Author Archives: Chajiko

Sense: This Cosplay Makes None

Con season is in full swing, my friends!

As a result, I’m in a constant state of happy cosplay-daze, and a less happy daze of cosplay envy. Originally I was going to highlight some of the more unusual and remarkable cosplays, but then I descended into silliness and have found the following pictures for your enjoyment.

As much as I love a beautifully posed, character-accurate cosplay portrait, I have to admit that the goofy, silly, off the wall pictures and costumes are a pretty close second as far as favourites are concerned. Some of these will make you laugh, and others will make you say “Huh?!” but I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!


FE__Yo_luchaba_por_mis_amigos_by_Little_Nicky[1]
Los dos amigos!

Nothing says Cinco de Mayo like…Fire Emblem? Looks like we’ve got Marth and Ike here, and both have exchanged their signature headbands for more stylish headwear! Viva Elibe!


Silly_Ariel_by_ArielVanDeKamp[1]
“You know…I really don’t think you need anymore caffiene.”

How much commentary does this picture really need? I think it speaks for itself.

Kakashi_Claus_1_by_CoralSnake[1]
“I’ve been good, I SWEAR! Now put that kunai away!”

A very merry, er, Naruto to you too! Here we have the phlegmatic Kakashi Sensei posing in the uniform he wears when he moonlights as a mall santa–because Christmas needs more Ninja!


ACEN_09___BEST_COSPLAY_EVER_by_ich_bin_Insanity[1]
Darn computer! How am I supposed to download the newest Naruto chapter now?!

I don’t even know what to say. 10/10 for originality!

We_Are_The_Batman_by_Furrehaxel[1]
Batman’s newest sidekick.

This one gets kudos for not only being random and hilarious, but also for spanning the vast Japan-DC Comics Divide unlike anything since the Cartoon Network version of Teen Titans.

Suzaku_is_happyplz_by_marimoface[1]
“Don’t look like that, Roxas!”

Seriously, this picture is doubly awesome with both Axel and Roxas in it.

Sephiroth__Onion_and_Kuja_by_Dolly_chan[1]
“Kuja, Sephiroth and an Onion Knight were walking through a field…

Sounds like the beginning of an awesome joke. Kuja’s pose is most definitely made of win.

Keep ’em coming, cosplayers!

Posted in cosplay, humor | 3 Comments

Kingdom Hearts II: Organization XIII Cosplay in Action

I’m pretty much going to be letting the pictures do the talking here.  Check out these awesome Organization XIII cosplays!  


Xem Saix
Xemnas and Saix are buddies!

Xaldin___Xigbar_at_AX_2007_by_Seraphim_Sephiroth

Xaldin vs. Xigbar

Vexen_by_Ninja_Chi

Vexen wants your heart

V_by_JulianMoore

PLEASE don’t hit me again, Lexaeus!

Nothing_There_by_Jenna_Sama621

This time with FEELING, Zexion.

New_Axel_Wig_by_KellyJane

Axel is hot stuff, yo.

Kingdom_Hearts__Dark_Dancer_by_tealpirate

And now, Ladies and Gentlemen: Demyx!

luxord_the_Gambler_of_Fate_by_khgirllies

Whatever you do, DON’T let Luxord deal! (If anyone knows who this awesome Luxord is, PLEASE let me know!)

Marluxia_by_LunaDivine

Marluxia is really frighteningly pretty.

Hanging_out_by_Morijana

Don’t let Larxene’s harmless smile fool you…

Roxas__sitting_alone____by_chibinis_chan

Sorry Roxas, Zexion can still brood better.

Xion__Roxas__by_hrtznaoplz

No Xion, you may not have the camera.

wholebunch

Always a party with these animals, I tell ya.

There were sooooo many good cosplays to choose from–this is just skimming the top!
Boss_Battle___Saix_by_Castle_Oblivion_UK

Sora, I’m with you on this one.


In case you missed it, the guide to Organization XIII cosplay can be found here!

Posted in conventions, cosplay, groups | 8 Comments

Kingdom Hearts: Organization XIII Cosplay Guide

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!

CottonPleather

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!  

Shineyblack boot CostcrazeMensbootWalkermens

The next basic piece is a pair of black gloves. Personally I prefer leather, but various fabric options work as well. Vinyl is also a good second-fiddle to leather.

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

xemnasart

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:

Continue reading

Posted in art, cosplay, DIY, how-to, ideas | 10 Comments

Costume Design: Adapting a Male Design to a Female Body

One of the things costumers and designers have wrestled with for a long time is the adaptation of a specific look to either a specifically male or specifically female context.  This isn’t difficult when you have a general idea of what you want and the resultant male and female versions reflect that general idea, but things get a little trickier when you’re trying to take a specific male character and turn it into a female costume, or vice versa.

I want to show off a project that I’ve been working on so far in defense of my extremely vocal presecution of the “make-it-a-mini-skirt-and-voila” process of “female-izing” costumes.

I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with this fellow:

Original VincentDirge Vincent

Vincent Valentine, of Final Fantasy VII fame (owned by Square-Enix, not me!).  His is a costume which has been replicated over and over and over by (giant dorky) fans like me!  As you can see, his design has already undergone a little original tweaking from the original 1997 official game-art (by Nomura Tetsuya) to the 2006 game Dirge of Cerberus which features Vincent as the main character (Official game graphic version).

As a general rule, guys have no problem imitating this costume.  It’s built for a guy, and even if he’s not RIDICULOUSLY thin, it can still look really good.  Girls, though soooo many of us adore Vincent, find ourselves quailing a little at the thought–though some are still brave enough to try it.  In a moment of insanity last year I ordered this costume from a seamstress on Ebay, thinking that I could make it work.  What I got in the mail a few weeks later was a pair of skin tight pleather pants that fit me smack at the natural waist, a costume shirt, glove and cape.  The real problem was (as my female readers already know) the pants.

I finally figured it out!  HIPS.  The problem is HIPS!!  No woman, no matter how small, can look like the above picture if she has any kinds of curves at all (Sweeping statement?  Oh yeah, you bet).  I set out, then, to make a version of this costume that would not only capture the essence of what is our much-loved Vincent Valentine, but would also not make my pants look like I had forced two pigs into leather sacks and strapped them to my waist.

This was the resultant concept sketch:

Girl Vincent

I admit I got a little crazy with the buckles.  I love buckles.

Now–what we have here really isn’t that different from the original, and that’s what I was looking for.  I’ve borrowed liberally from both versions of the character design and included a few of my own touches, but the costume is still essentially Vincent.  The main difference lies in the trouser style and the width and positioning of belts.  I dropped the waist-band of the trousers to fit at the hip (a very modern fit–I’m sure we’ll all want something different in ten years) and widened the two belts to really chunky things, rather than the thin sleek belts Vincent sports.  Also, instead of a pleather or leather fabric for the trousers, I’ve opted for a low-sheen black denim. 

Why do all these things?   The drop in waistline is not only more comfortable for those who are used to modern, hip-riding trousers, it also allows the torso to appear lengthened, creating the illusion of fewer curves (some of the younger cosplay crowd get around curves by binding their chests, but I frankly find this to be totally barbaric and I refuse to participate).  The problem with low-waisted pants is that they usually hit at the widest part of the hip, which can make the hips look even wider, if you’re not careful.  To help counteract this, chunky belts are added–this draws the eye away from the line of the trousers over the hip and gives the observer the idea that the width is the result of the belts themselves.

Lastly, the change in fabric from a high-gloss to a low sheen eliminates awkward highlights.  Pleather is really a very reflective material, and nothing can make something look curvier than a dramatic set of highlights showing up in a picture from the flash.  Black denim absorbs light, and as everyone knows, black makes anybody look thinner!

This costume is currently about half done, so I’ll leave off here with the promise that I’ll post the rest of it as I get finished, including the golden glove/claw that I’m working on.  What I really wanted to do with this post was prove that you can take a male costume and make it not only feminine, but attractive as well WITHOUT resorting to the tired, old and totally uncreative minidress or miniskirt designs.

Posted in art, cosplay, discussion, DIY, gaming, how-to, ideas | 5 Comments

Dapper Toppers: Blonde Swan Hats

One of the things I have had cause to mourn in my study of historic fashion and costume is the passing of The Hat as a basic necessity of wardrobe into cultural oblivion. 

Up until about the middle of the last century, hats were an absolute MUST in Western fashion.  No decent person went out without his or her hat, and a whole set of manners and customs were attached to the selection and wearing (and doffing) of all manner of hats, caps and toppers.

Despite my sorrow at the disintegration of the culture of headwear into basebal caps and upside-down visors, there IS one advantage: anyone who is caught actually wearing a singular sort of hat instantly attracts attention!  Nothing completes a costume or period outfit like the proper hat.  It’s the candle on the cake, the filling in the pie–the last, perfect touch that takes your creation from the adequate to the sublime.

The next question which must be asked, then, is where to obtain such a marvelous thing as a quality hat.  I would like to draw special attention to the Blonde Swan, a Hatter in Ohio who turns out the most superb hats I have ever had the pleasure to see.

felttopperFRridinghatFR

The Tall Felt Topper and the Elizabethan Riding hat.  These are handsome enough photographed–in real life they are, simply put,  STUNNING.

Whether you’re in the market for something to complete your Steampunk, vampire, Renaissance, priate, fantasy or Victorian costume, they have something that fits the bill, and fits it to a tee!

GunTopLFRBulletbeautyFR

The Gunslinger and the Bulls-Eye Beauty–Old West or Age of Steam?  Either way!

 So if you’re looking for a hat of magnificent quality and reasonable cost, there’s no place for you but http://www.blondeswan.com.  Go check them out–you won’t regret it!

BroomFRDsassyjFR

The Broomrider and Deluxe Sassy Jackie.  The Broomrider is one of my personal favourites.  It’s perfectly smashing finish for a witch costume, but can also take any medievil costume from the historical to fantastic in an instant.  The Sassy Jackie is equally gorgeous, and can’t be beat for any sky or sea wandering pirette.

Posted in fashion, history, steampunk, websites | 3 Comments

Flying the Skies in Full Character

It’s almost certain that the good folks at the airport probably have seen just about every type of person come through those security lines in order to board a plane and jet off to some destination or other.  They see a continuous stream of men and women in business suits, teenagers in jeans and hoodies, and a whole range of ages dressed in clothes designed to make sitting still in Coach class for hours a little more bearable.  I’m sure this gets boring after a while, really.  So in my generous way I decided that I would break the monotony for them by wearing something really outstanding the next time I flew–something that would stick in their minds and perhaps provide a few minutes of entertainment. 

Actually, I just wanted to fly wearing something odd and cool.  No altriusm about it. 

This determination to don unconventional flying fashion led me, therefore, to choose this outfit when I went off to visit a dear friend a few weeks ago:

Full outfit

Stuck somewhere between Victorian England and Steampunk.

The reactions of my fellow passengers were really interesting, actually.  Mostly I got either curious or sort of scornful looks, but I got a few more extreme responses.  Mostly it was delight and a little bit of confusion, but one other passenger went so far as to pretend I didn’t exist for the whole three hours I sat next to her.  

feathers

I’m probably being unfair.  Maybe she just didn’t like my feathers.  I do, though!

The most awkward thing about the whole process was getting my hat through security.  The little rubber flaps on the X-Ray machine would have made a hash of the feather spray, so we had to take some extra measures to make sure that both the hat and everyone else came through intact and bomb-free. 

Boots and pants

Comfortable trousers, crazy high boots.  Love the lace and buttons.

The other hard thing was NOT breaking my ankles in these boots.  They are absolutely smashing to look at, but rather dodgy to walk in if you’re not used to very high heels.  It would have been easier if I hadn’t had to run to catch a connecting flight!

Pose

“Bring the carriage ’round, Bane, I’m off to visit Miss Peabody!”

All in all, it was a really fun thing to do, and the clothes were remarkably comfortable.  People always assume that “fancy” means “unwearable”, and that’s certainly NOT the case here!  Want to recreate the look?  You’re in luck!  Everything but the shirt and the trousers is easily obtainable online.

The beautiful leather hat was handmade by the wonderful people over at http://www.blondeswan.com.  They’re a traditional hattery based out of Ohio, and their work and service is top notch!

The coat and attached vest actually come from http://www.angel-secret.com, a small company based out of Hong Kong that specializes in elegent and slightly unusual clothes for women and men.

The shoes are a product of Pleaser USA, a shoe company that makes shoes for just about every occassion!  These particular Funtasma “Splendor” boots have a very comfortable microfiber upper and a zip closure to go along with the very classy Victorian inspired lace and button details.

The particular gloves I’m wearing are fashion gloves from http://www.hottopic.com though any black leather or leatherette gloves will work. 

The shirt is a vintage piece I picked up some years ago, though it’s not so hard to find a button blouse with a ruffled front and cuffs as it used to be.  The trousers also I found some time ago, but any pair of gouchos or fitted pants would work just as well.

So–next time you fly, don’t be afraid to let your quirky side show!  It can be fun, and as long as you don’t make any of the security people nervous, it’s perfectly safe and stress-free as well. 

Posted in fashion, history, steampunk | 10 Comments

My Visit to the Ohio Renaissance Festival

Ohio Renaissance Festival

There are 30 acres of land in Harveysburg, Ohio which are unlike any other plot of land in the whole state. They are not especially fertile, nor do they host any sort of exotic flora or fauna — unless costumed enthusiasts can be included in the latter. It IS home, however, to a permanent 16th century English village which is in turn the home of the Ohio Renaissance Festival!

An ever-changing spectacle of sight and sound, the Ren Fest (as it is familiarly called) runs from Aug. 30th to Oct. 19th, 2008 and will re-open again around the same time in 2009. A $20 ticket will gain you entrance to the winding lanes of this piece of transplanted history and all the delights contained therein.

The shops sell just about anything the historically minded tourist could desire, from mass-produced costumes to intricately hand-crafted clothing pieces, custom leatherwork, handmade masks, weapons, handmade musical instruments and more.

Renaissance ShopRenaissance Shop

Renaissance Shop

There is also a great deal of entertainment to be had, no matter your age and preference for muddiness. The Swordsmen put on a dashing show, instructing the male half of the population in the ways of masculine Renaissance charm after attempting to cut each other to pieces with (hopefully blunted) rapiers, much to the delight of the audience.

Ohio Renaissance Festival

Musicians of consummate skill were to be found at every corner, peddling their wares to any who would listen in a cascade of poignant notes from harp, lute, dulcimer and guitar. And last—and I fear I must categorize it as the least—were the gentlemen who felt that mud was the ideal medium for the re-telling of such great literary works as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Beowulf.

I’m sure I would have enjoyed their recounting of the Viking’s voyage to America more if they had not managed to spatter my 13th century dress with mud from thirty feet away.

Mud covered story-telling

Amidst this delightful and somewhat bewildering cacophony are the employees and tourists who have turned gaily out in their best fancy-dress for the occasion. We saw fantasy costumes, elaborate Renaissance period pieces that were hundreds of hours in the making, medieval ladies and knights, archers, monks, and various sprites and spirits.

Ohio Renaissance Festival

Ohio Renaissance FestivalOhio Renaissance FestivalOhio Renaissance Festival

Whether you spend the day costume hunting with a camera, sipping a drink, eating hearty stew out of a bread bowl whilst listening to the best sorts of music, riding a camel (yes, there ARE camels there. Why? No one is quite sure) or browsing the endless selection of fine wares, there is something for everyone at the Ohio Renaissance Festival!

Ohio Renaissance Festival

Posted in art, cosplay, events, world costumes | 1 Comment