One of the strengths of an anime convention is that all genres of “geek” are welcome. There are many reasons for this, but the most obvious one is inclusivity; geeks are geeks, and we should love one another for it, no matter the disagreement. I have here four groups of potential non-anime cosplays that I would like to point out, and support.
Many con attendees love a wide variety of American, Canadian, etc. cartoons, such as: Avatar the Last Airbender, Animaniacs, My Little Pony, and Invader Zim. As such, whenever someone comes to a con with one of these cosplays, or even a t-shirt, many attendees show admiration and nostalgia. It could be debated that comic book characters would fall under this category, as well as the next one, which is…
Live-Action shows and movies
I will agree that some who dress up as Iron Man or Wolverine do so due to the popular films that have been coming out for nearly 20 years, yet there are some who clearly loved the original comics and cartoons. The best example of this (that I can think of) is the X-Men character Rogue. For many years in the comics, as well as a popular animated series in the 1990s, Rogue was tall, stacked, and wore a yellow & green jumpsuit with a brown jacket. Most Rogue cosplayers will go with this variant rather than the passive and unimpressive Anna Paquin version. This section also includes things from Japan, like Godzilla and Power Rangers.
This one could be considered a cop out, as many games are made in Japan and will often have anime-esque characteristics, like: Street Fighter, the Legend of Zelda, and Final Fantasy. There are others that will be quite common; Halo is a common example… a little too common, IMO. I’ve also seen “wannabe” anime games have some cosplayers; my personal favorite example was Sudeki, a (thankfully) non-turn-based style RPG. I once saw a breathtakingly well-crafted Ailish with her beginning staff.
You will, on rare occasions, find someone going as something from a different category. The best examples I can give are OCs (Original Characters). While this term can apply to a fandom as well (take a look at my gravatar as an example), they can apply to just a basic OC, too. A good friend of my son’s mother has cosplayed as a vampire that she created for a roleplaying game called Vampires of the Masquerade.
Go as whatever you want: Goku, Beavis, Wonder Woman, Q-Bert, a rock, or yourself. It’s all about having fun. Just do this one thing: DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE’S COSPLAY!!!
Here’s some of my favorite examples from a convention I went to up in Vancouver, BC. I believe the year was 2010… (sorry that some of them are sideways).