If you’re looking to bulk up for a cosplay or crossplay session, you don’t have to hit the gym as long as you raid the cupboard.

Anime artwork is well-known for not letting real-world anatomical principles stand in the way of creating female characters that creators think will be attractive to the young male demographic. But while the phenomenon may not be as explicit as the near-ever-present top-heavy women of Japanese animation, the physiques of many handsome male anime icons aren’t always the most realistic either.

Because of aesthetic tastes among fans in Japan, many leading men of the anime and video game world have slender builds and fine features. However, despite drawing these characters to be rather narrow through the hips, waist, and torso, these artists often want to add muscle definition in pinpoint locations to produce just the right mix of non-threatening delicate youthfulness and dependable, man-of-action strength.

In the real world, though, it can be hard to pull off that combination. There’s a limit to how much you can isolate muscle development, and the protein needed for tough-guy musculature often doesn’t align with the low-calorie diet required for pretty-boy slimness.

So here with a remarkably clever, and extremely affordable, solution is Japanese cosplayer and Twitter user @louistill3.

@louistill3 is particularly fond of cosplaying as Final Fantasy characters, with Final Fantasy XV’s Noctis being her most recent muse. In addition to hopping across the gender line, @louistill3 was also faced with the challenge presented by the fact that Noctis has more muscular shoulders than she does. But instead of grabbing a pair of dumbbells, @louistill3 instead grabbed a pair of paper cups.

Using scissors, she cut away half of the cups’ sides, leaving their bases intact.

Finally, she placed one cup on each of her shoulders, like plain paper epaulettes.

Doing so brought her shoulders from this…

…to this…

…giving her a physique that’s more masculine and thus closer to the character she’s seeking to emulate.

▼ The final result

While @louistill3 has the cups laying loosely over her T-shirt in the step-by-step example photos, she recommends, of course wearing them under at least the topmost layer of your costume, and to secure them with tape or by other means to keep them in place during your day at an anime convention or photo shoot. It’s another great example that while good cosplay always takes a lot of passion, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

Source: Twitter/@louistill3 via IT Media
Images: Twitter/@louistill3