EDITS: OK, I’ve found some more places to get things, so I’ve updated the information on where to find coats, Axel’s wig and Zexion’s wig, as well as more general wig-getting places, and the one thing I forgot to throw into the mix–black gloves!
When I first came up with the idea to post this, it was with the intent of providing an easy Cosplay route for people who don’t want to spend a great deal of time getting a cosplay costume together. I think I’ll be able to accomplish that, but at the same time I may even have something to offer you cosplayers with a little more time and experience, so please read on!
One of the hard truths of cosplay is that it’s going to generally either cost you time or money—or both. I’m one of those who’s more willing to spend money than time, so I tend to commission costumes rather than make them myself. This post is generally geared in that direction.
The Cosplay spotlight today is fixed firmly upon Kingdom Hearts II’s Organization XIII. If you’re not familiar with them, I suggest checking out Wikipedia.
The nice thing about cosplaying one of the members of the notorious Organization XIII is that you can either stick to the basics or go all out, and convention goers will generally still know who you’re dressed up to be. The base of ANY Organization XIII costume is, of course, the characteristic black coat (with the GIANT ZIPPER).
There are about a billion different versions of this coat available on the internet now. This ebay seller is my favourite, as she makes a cotton version of the coat I haven’t found anywhere else—AND it’s made to the measurements you specify!
There’s also a pleather version of the coat available from the same seller. I have owned the cotton one for four years running now and love it—it makes a great coat for normal wear!
There are people in the States who make these coats as well, and I was lucky enough to stumble across these guys yesterday. They do custom coats as well, and have the advantage of speaking English and not having to ship overseas! I’ve not been a fan of the faux-leather coat, but these guys–they make it look GOOD. Be ready to spend a little more, but it seems to be well worth it.
The next main part of the outfit is the black boots. I wear a pair of English riding boots, but any low-heel black boot will do. Remember that you may end up walking a good distance in these—pick something comfortable!
If you’re not too concerned about being a specific character, guess what—once you have the coat, gloves and boots, you’re set! Off to the con you go! For the rest of you who are interested in being a specific member of the original Organization XIII, this next part will cover each character in more or less depth.
I would like to point something out, however, before we start: character designers are all guilty of the suspension of reality. It’s all fine and good to doodle out a character and his insane, gravity defying hair or absurd weapon, but translating it into real life is sometimes extremely difficult, if not downright impossible. What I’m trying to achieve here is not necessarily an EXACT likeness, but rather enough of a resemblance to provide verisimilitude to an already convincing costume.
Number I: Xemnas, the Superior of the In-Between
The fearless leader of Organization sports long luscious silver locks, styled in a fairly gravity defying manner. He weilds two lightsaber-esque laser swords that seem to sprout from his palms and is generally a giant pain in the butt without even the shreds of a sense of humour.
A specifically styled Xemnas wig is available from Cosplay Station:
If you don’t happen to be as sunbaked as that fearless leader, the easiest way to remedy that is to get a dark (usually bronze) crème foundation and use it all over your face, neck, ears, etc, then finish it off with some colourless powder. You might want to do a couple of practice runs on that, though, and make sure you seal the foundation either with the powder or a make-up sealer, or you can end up with foundation all over your lovely coat.
Number II: Xigbar, the Freeshooter
This crazy grinning gunman is my favourite of the lot. He’s “Number Two” but doesn’t really seem to care—or co-operate with his Number I very much either, for that matter. He is one of the more striking and also realistic-looking of the bunch, despite his slightly wolfish aspect.
There is not, unfortunately, a pre-styled Xigbar wig for sale that I could find. If you’re lucky enough to already have long hair, however, the easiest way to fix this problem is to obtain some temporary black hair dye (usually available at a beauty supply store like Sally’s) and also some Ben Nye silver stage hair colour. Tie your hair back in a low tail and apply silver streaks—voila, Xigbar’s hair. For you shorter haired folks, you may actually have to get into wig styling, which is something I unfortunately know nothing about.
Xigbar’s eyepatch is easily taken care of, and some years there are even see-through models available! As someone who regularly runs into walls because of wearing an eyepatch, I highly recommend the latter type.
The scar is the last bit you need to complete Xigbar’s look. One way is to make it using liquid latex, which is a little more time-consuming and requires the use of spirit gum and all sorts of things, or you can spend a little more money on a single product and get something called “rigid collodion”. I just discovered this delightful stuff this year and have already had smashing success with it. You brush it on over a fleshy part of your body (such as a cheek), and the tissue will pucker and draw in as it dries, giving a very real imitation of a scar. It doesn’t work so well over bony areas, however, such as the nose or forehead.
Lastly, Xigbar carries two spiky, projectile hurling objects which can loosely be called “guns.” I’m not one to be hauling props around conventions, so I’ve not even made or bought either of these. Sometimes you can find them available on ebay for sale, but it’s more common for people to either make them or commission them. Here is a work-in-process for the weapons being crafted out of wood.
Number III: Xaldin, the Whirlwind Lancer
This bulky spearman is something of a dark horse—and also happens to have absurd, awesome hair. My best suggestion is to get a wig such as this one from Cosplay Magic:
There are a couple of different versions of this wig out there for purchase, and unfortunately none of them bear any REAL resemblance to the original character design. (It’s that imagination-reality problem again, darn it).
Xaldin carries spears as a weapon, and here is a tutorial which I found on how to construct these babies.
Number IV: Vexen, the Chilly Academic
Vexen is a cold, calculating, heartless scientist with REALLY no sense of humour (Why would you want to cosplay as him, honestly?! GO FIND A MORE AWESOME CHARACTER). His weapon is a funky shield-thing.
Vexen, luckily, is fairly easy. You can go with a less expensive route with this blond wig from Costume Craze (don’t let him know it’s a Barbie wig or there might be trouble), or with this slightly more expensive option from Cosworx.
Stick a scowl on your face and you’re ready to go!
Number V: Lexaeus, the Silent Hero
Probably the least-often cosplayed member of the Organization, Lexaeus is a massive, silent man who uses a REALLY REALLY big sword.
I unfortunately don’t have much to offer here. There are no Lexaeus-specific wigs that I was able to find, nor are there any standard costume wigs which would do the trick. Once again I would recommend the use of temporary hair dye, usually available in that dark cherry shade at a beauty supply store.
Number VI: Zexion, the Cloaked Schemer
The emo member of the Organization, Zexion takes care of any and all brooding needs. He uses a nice big fat book as a weapon, so that at least is pretty easy to imitate.
This wig from Cosplay Station is the best Zexion imitation I could find:
If you can manage then to look both soulful and generally dissatisfied with the world, you’re set!
Number VII: Saix, the Luna Diviner
Saix is a berserking crazy with a tendency to suck up to Number One. Not a very companionable fellow at the best of times, he’s an absolute terror when he goes into a berserker rage.
Saix’s hair is probably the most difficult out of all of these, as I was unable to locate a pre-styled wig. Cosworx carries a wig in blue that would be style-able (it seems that it would mostly involve some cutting and some hairspray), but I don’t dare advise anyone there, as I have no clue what I’m talking about.
Saix’s scars are also a little more problematic as the lovely rigid collodion won’t work over the bridge of the nose or the forehead. The options there are either making a scar out of liquid latex (which I won’t detail here), or using make-up to imitate one.
Luckily, I was able to find this basic guide to making Saix’s berserker sword.
Number VIII: Axel, the Flurry of Dancing Flames
The fan favourite, Axel is a red-haired troublemaker whose main skills seem to be saying things like “got it memorized?” and playing people off against each other just for kicks.
Axel’s brilliant red, gravity defying hair is hard to imitate exactly, but the guys at Cosplay Station have done a pretty darn good job with this wig:
If you’re looking for a less-expensive alternative, you can always go with something that’s more of a suggestion than the exact look, such as this wig from Costume Craze.
Number IX: Demyx, the Melodious Nocturne
My second favourite member Demyx is a flighty, musically inclined individual who just really would rather rock out than fight.
There has been a LOT of argument over Demyx’s hair in the Kingdom Heart’s cosplay community. What everyone seems to be able to agree on, however, is that it’s totally ridiculous (and awesome). Cosplay Station sells the following wig:
But there’s always the option of styling your own hair, as shown here.
Demyx’s weapon is probably the most problematic of the bunch. It’s a sitar as tall as he is and bright blue—I’ve seen a few daring souls who’ve made them, but be prepared for a real time investment. Here is one tutorial on how to construct it.
Number X: Luxord, the Gambler of Fate
Possibly related to Gambit, this card-carrying gambler is one of the less well-known members. He’s a risk-taker and has an admirable poker face, as no one ever really seems to be able to tell what he’s up to.
Luxord’s hair is the most problematic of the bunch, as it seems to be a near-buzz—something which is next to impossible to find in a wig. I really have no practical suggestions here unless your natural hair can be made to imitate this style. Ladies, I don’t recommend it.
The cards, however, are a little less of a problem. They can easily be created out of cardstock, and there are even places online where you can get custom decks of cards printed!
Number XI: Marluxia, the Graceful Assassin
The Orgnaization’s Manly-Man *cough cough*, Marluxia’s rose-coloured locks and pink scythe strike terror (read: hilarity) into the hearts of friend and enemy alike.
I was lucky enough to find Marluxia’s scythe available on ebay!
Number XII: Larxene, the Savage Nymph
Originally the Organization’s only female member, Larxene represents all woman-kind by terrorizing the other members of the group at any given opportunity.
Once again we run into that problem between REALITY and the designer’s flights of fancy. Larxene sports a medium length blonde ‘do with these…antenna…thingies. Cosplay Station has come as close as anybody can to actually making it look good:
Number XIII: Roxas, the Key of Destiny
The youngest and second-most emo of the group, Roxas is the “Nobody” counterpart of Sora, the main character of the game. He’s best friends with Axel, and seems to be a rather retiring soul around most people.
Roxas’ hair is pretty easy to do. Cosplay Station offers their own version, but it would be fairly simple to style any short light brown or blond head of hair into an approximation of the look.
Roxas carries a Keyblade, the mystic weapon powered by the heart of the individual wielding it. There are keyblades to be had all over ebay. This particular model I own myself, and this is about the price you can expect to pay, even if purchased in person at a convention or show.
Number XIV: Xion
The late-comer to the party, Xion puts the “what?” in “doesn’t make sense”, but that’s just because of her number in reference to the name of the Organization. I actually don’t know too much about her, not yet having played the sequel that introduces this character.
Xion also weids Keyblades—see Roxas’s entry, above.
UPDATE: This doesn’t fit under any one character, so I’ll throw it in here. An artist who calls herself Mizu came to my attention yesterday and I have to admit that I’m VERY impressed with her wig work. She offers really competitive pricing, so head on over and see what she has to offer!
So there, my friends, is a crash-course in Organization XIII cosplay. I hope this has been helpful, and hopefully I’ll see you this year at a con or two! Watch for the short, female Xigbar—that’ll be me. :3