At the 2012 Polymanga show held on 7 April, 2012, Cosplay enthusiasts dressed in varied attire attracted thousands of visitors at the Palais de Beaulieu in Lausanne.

A unique amalgamation of video games, manga or cartoons and Japanese culture, Polymanga is a three-day event held annually in Switzerland. The 2012 show was a bizarre blend of fashion and comics as enthusiasts dressed in costumes of various comic characters like the "Mask" performed at the gathering.

Short for "Costume Play", Cosplay is a highly regarded social activity that occurs in specific environments such as anime and manga conventions, karaoke events and club meetings.

Hence, such events provide significant social benefits for the players who are quite often referred to as "geeks".

Although these events are popular in Japan, many other places engage in such social activitity. The term "cosplay", though Japanese in origin, also describes a phenomenon witnessed in the United States. For many years, costuming has had a widespread following and continues to experience growing popularity in North America and Europe, and has more recently spread throughout South America and Australia.

Although such events take place both in the Japanese and North American cultures, there are significant differences between the two.

Western cosplay's origins are based primarily on science fiction and historical fantasy as opposed to animation. It is more common for Western cosplayers to recreate characters from live-action series than it is for Japanese cosplayers. Similarly, animated series may be the origin for many recreations.

The increasing popularity of Japanese animation outside of Asia during the late 1990s led to an increase in American and other Western cosplayers who portray Japanese characters.

Anime conventions have become more numerous in the West in the last decade. They now compete with science fiction, comic, and historical conferences in attendance.

At these gatherings, cosplayers, like their Japanese counterparts, meet to show off their work, take photos, and compete in costume contests. Convention attendees are mostly seen dressed up as Japanese animated characters, but many others dress up as famous Western comic book characters, or as famous characters from movies and video games.

Start the slideshow to catch a glimpse of the 2012 Polymanga Cosplay and the various enthusiasts involved in the event: