From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
Pokémon Cosplay, or Pokémon Dressup, is the act of dressing up in a Pokémon costume. This hobby is seen in both the Pokémon canon and among fans.
In the games
In Red and Blue, cosplay is referenced by a PokéManiac in Rock Tunnel. The PokéManiac asks if Red has heard of costume players. After defeat, he explains that costume players dress up as Pokémon for fun.
Since their introduction in Generation II, male Pokéfans have been accompanied with their children who are dressed up like Pikachu or Pichu. In Generation IV, these cosplaying children can also be found on their own, called Poké Kids.
Poké Maniacs dress up similar to Charizard in Generation III. In Generation IV, they could be more like Larvitar.
Fantina's dress is notably inspired by Drifblim. However, it is considerably different from a typical cosplaying costume.
The Colosseum Leaders in Pokémon Battle Revolution all cosplay as Pokémon. Taylor is dressed as Pachirisu, Marina is dressed as Kyogre, Rosie is dressed as Roserade, Voldon is dressed as Electivire, Terrell is dressed as Groudon, and Dusty is dressed as Lucario. All of these costumes can be Shiny and both forms are available for players as well.
In Pokémon Conquest, most of the outfits worn by Warlords, and some of those worn by regular Warriors, incorporate elements of Pokémon designs. Many Rank II Warlord designs could qualify as cosplay, such as those of Aya, Kotarō, and Muneshige.
In the anime
Meowth of Team Rocket is well-known for dressing up as other Pokémon when needed.
In the Dare da? for the Japanese version of The Bug Stops Here, Jessie turns out to be the subject, cosplaying as a Venomoth. When the "Pokémon" was revealed, the narrator says "Venomoth", but the children shout "Incorrect!"
Ash wore a Seviper costume in ZigZag Zangoose to help Nicholai figure out how to battle a Seviper using a Zangoose.
Nicholai is well-known for his cosplaying. He wears the costume of any Pokémon he sends out into battle or of whatever Pokémon he might be trying to catch. He has been seen wearing costumes of Mudkip, Zigzagoon, Gligar, Tentacruel, Bellossom, and Zangoose.
Ash, Dawn, and Brock entered a Pokémon Cosplay Contest in All Dressed Up with Somewhere to Go. In this contest, however, it was their Pokémon which cosplayed, not themselves, though Rhonda, Officer Jenny, and Nurse Joy were respectively dressed up as Cherrim, Growlithe, and Chansey. Ash entered Pikachu, who did many impressions of other Pokémon. Dawn entered her Piplup as a Weedle, but lost when he broke character and used a BubbleBeam. The winner of the contest was Brock and his Croagunk, who dressed up as a Politoed and continued his impression of one throughout the entire episode.
Bill wore a Kabuto cosplay in Mystery at the Lighthouse. This costume was used for Bill's research.
Dawn wore a Piplup cosplay in her dream in Malice in Wonderland!.
In YEAH!, an ending for Pokémon Sunday, cosplayers are dressed up as a Treecko and Wobbuffet.
On its own, Pokémon Sunday, and its Generation V successor, Pokémon Smash! has some of its hosts dress up as Pokémon. Sunday had Lucario and Chimchar, while Smash! has Zoroark and Oshawott.
In Reunion Battles In Nimbasa!, Jimmy Ray wears a Watchog costume.
In Climbing the Tower of Success!, a portion of the Bell of Wishes Festival contest required those who made it through to the round to dress up. The Trainer had to dress up as important Unova figure while their Pokémon dressed up as the Pokémon used by the figure. Ash, Iris, and Stephan dressed up as Alder, Professor Juniper, and Nurse Joy, respectively. Ash's Pikachu, Iris's Axew, and Stephan's Sawk in turn dressed up as Bouffalant, Darumaka, and Audino, respectively. Ricky was to dress up as Officer Jenny while his Elgyem was to dress up as Herdier but Elgyem used its Psychic powers to manipulate Miles's mind into thinking they were dressed up. Lastly, Cilan dressed up as Elesa and Pansage dressed up as Emolga. However, they did not pass to the next round because Cilan could not remember his lines.
In Clash of the Connoisseurs!, in Ricard Nouveau's fantasy there was a Lilligant and standing next to her was a young woman cosplaying one.
In the manga
In the Pokémon RéBURST manga
While Cosplay doesn't officially appear in most Pokémon manga, there is a technique based off Pokémon Cosplay in the Pokémon RéBURST manga called Burst. Unlike usual Pokémon Cosplay, the Burst techniques are used for battle purposes.
When it was relaunched in January 2010, Pokémon.com added a Pokémon Trainer Club, where players play games and earn coins to buy clothing at a Trainer store, some of which are Pokémon costumes.
In the fandom
Like most anime, manga and video game fandoms, cosplay is common within the Pokémon fandom. Most fans will dress up as human characters from the games and anime such as Ash, Team Rocket, female generational protagonists Misty, May, or Dawn, Officer Jenny or Nurse Joy. Many females crossplay as either Ash or James because of their youthful male looks, commonly known in Japan as bishounen, or "bishie" for short in the USA. Still, it is far from unheard of for fans to dress up in costumes of their favorite Pokémon species, especially if it is in the kigurumi or gijinka style of cosplay. Kigurumi is basically a hooded coverall pajama jumpsuit disguise of a character like Pikachu, while a Gijinka (also called "Moe anthropomorphism") is a human form of a species. Because of the popularity of Pikachu as the mascot of the Pokémon franchise, many young women dress in a Sweet Lolita style of dress at conventions.
Cosplayers who dress up like Pokémon are sometimes targeted as being furries, which have been the center of many controversies. However, while there is undoubtedly overlap, Pokémon cosplayers and furries are not one and the same; there are Pokémon cosplayers who are simply Pokémon fans and not interested in the furry fandom, and there are furries who would never want to wear a Pikachu costume.