Anime itself may have gone all-digital, but you can still use amazing practical effects as the finishing touch for your cosplay photos.

Cosplayers have become incredibly talented at recreating the attire of their favorite anime and video game stars, but really, the characters are only one part of the distinct visual style of otaku media. Another critical component, especially for action-heavy series, is the flashy special effects, such as energy barriers or shock waves emanating from a particularly powerful attack.

Of course, such mystical pyrotechnics don’t occur in real life. That’s not such a problem, though thanks to digital photography and affordable image editing software. Just strike a pose, snap a picture, and then add in whatever effects you want, just like they do when making Hollywood blockbusters. That’s clearly what’s going on in the left half of the tweet below, right?

Nope. There’s no post-production trickery being used there. Instead, the trickery begins before the photo is taken, and continues up until the exact moment the camera’s shutter closes, as demonstrated by Japnese Twitter user @ARuFa_FARu.

All you need is a couple of glow sticks, just like the kind used for wotagei otaku dances. Then grab a length of sturdy cord, string, or twine and attach the glow sticks to one end, and tie the other to your wrist. Make sure the knot is nice and secure, and then spin the glow sticks in a circle as your photographer takes the photo, producing a motion blur that looks like a projection of magical energy and also conceals the sticks themselves.

Not sure you want to be swinging hard plastic tubes filled with fluorescent ooze around? There’s also a less kinetic way to make an anime-style barrier. Get a bunch of sheets of clear plastic, tape them together, and then tape them to the palm of your hand, like this.

Just remember that while the barriers will look real in photos, one is actually nonexistent, and the other is paper-thin, so don’t go trying to use these as actual protection, even against cosplay-class weapons such as floorboard swords and hadoken plushies.

Source: Twitter/@ARuFa_FARu via Jin
Featured image: Twitter/@ARuFa_FARu