NYCC 2014: Cosplay Roundup

Every year I attend New York Comic Con more and more fans cosplay. It’s tough picking favorites but the ones that made me squee the most were Death from East of West and Steven Universe and his mom as Garnet. Oh and here’s my post about my Sailor Moon (aka Sailor Goon), Space Dandy and Spike Spiegel cosplay.

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NYCC 2014 Cosplay & Coords: Sailor Moon, Space Dandy, Cowboy Bebop & More

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It was only a year ago when I posted “Confessions of a First Time Cosplayer” and look how far I’ve come! Now I know I’m not building Tali armor from scratch like my friend and cosplay sensei @DarthRachel, but I’m proud of myself nonetheless.

Sailor Goon

I introduce to you, Sailor Goon; my gangsta take on Sailor Moon. I was Sailor Moon and my friend Roshi was Black Lady. People at the con said we were cute and creepy so mission accomplished basically.

I was inspired by Asiey Barbie’s Sailor Gang art on tumblr. I tagged her on Instagram and Twitter and her reaction was, “O.M.G. yasss, this is EXCELLENT!” and “I am SLAYED. absolute perfection.” She reblogged my post on Tumblr which is probably why it’s getting so many notes and said “YOU GUYS LOOK AT THIS FLAWLESSNESS”. So of course that made my day!

Artist Babs Tarr was also a big influence on this cosplay design. Her Bōsōzoku Sailor Scouts helped us come up with accessories like the denim jacket, patches and ripped nylon stockings. Babs was at NYCC this weekend so I was lucky enough to meet her and get a gorgeous Bōsōzoku Sailor Moon print and my Batgirl #1 signed. She is super sweet and LOVED our cosplay. She took a photo of us and gave us some of her stickers I actually planned on buying anyway!

As you can probably tell, Sailor Goon was my favorite cosplay of the weekend. The fun part was coming up with ways I could change Usagi’s regular costume from Moon to Goon. And my friend Roshi was giving some Black Moon realness with her Black Lady cosplay. Surprisingly, Sailor Goon was the first woman I’ve cosplayed. Up until now I’ve Rule 63’ed my favorite male characters like the Eleventh Doctor, Spike Spiegel and Space Dandy.

Space Dandy

Space Dandy is amazing… and weird. But that WTFness of Dandy is why I love it so much. I remember how excited I was hearing that the GAWD Shinichirō Watanabe of (Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo) was going to be the chief director of a new anime called Space Dandy. I admit, I had to adjust to the randomness of the show. Although Dandy is a bounty hunter in space, it’s nothing like Cowboy Bebop. Once I got that through my head, I fully enjoyed each episode. The finale was mind-blowing. Maybe I’ll blog about it at some point.

I’m not a crafty person at all, but I managed to make some Dandy accessories and I’m really proud myself, even though these are nothing compared to other stuff people make. It’s my first time “crafting” so give me a break! I made the necklace out of poster paper and paint marker, but it doesn’t look that bad as it sounds. It’s kind of like a Monet and looks better the further away you are. I hope my kanji isn’t too embarrassing; it was my first time writing that as well. The jacket is from Csddlink and I made Dandy’s belt buckle out of foam which I painted gold. Since I decided to go with high-waisted leggings, I turned the buckle into a pin. The items that are missing are his hair, bracelet and shoes. So this is kinda a half-assed cosplay. But now that I have most of his costume, I’ll give the rest my best effort next year.

I made a Space Dandy playlist because the music is so good. Shake your booty while reading this blog post, baby. It’s the Dandy way!

 

Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop 

If this looks familiar it’s because I did this female Spike last year. I loved it so much I had to do it again! Nothing new added to this except I’m channelling Faye Valentine with my purple hair. It’s been a year and I still haven’t gotten a good Spike wig. I’m the worst you guys I’m so sorry.

Kawaii Street Style

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I wasn’t always dressing up as someone else at NYCC. These last two additions aren’t cosplay but some pretty cute coords if I do say so myself.

On Friday I wore my new favorite sweater from Omo-Cat called ‘Toast Girl’. I was going for kawaii street style and did cult party kei makeup which is hard to notice because… you know… I’m black.

Subtle Princess Serenity 

*Queue magical girl transformation* I went from Sailor Goon by day, to Subtle Princess Serenity by night (with an emphasis on “subtle”). I wore this to the Fan Girls’ Night Out Party hosted by Geek Girl Brunch (that org I co-founded). There are tons of galaxy prints out there but the Shadowplay NYC shop on Etsy has some of the best I’ve seen. Better than Black Milk (yeah I said it!). I ordered two dresses from them and wore the Mystic Mountain Jersey Dress to FGNO. It features a Hubble Print of the Mystic Mountain, a Pillar in the Carina Nebula. I kept the space theme going and paired my Nebula dress with Princess Serenity and Sailor Moon accessories. I got so many compliments!

Well, that’s a wrap for my New York Comic Con cosplay and coords! Stay tuned to see if I get better at cosplay crafting next year. Spoiler: I probably won’t. I already have my eyes set on Leatherface Joker, Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropolian and a a young Major Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell: Arise (all featured in my Cosplay Bucket List post).

Fangirl on a Budget: Cosplay Hair

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As I mentioned in the comic book edition of Fangirl on a Budget, being a geek girl can be pretty expensive, but being a cosplayer is even more expensive. Sometimes one cosplay can cost hundreds of dollars. Although it isn’t always easy to cut the costs of fabric and building materials for your costume, one way you could save some cash is with cosplay hair.

Wigs can be expensive and at times unavoidable. But, if your hair is similar in length to your cosplay character, but not color, try using hair chalk or comb-in hair color. I’ve been playing around with hair chalk since I’ve had my Rouge-inspired blonde streak. It’s a cute and non-permanent way to play around with hair colors. They wash out in about 1 to 2 washes and don’t damage your hair like bleaching and dying.

The products I tried in the video below are Creative Comb-In Hair Color (neon pink) and Hair Artist Hair Chalk (blue-green). The comb-in hair color pigment is vibrant, but keep in mind it can get a little messy since it is the like consistency of pudding and needs about 15 minutes to dry. The hair chalk isn’t messy at all and can be applied in less than 5 minutes. It’s like drawing on your hair which is kinda fun. In my experience hair chalk comes out bolder and brighter on light colored hair and is great if you want to do streaks or allover color. For dark brown and black hair I think hair chalk is best for streaks and highlights. The best thing is they both under 10 bucks.

I’ve been working with some fine folks from FYE on the reopening of their geeky pop culture store. If you’re in the NY tri-state area, check out the new FYE store in Woodbrigde Center Mall in New Jersey. They have lots of geeky pop culture clothes, toys and accessories. They’re even selling Her Universe! They have a beauty section where they sell hair chalk and other beauty products that are all under $10.

My Cosplay Bucket List

As you may remember from my post “Confessions of a First Time Cosplayer” I really like cosplaying. Who doesn’t?! But I have to admit, even after my numerous Doctor Who cosplays and my pretty killer femme Spike Spiegel, I still feel like a newb since I didn’t actually make anything from scratch myself. The designs and concepts were my own, but the crafting was not. But after some drinks with Cosplay Queen Darth Rachel and a little pep talk from her, I feel less newby.

I let my lack of craftiness limit me, but I will not let it hold me back any longer! I will try my damndest to create most of these clothes and items by hand. I will probably fail many times, but that’s part of the fun… right?

Either way, here’s my cosplay queue, the characters I want to cosplay badly because they are my faves and they look super freaking cool. Shout out to the homie Leslie IRL for the blog post idea!

 

Space Dandy 

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Space Dandy is ridiculous anime and I love it so much. I’ll genderbend this up with a ’50s style dress or skirt and top to match Dandy’s Greaser look. But this cosplay is actually happening irl at NYCC this year! I have the jacket already, I just need to make shoes. >_<

 

Delirium from Sandman

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Sandman is one of my favorite comic book series of all time. Delirium was definitely one of my favorite of the Endless. I was always excited when she would pop up in the comic. Making the wig for her cosplay will be fun!

 

Gwendolyn from Saga

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I freaked out when I first saw Gwendolyn. Being a black girl who reads comics, I don’t see lots of characters that look like me, so when BVK created bomb-ass Gwendolyn I was beside myself. Just look at her looking all magnificent!

 

Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell 

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The Major is one of my favorite characters ever! She’s a shining example of a strong female character. The Ghost in the Shell series is one of my all time faves as well. I even wrote a 20 page paper in grad school about GITS and post-humanism (see: Cyborgs Exist and Humanity is Doomed for a shorter version). There are so many looks I could go with; but I already know I’m not going to do the one where she doesn’t wear pants.

 

Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropolitan

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Spider is one of my favorite comic book characters. He’s such a lovable bastard! I’m doing a genderbent Spider. I really like genderbending.

 

Leatherface Joker

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I want to cosplay Leatherface Joker so badly. He’s so gorgeously gruesome! I’ll probably genderbend this one too because I just like to do that and it’s fun. I have no idea how I will even do the mask but if there’s a will, there’ s a way!

 

Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time

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Oh my glob! How can you not love LSP?! With this cosplay I’ll probably go the non-lumpy route and wear a over-the-top dress instead, with a big purple wig and of course, the star.

 

Berg Katze from Gatchaman Crowds

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So I actually haven’t finished this anime yet… whoops. BUT I immediately fell in love with Berg Katze and his character design. I MEAN LOOK AT THAT HAIR! He’s fun villain and reminds me of the Joker because you don’t really hate him as much as you probably should.

“Say I Love You”: A Realistic Shoujo Anime… Sort of

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Nana broke my heart, in more ways than one. So after I dried my tears, I put on some lipstick, my best dress and went searching for a rebound anime. That’s when I ran into, Say “I Love You” (Suki-tte Ii na yo.).

[HorribleSubs]_Sukitte_Ii_na_yo._-_07_[480p].mkv_snapshot_04.00_[2012.11.20_10.39.10]I’m pretty picky with my shoujo since I typically prefer josei and seinen manga and anime. But of course, I find myself falling for some amazing shounen and shoujo like Bakuman and Ouran High School Host Club. I find a lot of shoujo anime too unrealistic for my tastes. I know, I know, that’s just the nature of the beast. But Say “I Love You” is not your typical shoujo. I found the characters and its depiction of high school life realistic… Well, as realistic as possible when you’re in shoujo land.

On the surface, it seems like the typical teenage romance you’ll find in a manga. Handsome popular boy, Yamato, falls for the wallflower, Mei. Yet, under the surface, there’s a lot more going on in this anime. But don’t fret shoujo-lovers! Say “I Love You” definitely has plenty of sappy moments and enough blushing to remind you what kind of anime you’re watching.

Despite their cliché appearance, the main characters have some depth and interesting qualities. Mei starts off as a socially awkward loner. She is quick to push people away and slow to trust others. But she’s emotionally stronger than she looks. As the anime progresses, she becomes more approachable and opens up her heart to friendship and love. She doesn’t make a complete change, but she’s getting there.say-i-love-you-anime-430x244

Then we have the charming Yamato, however, we discover he isn’t as perfect as everyone thinks. Mistakes he made in his past haunt him and he even makes some mistakes in his relationship with Mei. But he tries, and we love him for that. Although I do admit, I wish Mei didn’t need to fall in love with Yamato reconnect with the world… But it beez like that sometimes.

Because Nana was more mature and intense, I often felt like I was constantly getting my heart broken. Say “I Love You” was different. Oh trust me, it has its fair share of baby heartbreaks, but it also gives you moments that mend your heart.

Doki Doki: Anime & Manga Helped Me Get Over A Heartbreak

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Last year, I was going through some up and downs. Some of the downs had to do with love. I stayed home a lot because I was in a crappy mood and didn’t want to be crappy around my friends. Also, I just wanted to be alone a lot. Being a bum in my house was literally on my schedule. So what did I do? I turned to anime. Lots and lots of anime.

Nana_manga_anime7Anime was doing a great job distracting me from being sad. Despite being a fan of many geeky mediums, anime is what I turn to when I’m sad and need some cheering up. Then Nana came along and messed everything up. I thought it was going to be a cute, harmless little shōjo/josei anime, but by the time I got to episode 5 I felt like I was looking in a mirror. So much for a distraction, right? I became completely consumed with Nana after I started reading the manga. I began playing that, “Just one more chapter!” game, and before I realized, it was 3am.

Interestingly enough, I continued to obsess about Nana even though reading it made me sad. I turned to anime for temporary happiness, but I clung to the one that did just the opposite. I saw Nana and Hachi go through the same experiences I’ve been through, and because of that, I couldn’t look away. I hoped that in the end, they would live happily ever after, which would mean I would live happily ever after. But the manga is incomplete. The author, Ai Yazawa, became sick and wasn’t able to finish the story… my story. But I think in the end that was the point. Nana_manga_anime6

What I got out of my Nana experience was that regardless of how different everyone’s experience is with relationships, love and heartbreak, there are universal themes and truths we all go through. The manga forced me face my feelings of sadness in a space I normally associated with happiness. Nana was unfinished, but I imagined a happy ending for the characters… Because that’s what I deserve.

Manga & Millennials: How I Found Comfort in “Solanin”

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Solanin, by Inio Asano, is about Meiko Inoue, a recent college grad working a 9-5 that she hates. Sound like anyone you know? She fears she’ll end up a faceless employee, so she quits. Her boyfriend, Taneda Naruo is a freelance illustrator and doesn’t make enough to support himself so he permanently crashes at her apartment.

Meiko, like many of us twentysomethings, is in that transitory stage where she’ll have to make critical decisions that may affect the rest of her life. She struggles with figuring out her place in society, which causes her to question if she’s even cut out for the real world.

With our thirties tapping us Millennials on the shoulder, we are left with this nagging feeling to search for purpose before we get trapped in a passionless routine. (Queue existential crisis.) Like a remixed version of Joan Didion’s essays, a lot of us are “Slouching Towards Adulthood”. It’s a splinter we try to ignore. We hope it goes away, or that we’ll get used to the pain. But there will come a day when we’ll have to either do something about it, or decide to live with that splinter. To quote my favorite anime Cowboy Bebop, “You’re gonna carry that weight.”solanin_meiko

Meiko’s first step was quitting a job that wasn’t fulfilling. But what’s next? What do you do, when you don’t know what to do?

You live. You make mistakes. You get to know yourself. Find out what you like and what you don’t like. You cling to your passions like Teneda clung to music and his band. You do what you want to do.

I know I’m dangerously flirting with the age where I have to start acting like a self-sustaining adult. These are the years where I’m sculpting my future and I wasn’t happy with the shape it was taking. So I did something about it. Just like Meiko, I don’t want to end up spending 9+ hours of my day feeling empty.

I know nothing good can come by waiting for good to come. You have to take risks. It’s scary, but also exhilarating. If you’re a recent grad, or feeling lost about life and your place in it, I suggest reading Solanin.

Life’s too short to be anything but happy.

Always follow your happy.