baddie Davy Jones using only noodles and a hat. This culinary costume, though, is uncanny.
And the helpful young Bangkok native also walks his viewers through his creations, showing them how it’s done. He revealed that this Pinhead from Hellraiser, for example, was achieved using just Q-tips and a large amount of duct tape.
And sometimes a low-cost cosplayer needs to get really creative. Can’t afford to buy a Captain America shield? That’s okay. An electric fan painted red, white and blue will do the job just as well.
Or perhaps you don’t have the funds – or the abs – to become Tiger Mask? Well, that’s okay too, as there are always ways to do it. And while Saengchart may not win any awards for accuracy, he sure wins them for ingenuity.
Some cosplayers buy ornate dresses and jewellery to effectively cosplay Disney characters like Snow White’s Evil Queen. In this case, though, a pillow, purple towel and piece of cardboard will do just fine. After all, it’s still obvious to anyone that it’s her.
And other cosplayers dress their pets in expensive costumes to match their own. Not Saengchart, however. He did, however, manage to turn his cat into a bear for this Jungle Book cosplay, using nothing but camera trickery and presumably some kitty coercion.
Saengchart doesn’t waste any unnecessary time when it comes to hair and make-up, either. For example, instead of growing a big black moustache for gaming favorite Mario, he just stuck a bit of black paper to his upper lip: a considerably easier and faster way to grow the perfect ’tache. And just look at how he Mario-fied the toilet!
He did, however, make a tremendous effort with Queen Elsa from Frozen. In fact, he painted his whole face and found some scrap material to use for hair. Unfortunately, the budget clearly didn’t stretch to snowflakes – so Saengchart used ice cubes instead. Elsa would be proud!
Often Saengchart’s cosplays aren’t strictly cosplays per se, because they’re not exactly wearable. You couldn’t really dress as Belle from Beauty and the Beast using a pudding as a skirt, for example, because how would you walk? But still, it makes for a hilarious photo.
There’s also no reason whatsoever for Aladdin’s Genie to emerge from a bathroom toilet. Perhaps it was the only lamp-like object Saengchart had lying around? Anyhow, let’s just hope he washed that towel-tail afterwards.
It seems that Disney princesses like Ariel are pretty easy to do low-cost cosplays of, though, as their costumes are simple and their brightly colored hair easily mimicked. And while that’s good news for little girls, it’s also good news for Facebook comedians too.
Or how about Ariel’s nemesis? This Ursula from The Little Mermaid is made with… toothpaste! Yes, really. And you can’t help but think it must actually take quite a bit of artistic skill to fashion a blob of toothpaste into a feasible Ursula shape.
One of the best things about Saengchart’s humorous crusade, then, is that it demonstrates how quite a lot of “good” cosplay has nothing to do with expensive costumes. Instead, it has everything to do with a cosplayer’s ability to duplicate expressions. This Terminator, for example, is recognizable by the mouth alone.
And Saengchart’s creative comedy also demonstrates just how iconic and ingenious the designs of our favorite characters are. The whole world can recognize that this is Donald Duck, for example, even if he is made with paint, a notebook and potato chips.
This Thing from Fantastic Four looks ridiculous, obviously – but you can easily tell who it’s meant to be! Just don’t try Saengchart’s sticker trick at home or in the office or anywhere in public though, since partial nudity is required.
Saengchart doesn’t stop with just cartoon and superhero characters, either: sometimes, he does real-life celebrities too. Here, he can be seen lampooning a Thai model using nothing but chips, trash, makeup and what appears to be a Power Ranger dangling around his neck.
And should you ever want to cosplay a popsicle – hey, junk food has its fans, even if they don’t usually dress up – Saengchart has you covered. In fact, all you need is a bowl, some plastic wrap and absolutely no shame whatsoever.
It’s little wonder, then, that Saengchart’s creativity has started to draw the attention of some big names. “My jaw is still dropping!” World of Warcraft director Duncan Jones tweeted when he saw Saengchart’s orc, for example. And so maybe Low Cost Cosplay has a future in Hollywood? Stay tuned!