Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Dreaming of a Magical Girl Dream Crate!

Happy May! 

I’ve been a bit delayed in being able to update as often, but the school term is almost over and Fanime is upon us! I’ll be providing more updates soon on my ongoing process for the spring to summer season, but I wanted to make a special post that I had the pleasure of working on for the past weeks!

If you’re into a number of fandoms, I’m sure you’ve heard of Loot Crate before! They are a monthly subscription service that sends a box filled with goodies from specific fandoms and interests, from films to video games, and (my favorite) anime. Their monthly box contains a variety of items, from wearables to collectibles, and figurines to trinkets, which have been carefully selected to satisfy the true fan. 

Recently, I was asked to come up with a Dream Crate with special items I would love to ideally see in a fun crate for fans to enjoy. There were so many themes to choose from, but ultimately I ended up sticking with one I felt was the closest to my interests and one of the major reasons why I really love anime, manga, and cosplaying. 


As you can tell from a lot of my cosplays, I absolutely love magical girls, and I know most of us have grown up with most of these girls, if not all of them! I could go on forever about magical girls. Their essence, compassion, purity, and determination to do their best for the sake of others and the world make them stand out in comparison from other anime archetypes. The 80’s and 90’s brought a great class of magical girls, from Sailor Moon and her cosmic group of Sailor senshi, to fanciful Miaka and her journey to save ancient China in a storybook, or Utena, a student-turned-duelist who becomes part of an enchanted game for the sake of the world. 

This crate is designed to highlight some of my favorite magical girls both from growing up and my ongoing love for anime, manga, and cosplay with various items and accessories that would complement any aspiring magical girl’s wardrobe and palette.

I definitely hope that others will also be inspired by this fun take on the classic mahou shoujo genre!

Cardcaptor Sakura is a classic shoujo series by acclaimed manga team, CLAMP, with a global following and particularly well-known for her dozens of intricate outfits and her mission to collect the mysterious Clow Cards. It was a massively popular series back in the 90’s, and I’m really excited that the story has once again resumed with a new arc that will become an anime soon! To commemorate Sakura’s love of accessories and dressing up, these pins by The Snow Ball are absolutely adorable and the perfect way to show off your inner magical girl in a small but cute way! They would come in a set of 2 to 4 pins, with different designs consisting of the magical cards for Clow and Sakura, her two wand designs, or her cute sidekick Kero-chan!

This Creamy Mami printed jacket is inspired by the series, Creamy Mami, a classic magical girl series from the early 1980’s. I’m happy to see that she’s still really loved, especially since she is a magical idol! The bright pastel palette on this jacket really captures her bright and bubbly spirit, and would be perfect to have as part of your magical girl wardrobe. There’s also so many ways to style with this jacket, from going with a Harajuku-inspired look with lots of neon, pastels, and prints, or putting on a colorful headband and getting into that 80’s idol vibe. I’m over the moon for this jacket, and I definitely would love to see it in a crate!

This dream crate can’t be complete without a figurine of some kind, and I feel that it’s an absolute given that there has to be a Sailor Moon figurine, like the one by S. H. Figurarts. It especially has to be Super Sailor Moon, who appears in the S and SuperS seasons, where her outfit is vibrant, colorful, and has an even more beautiful silhouette than her original version. Growing up, this was my favorite version of her. Sailor Moon is a classic series, and she’s been part of so many lifelong fans’ dreams, so having her figurine on a desk, a room, or even a dedicated magical girl display would be a perfect way to express your love for Sailor Moon, who is known among many as the ultimate magical girl.

Magic Knight Rayearth is another beloved series by CLAMP that I loved reading when I was younger! They follow many elements of the magical girl genre, but these girls have a lot of spunk and personality to them, and most definitely had some of the best battles. I’m also really fond of collecting stationery, notebooks, and other accessories from various series to add a touch to my daily work, so I would ideally love to see some Magic Knight Rayearth stationery as an option! It really adds a touch of a magic even when writing the simplest of notes. 

Continuing on with another classic series, Fushigi Yuugi is one of my favorite manga series and another headlining title in the genre. The story follows Miaka’s journey into a storybook as the priestess of Suzaku as she collects the seven celestial warriors in an effort to save their land of ancient China, all while trying to find her way back home (and resist the temptation of falling for these dashing warriors). Wallets and bags are always handy to have and a great way of sharing your love for a series, and it would be fun to envision wallets with Miaka and even some variations of the different celestial warriors, who are all really special in their own ways. You could definitely take it to a convention and I’d guarantee it would be a great icebreaker for another fellow mahou shoujo enthusiast.

I saved my all-time favorite series for last, but it’s no surprise that my Dream Crate would have to include an item from Shoujo Kakumei Utena, which I could spend hours discussing but most importantly, is an absolute gem in the mahou shoujo genre and of anime itself. It’s stood the test of time with some of the most intriguing imagery and a beautiful take on fairy tale conventions that have inspired me throughout the years. I also chose the mug because Utena and Anthy enjoy having tea together.  I absolutely would love to have an Utena mug like this one by Tee Public, which features a beautiful illustration of Utena and Anthy and bearing that clean, iconic style. I’m admittedly a huge coffee drinker, so one of my favorite ways of showing my love for any series would be to have a fun cup to have my morning coffee with, or even my tea whenever I’m working and sewing. 

I had a lot of fun working out the details and choosing these items for my Dream Crate, and I would love to hope that it might become a real one someday! I know I’m definitely not the only one who appreciates and loves magical girls, especially when they’ve brought a great deal of inspiration, courage, and heart to become the best person you can be. 

Special thanks to Loot Crate for reaching out and sharing the project! It’s been a wonderful chance to be creative and explore some fun options! For more information, visit their site: https://www.lootcrate.com/

Thursday, February 2, 2017

2017 is the Year of the Crossplay

Or so I say, as I see how this year pans out with the rest of my plans.

Anime LA was last weekend and I have to stop and say how absolutely awesome it was! It's great to see this convention grow over the years, especially since it's my favorite convention next to Fanime. I spent a chunk of Saturday admittedly dealing with masquerade, but overall, the convention as a whole was absolutely great. I talked to so many people, got to take lots of pictures of amazing cosplays, and I love how it hasn't lost that fun convention vibe. Even the weather was on our side!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 Cosplay in Review

I'm here, I promise!

And with lots more good news and lots of hope for 2017. I know that everyone's probably heard the phrase, "Please let 2016 be over already", and while it's pretty true, it's hard to also not look back and realize that with lots of difficulties comes some of the best moments. 2016 was a difficult year for most people, and was quite the rollercoaster for myself.

I feel saddened by the loss of great celebrities and heroes, but I also mourn greatly the loss of the real people in my life and changes which, with some transitioning, will hopefully bear better news and promise as the new year begins. It's important to remember, as I often have to remind myself personally, that happiness is oftentimes the byproduct of living, which means for as much difficulties and pain we hate going through, happiness is usually the small, twinkling moments we have to live for.

So in light of this and given that it's the end of the year, I wanted to take the time to sort of make a little review of my cosplays and convention results of 2016. I'm honestly surprised and humbled to say that I never thought that this year of all years would be by far my most productive in so many ways, and it encourages me to look forward to some even bigger, better, and satisfying projects for the next year.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Best in Show @ Anime California 2016!

A happy way to kick off the cosplay season!

It was a total surprise, but I'm so happy to say that Lyric and I won Best in Show at Anime California 2016 this year! I think I'm even more over the moon by the fact that it is my first Best in Show and it had to be with Utena. It's so picture perfect. I promise to put up better pictures soon!

Shoutout to Shii's Peter Pan for letting me be part of the "No Grown Ups Allowed" Crew.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Utena...Start! Utena's log: Gathering Materials

Two Posts in One Month!?

I must be going soft.

Today culminated towards the end-ish of my hunt for fabrics for my upcoming Utena cosplay, which I probably should start sewing as I speak but the allure of resting from my first day back from class and a hectic work schedule by catching up on other projects and grasping onto the little break time that I have before tomorrow is too strong. Truthfully though, I'll be starting up over the week, likely even tomorrow since I managed to get those epaulet pieces today.

So last few entries, I went over my first Utena cosplay, which I completed in January, and it's only fitting now to kickstart my progress on with my new Utena, which is based off of the classic manga version:

Like over 9000 years in the making.
My fabric haul for Utena is probably one of my favorites since the colors are so striking. As always, my go-to place for a number of projects has been Gilack Fabrics in downtown Los Angeles in the Fabric District. They are absolutely the nicest and most helpful people, and the quality of their fabrics are amazing. So I wanted to shout-out to them in case any LA-based readers are around, because they welcome cosplayers and are such a great gem to the district, among many amazing stores.

So I thought this would be a great time to work towards being a little more active online about chronicling my cosplay work, so here's our attempt! I really need to, considering how many photos I have. I'm rivaling my mother's ratio of my baby pictures to pictures of my fabric and mockups and trim tests.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Tenjou Utena - Adolescence of Utena

The dream cosplay. It's surreal to believe that I actually completed it this year, but at the same time, 2005 was the hallmark of when I started going to cons, but 2006 was when I first started cosplaying at cons. That means that technically, 2016 is the anniversary of officially cosplaying!

So, how to do you celebrate a ten year milestone? By cosplaying as your one true hero! I've written about my early convention experiences before, but I don't think I will ever tire of writing how my love for Utena propelled my way into the world of anime. It's funny to think that I got into anime through Utena because I related to the storyline and felt so strongly connected to its intelligence. Ironically, anime isn't always the most intelligent form of art out there, but it certainly left an impression on me that's more than just obvious in my life.

So naturally, when I first got into cosplay, I wanted to cosplay as Utena. I didn't have many skills in sewing, so I originally commissioned back in 2008 her school uniform to wear to ALA. It wasn't the best made, but I wore it as a jacket to school (I was one of those) and I wore it to ALA 2009 as a jacket since I was wearing Latias at the time.

Even after I learned to sew, I avoided the idea of cosplaying as Utena because I felt so intimidated by the idea of making my dream cosplay. To be honest however, it was one of the best experiences I ever had, and overall one of my favorite cosplays to make (and why I like regularly watching ice skating on television now).

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Anime LA 2016 - Nami


It's been some time since I've made a proper post, but admittedly I've been writing them but losing my track of time before I get the chance to submit them. I've been working on trying to be active on social media, and I'm honestly stunned and in awe of the people who can manage to balance both out. I can barely reply to an email on my phone.

Since I'm knee-deep in for AX, I haven't had much of a time to discuss any of my ALA or Fanime cosplay progress, so I thought it would be a great way to retrospect on some new sewing techniques and share in general what I've been working on. Let's start with the easiest.

I freely admit that I have a love-hate relationship with One Piece. It was one of my middle school go-to anime when I was just getting into the scene and my guy friends had their subscriptions to Shounen Sunday. My best friend at the time also was a die-hard Sanji fan. Come to think of it, several of my friends throughout middle school and high school dvoted their lives to him. I wonder if any of them are Shokugeki no Souma fans now. But my "hate" portion comes with the fact that I'm not a huge fan of several of the costume choices in the series. I love so many characters and it's admirable to see how long the series has gone successfully, but some of those outfits are tough to stomach. As a true artist though, I'm sure Oda is just following his gut on what he likes, so I still give him mad respect for that.

So when ALA comes around every year, my friends and I get very nostalgic to do something old school, as if that 85% of our cosplays doesn't consist of titles prior to 2005. One Piece is one of my brother and best friend's favorite series, and generally, it is a fun cosplay group idea that anyone can jump on without much issue. At ALA 2013, I made Nico Robin and Shanks for me and my brother for our group masquerade skit.

This year, we had a new cosplay friend joining us and gave him the choice to pick a cosplay he wanted to do and we could all likely join in without sacrificing much time away from our masquerade cosplays. Naturally, he chose One Piece, and he commissioned me to make him a New World Luffy cosplay, which my brother also asked for as well. Despite detesting several designs, I had one version of Nami I actually liked, and could possibly double up as a rodeo outfit for those country music festivals we have in my city going on during the summer.