Anime Con of the Dead

Thursday, 17 February 2011, 8:00 | Author: Janet
Category : Announcements

Ratgirl Productions and Kricket Costumes would like to invite you to participate in “Anime Con of the Dead,” a Highschool of the Dead themed convention invasion on Saturday May 28, 2011 from 6:00pm-11:00pm.

What is Highschool of the Dead?

It’s a manga series that follows a group of high school students caught in the middle of what is essentially a zombie apocalypse, and trying their best to survive! This series was released to Japan as an anime in 2010, and it has already been slated for a spring special in 2011. The response from this over-the-top show has been enormous and many fans have surfaced all around the world. Being fans ourselves, as well as cosplayers, we want to bring this phenomena to one of the largest anime conventions in Northern California; FanimeCon 2011!

Interested in joining? If so, read on:

We already have assembled a group of main characters, but we need a mass horde of zombies–referred to simply as “The Dead”–to help us create an apocalyptic event! To participate, you should purchase a civilian outfit (normal clothes) and make sure it is bloodied and maimed before this event. If you plan on shuffling in as a Dead high school student from the anime series, we recommend you purchase costumes from these websites: [Ebay] [Salemanb2b] [Salemanb2b]

After the invasion, be prepared for zombie-themed board games and a raffle for some cool prizes!! In order to be eligible for the raffle, it is important that you RSVP using the form below and bring a printed copy of your RSVP confirmation email with you to the event. You can also RSVP by sending an email to kricket@kricketcostumes.com or support@ratgirlproductions.com with your full name, email address, and RSVP response. We will only use this information to send you updates and reminders about the event. In the subject line, please write “Anime Con of the Dead 2011.”

Here is the schedule for Anime Con of the Dead:

6:00pm – Meet in the Winchester Room (1st floor) of the Hilton.  Kricket will apply zombie makeup (free of charge). Once you become one of the Dead, you will then be assigned to “Training of the Dead” where you will learn just how this breed of zombie functions! Making it believable is part of the fun.

7:30pm – We will continue Training of the Dead and also go over safety rules with everyone. Finally, make sure you have a working watch with you, because we will be synchronizing the invasion at this point. Let’s get ready to invade…

8:00pm – We will spread throughout the lower level of the convention center and slowly climb to the upper levels to start the invasion. It’s SHOWTIME!

9:30pm – We will regroup for a raffle and zombie-themed board games.

NOTE: You must present a copy of the RSVP confirmation email to receive a ticket in the raffle.

10:30pm – We will announce the winners of the raffle! Several glorious prizes will be awarded. As an extra “thank you,” goodie bags will be given out at this time to everyone who helped make this event happen!

ATTENTION: Online RSVP ended on Wednesday May 25th, 2011!

If you still would like to RSVP, we will be taking first come first serve last minute signups at the Ratgirl Productions table (Table 203) in the Artist Alley at the following times: Friday the 27th from 2pm-8pm and Saturday the 28th from 10:30am-3:30pm! We will also take walk-up RSVPs at the Winchester room as well, but only from 6pm until 6:30pm on Saturday. After our cut off time we will not allow any new registrants due to our preparation schedule.

SPECIAL NOTE: If you are UNDER 18 years of age you will need a parent or legal guardian to arrive with you to the event for registration processing and release contract signing.

Anime Synopsis: Puelle Magi Madoka Magica

Thursday, 10 February 2011, 8:00 | Author: Ludovico
Category : Newly Released Anime

English Title: Magical Girl Madoka Magica

In her dreams, Madoka witnesses a post-apocalyptic battle between a magical girl and a mysterious dark flying ship, while a small cat-like creature offers her the chance to make a difference – all she has to do is accept a contract and gain her own magical powers.  Upon awakening, Madoka is shocked to find the girl from her dreams is a new classmate, who takes her aside and insists that she not accept the contract or risk losing everything she holds dear.  When Madoka discovers the creature from her dream injured and needing help, reality melts around her as she gets wrapped up in a dark magical world she doesn’t understand.

There’s certainly more going on here than the normal magical girl fare.  Between the Faustian implications of the pact of power, and the surrealist dreamscape they fight in, it’s obvious that the creators are reaching for a darker sort of cutesy magical girl show than, for example, Cardcaptor Sakura.  This is from the studio behind Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, with a soundtrack from the excellent Yuki Kajiura and an impressive sense of visual style, so even if it’s not a genre you’re interested in, it might be worth a look.

(But if you’re still not interested in the magical girl routine, but want a more actiony show with the same surrealist tendencies, check out Yumekui Merry.)

Mah? Sh?jo Madoka MagicaM

Anime Synopsis: Level E

Thursday, 3 February 2011, 8:00 | Author: Ludovico
Category : Newly Released Anime

It’s an exciting time in Yukitaka’s life.  He’s just been drafted into a high school baseball team and moved to the countryside to live on his own.  So it’s all rather inconvenient when he finds a strange blond-haired man already living in his new apartment, calling himself an alien.  This ‘Prince’ proves impossible to get rid of and his story is validated by the news of a crashed UFO discovered in the nearby woods.  Now the government is hunting the alien down and Yukitaka has no choice but to help.

This whole show has a strong “Men in Black” feel to it.  Supposedly, aliens have been secretly living among us for decades, with humans none the wiser.  It’s a bit of a trope in western media, but surprisingly unique in anime, where normally every alien character is followed by giant monsters and magical battles.  Additionally, the Prince proves to be a highly entertaining character, always bullying his way around situations without any concept of proper social behavior.  The comedy takes center stage over any drama or action – mostly a dry humor focusing on Yukitaka’s ongoing frustrations and the Prince’s bullheadedness.  Highly recommended if you’re tired of the standard anime cliches.

Anime Synopsis: Fractale

Thursday, 27 January 2011, 8:00 | Author: Ludovico
Category : Newly Released Anime

The young boy Clain lives on a scenic grassy island, effectively by himself.  Humans have mostly moved off to the cities, leaving the country populated by Doppels – virtual projections of themselves, each with a unique and bizarre appearance.  Life is carefree due to the management of the mysterious Fractale system.  When Clain witnesses a girl being chased by an zeppelin and crashing in the cliffs, he brings her back to his apartment.  She’s a little odd and is confused by the Doppels and the Fractale system, but when she leaves, she gifts him a gem and a special guest…

Hayao Miyazaki wasn’t involved in this show, but he should have been.  It’s overflowing with Studio Ghibli stylings.  The strong female protagonist (though not the lead), a simple clean visual style, and a fascination with flight are the obvious ones.  There are similarities also to the classic anime, Nadia, the Secret of Blue Water.  It all adds up to a series that feels very familiar and appealing right from the start and if it continues to draw from those influences, it should be well worth watching.

Getting Started: Theatrical Makeup

Thursday, 20 January 2011, 15:51 | Author: Kricket
Category : Learn about Cosplay

One thing you have to remember is that theatrical makeup was designed to be seen from a distance and under bright lights. As such, these products tend to be much thicker and brighter than cosmetic makeup and will require different techniques for applying.  Should you have the opportunity to attend a Theatrical Makeup class at your local college, the instructor will encourage you to apply your makeup in an overly dramatic and exaggerated fashion. However, if you intend to use this makeup when cosplaying at conventions, you have to remember that everyone who sees your makeup will be up-close and in good lighting; I encourage you to use subtlety when you are in such an intimate environment.

Rather than including all of the available products on the market, I have chosen to list only the most useful products that I have encountered to date.  If you would like to receive a broad overview on the products and principles of theatrical makeup, I would recommend reading Laura Thudium’s  Stage Makeup.

CREME MAKEUP

Ben Nye manufactures an extensive line of skin-colored Creme Foundation; although, I only keep about five shades in my collection (Pale Vampire, Ultra Fair, Creamy Peach, Warm Sand, Old Age).  I would also recommend purchasing Ben Nye Creme Highlight (Ultralite) and Ben Nye Creme Shadow (Character Shadow), which will allow you to define the contours to your face by creating shadows and highlights.  Once you have purchased skin-colored creme makeup, you can find any additional colors you might need within Ben Nye’s Creme Color Liner collection.

CREME MAKEUP APPLICATION METHODS

Depending on the amount of area you need to cover, each of the following is an appropriate method for applying creme makeup: latex sponges, nylon brushes, cotton swabs, and stipple sponge.

CAKE FOUNDATION

In it’s original state, Ben Nye Cake Foundation is very stiff and chalky.  To apply to your skin, you need a water-dipped Foundation Brush or sponge.  This product is not necessarily superior or inferior to creme makeup, but is preferred by people with oily skin.

FACE POWDER

Face powers will help set your makeup and reduce sweating.  I recommend Ben Nye’s Neutral Set which is translucent; however, there are also a variety of opaque skin-tone powders available.  This can be applied with a powder puff or powder brush.

FINAL SEAL

Final Seal is the final step when you are applying makeup.  This spritzer is cold and minty, but creates a protective layer to hold your makeup in place.

MAKEUP REMOVERS

Neutrogena Cleansing Towellettes are a quick way to remove theatrical makeup.  You may still have to scrub with soap and water afterwards, but they do a lot of the grunt work for you.  Also, Ben Nye provides a makeup remover/brush cleanser, Hydra Cleanse, which will provide a more thorough cleanse.

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Disclaimer: My personal collection has been tailored to compliment fair skin and my color recommendations are posted as a starting place for beginners.

SacAnime 2011 Winter Photos

Tuesday, 11 January 2011, 12:00 | Author: Amitie
Category : Announcements

We had a great time at SacAnime 2011 Winter! It was nice meeting new people as well as seeing familiar faces. It was also apparent that even the chilly weather could not keep away the anime fans. Thank you to everyone for making this convention awesome; we look forward to seeing you at the next SacAnime.

SacAnime 2011 Winter

Tuesday, 11 January 2011, 8:00 | Author: Kricket
Category : Convention Reports

Word about the SacAnime party must have gotten out because this convention was bursting at the seams with attendees. Although the hallways were packed with anime fans who sought respite from the bitterly cold temperatures, it was obvious that everyone was happy to be there and clearly appreciated this off-season convention.

I have never before attended an anime convention during Christmas break – which strikes me as odd. The holidays would provide plenty of time for last-minute touch ups on cosplay costumes.  And, as this convention can attest, even cold weather won’t stop die-hard enthusiasts from wearing skimpy outfits in public.

I’m impressed that the event organizers are capable of hosting a bi-annual convention while keeping the atmosphere fresh. Events and guests alike are aptly maneuvered, rotating through some unseen cycle. This time around, SacAnime presented two new events, J-Fashion Runway and Singles Speed Dating Meet and Greet; taking the place of the sadly missed Maid Café and their only video room.

I was also excited to see the award-winning international cosplayer, Yaya Han, invited as a guest speaker. Her dedication and enthusiasm for cosplay were made apparent as she shared her costumes, stories, and pictures in each of her panels: Cosplay Construction Essentials, International Cosplay, and Cosplay Presentation. To my ever-mounting excitement, she convinced Pikmin Link to join her as a special guest at the International Cosplay panel and together they reminisced on the differences between American cosplay and the cosplay cultures of Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Finland, Italy, and the United Kingdom. When Yaya wasn’t hosting a panel, she could easily be found in the dealer’s room if you wished to get her autograph or ask her questions.

It is clear that SacAnime is evolving into something bigger, but I wonder how they will respond to their growing attendance in the coming years. It is likely that they will continue to emphasize their high-profile guests, even at the cost of their video/panel rooms – which isn’t horrible, just atypical. The atmosphere seems to be one of general merriment and socialization rather than innoculation into the current anime trends. Perhaps SacAnime can develop a unique convention model – one that already seems to be filling a niche in the Sacramento region.

Wearing Wig Caps

Thursday, 6 January 2011, 8:00 | Author: Kricket
Category : Learn about Cosplay

Wigs greatly compliment any costume, but their authenticity is ruined when you can see strands of your own hair poking out beneath the wig.  We always recommend that cosplayers wear wig caps underneath the actual wig as a way of holding it in place.  It is important, however, not to shove your hair underneath the wig cap, because this technique often results in a visible bulge atop your head.  In this tutorial, we have provide step-by-step directions for controlling and containing your hair underneath a wig cap by “reducing” the volume of your hair and evenly distributing it across your head.

YOU WILL NEED: wig cap, bobby pins, spray bottle
Start by dampening your hair.  You can either take a shower or use a spray bottle to reduce the volume of your hair.  (This will be especially useful for those of you who have naturally thick and full hair.)
Begin twisting a small section of hair, beginning at the top of your head.  Twist all the way down to the end of the strand and continue twisting until the strand begins to twist upwards near the roots.  At this point, distribute the strand across the top of your head and apply bobby pins to keep it in place.
Continuing with the same side and work your way backwards, using hair that is above the ear.
If you have long hair, bend the tips back towards the originating roots, so that they do not interfere with hair that you have not yet twisted.
Continue the same process on the other side, still only working with the top of your head.
Once the top of your head is secure, begin twisting the underlying strands at the back of your head.  These stands should also be evenly distributed, but may also rest across the top of your head.
You may have small tufts of hair escaping your bundle, but these can be tamed with  more water or bobby pins.  Once your hair pinning is finished, you may blow dry your hair (for maximum comfort) or immediately pull on the wig cap.  Hold the edge of the wig cap securely at your forehead, while a friend pulls the opposite edge over your bundled hair to the base of your skull.  Secure the wig cap to your hair by piercing it with bobby pins.

It’s Time for Pre-registration!

Thursday, 23 December 2010, 8:00 | Author: Janet
Category : Learn about Cosplay

We understand that you probably just spent a ton of money on Christmas gifts, but there is one more expense you should consider before the new year: convention registration.  Since most conventions are held during the summer, registration begins as early as September and many conventions offer three or four pricing tiers, depending on how early you purchase your badge.  Each of the conventions listed below currently offer pre-registration rates for 2011:

Anime Boston
April 22-24, 2011
Boston, MA
SakuraCon
April 22-24, 2010
Seattle, WA
Anime Central
May 20-22, 2011
Rosemost, IL
A-kon
June 10-12, 2011
Dallas, TX
Anime Expo
July 1-4, 2011
Los Angeles, CA

For the best prices, you should always purchase your badge on-site during the last day of the convention.  Most conventions will offer generously discounted badges if you pre-register one year in advance.  Would you rather spend more money for lack of planning?

Heavyweight Fabrics

Thursday, 16 December 2010, 8:00 | Author: Kricket
Category : Learn about Cosplay

This post will introduce you to the most common heavy weight fabrics.  Each fabric has different characteristics which determine the look and maneuverability of the fabric.  You can find detailed advise on how to cut and sew a specific fabric (including what size needle and presser foot to use) by checking out Sandra Betzina’s More Fabric Savvy and Claire Shaeffer’s Sew Any Fabric.

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WOOL

content: 100% wool

difficulty: easy

cosplay uses: Heavy coats (such as the school uniforms in Harry Potter).

construction notes: Wool can be quite scratchy, but it is wrinkle resistant, repels water, and can be shaped with steam.

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CANVAS

content: 100% cotton

difficulty: moderate

cosplay uses: It’s stiffness makes it useful as light armor, or as a stiffening liner.

construction notes: It’s stiffness makes it less versatile than other fabrics and will require a sharp needle when machine sewing

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VINYL

content: plastic

difficulty: hard

cosplay uses: Great for sturdy reflective surfaces such as sheaths, armor, and boot covers.

construction notes: Although this fabric can be stitched, it leaves permanent holes and can damage your home sewing machine.  We recommend using thermal suede as an alternative for heavily contoured patterns.