Archive for the ‘cosplay’ Category

Anime North 2008!

Con Report
I don’t know if Anime North just keeps getting better or if I’m just learning how to really enjoy it.

This year, I rented a car and only went with other anime fans – not friends I’m trying to convert and therefore feel responsible for. We took our time, drank lots of water and kept ourselves fed. We watched people dancing, took lots of pictures, moved very slowly through the dealer’s room, watched some anime – turns out Flag is quite awesome – and even did our own cosplay photo shoot.

I came away from the event loving the anime community more than ever. There is an amazing sense of joy and celebration at Anime North. Random dance parties break out, spectacular costumes are everywhere and I did not see one moment of tension or conflict.

In fact, one of my friends in tow pointed out that for an event attended and run mostly by teenagers and early 20-somethings, there was no fighting or bullying or stupidity of any kind. It feels as if, because we are all there for the same reason – our love of this outsider genre – we’re all on the same team.

And kudos to the Anime North staff who made the event easy to navigate, safe and organized. Only two beefs: I pre-registered and paid two months in advance and yet I had to stand in line for almost an hour for my ticket. Why not just print out the pass online and make pre-registration more useful than just saving a few dollars?

Oh, and the wrestling. Serious, that has got to go.

Anyway, did you attend Anime North? What did you think?


Tekkon Kinkreet cosplay

Character: Kuro (“Black”) from Tekkon Kinkreet

Where: Anime North

When: 2008

The Story
Damn proud, that sums up my feelings about this cosplay. And most of that pride is for my CBC co-worker Lily Mills who did a spectacular job of not only dressing spot on as Shiro (“White”) but really expressing the character in her poses.

This was also my first “group” cosplay and even though it means you spend the whole day joined at the hip with your partner, it is more than worth it when you see people’s faces as they recognize not just one character, but the set.

Sadly, however, not that many people have seen the awesome Tekkon Kinkreet. My evidence? A whole day of walking around and we were only photographed 5 times. As Lupin or Mugen, I lost count, easily 20 or 30 times. I’m not being vain, but let’s face it: you cosplay partially so that other fans of the show get excited by seeing the characters you all love brought to life. We did meet another cosplayer dressed at Shiro and we were all rather ecstatic but most people just gave us that “okay, you’re dressed as something, but I have no idea what” look.

Regardless, I’m still proud. And if you’ve seen the movie or read the manga, check out the pics and marvel at our awesomeness.

Tekkon Kinkreet cosplay (in process)

I wasn’t going to cosplay for this year’s Anime North.

Then a coworker of mine saw Tekkon Kinkreet and loved it as much as I do. She’s going as the exuberant White – so I guess technically she’s crossplaying – and I’m the somber Black.

Black’s outfit seemed simple enough at first, but once I broke it down, I realized I needed a lot of stuff. Added to that is the challenge that he’s not always drawn the same way throughout the film, it’s marketing materials and the manga. So I decided to keep it loose and do an aproximation instead of my normally obsessive duplication.

First and foremost was the shirt. This wasn’t too tricky as I went for the version in some of the movie posters. It involved a stop at American Apparel and some sticky velum, tracing the pattern and rolling on the paint. The final product looks pretty awesome.

The beads also required some craftiness. They don’t really make yellow beads that are 40mm in diameter, so I made my own out of styrofoam balls that I painted gold. Two advantages over beads: super cheap and super lightweight.

Instead of building the goggles from scratch – I do have a life, you know – I went for the closest approximation I could find. I’ll hold on to them in case I get a time machine and head back to some raves in the 90s.

But the first thing I bought for this costume was “scar wax” from a costume shop. This easy to use putty gives you a gross and thick scar anywhere you want one. The Converse shoes and red pants are storebought, but I did need to get the pants hemmed to the right length. Finding tensor bandages that are white took a bit of searching, but the trick now is to not put them on very tight or I’ll lose feeling in my hands – which has caused me to panic during past canoing trips. For Black’s metal pipe that he carries around menacingly, I picked up a PVC tube at a hardware store. Again, super cheap and super lightweight. The green pouch turned out to be the hardest thing to find. I ended up with one large one from an army surplus instead of 3 – and just realized how useful it’ll be at the convention for carrying around my stuff.

The last step will be done the morning of the convention (Saturday) – shaving my legs. That’s probably more than you wanted to know, but I want to make sure I don’t look like a middle-aged version of Black instead of the young teenager. Maybe it’s time to start going for characters more my age?

Anyway, if you’re going to Anime North, please search me out and let me know what you think – about the costume, not my legs.

The costume is now complete – check it out!

The R3-30 goes to AnimeCon!


As some of you may know, I am a producer at CBC Radio 3 and appear on the “R3-30“, a weekly countdown of Canadian indie music.

My two worlds collided last week when we recorded the podcast version of The R3-30 at AnimeCon 2007 in Toronto. That’s my host, Craig, who agreed to cosplay, but would only go so far as wearing Mark’s civilian shirt. And he wasn’t to pleased. I felt like a character in Genshiken.

There’s an awesome photoset in Flickr of the whole event and you can listen to the podcast we made by downloading it here. You might just find some new music to fall in love with!

Ken Matsushiro cosplay + Fan Expo 07


The Costume
Why is that man so angry? Because he is Ken Matsushiro – master baker – and your French bread has dairy in it!

matsushiro.jpgOk, no. That’s my latest cosplay, the manager of a local Pantasia bakery in the awesomely ridiculous anime Yakitate!! Japan. I decided recently that I’m only going to cosplay characters I can pull off really well – and I just don’t have the patience and skill to do complex outfits. Thankfully, Ken here is an easy cosplay (except for the huge muscles) and a wicked character.

This outfit was easy: I found the racing gloves and belt buckle in Toronto’s Kensington Market and the afro wig was a joke gift years ago. Out of the box, the afro was too big, so I had to give it a bit of a trim to get it just right. And no, I didn’t bake the bread.

The most satisfying part of this cosplay was not what I had expected: almost no one knew who I was. Is there an “obscurity” prize for cosplay? I was constantly passing people saying “that guy has a loaf of bread!” Yes, I managed to freak out the freaks at a sci-fi convention.

Thankfully, a handful of people did recognize my character and they got super excited. And even though it was sad to only have my picture taken a half dozen times, it was strangely satisfying to stand in the middle of all those costumed fans and raise my baguette proudly in the air – making me just that much stranger than them.

The Convention
The place where I raised my bread was the 2007 Fan Expo here in Toronto. It brings together the five pillars of nerdom: science fiction, comics, horror, gaming and anime. You can check out my Flickr photoset here. You’ll notice something right away: there ain’t many pics. The reason why is one of the convention’s fundamental flaws that make it pale in comparison to Anime North.

My main problem has to do with the location: the ass end of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. They used to hold Fan Expo in the front hall, which was bathed in natural light and had a central meeting place for cosplayers and their fans. The back hall, although much bigger, is dimly lit (due to the high ceilings) and on many levels, so the cosplaying is spread out, a constantly moving target – and thus hard to photograph.

But my disappointment goes beyond the layout.

This is going to sound snobby and oh, so otaku, but anime fans are different from the rest of the nerds at this convention. Our passion is not mainstream, like video games and horror movies. Our costumes are not recognized by most people and don’t have any of the associated cultural power – even non-nerds get excited by Darth Vader. Anime fans are outsiders, even at this event. And yet our passion is the loudest and our aisles the fullest. Also, as far as I can tell, each of the five tribes pretty much keep to themselves.

But perhaps I shouldn’t take it so seriously: it’s just a big convention, held by huge companies, to sell stuff. And occasionally, a tribe member might cross over and expand their nerdverse just a little bit.

Regardless, I can’t wait for next year’s Anime North.