31 May 2013

Anime Boston 2013

The first thing I'd like to do is apologize for the delay in getting this post up.  It's something I always forget when I go home, because of the lightning-fast Internet we have at my university, but my home Internet is mind-numbingly slow!  I'm having to put this post together in little chunks because I quickly get frustrated to the point of wanting to punch the stupid router even though I know that will prove counterproductive.  Please bear with me!

Someday I should really get in the habit of documenting events either during or directly after they happen because my short-term memory seems to be extremely short term.  Welp, let's give this thing a try.

Anime Boston, for me, started around Thursday afternoon when I went to meet my friend at the bus station.  We planned Thursday months in advance--we wanted to meet up, eat a quick lunch, then go see some fish at the Boston Aquarium because, you know, what's a better way to start a con than looking a pretty fishies and sea lions?

Let me just say this: the Boston Aquarium is worth the admission price, EVEN during their renovation (which I'm told is supposed to be finished sometime this summer). 

There were fishies (piranhas!).

BIG fishies.



They were having quite a playful time.

While the 23-year-old just kinda wanted to chill.

Then we ate Mexican food at an Irish bar.  My friend got some concoction known as "Irish nachos," which was apparently quite deadly.  We also decided to go pick up our tickets for AB because we knew the lines would be long on Friday morning.  A good half hour sit on the Green Line later, whilst the train sat in the tunnels and waited for other trains to vacate the station platforms ahead of it, we got our tickets and headed home for a good night's sleep before the important opening of the con.

At this point I'm going to get a little less detailed about the events of the convention.  There are a few I'd like to cover.  As many of you may already know, I was turned down for the AB masquerade, which really ticked me off for a multitude of reasons.  That's dead and gone now.  Let's focus on the fun that was had.

My cosplay line-up for the convention was as follows:
Morning:  Seth Nightroad from Trinity Blood--This is the last time I'm wearing those infernal pointe shoes.  A few hours at the convention was enough to hurt my feet enough that I'm still in pain now, almost a week later.  For the next time I wear this cosplay, I'll redo the shoes.  In all likelihood I'll just transfer all the decoration to a pair of regular dance slippers.  Much more comfortable!
Afternoon:  Jushiro Ukitake from Bleach--Didn't get nearly as many photos as Seth, but there was some recognition and my feet got a rest.
Morning and afternoon:  Jushiro Ukitake from Bleach--I was convinced to participate in the Bleach Photoshoot.  There'll be photos of that later on in this post!  It may be a good idea to reconsider this wig, for it gets hopelessly tangled as the day wears on.
Evening:  Sakura Kinomoto from Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle--This was for the Spirit Charity Formal Ball, which I would not have been able to attend had I been in the Masquerade.  Again, more on that later in this post!
All Day:  Jedi Master Luminara Unduli from Star Wars--My friend and I both wore our Star Wars cosplays and received lots and lots of high praise and photos!  It was a lot of fun.  We linked arms and skipped around the halls as well and took photos with a stormtrooper and a very cute father a daughter couple who were also cosplaying Star Wars!  If you have photos of us, or if you see any, please please send me a link.  I will be in your debt!

I was somewhat disappointed not to wear my Kakyo Kuzuki cosplay from X/1999 and my Fujimoto cosplay from Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, but in the end I think things worked out really well and I'm happy to have worn the cosplays I did!

The Bleach Photoshoot:
 At this point I haven't found any photos of myself (although if you've found any, please please send the links my way!), but here are a few choice photos from my own camera.  Unfortunately because of the weather we were forced to hold the shoot indoors and that made the lighting weird.  Most of my photos turned out blurry or hazy.  Someday I'm gonna have myself a real camera so that won't happen as much :(

This was the Epic Battle for Ichigo.  Just so you know, I'm hoping that the little Nel in front wins because she was so perfect.

I don't have much love for the Arrancars or the Espada, but I do really like Ulquiorra, particularly here.  This cosplayer was Epic, and yes, Epic with a capital E.

This is the last photo from this shoot that I really wanted to share.  There were others, but for the purpose of not dragging this on forever I'm going to stop here.  Somewhere, sometime, I'll upload all the photos I took not matter how awful they are.  Perhaps I'll even devote an entire blog post to them (cue: "yeah right"s)!  Anyway, this little Hitsugaya was probably the most adorable cosplayer I've ever seen.  It took some coaxing to get him to pose with his Zanpaku-to spirit Hyorinmaru, and if you look closely you can see his mother, cosplaying Rankiku, crouched behind him, but...it was quite good!  I wish my parents had dressed me up in cosplay when I was little...they just wanted me to quit wearing costumes when I was about ten years old.  Now look where I am.  I'm never gonna grow up I swear -_-
Better that than becoming a stuffy adult!

The Spirit Ball was really good, actually, although I really do with I'd gotten the chance to compete in the Masquerade, which would have overlapped the Ball.  I've never really danced before, nor learned to dance, but it was good to learn that plenty of other people had not either.  It was quite a rainy night and we got very cold getting to the dance.  Luckily we made it in one piece and I got to dance with a man for the first time.  It was very nice to be asked to dance by the men--perhaps this helps to boost my mental image of men, for I've been faced with far to many slobs to not keep my armor on.  My cosplay seemed perfect for the event and many of the guys who asked me to dance stated that they asked because they liked how the cosplay looked.  I am glad!  Sakura Kinomoto took a lot of work.

On a related note, we did have a photoshoot for her on the 27th before I left Boston.  I won't release too many photos at once, but here is the first (which will be on Deviantart soon):

For the penultimate part of this post I'm just going to share a few choice photos from the convention.

These Merida cosplayers from Brave were quite good.  The one on the left even had archers' gloves and her dress fabric looked very historically accurate!  I can only imagine how much work it must take to care for those wigs *shudder*

This is my friend, and two other cosplayers, as Touko from Pokemon.  My friend is the one on the right holding a Raichu plushie.  Can you believe that some people mistook him for Pikachu?  Come on people!  (And that moogle in the background is cracking me up right now...)

And THIS...is Darth Tater, held by my friend who is currently wearing her Jaina Solo cosplay.  And yes, I took this photo on the bus.  Darth Tater is part of the Mr. Potato Head line--such fond memories of those things!  I had no idea they made a Darth Tater version until I saw him at AB...

I'm dedicating this last section to acquisitions!  Needless to say, I spend way too much money.  Wah.  At least now I've got head start on some new cosplays!

For the record, I have no idea why I bought this wig.  I just liked the colour I guess.  I was trying to purchase a wig for my Shino Acadamy Ukitake cosplay and the girl at Arda Wigs brought out this style as a possiblity.  On Monday I wore this wig when I accompanied my friend to the bus station, then went to Harvard Square to look for magazines in Spanish.  I loved the weird looks from the hoity-toity people.

Also from Arda wigs--this one is in the same style as the dark blue one pictured above.  It's for Ukitake and it's pretty much perfect.  I wish it was a little longer in back, just because of personal preference, but it is extremely accurate for the character.  There'll be more about this wig in a separate post when I get started on this cosplay in a day or two.

LAST thing I have energy to photograph for now.  I got this wig for my upcoming Daenerys Targaryen cosplay from Game of Thrones.  It's a beautiful colour, nice and thick, but the hairline is awful.  The people at the booth where I bought this were really snotty when I asked how the hell I was supposed to make a straight hairline look natural AT ALL.  Then again I clearly know nothing about wigs.  In fact I wouldn't have bought this wig at all, because of their behavior, but I doubt I would have found a nicer wig elsewhere for a better price.  This'll require major work, which I'll talk about later when I start work on this cosplay!

That's all for now.  Phew!  And I though the Internet and I wouldn't get along long enough to get this post finished.  I hope you survived this long post and I promise shorter ones in the future!  (Maybe)

26 May 2013

"Phramacy"...Well, this looks legit...

This blog entry is co-written by Jedi master Jaina Solo (i.e. a friend, trust me...or you can choose not to trust me, that's okay too).  It might not be entirely coherent, but we just spent the entire day laughing our asses off at Anime Boston and we figured we might as well end the day by sharing some totally unrelated hilariousness with my reader.  This won't have much to do with Anime Boston.  Sorry.  If you're looking for something cosplay related, either take this as a consolation prize or come back in a day or two when I've actually written something about this momentous event.  What are we doing here if not just to pretend to write about cosplay and then not write about cosplay?

So I got this email on my college email account encouraging me to buy Viagra.  The first problem is, I'm not a guy.  I am also slightly insulted because they may be implying that I need to give my (non-existent) male partner some Viagra to, you know, get things moving.  COME ON I'M NOT THAT BAD LOOKING.

Please magnify, Blogger is being stupid about sizing

The second thing is that they misspelled "pharmacy" as "phramacy," which I could possibly justify if the "r" key and the "a" key were closer together on the keyboard and maybe someone's fingers slipped...but they're not.  And, as you'll notice, they misspelled their own business name!

Since the crack is flowing freely tonight, we decided to check Google maps to see what was ACTUALLY at 30 East 23rd street in New York City.  You'll be pleased to know that there is quite a lot...

...but I don't think that Subway sells Viagra or misspells "pharmacy."  Do they sell any pharmaceuticals?  I mean besides delicious subs...or maybe they are running an underground business from the boiler room.

Now believe me when I say that this email was a gem among cow turds.  Usually the only emails I received in my bulk folder link to X-rated dating sites that assume I'm a guy and then send me heartfelt emails from girls wanting me to make their lives better.  I wonder if they know what they're signing up for.  >_>

One final gem to top tonight's foolish nonsensical post.

If you shop at Old Navy, apparently you can wear Batman on your legs.  I just can't figure out why Batman looks like a pair of regulah skinny jeans.  Maybe he feels blue?  Maybe he's feeling the blues?  Poor guy's lonely, you know, all trapped in that big mansion of his with only an old man and a couple other dudes to keep him company...and his toys.  Don't forget his toys.

We leave you with one last piece of dreck from the depths of the internet.  May we present...the NARWHAL SONG!  Jedi mind trick: you WILL watch the Narwhal Song.

I guess we didn't lie completely.  This is kinda Anime Boston related because they mention Jedi and narwhals and awesomeness.

There will be a real post tomorrow.  Or maybe the next day.  Or maybe the day after.  Who can know?  The excitement will just have a wait a little longer!  Unless you're traveling with the Doctor.  Then you can read my future blog post whenever you want.  Perhaps you've already read it!  What did I write about?  Wouldn't it be awesome to not have to write my own blog post because I wrote it in the past and then you read it in the future and somehow I managed to copy and paste it from the past?  Then it just sort of spontaneously came into being!  This makes no sense and we are tired.  That is all for tonight.

20 May 2013

Sakura Kinomoto-Final Stages

Before I start talking about real cosplay stuff, what the hell is this?  You thought the PT Cruiser just couldn't get any sadder, didn't you?  Too bad.  It just did.  It just got freaking wood paneling.  And by that I mean wallpaper from your grandmother's kitchen cabinets that she installed in 1963.

What is the problem with these cars?  They're not content to be the faux-retro loser that tells everyone you're either going through a midlife crisis or renting a car and they were out of Mustangs.  No.  They have to sit on street corners looking SO FECKING SNAZZY AND SHIZ and then you realize it's just a bloody PT Cruiser with wallpaper on it.  Know what else I've seen?  Convertible PT Cruisers.  Yep, that right.  Another gift from Chrysler's bunghole.  What could possible make you look cooler than cruising around with the FREAKIN' TOP OFF YOUR PT CRUISER?!  What's next?  Convertible Hummers?

Oh, right.  We already have those.  They're Hummer's slightly retarded cousins--Jeeps.  Guaranteeing that someone can hot-wire your car since 1951 (or whenever) because the top of your car is made of plastic.  Bloody hell.

Off my rant box now, I hope.  Let's get some work done.  Or you could just stop reading there because everything after this is gonna be boring in comparison.  Just sayin'.  Probably.

After a bit of consideration, I finally decided to get some elbow-length opera cloves and give that staff a try.  There may not really be any point.  But there we go anyway.

My choices were limited this close to the convention.  Also I wanted to avoid shiny satin for its ability to overexpose any photos.  These are the gloves I chose:

With some luck they should fit.  You know, I've got short fingers, so why can't I ever find a pair of gloves that's long enough in the finger?  These bloody well better be big enough.  Otherwise I'll unhappily have to make them fingerless gloves.

The staff is last-minute and I did not anticipate that it would come out looking extremely well-polished.  It needs to look good in photos for one day at the con.  Not much else.  I chose mat board from Dick Blick as my weapon of choice.

This thing seems circular.  That's where we'll start.

There also seems to be a bit of a raised/lowered edge around the inner and outer edges on the circle.  For simplicity I chose a lowered edge.

Sketching out the design carefully on newpaper ads.  Tsubasa symbols have a grace and style that doesn't look right if there's too much deviation.  I hope this came out alright.

All cut out!  I bought an Exacto knife and should have used it.  I'm just lazy and couldn't seem to find a place to cut where I wouldn't damage floors or furniture or the knife.  In the end I chose to use regular scissors and have a good bruise on my thumb to show for it.

The stick is nothing fancy, nor does it need to be.  It'll mostly be hidden in the folds of my skirt and cloak, or at least I hope so.  Anime Boston's new weapons policy made me extremely cautious when I chose materials for this prop so that it could NOT ever be mistaken as a weapon, nor could any of the materials be strong enough to be used as such.

For extra strength the dowel extends far into the design and gets mostly disguised by another piece of mat board.

All painted!  From the front...

And from the back.  This photo is closer to the actual colour of the spray paint, which isn't a particularly beautiful gold colour.  Once I've painted all the repairs for Seth Nightroad, I'll use what paint I have left to give this a more bronze colour.

The only other piece I've made progress on is the hairpiece, which is done.  I've got more photos on my other camera and for now I'm too lazy to post them.  Here's what I've got.

The hairpiece was made in two pieces using paper clay.  The piece below is the topmost piece, which will have another piece nested beneath it.

As the pieces dried, I draped them over a cylindrical jar so that they would curve instead of being flat.  The problem ended up being that they got too curved and so now they follow the curve of my head instead of sticking up as the do in CLAMP's artwork.

Both pieces got glued together with Shoe Goo for EXTRAH STRENGTHHHHH.

Didn't turn out too bad.  They are spray painted a nice bronz-y gold and I'm holding them onto my wig using pin backs.  I DEFY GRAVITY, SUCKAHRS!

Now I am tired and tomorrow I am taking the Orange Line over to the arboretum at Forest Hills.  Here's a little parting gift before bed:

07 May 2013

Sakura Kinomoto-An Unexpected Cosplay

I admit to my dismay that I was not accepted into the Anime Boston masquerade.  It's disappointing because I really enjoyed performing onstage last year, but, as they say, when one door closes another door opens.  The AB formal ball would have overlapped with masquerade, but now that I will be able to attend I decided to take the opportunity to make a cosplay worthy of a formal ball!

Before we start, I wanted to share a little humor with you.  This seems to be becoming a tradition.

This is a photograph I took a few weeks ago when a couple friends (who may remain anonymous, or not, according to their own choosing) and I were playing Cards Against Humanity.  The premise of the game is you must provide a card from your hand that humorously fills in the blank or answers the question on the black card.  The person who won the previous turn judges the winner.  Anyway, the judge had quite a difficult time with this one because she couldn't figure out the difference between preteens and the Chinese gymnastics team.  They're basically the same thing, no?  I've got another mind-numbingly hilarious card combo, but it's a *little* inappropriate.  I'll have to think for a little while before I decide whether or not to post it.

Time for some on-topic shit!

I procured this dress at a local dress boutique:

It's a beautiful layered lace dress in a slight ivory and I had no real reason to buy it beyond the fact that it was only twenty dollars and I have a weakness for impractical stuff.  The dress was the beginning of the cosplay, as I really don't have much time to finish this before Anime Boston rolls around.  Most of my sewing supplies are also going into storage for the summer.

To the Minitokyo machine!  I turned up this image in the Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle secion:

The dress is ambiguous enough that I can easily use my recently purchased lace parfait.  For my purposes I'm modifying it a little to complete it in the available time frame.  For this, I need a cloak, wig, and hairpiece.  The staff will be too much if I am trying to dance.  Gloves are a possibility, though unlikely.

Not wanting to spend a ton of dough on this thing, I decided to make my cloak using fabric box scraps left over from other cosplays.  I came up with these fabrics:

An ivory taffeta left over from when I made the bustle to go under my Victorian dress.  There's a lot of it left because I opted not to make an extra petticoat.


A scrap of purple and gold fabric of unknown fiber content left over from my Eisen cosplay.  It really is a beautiful, beautiful fabric.

The overall layout of this cloak is fairly simple.  I decided to gather the taffeta along the top edge and stitch it to a yoke made of the purple and gold fabric.  The yoke ties behind my back, exemplified later on in this lengthy and purposeless blog post.

I wanted the collar to be a little higher in the back.  Also, my purple fabric wasn't in a large enough piece to cut the back and front of the yoke in one piece.  The rectangular extensions in the bottom of the photo are stitched to the collar pieces.  Seams created by this process are, in the end, concealed behind my back.

I've no interest in creating a boringly unpatterned cloak, so I painted the memory feather design on the center back of the cloak:

On either side I wanted Sakura's wings of memory to appear to fall from my shoulders.

Patterned first in newspaper:

Traced in tailor's chalk:

And painted:

I unfortunately ran out of fabric paint before completing the design.  Back in Boston I will be able to purchase more paint to finish the design.  I really like how the wings turned out;  I can't wait to see them when they're all painted and finished.  If there's time, and if it works, I'd like to shade the design for a little bit of a 3-D effect.  We'll see how that goes.

There's enough painting done that I was able to put together the cloak:

For the record, it is REALLY hard to keep a cloak like this on a mannequin without arms.  I needed about ten minutes to set up this bloody shot.

I'm a little dissatisfied that the design isn't showcased better, but I knew that a lot of it wouldn't show just because of how I decided to make the cloak.  There wasn't much to be done unless I wanted to buy more fabric for a circular cloak.  That's a definite NO.  I needs monies to buy stuff Anime Boston.

Over my ballgown with its large petticoats, however, the cloak spreads out beautifully.  In the end I think it is a success!

Up and coming is a hair clip based on the ones in the Tsubasa artwork I posted at the beginning of this blog post.  I made it in two pieces out of paper clay, and I'll post photos once it's far enough along that there's enough to write about!