Forging Super-Powers: How Anime & Cosplay Can Make You Stronger (2018) | BE MORE SHONEN
If you’ve ever spent hours grinding on a video game bleeding from your eyeballs to level up your speed, stamina, and strength, that’s kinda like fitness except it’s real, your eyes don’t hurt, and deadlifting beats the crap out of even the most convincing VR.
If you’d rather watch than read:
For those who don’t know my story, as a kid I was bullied due to being overweight. I was a slave to instantly gratifying activities such as games and food and it showed on my waistline. I was not athletic in any way, I was the kinda kid who came last during sports day and, perhaps unsurprisingly, I also didn’t understand the first thing about sports. When the World Cup was on during primary school I felt like a complete outcast, I didn’t understand what the fuss was about. I’m sure this hits home for some of you.
I was a geek, and geeks typically have no interest in those kinds of things. Rather than watch somebody kick a ball around we’d rather watch giant robots defend the planet from evil invasions (thank you Power Rangers!). When you dislike sports or don’t understand athletics it can be really daunting for us to get in shape because of how alien it seems, especially when watching actual aliens getting up to adventures on the TV is way more of a visual stimulus than tennis could ever be. With gaming it’s that step further; you become a part of that adventure yourself.
And that’s actually a trick some of you may be missing.
I didn’t make the connection at the time and it would be almost twenty years until I did but my most admired heroes as a child were Sonic the Hedgehog and Son Goku, two characters known for their insane athletic capabilities that are far FAR above any real person.
For example, Goku of Dragon Ball is born as one of the weakest of his race (the Saiyans). Through hard work and training he gets strong enough to defeat his arch enemy Freeza who at the time was seen as the strongest person in the universe. Not only does he win but their powers during the conflict become so great that they end up destroying the planet that they’re on, a story of biblical proportions.
As for Sonic the Hedgehog his super power is that he’s as fast as he needs to be. In some continuities his speed is so great that he can seem to be in two places at the same time miles apart, or so strong after collecting the chaos emeralds that he’s completely invincible whilst having the power to destroy a universe with his strongest punch. Now compare this to Mike Tyson who is an athletic legend in reality but nothing compared to what exists in fiction. With a little bit of imagination and visualisation, you can see how the likes of Goku and Sonic can motivate those that have a taste in fantasy and tend to shun realism.
Who would of thought Sonic and Mike Tyson could be compared?
I said earlier that the visual stimulus of watching aliens, dragons, demons and wizards is a more powerful stimulus than watching sports, and that’s an objective fact. However; we have not found a replacement for the feeling your body goes through when you workout. The amount of endorphins that are released when you complete a heavy set of deadlifts to failure or the runners high you feel 40 minutes in are on an entirely different level from the endorphins you feel finishing Slippery Climb on Crash Bandicoot or catching the first 151 Pokemon. So instead of living vicariously through those fictional characters why don’t you use them as inspiration in the same way others use sportsmen? These characters don’t even have the limits of our world so there’s literally no cap on how much they can motivate you.
This is how I got into shape, I always had a taste for dressing up and playing ever since I was a kid. Obviously being a cosplayer this trait continued into adulthood and it was years until I realised that the next logical step is to emulate the characters in real life.
With my Son Goku cosplay that’s when this transformation began to truly materialise. Every pound of muscle added made my cosplay more accurate, as did every pound of fat I lost. Alongside the physique I also ensured my cosplay was as accurate as my ability would allow by outsourcing my wig to who I believe is the best (Nomes cosplay) and paying close attention to detail with my costume over time. Even to this day I’m adding and reconsidering pieces of my Goku outfit to craft a costume that looks like it walked out of the screen and into real life.
So as you can see there isn’t all that much to it. Pick an anime character who truly inspires you and make them your goal, then do whatever it takes to BECOME that character. The diet, the training, the hair, and an accurate costume focussing on the correct fabrics and textures. Think about every aspect of the character and break it down to the molecule.
Let us use Son Goku as an example:
1.6 pack abs
2.Very defined spikey hair
3.A lot of muscle mass
4.A karate uniform in bright orange & blue
5.Blue shoes with a yellow/red stripe and rope laces
6.This uniform is used to seeing battle
7.Goofy posing, always happy
8.Doesn’t drink or smoke
1.Get very lean with diet
2.Learn how to shape a hard cored wig or commission one
3.Lift weights to add muscle
4.Buy and modify a karate V neck and blue undershirt
5.Make boot covers or buy boots and swap the rope out for something thicker if it’s inaccurate
6.Weather the uniform with fabric paints/fullers earth to make them look dirty and battle worn
7.Smile more often, aim to be nice to everyone
8.Quit drinking and smoking
If you’ve ever cosplayed a comic book or anime hero you probably know what it’s like to become a fictional character for a day, I say you should carry their positive traits into real life too. You can even take it to a further level and see what aspects of that person you can apply to your own personal goals.
Using Goku as an example his overwhelming personality trait is his desire to get stronger and be a better fighter, he will then progress towards that goal with such an intensity that he can’t NOT improve. Now imagine taking that trait and applying it to your own life goals, the sky is the limit with this technique. I’ve used it myself to improve my studies, business, cosplay, physique, and personal health resulting in massive success in all of those areas.
If you’re not already using your fictional heroes as motivation to get yourself a better life, you’re missing a trick. It may be a bit of an unorthodox approach to improve yourself (that’s for sure) and a lot of people would call video games a waste of time alongside anime and comic books.
They might tell you to level up your life instead of your game.
I’d say level up your life like it’s a game instead, live the character instead of living through them.
Be More Shonen
Me cosplaying Son Goku from DragonBall Z. I know a thing or two about using anime to get in shape.