August 12th, 2006
Boston, Massachusetts

Event Stats:
Location: Revere Beach
Event Year: First
Attendance: 18
Shiva's Costumes Worn:
Rinoa Heartilly, Final Fantasy VIII
Event Photos:

Photo Credits:
Sephygoth, Shiva

The Cosplay Beach Party was born out of both the desire for Boston area cosplayers to organize social gatherings outside of conventions and the emergence of the swimsuit cosplay trend. Several local cosplayers tossed the idea of a beach cosplay party around the local forums before Kyuu took the reins and organized a late August gathering on Revere Beach. The event featured food, games, contests, music, dancing, and lots of creative and colorful characters showing off their beachwear! Sephygoth served as photographer and the afternoon ended with a mini-birthday celebration for Kyuu. It was fun-filled day and organizers hope to turn it into an annual event.

Shiva's Event Breakdown
In 2006, a lot of controversy surrounded the new trend of “swimsuit cosplay,” in which cosplayers designed swimsuit versions of their favorite characters. Some in the community saw it as just another excuse to show off skin, while others disliked that most of the swimsuits were store-bought rather than handmade and dismissed the idea that such a “lazy” costume could be considered “cosplay.” Although there were certainly cosplayers who overused and abused the trend as a way of gaining attention, I thought the occasional swimsuit costume, especially among cosplayers who did many outfits of the same character, was a creative way to expand the character’s wardrobe and inject some fun into a hobby that was starting to become increasingly competitive and critical.

I had made a swimsuit version of Rinoa Heartilly for a pool party at Anime Boston earlier in the year, and when I heard about the Beach Cosplay Party, I thought it would be the perfect occasion to put it to good use. I also love spending the short summer season in New England on the beach, and often feel a bit annoyed when I have to spend a beautiful summer day at a convention or sewing a costume. This event would allow me both to enjoy my cosplay hobby and be on the beach, so I found it impossible to pass up! I was a little nervous about going since I only knew most of the cosplayers from chatting with them online or seeing them in passing at AB and had never really hung out with them in person before. When I posted on the forums that I was considering bringing Rinoa, however, Dymatrex decided to join me as Squall, and I was relieved to have someone there I knew relatively well.

When the party day arrived, it turned out to be a perfect day to go to the beach; the sun was shining in a cloudless sky, and the air was warm but with a cool fall breeze. I made a fruit salad to bring to the event, packed up my non-swimsuit costume pieces and took the T to Wonderland Station. The party was late enough in the summer season that despite the gorgeous weather, Revere Beach was not crowded and the attendees had plenty of room to spread out. When I walked over from the T Station, there were cosplayers of characters from all genres sunbathing, splashing in the ocean, dancing to music on a portable stereo and playing games.

Dymatrex was dressed as Squall as promised, while Sephygoth joined the Final Fantasy cosplayers as Sephiroth. Kyuu, Chineru, and Rain Miko were adorable as Sora, Kairi, and Nami from Kingdom Hearts, while Guardian Lulu and Girl Shuichi made a great Risa and Shuichi respectively. When I arrived I got into my Rinoa wig and blew up my Angelwing inner tube, while Sephygoth was kind enough to paint angel wings on my back and do a fun photoshoot of Dymatrex and I as Squall and Rinoa. It was fun to play the part of having to convince grumpy-pants Squall to have a good time at the beach. I wish there had been some more Final Fantasy VIII characters to join in, as we got some fantastic photos!

I was impressed with the turnout and how well everyone seemed to get along and find fun ways to pass the afternoon; the friendly, open nature of the event made it a great way to get to know people and make new friends. I enjoyed grilling hot dogs and roasting S’mores with Crazy Flower and Girl Shuichi, watching Kyuu and Sephygoth destroy a watermelon with their keyblade and kantana, and I had a blast building sand castles with several other attendees and making human sand creatures out of sunbathing cosplayers, which made for some funny photos! It was a completely different group than those I had met at the Cosplay Tea earlier in the summer and it made me feel like I really expanded my social circle in the cosplay community.

Surprisingly, unlike at the tea party were gawkers made me feel a bit awkward, the beach-going public around us seemed to pay us no notice despite our colorful hair and clothing. I suppose from a distance it wasn’t immediately obvious we were in costume rather than just weird looking teenagers, but either way we were completely left alone without any uncomfortable stares or questions. I was also impressed with the beach itself; I had very low expectations for a beach so close to the city, but the sand was clean, and the water seemed the same though while I did go swimming I specifically avoided putting my head under it; even if I hadn’t been wearing a wig it was still city water. Overall I had a great time, and it was such a fun event I hope to do it again next year!