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Steampunk is, and always will be, one of my favorite aesthetics. While cyberpunk and steampunk are different, I find that most people who like one, enjoy the other as well. We’ll get more into that in a second, but before we do, let me tell you why I love cyberpunk distinctively.
Let me be honest, while I watched The Matrix, Tron, and Robocop, this was not my favorite genre in the least. I did appreciate the fence-sitting adaptions with cyberpunk tags, such as Cowboy Bebop. My heart did lie in the steampunk genre though with great passion.
Then, in recent years, my eyes were opened to the dark beauty of cyberpunk via Alita and the introduction of VR into our society as more than a concept. This caused me to rewatch older cyberpunk movies with new regard and now, I’m pro-cyberpunk, ready to find my next cyberpunk cosplay.
Disclaimer: I understand that the term “cyberpunk” is a touchy term for purists. So I wanted to let those people know that I purposely let the term be broader for this article without breaking any obvious rules or crossing over into steampunk. This makes it easier for those who are looking for a cyberpunk aesthetic to find what they want without getting caught up in the strict term.
Best Cyberpunk Cosplay Ideas – At A Glance
If you are short on time, take a look at these quick cosplay ideas that you can read more about in the article.
- Major Motoko Kusanagi – Ghost in the Shell
- Vi – League Of Legends
- Rick Deckard – Blade Runner
- Neo – The Matrix
- The Terminator
- SHODAN – System Shock
- Judge Dredd
- Alita – Alita: Battle Angel
- Adam Jensen – Deux Ex: Human Revolution
- Quorra – Tron Legacy
Cyberpunk 2077 Characters
- Johnny Silverhand
- Panam Palmer
- Judy Alvarez
- Jackie Welles
Quick Pre-Made Cyberpunk Costumes
If you prefer a costume to cosplay, then don’t worry. It’s all about expressing yourself and having fun becoming your favorite character. These are my three favorite cyberpunk costumes that you can buy on Amazon.
Honestly, I’d wear this motorcycle jacket even if I wasn’t cosplaying. One of my favorite jackets is an Assassin’s Creed jacket. I don’t wear it to cosplay, I wear it for an everyday jacket, and I’ve never regretted it. Since the rest of V’s outfit is custom, you can use this to create an accurate cosplay with ease.
Alita is one of my favorite characters ever. This bodysuit is well-made and can make transforming into her a cinch. All you have to do is makeup and hair while this bodysuit takes care of the rest.
If you want the easiest, yet still effective, cyberpunk costume, then get a black trench coat. This particular coat is a replica of Neo’s so it works extremely well. Add the rest of his black ensemble, and you have a ready-made cosplay.
Cyberpunk Vs Steampunk
There is an important distinction that those who don’t immerse themselves in the genres do not understand. I would like to note that there is an overlap and a blurred line, but this chart may help you realize the general distinctions.
|Computer-based technology||Mechanical-based technology|
|Uses a futuristic setting||Uses a historical setting|
|The world is classist||The entire world is steampunk|
|Bright colors are a must in moderation||Bright colors are kept to a minimum|
|Fashion has no rules||There is a trend|
|In fact, there are no rules, authority is on the opposite side of the people, and the world is cold||Generally set in a society with hopeful protagonists and a brighter future in mind|
|Neons, LEDs, helmets, and black base layers||Gears, top hats, and brown base layers|
|Generally strong dystopian themes||Various themes|
This was very difficult to create as there are so many great characters that fit into the category. Not to mention, I had trouble ensuring the list was broad, and not simply listing every character from three different franchises.
However, I made it a point to only list one character from each franchise. If you love the vibe but not the character, then don’t be afraid to look into specific characters from the franchise and go from there.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never seen the movie or played the game. That’s not what cosplay is about. So be bold and master that character with an immersive experience.
A Personal Favorite – Major Motoko Kusanagi – Ghost in the Shell
- Short black/blue wig
- Black body suit
- Black gloves
- Tan trench coat
- Brown belt
- Ankle boots (preferably yellow and blue)
- Visor (optional)
Ghost in the Shell has always been a great anime but with the release of the Ghost in the Shell movie from 2017, the anime is more popular than ever. Though there are a few options for outfits, I prefer the black bodysuit with the trench coat.
Why? Because it’s Maj’s original manga design and personifies her the best, in my opinion. You can opt for her skin-colored suit, the famous yellow jacket, or the riot outfit, but this is my pick.
Piltover’s Finest – Vi – League Of Legends
- Pink wig
- Armor, armor, armor
- Lolipop (for flair)
Vi from League of Legends is a cosplay that I have personally executed. I had just gotten the goggles and the rest was a quick visit to my closet as I already owned a bright pink Arcade Miss Fortune wig which was easy to adjust for Vi. This was during quarantine and was a Twitch stream cosplay, so I didn’t have to get into creating armor from the chest down.
Fans of League of Legends may be thinking, “but Piltover’s Finest is Cait and Vi together.” Yes, this is true. I have always felt like Vi is more cyberpunk and Caitlyn is more steampunk, however. Ideally, you have a friend so you can be the ultimate duo, which is what I did with a friend of mine who had a pre-made Cait hat. Move over Xayah and Rakan, Cait and Vi may be the best cosplay duo from League.
Now, the single most difficult piece for Vi is her gauntlets. This is not an overnight cosplay if you are going to a convention. This is a cosplay that should take months to create. Get the EVA foam, clay, and Tylenol ready, because this will be daunting.
Have A Trench Coat? – Rick Deckard – Blade Runner
- Brown trench coat
- Dark brown pants
- Simple brown shoes
- Brown, gingham, plaid, or checkered dark tie
- Custom button-up (preferred)
Based on Phillip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the 1982 film starring Harris Ford gave us one of the first visualizations of the cyberpunk aesthetic.
Blade Runner is set in a typical cyberpunk world and in my opinion, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was way ahead of its time.
In the book, the “future” year is 1992. Later on, this was changed to 2019 or 2021. Then, in the latest version, it’s 2049.
As for the cosplay, it remains the same as most people only have one iconic image of Deckard in their minds. The trench coat doesn’t have to be exact, but I highly recommend focusing on that button-up and tie.
A plain set will do but if you want people to recognize you without knowing how, then ensure that you create a double by shopping online for the perfect fit, or simply by using fabric paint/tape.
Another Reeves Legend – Neo – The Matrix
- Black shades
- Black trench coat
- Black tee
- Black pants
- Black belt (bonus points if you add holsters)
- Black boots with buckles
Keanu Reeves is a cyberpunk superstar. Before starring as Neo in The Matrix, he was Johnny Mnemonic. But of course, that movie went nowhere compared to The Matrix which was released a few years later. We’ll speak more about his role in Cyberpunk 2077 later on, but for now, let’s focus on the movie that just may have made Keanu Reeves a household name.
This all-black outfit is now iconic. You can get almost everything you need from the thrift store, giving you more time to focus on small details. Something I always thought would be cool is to use marbles (bullet casings or something similar) and the wire that kids use for solar system projects and recreate the iconic chateau bullet-stopping scene. It would take work, but if you can pull off the magic trick, you could make cosplay history.
An Alternate 2029 – The Terminator – The Terminator
- Black leather jacket
- Black glasses (don’t forget the red LED)
- Black/grey pants
- Black boots
- Black tee
The many options for The Terminator cosplay can really help you find the perfect version for you. Probably the easiest and most recognizable is the lather-glad version from the first movie.
I mean, of course, his first appearance could work, but not unless you want to get thrown out for wearing your birthday suit. This leather outfit is easy to pull off too and gives you an excuse to buy a leather jacket if you don’t have one.
The Boldest Choice – SHODAN – System Shock
- Body suit
- Yellow/green contacts
- Custom hair
If you can pull this off, then you have it made. Personally, I don’t think I could. If I were to recommend an approach, I’d use Cortana from Halo as a reference. The bodysuit isn’t too difficult, and there is an official reference for it in System Shock 2. Then, you work with the contacts, some boss makeup, and that wiry hair. For the hair, I’d try to make it look as if the wires were coming out of the face in a contoured way.
There are a few ways to do this. While you can use your own hair to expand the wires, it may be best to use prosthetics for a majority of it. Wire casings can also work out well and look realistic. For methods to create the form, take a look at the plentiful Medusa hair cosplay ideas.
Somewhere, There Is A Crime Happening – Robocop – Robocop
- Full suit – no shortcuts
Finding shortcuts for armor can become more stressful, and more work, than actually taking the time to create the armor. Robocop is not a cosplay for beginners but if you are planning on creating a full set of armor in the future, this isn’t a bad place to start. The original Robocop is boxy while the more recent version is more form-fitting.
For The Ambitious – Judge Dredd – Dredd
- Riot (vest, gloves, pants, boots)
A Judge Dredd series has been in the works for quite some time and still doesn’t have a release date. However, there are two other options to work with. You can go with the classic Sylvester Stallone version, which includes a military look.
This is actually easier if you are good with small armor details. But I prefer working with a riot suit, as seen in Karl Urban’s version. Then all you have to worry about is sprucing up the suit and creating the iconic helmet.
Who Is This Girl? – Alita – Alita: Battle Angel
- Short black wig
- Brown contacts if you have bright blue/green eyes
- Superb eye-enhancing makeup
- Black high-neck tank (leather is ideal)
- Black pants/leggings (leather is ideal)
- Black boots
- Cyborg arms
I have to admit, I had never read the manga and had only known Alita in name until the release of the 2019 movie. My eyes were opened and I fell in love with this girl and her movie. I thought it was well-done and easy to rewatch.
Now, of course, a casual Alita would be the perfect opportunity to work on your cyborg skills without worrying about the rest, but I chose the classic black Alita because the face paint is iconic.
So, there are a few key notes that can really help you create this cosplay with accuracy. First of all, watch a ton of videos on how to make your eyes appear bigger. I did so for my Nezuko cosplay and it paid off, but Alita’s eyes are iconically large.
Then, try for leather if possible and notice the ribbed details on her outfit. You can find very affordable options at places like SHEIN. Finally, the arms. I am not a talented robo-part creator. But there are a lot of options – thin EVA, body paint, gloves and wires.
Solid Hero – Adam Jensen – Deux Ex: Human Revolution
- Black trench coat
- Black gloves
- Black gun halter
- Black pants
- Black boots
- Black face paint (prosthetics for an extra kick)
- Black glasses (optional)
Not everyone will recognize this one, but it is a fun and relatively easy option. Avoid the shirtless option by going with Mr. Black Trench Coat. While similar cosplay like The Terminator will make you feel powerful, those like Jensen will make you feel all-around perfect.
Get Your Glowsticks Ready – Quorra – Tron: Legacy
- Black wig with bangs
- Killer eyeliner
- Black pants
- Black off-shoulder top
- Black vest (goes over top)
- Black gloves
- Black platform boots
It was difficult for me to pick just one Tron cosplay. But since the list is already male-heavy, I decided to go for a female character and although Siren would be who I would choose, Quorra is more iconic.
A great way to create the top without buying a replica is to alter either a long-sleeve shirt or get long gloves and a high-neck tank top or vest.
The most important part of this cosplay is the glow. You can get glow sticks or something similar but I prefer EL LED wire which is battery-operated.
This is easy to find and you can keep extra batteries on you in case of emergency.
Cyberpunk 2077 Characters To Cosplay
Sorry, I was incapable of creating a list with just one Cyberpunk 2077 character as it has become the guideline for cyberpunk characters.
Custom Character – V
This isn’t the first “character” that people think of when they imagine Cyberpunk 2077 characters. However, doesn’t make sense that you’d dress as the protagonist? Create a character in-game and then create it for your cosplay. This gives a lot of freedom, often seen when creating Commander Shepard from Mass Effect.
Johnny Silverhand couldn’t escape this list. All you need are leather pants, red-lensed glasses, a black vest, and that shiny “silver hand.” After that, you just need to grow out the facial hair and don the classic Keanu hair.
And do you remember those bullet belts that were popular in the early 2000s? If you still have one lying around, now’s the time to use it.
Let that man bun shine with a Jackie Welles cosplay. The black coat and your favorite tank top will get you far but unless you commit to this hairstyle you may not bring home the win.
The face paint paired with the iconic hair will no doubt show that you put the time and effort into becoming your character.
Judy is stunning and I am in love with her entire aesthetic. If you take your time with the tattoos and hair, then you can get by with any tied tank top, strappy tennis shoes, and black overalls. However, the deeper you go into the details, the better.
Although she’s no Judy in my book, Panam Palmer is still worth the cosplay. The carefree hair and bomb jacket are winners for me.
All you need are good jeans and your focus can be solely on creating that jacket. If you don’t want to get overwhelmed with creating the perfect jacket, then feel free to go with the off-the-shoulder green top.
Creating Your Own Cyberpunk Cosplay
To create your own cyberpunk cosplay, you can derive ideas and aesthetics from all of your favorite characters and franchises. Here are a few elements that you can put together for your character.
- Leather – really, make it black or neon leather and it works
- Trench Coat – any trench coat can be cyberpunk with the right accessories
- Body Suits – start with a bodysuit and then build on it your own way
- Glow Wire – typically called EL Wire, this stuff can transform any cosplay.
- Headset – a wireless gaming headset complete with lights will instantly make a cosplay cyberpunk.
- Holsters/Halters – keep the belts and such black rather than brown to avoid a steampunk vibe.
- Glasses – glasses, specifically dark glasses are used more often than goggles for cyberpunk characters.
- Cyborg Parts – if you can add an android part to your cosplay, all the better.
- Colorful Hair And Accessories – while the base is almost always black, adding neons can add depth to an otherwise bland outfit.
Cyberpunk Cosplay FAQs
Question: Why Is Cyberpunk So Popular Now?
Answer: Cyberpunk is popular now because of Cyberpunk 2077. Though the game had a rough launch, the game is still topping the charts and is inevitably the reason for the surge in the popularity of the cyberpunk genre.
Question: How Do I Create Cyborg Parts With EVA Foam?
Answer: The most important part of creating cyborg parts is working in layers. KamuiCosplay is one of my favorite cosplayers that does YouTube tutorials, and she has an amazing video on simple robot arms.
Question: What Is The Easiest Cyberpunk Cosplay?
Answer: In my opinion, the easiest cyberpunk cosplay that could take home the gold is a cosplay that isn’t originally cyberpunk. Take a popular character like Harley Quinn or Mario or Goku and make them cyberpunk.