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.

Nijigahara Holograph: A Haunting & Beautiful Manga

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Nijigahara Holograph Inio Asano Manga 6Nijigahara Holograph by Inio Asano (Solanin) makes you feel uncomfortable at times… well a lot. Its haunting story wrapped in beautiful illustrations  makes it incredibly atmospheric. Before I get ahead of myself, I should probably tell you what it’s about. Well… it’s about… uhh… it’s complicated. (Which is another way of saying it was confusing.) But it was confusing on purpose! So that makes it okay, right? The main reason why it’s so hard to describe is because it is all timey wimey and convoluted, except we don’t have a super genius timelord to help explain the story. Since it’s so tricky to summarize, I’ll give you the official description instead:

“Even as butterflies ominously proliferate in town, the rumor of a mysterious creature lurking in the tunnel behind the school spreads among the children. When the body of Arié Kimura’s mother is found by this tunnel’s entrance, next to apparently human traces, the legend seems to be confirmed. Is the end of the world coming? In order to appease the wrath of the beast, the children decide to offer it a sacrifice: The unfortunate Arié, whom they believe to be the cause of the curse, is shoved into a well that leads to the Nijigahara tunnel — an act that in turns pushes Komatsuzaki, the budding thug who has carried a torch for Arié for a while already, entirely over the edge.

But this is only the beginning of the complex, challenging, obliquely told Nijigahara Holograph, which takes place in two separate timelines and involves the suicidal Suzuki; Higure, his stalkerish would-be girlfriend; their teacher Miss Sakaki, whose heavily bandaged face remains a mystery; and many more — brothers, sisters, parents, co-workers, teachers, aggressors and victims who are all inextricably linked to one another and all will eventually — ten years later — have to live with what they’ve done or suffered through.”

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Even though I read Nijigahara Holograph slowly and meticulously, I’m still trying to piece together the story. Maybe part of me always will, and that’s the beauty of it. I thought about writing this after I reread it to try and make sense of everything. But I felt the best representation of Nijigahara Holograph would be my confused, yet excited thoughts. And to be honest, the experience is part of the draw. It’s like a carnival ride that looks beautiful on the outside, but it’s all horror on the inside and it leaves you feeling really uncomfortable.

Speaking of uncomfortable. Shit gets dark, man. Real dark. But you know what? That’s life. Life is beautiful, just like the mysterious butterflies in the story. And life is fucked up, just like some of the characters in the story. I respect a writer who’s not afraid to have an unconventional plot and ending. Nijigahara Holograph Inio Asano Manga 1

The setting seems mundane at first glance, but as the story progresses it’s transformed into an eerie town that’s filled with sadistic adults and children. Oh, that’s another thing. Asano shows us something we rarely see in stories, children committing unspeakable violence, sometimes at random. These kids are not possessed by any demons, they are just kids committing horrific acts of violence.

It’s hard to pinpoint the main character of the story, but one character that’s present throughout is violence. Violence in Nijigahara Holograph lurks just under the surface like a sea monster. Through the lens of this story, we all have that monster in us; some of us force it down forever, while others let it come up for air. Some people practically let it frolic freely without restraint. The only optimistic thought Nijigahara Holograph offers is a child’s wish to end the world.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Damn, Jamila. This sounds like a bummer, why should I read it?” Because it’s a brilliantly crafted story that will captivate you… oh and it’s fucking gorgeous!

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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.