Cosplay is “a contraction of the words costume and play…a performance art in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character.” The West shares its love of cosplay with the East, where anime originated; as a result, anime has become one of the most popular forms of art to inspire cosplay costumes. Anime is full of fun, quirky characters who wield an array of cool, if often impractical, weapons. The weapons in this list stand out as some of the most memorable and iconic in the genre and will be sure to make heads turn if you incorporate them in your next cosplay outfit.
1. Dragonslayer (Berserk)
There are almost too many amazing anime swords to choose from, but one sword stands out as an icon: Gut’s Dragonslayer from the 1997 classic anime series, Berserk. The sword, which was probably modeled after the German Zweihander, is thought to be about five hundred pounds and six-and-a-half feet of pure, raw iron. That it looks crude and impractical, with no cross-guard, is part of the sword’s charm. Dragonslayer is massive, so if you’re planning on crafting the sword yourself, try lighter materials like aluminum for the blade to keep it from becoming too heavy. “Don’t forget the single chain link on the bolt; for a spot-on cosplay, use the link to attach the sword to a prop hook over your shoulder,” said Swordsaxe.com.
2. Demon Scythe (Soul Eater)
This weapon favored by reaper-type characters is simple yet gets the point across. While there are a few different options to choose from, none of them are quite as stylish as the Demon Scythe from the 2008 hit series, Soul Eater. In the anime, the Demon Scythe is both human and weapon: it’s the transformation of the protagonist, Soul “Eater” Evans. The scythe features a black-and-red saw-tooth pattern that represents Soul’s toothy smile with an eye pattern on the joint that connects the blade to the handle. If you’re looking for an over-the-top cosplay weapon, you can eschew the Demon Scythe’s standard form and go for the weapon’s eye-popping alternate form: the massive, crescent-shaped Witch Hunter.
3. Dominator (Psycho Pass)
Guns add a little flair to a modern or futuristic cosplay. There are plenty of gunslinger characters to choose from to cosplay, but if you want a weapon that truly stands out, cosplay as an Inspection and Enforcement officer from the 2012 cyberpunk anime, Psycho Pass, and show off your 45MW.TRG Dominator. In Non-Lethal Paralyzer mode, the gun looks like a fairly futuristic handgun, but when the gun switches to Lethal Eliminator mode it goes through a startling change, swiveling and flipping and revealing glowing core parts. Cosplayers have figured out how to replicate this transformation for a jaw-dropping complement to their cosplay.
4. Automail (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Fullmetal Alchemist is a powerhouse of an anime that has won multiple awards, spawned a reboot and was ranked 95th in IGN’s top 100 animated series of all time. It also features one of the best weapon and armor combinations in anime history: Edward Elric’s automail arm. In the anime, Edward Elric can manipulate his automail using alchemy to give it a razor-sharp tip, allowing him to stand up to a corrupt dictator and a horde of baddies. Unless you know alchemy, you’ll have to settle for a static arm to show your cosplay a little love.
5. Scissor Blade (Kill la Kill)
With the scissor blade prop from the 2013 anime, Kill la Kill, you can finally snub your elders’ advice and run with scissors. Ryūko’s scissor blade is about five feet long and bright red with a half-circle hilt. It looks, simply put, like half of a pair of scissors. A really cool half pair of scissors that the protagonist, Ryūko Matoi, uses to cut through so-called Life Fibers to destroy Goku Uniforms. The scissor blade is another transforming weapon, able to extend to almost twice its normal size. In the anime, the blade can also shrink down to about the size of a normal pair of scissors, but don’t try that at home.