Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Post-PMX Review and well, let's get to ALA!

So the verdict is in....and Yuuki Kuran was victorious!

I won the Honorable Mention in Craftmanship at the Masquerade!

While loading the new pictures, here's the current picture I have of the completed cosplay for Yuuki:

I've been so exhausted since yesterday from all of the hectic amazingness that PMX was, and it was all quite worth it! So many experiences and all probably in less then 48 hours considering I missed nearly the whole Day 1 of the con unintentionally. Coming back to the reality, going back to work on a crowded day, everything hit me how these con experiences really add a break to the norm.

I honestly don't think I ever had gone to PMX, I really couldn't remember before, but getting there, everything felt so foreign that the only reason why I probably questioned why if I had been there before was because of the local area. It's right by ALA's current home, and previously had also stayed at the Renaissance nearby for this past AX with the gang. I have to admit that the layout was a little confusing, since because of it I msised some panels and locations. At the same time, I became acquainted with other common rooms - the Cosplay Lounge, which was super easy and convenient to find, and then ome of the main lobbies and boutiques.

In terms of PMX activities, as I said before, I unfortunately arrived late due to a plethora of mini-delays. I ended up making Tohru's blue dress cosplay for a Fruits Basket event that I totally missed. Unfortunately the gatherings were very small too. But the dress was made in less than an hour, bur surprisingly looked clean. It resulted in me having arrived to the hotel at around a late seven or eight at night, but was greeted to the awesomest roomies ever. My two good friends Emi and Rina were there and we enjoyed a little time having some good room pizza, and then I got to meet some of the other roomies who shortly trickled in after. Most of them were absolutely awesome, and over the course of the weekend, we all bonded and had a great time!

My swag totals came up to a higher price than other previous conventions, but I actually bought my first lolita JSK, a lovely Steampunk/aristocrat blouse, a pair of Justine et Juliette tights after which I got to greet the designer! and then bought Shii her birthday gift for tomorrow. I wanted to buy a new wig, but the Assist Wig booth only had a few samples, so I'll wait on it since I want to pick a good wig for a character I'm next planning on. I also got some awesome goodies and prizes on the side; a lot of PMX survivors have probably brought home a year's worth of Pocky from the ever-pink Pocky room, and then I got some post-masquerade and panel prizes too! 

My masquerade information and check in as hands-down one of the smoothest processes of any con. Having now competed at ALA, AX, and Fanime, PMX was clearly on time, prompt, and Mikari-san and the rest of the Masquerade Ops Team were some of the friendliest people I have ever met. They were so professional, hardworking, and absolutely supportive towards the contestants. It was made into an even better experience by also seeing the high level of sportmanship among the contestants. I bonded with a group of them and they were all just friendly and equally as creative to talk to! Turn out that we also had the awesome benefit of all actually winning!

Masquerade was one of the most fun experiences ever. Rehearsals were extremely great and a chance to also see the stage, work on getting to know my gown and wings a bit more, and the feedback from the previous was actually really strong. I was truly surprised. When the show went on, the nerves started, but I amde some great friends backstage and we all began boding about cosplay plans, similar nerves, crazy con stories, and everything else in between. A few of them also had some seriously amazing props, and I was so stunned by them! And the performance was great, I was absolutely in awe at the response and how people complimented me on my performance. I cant even begin to describe the feeling of being on stage, and even in muddled and heavy music, I just felt like for a brief moment, everything I had put all my heart and soul towards was there in front of everyone to see. I couldn't believe that all of the stumbles from the past rehearsal were gone, and I felt much better and comfortable. It was just, unbelievable. I think one of the hardest things to do in masquerade is to make a solo performance, because it's really all about how you can fill that space and truly entertain.

The response on wearing my gown both on the floor and on stage was overwhelmingly positive. I was praised for my craftmanship, attention to detail, my own design spin on the bottom of the gown, and overall the whole cosplay. It was a little harder to walk in, especially when taking the stairs, but one of the cutest thigns ever was one of the contestants was a little girl who cosplays as Suenaga Mirai. She's about six years old, and she is probably one of the cutest cosplayers I have ever seen. She's also absolutely sweet and loves talking to the contestants, and while on the floor, she somehow found me after rehearsals and ran up to give me a huge hug, saying how amazing my performance was and how much I looked like a princess. I couldn't believe it, and it just warmed my heart.

Winning an award for craftmanship seriously was memorable, considering that my goal was really to push my boundaries in my craftmanship. I think this was a great opportunity to see that I have advanced, even just from AX honestly, with my work and my ability to craft and fulfill that part of cosplaying that is special to me. I actually had originally asked for help from peers on this cosplay, and unfortunately no one was available at the time. In the end, it resulted to me finishing nearly every detail on the costume by myself, sans for one hem that my mother helped me on with the skirt trimming. It makes the award even more special to me.

Even after winning, I even got the chance to talk and share WCS talk with Ali of Fox Gloves Cosplay, who gave me her information and we just began talking all about WCS! She is part of the team that represented as Team USA with their Yuuko and Watanuki cosplays, the very cosplays that inspired Shii and I to work towards WCS soon! She is absolutely one of the nicest people ever to tak with, and she began sharing so much about international cosplay, WCS, and gave me so many compliments about carrying the spirit of WCS. It was just amazing. I'm so pumped to work hard at it! I really think I know what I want to do in cosplay now, and to keep working at conventions and trying harder, as well as really envisioning myself as a trans-continental cosplayer. I want to travel the world and explore cosplay, and really feel the experience of cosplaying under that nation's culture. My dream of going to Japan Expo in Paris is being realized!

Day 3 was all about lolita and J-fashion, and I got to see my first fashion show! I went with Rina's husband and some new friends to see Rina and Emi model for some huge brands, and I was floored by all of the beautiful dresses and brands. I was so happy to have really had the chance to watch my friends do what's most important to them too!

I also got to participate in Iron Cosplay, and our team won 3rd place with a hysterical attempt at a Fallen Angel Seifuku. I was partnered with two really awesome new cosplayers, Rachel and Richard, and we all became fast friends and went to the fashion show together. They are absolutely awesome!

The convention pretty much ended with me celebrating with junk food and sharing some laughs with the friends. I think I've made so many more friends than ever during this experience. I made friends with my roomies, who I hadn't known well at first and we've all become pretty chill with each other, and Emi and Rina and I all had some great bonding time together. It was so awesome to see Rina and her husband together too! He came and waited for nearly five hours to see her at the fashion show!I met two great new friends through Iron Cosplay, ended up sitting for four hours till dawn hearing philosophical stories through the night, made new lolita fashion friends,and made great new masquerade friends and connections. I think also in the long run, I also feel like I got more respect for my craft and hard work. It felt revitalizing.

My  Yuuki coplay was intended to be a new milestone and a segway into what I consider to be a Phase 2 in my life as a lifestyle cosplayer. I don't think I entered cosplay in hopes of becoming famous or anything super like that, but really as a fan and an artist, a way to truly express myself and share the talents I have acquired throughout the years in art, music, design, fashion, dance, and even a little theatrics that I don't outwardly use on a daily basis. I think this was a wonderful opportunity for me to see my own personal growth not only as a cosplayer, but as a human being. The experience of being in this cosplay was one that truly tested my abilities as a cosplayer and seamstress, but also having the ability to juggle work, school, and a heavy amount of sewing work all into one place. And clearly, my health was a challenge too. My hands survived and endured, although they are probably a bit sore right now from all of the commotion and then coming so quickly back to work. I have them on a brace again, but taking a small break and making better plans to break up my work as well.

In the long run, I see this as a turning point where I really now understand where I sit with cosplay. I'm only more inspired to run with it further, as even minutes before I went on stage, I mentioned to someone, "Maybe tonight, it'll all change and I'll be wanting to get there further to WCS." I suppose WCS is aa Holy Grail dream. It's possible, with lots of hard work, but I think in the long run, it's also about making possibilities open in the future for me. I can't even begin to express how happy I feel in realizing how many friends and connections I've met, and people who legitimately made this experience so much worth while, but alsohave instilled this promsie that future conventions will be just as fun because of them. I also terribly missed my usual gang, but it's inspired me and them to all reconnect and now see ALA as our way of combining all of these new experiences and adding more fun to the mix!

Pictures will hopefully be added soon, but also I'm meeting the usuals tomorrow to celebrate Shii's birthday and also to get a foundation laid for our new plans. We actually on the car ride to drop me off to PMX had a change of heart with our original ALA masquerade choice, and it resulted in us picking another idea we think will absolutely be more fun and enjoyable for all of us. So much work is to be hard, but here we go again!

On the side, I think I am planning on another fun cosplay to make for ALA. Will it be more rigorous than Yuuki? We shall see. I have a few on my list I'm now tempted to try, but I would have to start now and not December when finals are on. For masquerade, I have chosen a cosplay that's a little out of my comfort zone, but here's to new experiences!

My next post will probably be either pictures or cosplay construction details on how I completed Yuuki in about a week and a half nearly nonstop. <3

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