Taking a quick break from Yuki's cosplay progress, I wanted to make a quick post that I was invited by the really lovely and talented Mikarin of Takeriya Samurai Cosplay to be a participant in her Cosplay Exhibition at the Asian Pacific Festival in Newport Beach, CA on September 21! It was an absolute honor to be asked to be one of the cosplayers, and her entire premise of the exhibition is absolutely wonderful and honest. Each performer will get about a minute or so to present their costume and do a mini-skit while having a narrator talk about their cosplay background. My biggest focus was on how much I love to teach panels and help others in cosplay.
I often write about how I love cosplay as a hobby that helps others and myself grow from it. I love being able to look back throughout the years and see how I've improved skill wise, but personality and my ability to make friends with others as well. I'm very blessed that I have a wonderful amount of friends and connections from this hobby, and I do everything I can to try to give back to the community as well.
So, Mikarin's exhibition focuses on why we love to cosplay, why it means to us and how hard we work on oru cosplays and share our love and support to the craft and hobby with each other and other members of the community. It's about how we help and strive to make this community a fun place for those of all experiences and interests to come together and remember why we cosplay in the first place: to have fun, learn about ourselves and others, make friends, learn a skill, challenge the way you see your life and the world.
It's quite nice to have this kind of event happening right during all of this Heroes of Cosplay drama. I don't want to go too much into it, but clearly it's brought up a great deal of debates within the community and particularly how the cosplay culture has shifted towards different intentions. Yet this exhibition is a great way to draw our attentions to the positives and remember those good feelings about cosplay!
I originally wanted to wear Belldandy for the event, although I felt that to wear her, I'd need a complete rehaul of all of the jewelry and the details I wanted to fix, including the underdress. While i have a bit more time this wee to get some sewing done, I feared that I wouldn't get supplies in time without grinding against the clock. While going through my cosplays, I sat there wondering what would make me feel the happiest and most comfortable to wear. Although I like Yuuko, I think I might need a bit more time till I wear her again. I love Cecilia and my other uniforms, but I feel like they're missing something more.
Then I remembered about Juliet after spotting the bag in a lonely corner. Juliet was one of my dream cosplays after seeing the series in high school. I completed her actually in summer 2012 after working on her initially for ALA of that year, and then wore it to AX for a whopping two to three hours (however long masquerade takes). Based on the nature of the event, something inside me brought me back to this nostalgic and powerful feeling. Even though the cosplay has a long story filled with memories, there was something so special to me about it that I tried to deny but cannot any longer.
It must have been like sophomore year when the series came out, but I absolutely loved the premise and the setting of Neo Verona. I think Romeo is one of the handsomest anime characters ever, and Juliet's one of my favorite since she reminds me so much of Utena! I didn't read the manga till years later when a friend at the time gave me her copy of it after finishing it. I took it on a plane ride when going out of town for the winter, and all I did was reread through the manga. At the time, I thik I also connected with Juliet much more because of where I was at the time, and my friendship circle was going through so many changes, good and bad.
Coming back from my trip, ALA was near and I knew I wanted to be Juliet for the convention.To this day my friends and I joke that I actually "sewed in my sleep" for some parts of the sleeves because it was such an arduous time for all of us. I didn't think twice to buy all my materials, though in a rush I ordered the wrong colored wig (it was like a crimson red!) and I had to settle with a cotton material instead of something more evening-wear. Nonetheless, I worked with what I had and actually don't remember how I even tackled most of that dress. I wasn't thinking when I worked on it apparently, but there were so many "first tries" and "hail marys" done on it that I'm still shocked to this day that it fits so nicely. Some of the more complicated parts of the costume were done so quickly on the first try, yet I have yet to remember how I actually did them.
I asked a good friend to be Romeo, and I was going to finish sewing it until that convention got very side tracked with unrelated issues. I missed like half of the convention time and by that point, I was so tired and burnt out that I couldn't bear finishing Juliet. I hadn't sleptin days, everyone was stressed, and we eve pulled out from out other skit to just rest and refresh to enjoy the rest of the con. Because of how difficult that time was, I put away Juliet and didn't think twice about how poorly I cared for it. I feel so terrible now admitting this. Eventually, I wanted to wear a new cosplay for AX after how ALA had gone, so I forced myself to bring back Juliet. With my other friend unavailable to be Romeo, Shii took on Romeo and sewed him with the fabric we had initially purchased back in January.
I finished most of Juliet in the AX hotel room after taking Day One off. It had been a long few months, so I took my time and I didn't fare too well with the crowd on Day 0, so I figured to just stay behind and finish her up. It was well worth it, since I got the chance to work through it and help Shii complete Romeo till the very last minute. We wore it for a ballroom dancing skit that we made with a lare group of our cosplay friends. It wasn't anything serious, but we just wanted to do a skit for once. Needless to say, that's what got us into making better skits together!
There's so much more behind the cosplay and what it means to me than I want to elaborate on here, but after seeing it yesterday, I felt so moved about what the character and costume mean to me. It's ironic that I didn't make that cosplay in the most peaceful of times, yet it reminds me of something warm and innocent. I think it's also because I just secretly want to be a princess in a ball gown. ^^' However, I feel like it's so appropriate to wear her for this event. Granted, while it fits like a glove still after all this time, there's so much I have to remake. The jewels had fallen from me simply putting the cosplay away, and I am tempted to remake some of the flounces. It needs a great deal of ironing, cleaning, and hemming, and then I might add a little bit of new details to it with whatever budget I have left over. And also, I think I've improved significantly on my makeup and I have at least a better wig this round. And I think confidence. I think in the past, I let the cosplay wear me, but I think this time it'll be the other way around, or at least a good balance.
I took a massively derpy picture of me wearing it after all these years, and there's so many painfully obvious details missing. The jewels are missing except for one, and urgh, it's begging to be ironed. I have another picture where I'm holding the cosplay up, and it looks absolutely bonkers and wrinkled. I think it's my big goal to transform this piece into something neat and while it may not necessarilythe most hardcore level of my work, it's something that's a balance of a cosplay I love, a pretty decent job ad a learning experience, but also something that is special to me.
And on other unrelated news, I finally added some extra profile links on this site! I decided to finally update my own Facebook page after having made one months ago. I'm so bad at being up with the times and making pages and whatnot, but it'd be nice to have a place to put all of my plans and work outside of these long essays I write here. I'll try to update frequently! I also have a lovely photographer and friend helping me coordinate a few shoots to showcase some of these cosplays I've been working on. Hopefully I'll have more pictures of Juliet!
So tl;dr! If you're around the Southern California area, come to the Asian Pacific Festival to come and support the cosplayers, as well as see all the wonder other exhibitors and events going around! For more information, schedules, and ticket pricing:
And please come and support Takeriya Samurai and the other awesome cosplayers who are part of this event!