Zombies Invade FanimeCon

Sunday, 29 May 2011, 8:00 | Author: Kricket
Category : Convention Reports

The end of the world has begun.  At precisely 9 pm on Saturday night of FanimeCon, seventy-one zombies invaded the McEnery convention center, drawn to the noise of late night festivities.  They emerged from the lower levels of the convention center and could be seen stumbling up the stair case on both the Hilton side and Marriott side of the convention center.  Among the confusion, a group of brave high school students decided to take a stance and fight back.  The sounds of “Bang, Bang!” could be heard echoing through the hallways, but even as the zombies dropped to the ground more came to replace them.  Con attendees seemed more amused than concerned about the prospect of getting bitten.  Rather than running away in fear, many curious spectators pulled out their cameras and began taking pictures of the undead invasion which made navigating the hallways even more difficult.  In the chaos, it quickly became difficult to tell friend from foe and you never knew if the person you had just bumped up against would be someone ready to eat your brains.  It is unknown how many  con attendees were bitten and infected, nor do we know how the FanimeCon staff intends to limit the spread of this infection.

This is your official news source for updates on the event.

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Thank you to everyone who participated in Anime Con of the Dead!  With seven main characters from “High School of the Dead” and seventy-one zombies – with makeup inspired by the show – this was by far the largest group cosplay on record at a convention and we couldn’t have done it without you.

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Public Photo Gallery

Anyone can upload and share photos taken of the event using this link.  If you were one of the zombies and would like to search for your photos, please visit http://kricketcostumes.phanfare.com/acotd.

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YouTube Videos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbqtQzcXEw0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzSsy8ve774

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSlPBrxmVgM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APYY3_AkdjQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kfZWMENjJA

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Share Your Story

Do you have a special story to tell about the event?  Be sure to share it in the comments section!

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FanimeCon 2011 Panels

Thursday, 26 May 2011, 8:00 | Author: Kricket
Category : Announcements

Kricket Costumes and Ratgirl Productions are sponsoring a special event at FanimeCon.

AnimeCon of the Dead
Saturday, May 28th, from 6pm – 11pm

Winchester Room, 1st floor of the Hilton

Join us for Anime Con of the Dead”, a Highschool of the Dead themed zombie invasion.  Kricket Costumes and Ratgirl Productions will provide *free* zombie makeup and undead training to all participants; we encourage everyone to bloody their clothes at home. After the invasion, participants will play zombie-themed board games and have the chance to win raffle prizes!

Kricket Costumes is also presenting an interactive fabrics panel.

Selecting the Perfect Fabric
Monday, May 30th, at 10:00 am

Marriott Salon I & II

Do you want to start selecting fabrics that exemplify your character’s status and occupation?  In this interactive panel, we will pass around swatches, share stories, and teach you fabric terminology.  You’ll not only learn the basics but also how to find the perfect fabric for your next costume!

We look forward to seeing you at the convention!!

Anime Synopsis: Nichijou

Tuesday, 24 May 2011, 8:00 | Author: Ludovico
Category : Newly Released Anime

It’s actually been a surprisingly good season of anime this Spring and I couldn’t let the opportunity slip by to mention just one more show, especially when it’s a charming but baffling gag show.

Nichijou is about… well… nothing really.  There’s some school girls, and a child scientist, and a goat, and Death, and an android who keeps losing body parts, and most of it doesn’t make a bit of sense!  But we’re not here for compelling stories (at least this time).  We want gags and Nichijou certainly delivers plenty of those.  I’ll not spoil any of their jokes here, since they’ll certainly do a better job than I would, but suffice to mention that the scene pictured above caps off a ridiculously epic action sequence.

The art is adorable in a Azumanga/Yotsuba kind of way and really helps to sell the humor, though even the teacher looks like she could pass for a 10 year old in a different show.  The main characters largely fall into the happy idiot archetype, but the large supporting cast may solve that issue over time.  There’s also little connection between the two main ‘plot threads’ – the school and lab – but these are all minor complaints for a show that so successfully pulls off such a distinctly Japanese brand of wacky comedy.

Straightening Wigs

Thursday, 19 May 2011, 8:00 | Author: Janet
Category : Learn about Cosplay

The following method uses high-temperature water to melt your wig for the purpose of “unstyling”.  This is one of many ways to manipulate your wig using heat.  We would like to give credit to Katie Bair for developing this styling method.

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YOU WILL NEED: mannequin head, wig stand, quilting pins, saucepan, meat thermometer, conditioner, and comb.

The mannequin head should be propped upright on a stand in a bathtub (Katie recommends a 2-liter bottle filled with water); the wig should be pinned in place using round-headed quilting pins which are easier to remove.

Heat water to 180-184ºF.

In the meantime, pour conditioner on the crown of the head.

Once the water has reached the proper temperature range, slowly pour it on the wig until it becomes soaked.  Be careful not to splash any water on yourself.

At this point, the hair should be hanging relatively straight, but must be allowed to air dry completely before it is combed.  Do not panic if your wig appears more than a little stiff.

Although this method is quite simple, we have found that the most difficult step was finding a stand that would be compact, sturdy, and easy to dry.  Traditionally, a wig stand refers to a table-mounted clamp that is quite impractical for use in a bathtub.  After experimenting with water buckets and wooden dowels, our best solution involved mounting a sturdy 3-foot pipe to a heavy plastic cutting board.  Go to your local hardware store and get creative!

Anime Synopsis: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Shiranai

Thursday, 19 May 2011, 8:00 | Author: Ludovico
Category : Newly Released Anime

English Title: We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day

(But really, just call it AnoHana)

As children, Jinta, Memna and their friends, the self-styled Super Peace Busters, were extremely close until tragedy tore their group apart.  When Memna died in an accident, the friends grew distant.  Now ten years later, Jinta lives a secluded life and has recently started being tormented by an apparent hallucination of his young dead friend.  Ghost Memna pesters Jinta relentlessly, insisting that he get the remaining five friends all back together again, but the relationships are too strained for Jinta to face them.  He tries to block out his memories of her, but when she finally does vanish, he returns to the Super Peace Buster’s old hangout to try to find her again and finally apologize for a mistake he made so many years back.

Anime as a whole has an undeniable fixation on teenagers.  There’s a somewhat delusional idealization of the coming-of-age years, built on hazy memories of the time spent halfway between children and adults, still largely unburdened by adult responsibilities, yet free of the stifling structures of childhood.  The typical anime teen, however, carries very little of the emotional baggage that real people bring from their childhood, instead often acting as blank slates to be shaped by future events.  Ano Hi Mita breaks that convention wide open, by focusing the attention on the difference between the carefree children and the emotionally-scarred teens they have grown into.  The characters feel like believable teens, with their own lives, issues and character flaws.  Where the story will take these five teens (and their ghost friend) is difficult to predict, but there’s promise in the character writing for a really solid character drama.

Anime Synopsis: Tiger & Bunny

Tuesday, 17 May 2011, 8:00 | Author: Ludovico
Category : Newly Released Anime

Criminals beware!  In the futuristic Sternbild City, several superheroes keep the peace, while competing for fame and glory on a popular reality show!  All of the heroes’ actions are filmed and scored by Hero TV to determine the greatest hero of the season.  With lucrative corporate endorsements and huge viewership, superheroes are big business in Sternbild.  Unfortunately for the aging superhero, Wild Tiger, he’s just not profitable anymore.  There’s a new exciting hero in town that shares his same power (limited-duration super strength), and that means he’s on the outs.  That is, until Apollon Media offers him a new job on the first superhero duo team – alongside his younger counterpart.

The superhero phenomenon has truly crossed over to Japan.  Following a series of Marvel themed shows that have aired in the last year, Tiger & Bunny mixes the superhero genre with the reality television genre, creating a bizarre but logical hybrid.  Not only that, but they’ve also somehow managed to create the most adult series of the season.  Kotetsu (Wild Tiger’s secret identity) is a man outclassed by his peers, dealing with the reality that he’s past his prime, struggling to stay employed despite his obvious talents, and beholden to the powerful interests that cover the damage costs he causes in the line of justice.  It’s a compelling concept that puts a more realistic spin on the superhero genre, akin to the modern Iron Man movies.  As long as they can keep the focus on the real-world implications of the heavily-commercialized superhero life, it promises to stay interesting throughout.

Before we finish here, let’s get a little meta for a moment.  Tiger & Bunny isn’t just a superhero show – it’s a show about a superhero show.  We watch their antics as the viewers of Sternbild do, and as a result we’re subject to the same corporate-media saturation that makes Hero TV profitable.  When superheroine Blue Rose flaunts her Pepsi logos for the camera, we’re actually the targets.  Then to make it even more blatant, they run an actual Pepsi ad starring Blue Rose during the (real) show’s commercial break.  It’s a strange move, and it’s difficult to say whether there’s astute commentary there, or just crafty marketing.  We obviously know that all television is made for advertisement and profit, but there’s a strange sense here that they blurred the line a little too much.  Don’t let it drive you off from the show, but you should be aware of it going in.

Anime Synopsis: Ao no Exorcist

Thursday, 12 May 2011, 8:00 | Author: Ludovico
Category : Newly Released Anime

English Title: Blue Exorcist

Rin, the son of a preacher, just doesn’t compare favorably to his prodigy brother Yukio.   As Yukio prepares to head off to a prestigious medicine school, Rin struggles to hold a supermarket job and keeps getting into fights with local punks.  When a young girl shows up at his church complaining of demonic torment, Rin can’t take her seriously.  He regards his father’s talk of exorcists as superstitious nonsense, until he suddenly develops the ability to see the numerous spiritual entities infesting the world.  After Rin gets attacked by a demon, his father finally reveals the truth – Rin is actually a son of Satan, raised by an exorcist in order to protect him from the grasp of the lord of demons.

If there’s one show I expect to be big this season, Ao no Exorcist is it.  It has a compelling premise, a strong visual style, both comedy and action, with a shonen feel.  At first brush, it feels like it’s aiming for the middle ground somewhere between Soul Eater and Bleach, as an interesting action show with strong characters, appealing art and supernatural combat.  Rin is in some ways the stereotypical shonen hero, full of bluster but low on wits, but his interactions with his preacher father and brother displays a depth of character usually not seen in these shows.  All in all, I give this a strong recommendation for any shonen fan.

Distressing Costumes With Blood

Thursday, 5 May 2011, 8:00 | Author: Kricket
Category : Learn about Cosplay

People who have lived through a traumatic event will always have visible signs of wear on their clothing; one of which is the appearance of blood.  Depending on whether the blood is a result of injuries to your and your friends or whether it is the blood of someone you may have violently attacked will influence the placement and application of the blood.  Through our own experimentation, we will share what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to bloodying your costume.

When deciding where to apply the blood, your number one concern should be avoiding transference onto other objects.  Take a moment to assess whether you will be brushing up against a crowd or dripping freshly applied blood onto a hotel carpet.  The safest place to apply blood is near the throat and chest area, but ultimately, the decision is up to you.

Another concern is how quickly will the blood dry and whether or not it will permanently stain your clothes. The following table illustrates the types of blood we suggest for use on clothing.

 

Permanent Blood Washable Blood
Permablood Reel Blood
Latex Paint Food Dye & Dishwashing Detergent
Acrylic Paint Kool-Aid & Laundry Detergent
Wood Stain Ketchup or Tomato Sauce
Strawberry Syrup

(Hint:  If your blood is too bright, try mixing in dark green, purple, or black.)

TYPES OF BLOODSTAINS

In order to simulate clothing ripped by teeth or fingernails, dip a thin hooked knife into your blood. Puncture your fabric and rip in the desired direction, smearing blood onto the fabric as you go.
Often with bites to the jugular, blood can spray out from your victim. To create the “splattered blood” effect, dip a wide paint brush into your blood and tap it against a solid surface such as a piece of wood.
If you want blood to be smudged into the fabric, try using a densely packed paint brush.
For those of you who narrowly avoided the grasping hands of a zombie, you can add a hand-smear to the front or arms of your shirt (probably with the help of a friend).
For your more serious injuries, you can try pouring or dripping globs of blood onto the front of your shirt.

Bleeding Skin Wounds

Thursday, 28 April 2011, 8:00 | Author: Kricket
Category : Learn about Cosplay

There are many types of commercially available blood on the market, depending upon whether you need a higher or lower level of viscosity (chunky, thick, squirtable, or scabby), dark or bright coloring, or whether you want the blood encapsulated as a squib.  This post will teach you how to make and apply fake blood.  Now, we realize that blood is usually the frosting on the cake when it comes to special effects makeup. Although it can be an indicator of extreme injury, typically your wound will not be believable without some underlying skin bruising or obvious skin fissure.  (If you’re interested in making open wounds, we recommend you watch this video tutorial on how to use Dragon Skin.)

You may be asking, “What’s the difference between theatrical blood and home-made blood?”  The easiest answer is convenience.  Fortunately, many types of fake blood are non-toxic, mint flavored, and safe for use in the mouth.  However, if you don’t have time to purchase blood or you want to have some fun with your favorite condiments, there are lots of recipes online.

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Edible and Liquidy
Recipes Chocolate Blood
Flour Blood
Maple Syrup Blood
Peanut Butter Blood
Tomato Sauce Blood
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Edible and Congealed
Recipes BBQ Sauce Blood

Powdered Gelatin
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Useful Tools for Applying Fake Blood

The following pictures show the results of my experimentation with different application techniques using Ben Nye Thick Blood and Ben Nye Stage Blood.

Cotton Swab
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Eye Dropper
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Latex Sponge
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Sea Sponge
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Sponge Brush
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Spray Bottle
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Tongue Depressor

Getting Started: Adhesives and Removers

Thursday, 21 April 2011, 8:00 | Author: Kricket
Category : Learn about Cosplay

If your character has long elf ears, excessive facial hair or a deep wound, we recommend purchasing latex prosthetics to better emulate your character.  Given that there are a wide variety of prosthetic suppliers online, we are going to teach you how to use adhesives and removers.

Note: If this is your first time using skin adhesives, apply a small amount in an inconspicuous area to monitor your skin reaction.

To begin, apply a small amount of adhesive onto the edge of the prosthetic.  (Most bottles come with application brushes attached to the lid.)  For best results, apply adhesive to both surfaces that you are bonding and wait for the adhesive to become tacky before attaching.  Once the prosthetic is securely attached, you can layer Liquid Latex over the seam to make the transition appear more natural.  Once these adhesives dry they become water and sweat resistant, so you will need to use commercially available solvents to remove them.  These removers can be applied using q-tips or latex sponges.  If you apply too much force when “peeling” the latex, you might end up irritating or damaging the skin.

If you notice that your prosthetic is starting to fall off of its own accord, this is most likely due to sweat.  Unfortunately, these adhesives are not sweat-proof, so if you are in a warm environment, physically active, and/or sweating heavily, take a moment to dry your skin and reapply the adhesive as necessary.
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Popular adhesives listed in order of strength:

SPIRIT GUM
Spirit Gum adhesive is made up of SD Alcohol 35-A and resin. It is traditionally used within the theatrical community, even though it is the weakest of all the available adhesives.
MEDICAL ADHESIVE
Kryolan Medical Adhesive is a silicone-based adhesive that is designed to be hypoallergenic and reduce skin irritation. Many people complain about the strong smell.
PROS-AIDE
Pros-Aide is a very strong, non-toxic, water-based adhesive. We recommend purchasing Pros-Aide only if the previous two adhesives were unsuccessful.

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Popular removers listed in order of strength:

SPIRIT GUM REMOVER
If you purchase Spirit Gum from a party-supply store, it will often come in a pack with a bottle of Spirit Gum Remover, the obvious counterpart that is made specifically to remove Spirit Gum.
DETACHOL
Detachol is gentle and non-irritating and has a lot of medical applications. It is reported to be able to remove medical adhesive and even Pros-Aide.
BEN NYE BOND-OFF
Bond-Off is by far the strongest remover and can easily remove Pros-Aide adhesive. It does not come cheap, however, and it leaves an oily residue, so be sure to clean your skin with soap and water or Ben Nye Hydra Cleanse after use.