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Android 18 cosplay can truly hit or miss. The effort you put into the cosplay and how immersed you get into the character will mean the most in the end. Find the right base pieces and put them together rather than buying an entire cosplay outfit online. The problem with buying costumes is that they are either uber expensive or cheaply made.
So, in my opinion, if you want to get into cosplay then make it count! In this guide, I’m going to go over each piece in the primary Android 18 cosplay ideas and then skim over the others, listing the pieces you will need.
You see, as a teenager, I created an Android 18 cosplay that never saw the light of day. I was proud of it and worked hard on it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t confident enough to wear it in public so it stayed in the closet. I’ve regretted not sharing it ever since. Cosplay should be enjoyed by other fans just as it is by the cosplayer.
No matter your skill level, be confident sharing your work. It’s not only a nod to your favorite anime or video game, but also a piece of yourself that deserves to be appreciated. Here’s to the cosplay that I wasn’t brave enough to share. Help me end the cycle.
Who Is Android 18 From Dragon Ball Z?
Warning: Dragon Ball Z spoilers below, skip to Getting Into Character to avoid them
Android 18 is a character from Dragon Ball Z. She is Dr. Gero’s eighteenth Android ( only the second who was created with a human base) whose initial goal was to destroy Goku. She and her brother Lapis (Android 17) were captured as humans by Dr. Gero and turned into Androids.
Of course, the first thing she does is kill Dr. Gero when he tells her no. After that, she spends an entire saga fighting the Z fighters before becoming one. Her power is shown to be great as the first fighter she encounters is Vegeta, whom she faces off with easily even after he goes Super Saiyan.
After her fight with Vegeta, she meets Krillin but has no interest in attacking him. Instead, he tries to get her to stop hunting Goku. Her response is a kiss on his cheek which causes Krillin to begin to fall in love with her.
They later marry and have a daughter. During their relationship, she was eaten not once but twice. First by Cell and then again after being turned into chocolate and eaten by Super Buu. The second time, she is killed but is resurrected later on by the Dragon Balls.
While there is a lot more to know about Android 18, that covers the basics that you need to know in order to play her and understand the references made by fans at conventions.
Getting Into Character
There are a few things that separate good cosplayers from great ones. One of those things is immersion. When it comes to Android 18, there isn’t a lot to learn. Be sarcastic. That’s about it.
Though it should be noted that she is much more sarcastic in English than she is in Japanese. Other than that, she is calm, cool, and collected with a monotone voice 90% of the time.
Android 18 Quotes
If you have trouble getting into character, whipping out a few quotes from Android 18 can be exactly what you need to cover your hesitancy up.
Use these quotes from Android 18 to not only help get into character but as a quick reference when you’re at a loss for words.
Generic Quotes From Games
- “Knock it off!”
- “Now you’ve really pissed me off!”
- “Keep your hands off me!” vs. Cell
- “There’s no way I’m losing to you!”
- “Just try to keep up!” vs. Krillin
- “Not too shabby, Krillin!”
- “This is for real, 16!”
- “You and me! No holding back!”
- “I’ve had enough of you!”
- “You kids need to learn some manners!”
- “The winner of the bingo contest gets a castle and plane, right?”
- “How sad. To work so hard, for so little.”
- “Look, he noticed. How cute.”
- “My father was pretty dull.”
- “Spare me.”
Android 18 Cosplay Breakdown
Now it’s time to break down each piece of the cosplay, as looking at it all together can be overwhelming. Although there are a few variants, I want to go over the most popular Android Saga variant in detail. This is the outfit she’s wearing during her first appearance.
Android 18 has shoulder-length blonde hair. There are two ways to achieve this with one being easier and one being cheaper.
A wig is by far the easiest way to achieve the look. If you’re in a cosplay contest, then do some research before committing to a wig. Some judges may take points away, or at least not add any, if you use an “Android 18” wig you buy online.
If you still want a wig, then a good way to get around the deduction is to buy a longer wig and style it yourself. This adds creativity points and gives you more freedom to make the wig accurate.
Dye and Straighten
If your hair is the right length, you can dye it light blonde and straighten it, remembering to add that deep side part. If you can pull this method off then you will surely get a few extra points because it’s not done often.
There are only two ways to do this unless you are a social media cosplayer. If you only cosplay on social media, then you can photoshop the eyes. If not, then you have to forgo them, have them naturally, or wear contacts. The brightness of her eyes isn’t common naturally, so contacts may be a good idea anyway.
Let me tell you something personal before you get uncomfortable. I was terrified of contacts for the longest time. As someone who wears glasses, this may be laughable, but there’s a reason I wear glasses and not contacts.
The thought of putting something in my eye on purpose has always been beyond me. But then, a couple of years ago, I decided to get brave for a Nezuko cosplay, given that her eyes are crucial to the cosplay. Although it took me an hour to get them in my eyes the first time, it was decidedly worth it.
So if you are hesitant to try it out, then consider this a testament to their power. Do it. I highly recommend trying them out days before the event as it may take a while and it may make your eyes watery if you mess with them too much. So practice beforehand until you are comfortable with them.
The undershirt for this cosplay is easy to come by. There are two pieces to this unless you get lucky and find a shirt with white sleeves and a black torso.
If this is the case, good for you. All you have to do is get those stripes on after that.
White Long Sleeves
If you’re lucky, you can find a long-sleeve white shirt with black stripes on the arms. But if you can’t, then you can do what I did, use a plain white shirt and draw black stripes on them.
Alternatively, fabric tape works well and is more precise than fabric paint. This is my favorite option because of the freedom and accuracy.
After you have your long sleeve shirt, all you need for the top is a black sleeveless shirt. A thin top works best but a razorback tank won’t work well.
Find something that ends where the seams of the long sleeve top are. If you can’t find something like this for some reason, cut off a t-shirt at the sleeves.
I’d also like to note here that the neckline is important. Android 18 doesn’t dress provocatively but she doesn’t have the neckline of a men’s shirt either.
Pay attention to where hers is and try to copy it if accuracy is your priority, as it is mine.
There’s only one variation for the traditional Android 18 cosplay. A denim jacket vest. However, if you only have a black undershirt without the sleeves, then you can attach the sleeves to the vest.
After you finish picking a jacket, don’t forget to add the Red Ribbon patch on the back. I’ll go more in-depth later on how to achieve this since it’s one of the most important parts of the cosplay.
- Denim skirt
- Black leggings
- Brown Belt with buckle
For the traditional outfit, which I am currently referring to, you will need a denim skirt, black leggings, and a brown belt. This is all easy to find.
To be honest, I find that thrift stores are the best place to find this type of clothing. One of the reasons is because in anime like Dragon Ball Z, you won’t find trendy clothing. Android 18 needs ’90s skirts/jeans.
Any simple brown boots without heels will usually do for an Android 18 cosplay. You can have boots with heels, but this isn’t canon. There are a few ways to go all out with the boots.
One way to make them look accurate is to get cowboy spurs and remove the wheels. Alternatively, you can take apart another brown belt and sew them back together with leather thread or lace.
If you haven’t worked with leather, that’s okay. You can skip this part. Or, you can get a small hole punch, wax thread with a thick needle, and a mallet.
Leatherworking basics are all that is needed for work like this.
The Red Ribbon is crucial when completing your Android 18 cosplay. There are a few great ways to put that ribbon on your vest, so you can go with what you’re most comfortable with.
You can purchase a Red Ribbon patch online but if you’re entering contests, I don’t recommend it. However, it is the easiest path if you’re cosplaying for fun and don’t plan on getting judged.
If you want to really impress the judges, then learn to embroidery denim. It isn’t easy and there is a learning curve.
I learned embroidery when I was a pre-teen and I still wouldn’t put forth the effort to attempt it. But if you do, then you will receive the praise you deserve.
Fabric paint would be my choice because it’s easy, cheap, and effective. Ensure that you have a strong outline drawn with a pencil on the vest first.
You can get fabric tracing paper or fusible fabric if you have minimal drawing skills.
Fabric tape may be the safest way to go as it is easy to undo. However, you need a lot of tape and you can see the seams if you don’t do it perfectly.
It’s definitely worth a try if the other options are too much. Start with the red, then make the border, finally, add the R’s.
Android 18 Couple Cosplay Ideas
At this point, I would normally add a prop section, but since Android 18 doesn’t have any obvious props that other characters may have, I’m going to give you another option.
Marron is Android 18’s daughter and the perfect prop for a mother who can’t leave their kid at home.
- For toddlers, pigtails and a simple pink dress are perfect.
- For older kids, low pigtails, a pink hat, and the classic white button-up, covered with a pink jumper dress.
This is the obvious couple choice. Krillin, either bald or with his Tournament hair works well. This couple may be the best couple in the anime and people will gush over a couple dressed as the two for a convention.
The problem that makes this cosplay so rare? The height difference. If the two of your heights don’t align with the canon, then perhaps this is a parent/child cosplay. Still adorable and easy to pull off.
Android 17 and Android 18 are siblings, making this the perfect cosplay for any two friends. These two balance each other out in so many ways.
Android 18 Variants in Dragon Ball Z
While variants like the western outfit 18 tries on at the department store are fun and unique, they aren’t recognizable.
You probably don’t want people to have to ask who you are, you want them to know. Thankfully, there is one other variant that is easy to recognize.
Cell Saga Android 18
- Pearl Necklace
- White Tee
- Black Crop Vest
- Black Gloves
- Orange Socks
- Black Flats
Cell Saga Android 18 is the second most popular version. It is easy to pull off. You can probably find everything you need either in your closet or at the thrift store. The pearl necklace is crucial but it doesn’t have to be real.
World Tournament Android 18
This one is actually a hack because you can use the pieces from the Cell Saga version and the Android Saga version. Rather than make this confusing, let me list the items from each set.
So you can have three cosplays for different conventions with only two outfits.
- Cell Saga
- Android Saga
- Long sleeve shirt
- Tank top
Dragon Ball Z Ending
At the end of Dragon Ball Z, Android 18 has cut her hair and is wearing a red dress. This isn’t a popular version of Android 18, but if you do it right, it is recognizable.
Still, unless you have the red dress lying around and need a ten-minute cosplay, I recommend a different version.
Dragon Ball Super Versions
Let me be straight with you. I will always, always prefer Dragon Ball Z versions of characters to Dragon Ball Super. However, sometimes, you work with what you have, and the Super versions are easy to make work.
This doesn’t mean I will get into Dragon Ball GT Android 18, because sorry, but no.
Universe 6 Arc
- Long sleeve two-tone (purple and black) shirt with a lightning symbol
- Light jeans
- White socks
- Black flats
- Pearl necklace
This is an easy cosplay. The hardest part is finding the right shirt. But if you can find one without the symbol then you can figure out the rest as it is a simple symbol.
Track Suit Android 18
- Magenta (flexible color) tracksuit
- Black sneakers
Android 18 can not get enough of this tracksuit in Dragon Ball Super. This is good because Super fans will recognize this instantly.
My theory is that younger fans will be more likely to know who it is without thinking about it.
FAQs About Android 18 Cosplay
Question: Should I Add Robotic Aspects?
Answer: Robotic aspects would make sense if we ever saw Android 18’s cyborg side. However, as far as I can remember, we do not. That said, getting creative by adding robotic features on a battle-worn 18 may be so creative that the judges can’t say no.
Question: What’s The Best Version Of Android 18 to Cosplay?
Answer: There isn’t a best version but if you want to get that recognition instantly then the initial Android Saga outfit will probably do you the most justice.
Question: Where Can I Get Blue Contacts?
Answer: This is a great question! Buying colored contacts can be tricky because the last thing you want is an eye infection. The only way to feel good about buying contacts is to find multiple references. YouTubers who’ve been buying from the same place for a long time are good references.
In case you’re wondering, Android 18 cosplay can win contests. The more creative and accurate you are, the better. Don’t cut corners on the important parts of the cosplay.
Things like skirt length, denim shade, and boot accuracy are ways to make the cosplay cheaper. But when it comes to the aspects such as hair, eyes, vest, and Red Ribbon symbols, make what you do count.
If you start to get lazy, take a break for a few days and come back to it. Don’t settle. Having a backup is great, but if you can’t find what you need, then don’t make do until you’ve searched the ends of the earth.
Don’t dress up as Android 18, this isn’t a costume, it’s cosplay. Your goal is to become Android 18.