Anime Blues Con 9 Cosplay

Rooster from Juuni Taisen

Whenever someone asks me what I love about Memphis, TN, I always say it’s the great geek scene. I try to make it to as many as the fandom conventions as I can every year. I attended my third Anime Blues Con (ABC) after being away for the last two summers. It is one of my favorites out of the Memphis area’s convention scene.

What is your favorite part of your costume?

@Ghostycraftercosplay as Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon 3 said “Definitely the leg. I got to learn how to do forge work from my dad. It’s a skill that’s been in my family for generations. So, it was cool to learn it and put my own spin on it.”

Not pictured: The prosthetic is an illusion. The cosplayer has her foot kicked behind the prosthetic!

Steam Rocket Cosplay as Ur Stone from Dark Crystal

Steam Rocket Cosplay put 600 hours into her costume which took best in show at A-Kon in 2010. She said her favorite part of her costume is “The reactions it receives and the smiles on kids’ faces.”

What was an interesting challenge you faced with your cosplay?
@lasercut_cosplay as Big Boss from Metal Gear Solid Five

@Jade_sneed2016 as Shalltear from Overlord

Some cosplayers from the gallery above:

A Critical Look at Cosplay of Plant, Animal, and Mineral

Have you ever played twenty questions? When you are ‘it’, before you begin answering questions, you must choose a category which you secret word belongs in: plant, animal, or mineral. I will use this language to explain abstract cosplay.

In biology class, a plant in any living thing that has square shaped plant cells. It is any living thing that is not an animal, like a tree or a salad. An animal is any living thing that has round animal cells. Animals include bacteria, bears, and humans. A mineral is not a living thing. In the game twenty questions, mineral is the word for everything else like the moon or a tea pot.

Now that we have that out of the way, I feel the need to get something else out of the way. This article is full of my opinions on cosplay as strong and weak art. I am going to critique and criticize things that a lot of people like to do. But, I am not some meanie who has a problem with people doing things that I consider aesthetically weak. Cosplay is for fun and cosplay is for everyone, who approach things differently from each other. The conceptual artist in me, though, has a lot of opinions about cosplay as an art form.

According to an expressive drawing class I took, abstraction is when something is changed from its original form to look new. Things become larger, smaller, more left, right, and blue than they originally were. Cosplay becomes abstracted when the artist expresses a character who is shaped profoundly different from the his or her body. This usually happens when an artist cosplays a mineral, plant, or non-humanoid animal. For now on, I am using the word ‘animal’ to describe something not humanoid, and including imaginary creatures like Pokémon.

When cosplaying something non-humanoid, abstractions have to happen in order to make the costume wearable. Togepi is an egg-shaped Pokemon who is shaped very differently from the human form.

The cosplayer has to make choices when designing their costume. The artist can dress in a way that concretely represents what they see infront of them, or may adjust the form of the costume to fit their body.

I like when some form of abstraction happened because it shows how the artist thought out of the box when designing a costume.

Alison Rushing

At most literal, you can wear a mascot costume of your Pokemon. It is an impressive feat and brings the character to life, but Togepi is not five feet tall in the show, so how about making a puppet and dressing as a Pokemon trainer?

Cubone and his trainer impressed me on several different levels when I first saw this picture. I love the concept and everything is made so well!

Then, there is the blend between the human form and form of the animal or mineral. For the sake of example, here are some different levels of abstraction with a Togepi cosplay:

Things get funny when you add inanimate objects to the mix.

In conclusion, I love the design work of abstract cosplay as much as I love character accuracy. Although I prefer abstraction when it comes to animals and minerals, cosplay is fun and a lot of people have fun playing character accurate animals and minerals. Have fun cosplaying!

I Cosplayed at Work

Fandom convention season is coming around the corner. Creative fans work hard every year building props and costumes to bring our favorite heroes to life. At first, cosplay was just an eccentric hobby for the geeky exhibitionist. Fans were delighted to see Batman arrive at their own comic or anime convention, and the art form has picked up in popularity. Cosplay has gained so much popularity it borderlines mainstream within the convention scene. We are now delighted to see ten Batmans, and Jokers, and Harley Quinns roaming the convention halls.

I have Uni-Kitty and Delirium costumes hidden in the back of my closet. But, a single fandom convention is usually three or four days out of the year. I need something to wear on the other 362 or so days. Going out in the world in a color blocked rave costume or a tattered suit never crosses my mind, but it would be nice to have the option to bring these characters to life more often.

Fortunately, I discovered fandom fashion, casual cosplay, or closet cosplay. The idea is that one can dress as a character using regular street clothes. This means I can cosplay every day and maybe people will know and maybe they won’t. We can go from just seeing Batman at cons to seeing pseudo Batman shopping at the mall.

I work at a trendy retail chain in my local mall. Part of my job is to dress in a way that brands my company’s aesthetic. This means dressing in clothes that are fun, feminine, and trendy. But, sometimes my inner nerd wants to rebel and bust out the Sailor Moon merch. Sailor Moon does not happen to brand my company’s aesthetic, but the clothes Usagi Tsukino wears kind of do. Maybe I can dress like Sailor Moon without being Sailor Moon and get away with it all at work.

Thus, I conducted a social experiment. I ‘cosplayed’ at work to see if anyone noticed. I dressed in the spirit of my favorite characters whilst adhering to my company’s dress code. I did not say anything to my coworkers like “Hey guys! I’m cosplaying a pokeball today. Don’t I look like a pokeball?” Instead, I just showed up dressed as a pokeball and waited for someone to notice. If they did notice, I would say “Why, yes; I am dressed as a pokeball. Thank you for noticing.”

Here’s what happened:

Day 1: Ariel

I started my experiment with what I thought was my most obvious cosplay, Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I wore a hat that read “Maybe I’m A Mermaid.” I wore colors of Ariel’s lavender seashell bra and her turquoise fin.

Nobody cared.

A little girl looked at my hat and said that maybe she too, was a mermaid. She happened to wear a shirt that said “Mermaids have more fun.” Two people liked my shorts because they are fashionable. But, no one made the mermaid connection or said anything about my hat.
Day 2: Luna

I chose to cosplay Luna from Sailor Moon at work because wearing cat ears to work was a subject I wanted to address.

Ears are usually accepted as a costume piece, and by that logic would not be allowed at work except on Halloween. But, cat ears are trendy and you can buy them from my company as well as other stores in the mall. Ears are allowed at work as long as they are trendy and not costume-y. I got my cat ears from my company, so they were definitely safe.

I got compliments on my ears from a girl who was also wearing ears and from Angel, a co-worker who wears cat ears to work more frequently than myself. I was little bit uncomfortable in this outfit, partly because the ears pinched the side of my head, and partly because I spent a good deal of my time worrying about whether or not I could pull off cat ears as well as Angel does. I chose the galaxy leggings because Luna is from outer space, and also to balance the quirkiness of the ears.

I wore a necklace set with a crescent moon and stars to suggest the Sailor Moon theme. Nobody cared.
Day 3: Piglet

You can’t see it in the picture, but I have my hair in pig tails too. A lot of people liked my outfit, especially my choker set. No one looked at me and said, “Hey, you’re Piglet!” Not that I expect anyone to. My thesis remains strong; you can cosplay in the world and completely blend in.

Day 4: Pokeball

This is my favorite outfit because it is the most elegant. I got a lot of compliments on my clothes, although no one called me a Pokeball.

Day 5: L

I had fun dressing as L from Death Note. I felt most accurate out of all my costumes because I wore eye makeup like L. Also, L is so dang sexy. Leslie, an assistant manager, noticed my necklace had an L instead of an A for Alison. But, she justified it as an L for Lee, my husband. My manager, Amber (shout out to the best manager ever!), did ask me why I had an L on my necklace. Finally! Someone asked my a question about my clothes.
I told Amber it was an anime reference about a detective code named L. We talked about my project and she told me that my costumes looked like normal clothes from our store. Hooray! I cosplayed at work and totally fit into the dress code.