6 Tricks to Look Like a Japanese Cartoon

6 Tricks to Look Like a Japanese Cartoon

We Japanese love dressing up and younger Japanese are always ready to embrace the latest fashions or dress in costume, traditional or fantasy, for parades and events. But since the 1990s, there has been a growing trend in what is often called cosplay (from costume play), where people seek to recreate popular characters from Japanese cartoons, video games and manga comics, then hang about in fashionable areas, such as Harajuku. So, without further discussion, here are some tips for getting in on the fun.



 

6 Tricks to Look Like a Japanese Cartoon

 

1. Choosing a Character

The important thing in choosing a character for yourself is that it is identifiable, or identifiably Japanese. For many Western aficionados, the anime look is mainly about manga, which is fine, but TV and film anime are more widely appreciated in Japan, so check out popular Japanese cartoon characters for inspiration. On the other hand, there is nothing to stop you from designing a unique character of your own, so long as you ‘look’ cartoonish.

 

2. Designing the Outfit

This will probably be the most demanding part of your transformation, requiring at least some basic dressmaking skills. You will want to make your costume as accurate as possible, so avoid choosing a character who’s outfit is beyond your abilities. Of course, there are shops specialising in ready-made costumes and, if you don’t mind being yet another Sailor Moon, you can probably find a costume in the party section of budget stores like Donkihote. Many cosplay and Harajuku-style devotees scour recycle shops for items they can incorporate into their look, so that may be a good place to start. And have a look around large toy stores for props; if your chosen character carries a sacred lance (or whatever), you may find a plastic representation of it!

 

3. Makeup – Foundation & Shade

Japanese cartoon characters don’t have skin blemishes, zits, or freckles as a rule, so nor should you! A good foundation is important to give your face an all-over cartoonish smoothness. It will also help you to ‘sculpt’ a good lip shape (see below). Your foundation should as closely as possible resemble the skin tone of your chosen character. You can contour your nose to make it appear smaller, and make your chin more pointy (if it isn’t already) by using a dark eye shadow, around two shades darker than your foundation, with a medium-sized makeup brush.

 

4. Makeup – Eyes

Getting those big doleful Japanese cartoon eyes is mainly achieved with a white eye-liner pencil to make your eyeballs look bigger. First, pencil your eye water-line, in the usual way, then gradually broaden the line into the area below, progressively thicker as you work out from your nose. Finally, line the bottom edge of the whitened area with your usual black or brown eye-liner. Don’t use mascara on your bottom lashes, or it’ll look like you have lashes growing out of your eyeballs! Many cosplayers use glue on fake lashes, easy to apply where you need them, but make this the very last thing you do. Some people use over-sized colour contacts to complete the Japanese cartoon effect, while others forego all the above and, closing their eyes, have their friends paint huge eyes on their faces. Of course, these are only properly visible when they close their eyes.

 

5. Makeup – Lips and Cover

Compared to eyes, small pouty Japanese cartoon lips are easy to fake. Purse your lips slightly and, with a lip brush, draw a suitably circular outline over them with a dark lip gloss. Now fill in the outer corners of your lips with the same foundation you started with until they are as invisible as possible. Finally, fill in your new lips outline with the shade of your choice. Finish off with a facial brush of loose powder to remove unwanted shine, and pick out the apples of your cheeks with a pale pink blusher.

 

6. Hair

Japanese cartoon hairstyles are probably the easiest thing to emulate, especially if you have a lot of hair and are usually experimental in your styling. Otherwise, there are many inexpensive wigs available to complete your look, or that can be adapted to do so. And don’t forget those eyebrows… they’ll most likely need some attention to match your hair.

 

Conclusion

If you’ve managed to put yourself through the above process, I salute you, and so will everyone else. So now all you need to do is get out there and strut your stuff! And be prepared to strike a pose for photographs… places like Harajuku are swarming with street photographers at the weekend. As far as ideas go, especially when it comes to make up tips, you might like to Google the name Anastasiya Shpagina. She’s a twenty year old Ukranian girl who is one of the internet’s best known anime nuts and she has published a number of really cool and useful guides to achieving the Japanese cartoon look. Above all, have fun dressing up Japanese style!

 

6 Tricks to Look Like a Japanese Cartoon

1. Choosing a Character
2. Designing the Outfit
3. Makeup – Foundation & Shade
4. Makeup – Eyes
5. Makeup – Lips and Cover
6. Hair