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My Return to Cosplay

I went through a very short craft phase when I was in elementary school, if you can call being forced to do crafts in Girl Scouts a phase. I made papier-mâché tissue box covers, Christmas ornaments, and even learned how to crochet. Girl Scouts wasn't my favorite activity, but the crafts were fun and I got to hang out with my mom who was troop leader. When she quit, I quit (since I was mostly in it for her) and, alas, my crafting phase was over. I dabbled in note doodling and paint and sips, but that was the limit to my artful abilities…until I re-entered the world of cosplay.

Throughout middle school and high school, I discovered my love for the expression. It was thrilling to be someone else for a day (shoutout to Lenne!), and even more exciting to meet people just like you. Growing up, my siblings and only a few of my friends liked anime. Going to conventions, dressing up, and seeing hundreds of people doing the same was inspiring and…extremely comforting. There were people out there just like me; I wasn’t as other as I thought. But then came college and cosplaying was hard. No time, no money and no resources. After graduation, I fumbled for a year or so to put on my adulting boots. Then, the realization came. I do have time, and a job. I do have money. Hello cosplay. I’m back, baby!

My cosplay projects over the last two years have been the biggest artful undertakings of my life. My (lack-of) craftiness was pushed to the limits as I scrambled to look my best and do my favorite characters justice. My sister is the famous cosplayer, not me; trying to not look pitiful next to her (and her bomb girlfriend) is really challenging. But with help from my family and a surprising amount of ingenuity on my part, I aced the landing on my costumes. How, you ask? I would love to tell you more!

Last year I debuted my magnum opus, probably the best cosplay I will ever do: the two sides of Himari Takakura— happy-go-lucky younger sister and alien princess of the crystal. I quickly and inexplicably fell in love with Mawaru Penguindrum last year and have never felt so inspired to cosplay before. This one 6-month project reignited my love for cosplay…and put me very much in debt to my mother.

Enter mom. Remember her? The crafty Girl Scouts troop leader? Well, she is way more than crafty. She’s a boss. When she was in high school, she used to sew her own clothes. For Princess of the Crystal, she was just what I needed and she helped me level all the way up. For me, it was a hunt and gather mission. I collected the resources— the corset, ribbon, tassels, and accessories— and my mom created my masterpiece using her seamstress skill set. I truly felt like a princess, hoop skirt, bustles and all. It is easily my most impressive cosplay. I will probably never top it.

Happy-go-lucky Himari was all me (besides the penguin, thanks again mom). I like to call myself a closet cosplayer— I use everyday clothing and make them work for costumes. I wear that blue skirt to work. Same with the blouse. I wear those boots all the time; if you can walk a con in them, you can do anything in them. Low-budget, high quality costumes are the name of the game and I’m all about it! Himari is a bit of a deep-cut character so not a lot of people recognized me in either of her forms. But when they did, I represented my franchise with pride! Who doesn’t like a fun dose of Ikuhara in their con weekend?

This year, I still went big and took my mom out of the equation (slightly). I decided to embody one of my favorite video game characters, Sly Cooper, meaning two things: one, I had to make a weapon, and two, I have to kind of become a furry. I was up to the challenge.

First came the closet cosplay approach; I got my hat, ears, shirts, pouch, gloves, and a 3-foot raccoon tail online (all of it was surprisingly inexpensive!). Next came the crafting, an area in which teamwork was once again required. My mom volunteered to paint my boots. My sister graciously offered to 3D print the top of my hook. The belt and staff were up to me. I walked into Michael’s Craft Store nervous and excited. Time to buy some paint!

I got a cheap belt from TJ Maxx and painted it yellow. Easy, done. The belt buckle was a little harder. I bought a thin, circular piece of wood and painted the image on to it freehand (you can tell by the derpy face). Then came the buckle’s ears. The armbands for my gloves came with cardboard to keep their shape in the mail. Perfect. I painted them and taped them to the buckle. Then, I duct taped it to my belt. Was it sturdy? No. Did it work? Hell yeah! With one crafting project out of the way, I was on to the staff.

I live 600 feet away from a Lowes, so this part was also easy. After discussing the dimensions of the staff with my sister, I purchased a 4-foot, 1-inch diameter wooden dowel, some stain and rubber chair stoppers. I woke up early for work one day and stained the dowel in my shower, then stuck the chair stopper on the end so I wouldn’t damage the bottom when I walked. Finally, thanks to some amazing Laser Girl engineering, I painted my ASA Plastic hook and slipped it right on to the dowel. There was my weapon. I was ready to rock FlameCon as the Thievius Raccoonus himself.

Finally, Danny Phantom. Oh sweet, sweet Danny Phantom. After rewatching the fun series, I made an impulse buy. The suit. The amazing, pleather suit. After that, all I needed were the boots (had the wig from Sly) and I was done. Simple and clean, just the way I like it. Now I have a hit Halloween costume for life. One day I will get green contacts for it (when I lose the fear of going blind) and totally level up the look. Still, I’m really happy with it for now.

And that has been the entirety of my post-college cosplay journey thus far (with the exception of my adorable little Sophie Hatter cosplay). What will I do next? I don’t know. I recently watched Evangelion and loved Major Katsuragi, so that has potential. The Laser Girls are also rockin’ some Sarazanmai cop outfits and need an Azuma Sara to complete their set. That also may be in the works. Whatever the project or character, I love anime and video games. I’m at a point in my life where I’m not embarrassed by being other anymore. And I love showing my passions through cosplay.

If you want some cosplay inspiration, check out my friends (click to see their pages)!


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