A Busy Month

Thursday, 27 October 2011, 8:00 | Author: Janet
Category : Learn about Cosplay

Whew!  This month has been busy!  Our team has been working hard to finish an especially challenging commission request, the Call of Cthulhu: Yithian Lightning Cannon Model II.  Yes.  It lights up.  Yes.  The barrel spins and the claws open.  No.  I’m not mass producing this thing. We are trying to finish it up by Halloween and so far all the signs indicate that this will be an epic prop to have at a convention (if it doesn’t kill someone first).  We’re especially excited to see this thing in action and hope to share our photos with all of you soon!

One more thing before we go.  I thought I’d take a moment to remind you that we’re currently open for prop and accessory commission requests and it’s fairly easy to get a price quote!  Just visit our commission services page and answer a few questions about your prop/accessory.  Please remember, the earlier you submit your request, the easier it will be for us to accommodate you.

Thanks for all of your support!

Seasonal Photography: Fall

Friday, 21 October 2011, 12:00 | Author: Janet
Category : Learn about Cosplay

Autumn is the twilight of the seasons.  In this time of transition, plants bask in a full radiance of color only to be promptly consumed by death.  This season embraces opposites–warm, cold, bright, dark– and will provide you with a range of photo opportunities, depending on the overall mood and composition you desire.

For a warmer photograph, you might compliment the brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges of the trees with dark-toned fabrics.  This romantic setting is perfect for portraying a sense of warmth and intimacy.  Whenever possible, stick with heavily forested areas, whether city parks or densely wooded backyards.  You might also take advantage of the setting sun to illuminate your pictures with golden light.

For a colder photograph, you might wait for the leaves to die and backdrops of earthy, neutral tones.  The skeletal remains of leaves are a perfect representation of the decay caused by your character. Although it is trickier, you might also experiment with rainy backdrops to reflect the inner pain and sorrow of your character.  The only challenge is finding a strong enough light source to illuminate your costume rather than dispersing the light across the falling rain drops.

Fall is my favorite season because of its versatility.  The change in weather stirs all sorts of emotions as the leaves alight with color and then promptly shift to winter’s desolation.  I encourage you to experiment with the warm/cold and intimate/desolate polarities inherent within this season.  I’ve also included some photographs below that might inspire your own cosplay photography.

Cosplaying with Animals

Thursday, 13 October 2011, 8:00 | Author: Janet
Category : Learn about Cosplay

The cosplay community might witness a new trend in cosplay soon; this one, surprising enough, involves dressing animals in cosplay outfits.  Although few hotels and conventions allow pets to roam freely, you can probably find some outdoor spaces to might accommodate your furry friend.  Certainly, that is what one man did when he attended Otakon 2011 and dressed his dog as Amaterasu from Okami.

I highly recommend reading this blog post on Practical Evil, because the author brings up some interesting points about animal cosplay and provides a step-by-step tutorial for the Amaterasu costume.  Some of the things you must consider before embarking on an animal cosplay include: assessing the friendliness of your pet and his/her comfort in the costume, allowing time for rest throughout the day, and keeping your pet hydrated.  You definitely would not want an aggressive or fearful animal roaming through crowds of strangers, but if your pet has the right temperament you should give animal cosplay some serious consideration!  But please remember to consult with the convention center and hotel staff before bringing your pet to any anime convention!

Although I doubt this cosplay trend will pick up any time soon at my local anime conventions, there are certainly many other venues for animal cosplayers to showcase their costumes.  Utilizing websites such as DeviantArt, Facebook, and Cosplay.com, there’s no reason why someone couldn’t share the awesomeness of their animal cosplayer from the comfort of their own home!

Building Feathered Wings

Thursday, 6 October 2011, 8:00 | Author: Janet
Category : Learn about Cosplay

I often attribute the success of my most popular costume to its hand-made feathered wings.

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The “winged ones” are members of an exclusive social order, revered as if they were royalty.  The presence of their feathery wings evokes images of mythological creatures who are unnaturally powerful and graceful.  These connotations are why the anime industry continues to bestow their characters with feathered wings.  Since these characters are typically human in appearance, the only challenging part for the cosplayer is to build the feathered wings.  The wonderful part is that, overall, it is simple and affordable to make your own wings at home.

Although it may be quite tempting, I strongly advice against purchasing one of the hundreds of pre-made wings currently available on the internet; hand-made wings are always more visually appealing and accurate to the character when used for cosplay costumes.  I’ve found that the best feathered wing tutorial is offered by Paper Wings.  When I used this tutorial, it took between 6-8 hours to complete my wings (a significant amount of time, no doubt) but the compliments and praise I received were well worth the effort.

As Paper Wings explains in their tutorial, the secret to making exceptional feathered wings hinges upon the variety and shape of your feathers.  You must take the additional time to cut each feather into a rounded or pointed shape to better simulate the feathers on your own character’s wings.  Then, after gluing the feathers onto your base structure, you must be certain to cover the roots of the feathers with Marabou flats.  As you can see in the picture above, these wings look enchanting through the glow of the sunlight.

I’d  also like to point out that these wings hold up amazing well throughout the convention.  The metal piping is malleable, to a degree, which means you can slant your wings to make it easier to walk through narrow doors and hallways.  If you plan your costume carefully, you can also hide the U-shaped pipe that holds the wings on your back.  I tucked mine behind a strapless bra and it held up surprisingly well.  For the best results, take some time to plan your costume in detail before you start sewing and find a way to strap the metal piping near your body and hide it beneath the fabric of your costume.

In summary, the Paper Wing’s tutorial receives high marks because it allows cosplayers to create dazzling wings with excellent structural integrity.  These wings will impress even the most advanced cosplayers and will make you stand out in any cosplay competition.

Cosplay: The Series

Thursday, 29 September 2011, 8:00 | Author: Janet
Category : Learn about Cosplay

COSPLAY: The Series is a live action/drama web series that follows the daily lives of several high school cosplayers in Bandung, Indonesia.  The theme of the show–“nation’s pride”–is evoked in the first episode and, thereafter, the producers explore how cosplay might align with Indonesia cultural pride and expression.

The story begins with an urgent crisis for the Q-Cosushinkai cosplay club.  The high school’s headmistress has disbanded the cosplay club for not exemplifying the school’s core values of national pride.  Personally, I don’t find “national pride” to be a significant component of the overall plot.  Rather, the producers of COSPLAY: The Series seem to be using this web series as a means to bridge their love of cosplay and their own national pride.  In terms of storytelling, this web series more aptly explores themes related to being different from your peers, defying cultural norms, finding acceptance and support amongst your friends, and defending cosplay against criticism.

Each episode focuses on a different story or event, whether it provides the backstory for a character or focuses on some crisis affecting the members of the cosplay club.  The episodes themselves are relatively short (three to five minutes) and they allude to a larger story that will be revealed in Season Two.  Many viewers will enjoy the spontaneity of these episodes and the storytelling techniques.  For example, in Episode 8, instead of showing two cosplayers apologizing to the cosplay club, we get to watch them dancing to a South Korean “Sorry, Sorry” song.

Although there are many highlights to this web series, there is also room for improvement.  The overall production quality is weak in comparison to other web series.  Oftentimes, I heard white noise in the background or the chatter of nearby pedestrians.  If they could better control their filming environments or improve upon their equipment, we might better be able to focus on the characters and their stories.  Nevertheless, this drama represents a worthwhile endeavor to raise awareness about cosplay and provide relate-able themes for a general audience.  As I discussed in a previous blog post, it is challenging to create engaging and interesting stories related to cosplay and I applaud the efforts of the cast and crew to create a drama-driven cosplay web series!

Anime Synopsis: Kamisama Dolls

Thursday, 22 September 2011, 8:00 | Author: Ludovico
Category : Newly Released Anime

Kyouhei moved out of his village to the city to escape an old family rivalry centering around massive wooden beings called kakashi.  These kakashi are considered as gods and can be controlled only by talented individuals known as seki.  Kyouhei believes that he’s successfully put that old life behind him and is enjoying his college life while trying to flirt with his classmate Hibino.  Unfortunately his past comes back to haunt him when his little sister shows up with his old kakashi to alert him that his psychotic old friend has escaped prison and is coming to hunt him down.  After a violent confrontation at Kyouhei’s apartment leaves him homeless, he and his sister Utao take the kakashi and move in with his crush and her father.

There were a number of shows competing over this third slot this season, all of which were entertaining on one level but flawed in another.  In the end, Kamisama Dolls may not have been the most original show, but it was perhaps the least cliched, offensive or dull.  The presentation is good, the kakashi have interesting designs, and the characters have potential for depth.  The psychopath villain is entertaining, in the way that most fictional psychopaths are, and the show has promise for some impressive, even if large and clumsy, supernatural battles (Utao’s kakashi is just not graceful at all.)

Anime Synopsi: Usagi Drop

Tuesday, 20 September 2011, 8:00 | Author: Ludovico
Category : Newly Released Anime

When it comes to awkward family reunions, 30-year-old single Daikichi has everybody beat.  A memorial service for his deceased grandfather is complicated by the old man’s embarrassing surprise legacy – a six year old daughter nobody expected.  With a dead father, missing mother and hostile relatives, little Rin’s prospects are looking bad.  Disturbed by the condescending way that his family is treating the little girl, Daikichi takes the bold step everyone else refuses to take and offers a home to his stray young aunt.

‘Bachelor cares for abandoned girl’ is not a new concept, but it is one that works well for a more adult slice of life show.  The paternal role isn’t one that comes easily to a man used to living alone, and the series makes a good show of Daikichi attempting to remain aloof from the problem but finally rising to the occasion to be a better man than the others around him.   Rin, for her part, is an intelligent, quiet girl, who is very starkly contrasted against her noisy bratty niece of the same age.  She’s facing severe isolation with her father dead and her relatives’ resentment, but manages to maintain her own quiet dignity throughout it all.  The story could really go anywhere from here, but it’s a good start to a potentially charming tale.

Anime Synopsis: No. 6

Thursday, 15 September 2011, 8:00 | Author: Ludovico
Category : Newly Released Anime

In a near-futuristic society surrounding an unsettling building called the Moon Drop, the genius Shion celebrates his twelfth birthday with his friend Safu in the midst of a typhoon.  When Shion opens his door late that night to hear the wind-driven howls of the Moon Drop, he gets an unexpected visitor – the injured fugitive Mouse.  Against all better judgement, he decides to harbor the criminal, inadvertently taking a stand against the authorities.

Anime tends to tread down one of several well-worn paths.  Schools, ninjas, monsters, all common fixtures of modern anime.  The Orwellian dystopia?  Much rarer, and it’s a breath of fresh air to behold.  Life is good for Shion, but there’s an uncomfortable undercurrent of repression – wristbands and implants monitor their comings and goings, there’s suggestions of experimentation on convicts, and there’s even a few mentions of the Ministry of Peace (Minipax).  I would support this show just for its distinctive anti-authoritarian theme, but the art and direction seems top-notch as well.  Well worth checking out.

Re-examining the Definition of “Cosplay”

Thursday, 8 September 2011, 8:00 | Author: Kricket
Category : Learn about Cosplay

I have a close circle of friends that keep up-to-date on the latest geek events – so I wasn’t surprised to see my husband idly scrolling through the Penny Arcade Expo photo galleries.  I don’t normally care about gamer conventions except, of course, to quickly assess the evolution of their costuming scene.  My husband noticed my brief interest and told me, “check out these cosplay costumes.”  As I looked at a picture of a Cheetos-haired squid princess I couldn’t help but ask, “What is that?”  My question was aimed at Brian, but Ludovico (Kricket Costumes’s Anime Reviewer) quickly jumped into the conversation and proclaimed, “If it’s anime, I’ll know what it’s from!”  So we all stared at the picture for a minute, then I looked at Ludovico.  “So… what is it?”  His only response, “That’s not anime.”

The word “cosplay” was coined in Japan as an abbreviation of the phrase “costume play.”  Many countries associate this word with dressing up in the likeness of Japanese animation characters.  But, as the usage of the term became more colloquial, the definition of “cosplay” has become rather ambiguous–encompassing any costume-wearing individual within the anime, gaming, and geek subcultures.

Although I celebrate costume-making in all of its forms, I am a firm believer that we should respect the affiliation between “cosplay” and Japanese culture.  The work that goes into making a cosplay costume is, in many regards, an artistic homage to Japanese animation.  Cosplayers are often motivated by their love for the story, characters, and/or artistic effects that are directly influenced by Japanese culture.  They have earned the right, though their tireless work and attention to detail, to call themselves a cosplayer.

Unfortunately, the geek community often lumps anime-gamer-geek costumes under the umbrella of “cosplay.”  But it seems to me, that in order to properly honor each genre of fandom, we should strive to create new terminology that might refer to universe-specific costuming styles and celebrate the differences between them.

In the comments below, please tell us: How do you define cosplay?  Should it be an all encompassing word or should it refer only to the act of dressing up as Japanese animation characters?

Visit Our New Cosplay Store!

Monday, 15 August 2011, 8:00 | Author: Kricket
Category : Announcements

We are proud to reveal our new line of cosplay-themed merchandise.  Unlike the ever abundant “ready-to-wear”cosplay stores, we want you to experience the thrill of this challenging and creative hobby.  To help you get started, we’ve developed specialized kits for novices to start creating their own costumes and for veteran cosplayers to enhance their cosplay toolkit.

In this first release, both of our kits address the needs of convention life.  The Kegadoru Kit is a nice alternative if you’d like to change out of your cosplay into something more casual (though still very cute and fashionable).  The Fix It Kit has everything you need to repair your costume during the convention, so that you don’t have to bring your entire sewing kit.  Plus, these kits can be easily packed into your suitcase.

Since this is our grand opening, we’re providing our fans with a discount of 20% off your entire purchase until September 30th.  Simply enter the coupon code “Grand Opening” at checkout.  If  you like what you see, you should stay tuned for new products in the upcoming months.