[cosplay update] Kotoishi Naru

DEBUT OF THE YEAR!

[CHARACTER] Kotoishi Naru
[SERIES] Barakamon
[PHOTOGRAPHER] Kamuiatmyrealm Photography

OK, I must start by saying that I am really really very happy that I managed to cosplay Naru, and it wasn’t a cosfail. I guess  I am happy whenever I didn’t cosfail. But the thing is that while Naru was easy in the sense that she did not have any complex outfit – her outfit is perfectly casual. The only thing that was really difficult… was as what my friend said: the size is wrong.

As an adult, I feel pretty awkward cosplaying a 7 year old character. I am not confident that I am able to pull Naru off. But I wanted to try being her for one day, after being touched and semi-inspired bu her… especially when Naru felt like a sometimes irritating character initially. Well, you know what they say: just do it.

At the end of the day, I was rewarded. First. Even though not it’s not a popular character, I had my pictures. I really want to thank the photographers who helped. Then, to add to the joy, after we decided to end the day (after less than 2 hours of attending the event on my side) in favour for some food, I was stopped by this dude who asked if  I am Naru. That question stunned me for I did not ever think I would be stopped by anyone who recognised my character. What was even more surprising was that he was so happy! We took a picture, and he thanked me for cosplaying Naru, which I felt was not justified. I should be the one thanking him for recognising me.

Happy New Year!!!

So everyone was busy compiling their cosplay list for 2014 and I was busy watching anime and feeling the nerves for 2015. I had complained to sooo many people about 2014 that I really don’t know what to think. When 2012 happened, I thought it thought it can’t get any worst. When 2013 happened, I sort of give up on hoping that my year will not keep up the bad streak. BUT!!! After a breakdown, things took a turn for the better! I don’t think I feel it cos I was too busy trying to straighen my life and finally living it! So I guess that’s why things turn out good. I decided to stop waiting for it to be better and just live it as it is, creating as many good memories as I can as I go along.

So thank you! To everyone who gave me a saiko 2014. I look forward to seeing you guys again in 2015!! Here’s to working hard and having fun and making things happen! People in Schrodinger’s Experiments are like my extended family, so please know that I am sparing a moment for each and everyone of you to smile and think fond memories about.

*HAPPY NEW YEAR!!*

Chuugakkou Hange } Ichimonji
Levi } Xu Yun
Hange } Saga Yuui VX

Photographer/Assist } Mizurei / Zero X Cross Photography

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. I never really paid much attention to Statistics, but WordPress’ statistics are very interesting in general in the fact that they will find interesting comparisons to make~

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 520 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 9 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The props of Kin the Kirin

Well, I am here again to share the accessories and props that surround my Kirin, Kin! While I was unpacking, I was wondering what to do with these, so I decided that I will box them up and hide them somewhere, you know like Christmas tree decors style (since Zero Antiquity is an annual thing). But as I took more and more things out, I thought, why not make a post? Anndd~ here we are! This is a continuation post from the previous ^——^ These dingy photos are taken with the phone, so well… I tried to edit them on computer, but they are just not majestic enough. LOLS. Gambaaa~

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[weapon]

First up is the main props/accessories that Kin wears. The weapon that Kin uses is this double-edged spear. In this photo, the spear is broken up into 2 parts. It is actually missing one part, which is the middle section. This spear is the first image that jumps into my mind and which stays there throughout the entire production period. However, it is made by Mizurei before the gathering. The gold pointed ends were made of gold paper with designs that fitted the oriental Kirin. It was a lucky find as we browses through the art store. The handle is painted whimsically with gold paint. It could be fitted back into one long spear again if there is the need. That is why I asked Mizurei to help me with it.

[horns]

The very first item I started off with was the horns. I wanted a golden horn, but after researching more, I realised that one of the phrase in which I had based my beast on, Chinese single-horned-beast, was inaccurate. A kirin actually has a pair of horns, However, there are also stories revolving around the single-horned Kirin.  Therefore, to make adjustments for that, the story of the battles and in which resulted in Kin losing one of his horn began. I also thought it would be a nice thing to remind people that horns are precious things. It is a touchy subject in which I would rather not talk about, therefore, I shall only lightly mention here. As for the design of the horns, I went along with the same design as my previous wired headgear – Winter’s headcap. The only difference is the wire used. I do lament the thinner wire which makes the horns less impressive, but it’s gold is pretty and the actual complete product was very delicate and beautiful. It actually does remind of me how precious horns are, which is why certain things are a give and take. It might look more impressive on my head if I were to use a thicker wire, but it would look less delicate. The balance of things is a hard choice we must make.

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[rings and bangles]

When I first considered the accessories that my Kirin would wear, I thought about ancient China. Jade and gold were the two common jewelleries. This is not to mention that gold is part of the theme as well. I went to shop in an accessories store and sighted these black and gold bangles which matched the theme perfectly. I had to get them. The jade ring I found after some searching for booths in shopping malls. The hard thing about finding them was that the cheap ones could only be found in temporary booths that popped out in certain malls from time to time. To make things worst, the mall near my place was shut down for renovations for a really long period of time. I even called Aki to ask if she had spares. It was to my luck that I finally found one, and one that is really green. Other than that, I already had some gold rings and it was a matter of selection to choose which ring to use. On one hand, I would use the gold, and on the other, I would wear the jade as well as the tessellated scales I made into a bangle for this purpose.

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[belt and knot]

In the above picture, you are also able to see the belt and the knot for the waist. Nothing much to be said about the belt other than the fact that I had followed ancient Chinese attire for that. This is the first time I made an entire costume on my own instead of 1) buying and assembling as I did with Winter or 2) buy and modify as I did with my other cosplays. While I like to do those, buying and making entirely on my own gave me the chance to learn, improve, get more confident, as well as to make more mistakes. It feels nice since I do not have to worry too much about fitting when I am making it, because it will definitely fit me… right?

As for the knot, I went shopping in the beads store and got my jade and blue/green beads. While I could have and did intend to make a Chinese knot with strings as it is with traditions, the strings are too small and the knots would not look as nice as it looks in other pictures you find on the net. What a waste of searching for knots tutorial and learning a couple of knots! Well, I learned a little bit about beading while I worked part-time during my studies and that helped me fashion this knot accessory. The tassels were sponsored by kind Luna who said she would buy it as a gift for me last Christmas since she didn’t prepare a gift for me. I was spoiled rotten, I tell you. It was hard enough to find gold tassels, and it had to be the right size (too big would be too hard to be worn but too small doesn’t even look nice at all). Then, there was the price. I seriously sweated because I really wanted it (I did not have the confidence to find it again) but did not have the money for it. Well, thankfully and with the grace of Luna, it was resolved.

[scales and ear cuffs]

Oh the scales! I could hardly believe that I chose a scaled creature to visualise/conceptionalise and to create. Well, that is part of the reason why I am so amazed by this creature. The cloth for the scales was bought before the cloths for the outfit was. I had wanted it for a cape, but after I changed and finalised the design for Kin’s outfit, it would be too much of the same type of cloth for it to be truly usable as a cape. I had to discard the cloth until I realised a couple of days before the gathering that I could use it for the scales. Well, that happened because of the inspiration for the scales came from an attire I saw online apparently suitable for “dragon-riding”. It was a simple long sleeve grey/black turtleneck with leather patterns down the length of a shoulder to look like scales. It was truly beautiful and my original intend was to use my leftover fake leather cloth for that… until I couldn’t find it and remembered that I threw it away after it was ruined by time.

Luckily for me, I had the foam I bought for the pet dragon that I was not skilled enough to make as well as this cloth. I had intended for the scales to be tessellated hexagons due to the descriptions of the ancient creature, but did not really follow a strict tessellation rule as I wanted a layering effect. It would look more popup and 3D.

I originally used 4 ear cuffs, the chained one on 1 side while the remaining 3 on the other ear. However, one of the ear cuffs I had bought hurt my ears too much that it was all red throughout. I had my friend help me remove it and had a shock when she thought my ear was bleeding. Well it’s ok now, but it turns out Kin only had 3 cuffs on the ear, all bought from Ireland and gifted by Katou. They reminded me of clamp so much and I sort of knew there was a high chance I would use them for Kin (due to the suitability) and told her the same. Well, luckily I had a hole pierced in my ears only and while it was pretty sensitive, it did not react to the piercing end of the cuff (wow!!! That is a first, ok! What did you use to make your piercings, Ireland?)

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[utensils & miscellaneous accessories]

The cups and bottle that Kin uses would be asian-style. No compromise on that. I had purchased a sake bottle and a sauce plate for that (haha!) earlier. I like the swirling design on the sauce plate and it became the wine cup (drink in small portions, people!). Other than that, I found a 3 legged cup/mug when I was in London’s Selfridge and … I had absolutely no resistance to it. It became an extra accessory unplanned for. The tray and bento box were the other unplanned for items. I brought them because they were useful to contain food/tray things around. They were items I owned previously anyway.

Next, the fan! The fan was another lucky find and I kept it since I first bought the cape cloth. In actual fact, I almost lost it on the day I bought it as it was buried under the cloths laid around on the table as the seller cut and folded my cloth. The glasses…. was something I bought before I left for London… my fetish for sunglasses – ‘nugh said. I didn’t get a chance to use it and therefore brought it out. It ended up being useful for a east-meet-west theme since my Kin is said to return from a (probably) decade long travel all around the world. Well, because of that, he writes to his friends in a fountain pen (though he uses his own ink) even as he sorely misses his brushes. Well, he is a very IN kinda creature.

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Zero Antiquity 2014 – Mystical Beasts

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Mizurei as Scales, the Basilisk
Akiwatari as lessa Rhapsode, the Ouroborus
Saga Yuui as Kin, the Kirin

When I saw the photos of myself in the computer last night before I switched off stargazer, I ‘kya’-ed internally. Well, the omakes photos look better than the normal ones. I will admit. But last night, I successfully transformed into a male asian mystical beast – a KIRIN who has lost his one horn (he’s ancient, so that explains a lot).

[the design]

In the first place, when I first designed Kin, he was a character who was dark and silent, much like the ancient tales. My main colour theme was a black base with generous splashes of gold. Then, I evolved. Since I had more than a year to make the costume, I could evolve as much as I wanted. The horns and the weapon remained the same though. I was already fixed on that. Those were part of my original image and even though my end product was a different hybrid of the many sources which I looked into/accident upon in life and interpretated in various ways, the firm resolution onto which the base of my Kirin was from was unshakable.

[the story]

Therefore, his outfit had to tell the story in which I had created for him. His broken horn spoke of his ancient liveline and experiences. A more matured creature than you would original perceive. I wanted that part to be something out there, but hidden. His horns are his pride, but their state did not bother him. He became the single-horned creature with gains of maturity. His double edged spear was his identity, his core, and a reflection on his name. They were the representation of the creature he is, as well as the reminder of the battles he fought and the horns he was borned with. This is my Kin, my Kirin. In actual fact, rather than trying to become him, I had created him, and then became him. It was surprisingly easy to slip into his skin and live him for one day.

[the style]

Because the entire conceptionalisation and production took more than 1 year, I had more than enough time to play around with his design. It also meant that I could easily forgot things that I had previously planned. While his main colour theme was black and gold, I had wanted splashes of red to remind people of the ferocious nature Kirin could become when it met it’s enemy. As such. I wanted red in the outfit, red in the makeup. I wanted red and gold on the eyes area so that people could see the two sides in him. The gold in him is the pure goodness he represents, as well as the red in which he could turn in an instant. I did not remember what was the rough design I had when I first conceptualised Kin, which means I could only test as I did my makeup. Eventually, lessa gave me a good advise – put on the wig first and see if you need to add more makeup to the design. It worked out well and I ended up sticking with what I had already drawn.

***
While you cannot see the actual makeup and full body shoot from this image Scales had kindly gave me, I hope that you enjoyed the readup. I will be posting more with regards to him.

***
Photography by } Zero Antiquity
Edit by } Mizurei
Character design and execution by } Zero Antiquity

This is A Zero Antiquity Production.

LEVI DAY~

My 3-part photos for Levi Heichou’s Birthday. There are more from the series, as you have already seen the preview previously! However, I will only be uploading bit by bit. Will be compiling them when they are over~  Tanoshimi~

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*LEVI’S FORCED BIRTHDAY*

Chuugakkou Hange } Ichimonji
Levi } Xu Yun
Hange } Saga Yuui VX

Photographer/Assist } Mizurei / Zero X Cross Photography

AFA 2014

LATE UP! I almost forgot to update the blog here! As with everything else, when I am busy, I will always say “later, later”, until I completely forgot about it. Well, everything was in a rush as there are a lot of things happening before and after the event. There was barely any time to rest, but I am not whining. This is something I had chosen. Well, it brings me back to norm after the exhilirating happenings in the afa.

Well anyway, because of my “later later”, this blog feels so neglected. I have been so busy that I did not have time to do any photo processing. I have been focusing on my cosplay documentation. I was waiting for later when things have settled down a little more before I start here again. I will probably be in the middle of next year or something like that. In the mean time, here are the photos of this year’s AFA event.

I will not lie and say that this AFA was all good and happy. It is not my style to gloss things over and prettify them. I am not meituxiuxiu. This AFA came in a year that was exhausting to me. It was a reflection, I felt, of my year – exhausting and hectic. But I did not not enjoy it. There are bad things as well as good but well I will not talk about them here. Since I won’t talk about them here, I will also not recount the good.  But if you are curious, you can always ask me and I will be more than happy to recount it for you 3x at one go. Friday and Saturday was a mess of meeting people and getting things done. I was running all about and sending people away to enjoy the exhibition. I feel like I needed breather in the middle of all the mess, but I miss my friends a lot too.

I am also glad that I am able to meet my idols and that they fangirl together with me. SUCH A SURPRISE! I will carry with me the memories of this AFA. I swear I will make it so that the next events will not be that hectic.

First, let’s start with exhibition! After running to meet a couple of people, I finally had the time to enjoy the exhibition before it was crowded with people during the weekends. These were the display statues from Japan that were shifted over for the event.

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And a very amusing cosplayer. Brilliant job!SAM_7786W

The Dominator

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below was a beautiful Cardcaptor Sakura fanart poster, as well as several figurines with backdrops. Even though there were not much people, I tried to take my photos very quickly as I was really disrupting some of the other fellow event-goers who also wanted to take photos.

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We saw the picture of Zankyou no Terror and so we had to take a picture with it. We tried to grab the feel~ and of course, GUNDAM as well as idolmaster.

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The below are the sailormoon cosmetics in honor of the anniversary of the series, really, it’s tempting to buy these but I am not too sure how well they work on my skin. Also, the price. Well, it’s a great thing to be able to see them. They are sold out in Japan, so these are the goods that are reserved for this event, I guess.

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Hello Japan always make me laugh.  I love this cute ninja hiding above display.SAM_7813W

Finally, these are the photos of us enjoying the exhbition as well as fandom… kya-point is ANGELA!!. Ask me and I’ll tell.SAM_7832W  SAM_7833w SAM_7834W

Then there are the smart dolls. I didn’t buy them but they were sold out within the first 15minutes of the door open to the first day. And they are selling at SGD700. Well, here are the dolls in their full glory.

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Finally, I met this cute coser who said that the entire Kumon family will be around in CF. It is a pity that  I am not attending this year.

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And then the guest cosplayers! I thought there were supposed to be some more guest cosplayers but it is a little curious that I didn’t get to see all of them. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP – another kya-point here. Lols. BUt well, not specifically here, but I got my experience with kaname-reika-yuegene-trio~SAM_7818W

Moving forward to Saturday and Sunday, whereby there were many cosers, and I had to run around again to meet people, and pass them things. I should really take the opportunity here to say somethings. I am glad that  I got to meet some people and I am sorry that there is just no time to talk or talk much. Really appreciate these people and really enjoyed seeing people. I mean, one of the biggest pull of AFA was looking forward to seeing my friends again, and meeting new ones. So yea.

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Katou and I each choose our photo booth and took a photo~

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Also, I decided to attempt the Hakuoki booth again… haha, I was just hiding behind one of them. Turns out it was Hijikata. I like all of them, so any is fine by me.

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I am glad that I managed to meet Haldir so now I can finally took a picture or two for her~ goal unlocked! Also saw a certain Yumiko who forgot all about me, kakakakaka.

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They decided to try the 3dmg testing area.. and well, I stayed around long enough to take some photos. Look at their anxious faces. Lols. Ok, I should not tease people.

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At some point in time, I caught people taking photo of my Kururin while I run to greet friends. Not losing out, I took a photo of kururin as well. Last minute propping. Don’t expect too much. HAHHAHA.

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9 & 12 decided to take photo with Kokonoe Arata  LOLs. And yes, it is a pain to hold onto kururin so I had 12 hold it for me.

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While calling some friends, the people over at the niconico booth asked me if I wanted to take picture. Literally, I was pressing the phone to my ear, looking around like the chess scene.

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Alright, the last one now… I discovered that I missed out some photos so here are nyanta and hakuoki cosers~

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OMG! Totally miss this out! THe round floor talk! Found this when I came back from shooting Nyanta.

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/PHEW!! This is way over my bed time!! Konyanya~/

Deceivers [a trip to the Trick Eye Museum]

Time for another reflection post! (Just cos I am awesome and I know it!) Alright, I’m kidding. The reason is because I am finally floating onto the surface again, able to breathe freely the marvelous air abovewater.

The superby busy weekend whereby I ended my first official debut year of cosplay, established some schedule, and finished volunteering for Singapore Writers’ Festival. Not too sure if I will do it again next year. Don’t get me wrong. I do like volunteering. It’s just that I think volunteering at SWF might be a little too fast-paced for me. I prefer working in maybe something more consistent. Will have to seriously try at volunteering at orphanages. This is something I definitely need to try out after getting the other things settled. (Room, cosplay schedule into proper track, backlog schedules for photo editing and posting and also clothroad translation.) Maybe I will be able to pull a couple of friends along~

Now, I must first celebrate my end of first year of official debut of cosplay. When I look back at it, years does not necessarily mean anything. I’ve been doing this for 6 years (thereabouts), and that doesn’t mean I am better than someone else who has only been cosplaying for 1 year. In fact, I am not as good as some of those people. But in this one year, I have met a lot of people, bounced off them and allowed myself to learn from them and/or react to them.

I have learnt that I need to stay grounded no matter who comes along and attempts to lift me off my feet. I need to stay firm to my style of cosplay that which works best for me. I’ve learnt from these interactions that I have loads more to go before I can finally land at the perfect me that felt just right. I’ve learnt that there can be a lot of nonsense going on with other people; thing I do not agree with nor wish to be a part of; but it’s ok. I just need to stay true to myself. I am grateful to all the people I met – people whom I like, love, aspire, dislike, hate, who had gotten close to me, who had gotten close to me and then pulled apart from me, or who I know will never get close to me (ever). I am truly grateful to them, because through them, I have learnt more about myself and who I want to be. There were more deep lessons than I thought to be, and those people whom I thought to be family will always be family, even if we have tons of arguments, and feel so much frustration.

Argh!! It’s a really packed journey! But it was one whereby, from the time I started till the time it ended, I knew I HAD to go through. It was one of those procephic ones. So thanks for staying with me thus long, for those who had to alight, or already alighted, thanks and let’s hope we can be polite the next time we meet. Those who still stayed on….. if you are awaiting the next stop, I think we will be there soon… if you aren’t then, THANK YOU FOR STAYING SO LONG! I will try my best to behave.

NOW, it’s picture time~~!!

I started my official cosplay debut with YMIR on 08 November 2013 and ended it with YMIR on 08 November 2014. It is a coincidence, but I dare say cosplay has Shingekied into my life with Shingeki no Kyojin. I will have progress. I will learn more, I will try to do more.

Thank you to Rin-chan who invited me to the solo shoot, Yukio who put up with me for so long and still allow me to learn a bit more about makeup by letting me test on her horsey self. Thanks to Stephanie from the organising team of Cosfest, who came up with the brilliant idea of cosplaying in Trick Eye Museum. We enjoyed ourselves to the max, and even though I was tired from the shoot in the day, I only wished we could stay longer. Thanks to the new photogs I met, who had restored my hopes and opinions of photogs. You guys rock, and if you don’t know that yet, I hope you will realise it soon.

Now, for the pictures to take the show~

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ABOVE:
photographer – zero X cross Photography
edit – Saga Yuui VX
Cosplayers – Hoshizora Rin as Mikasa Ackerman & Saga Yuui VX as YMIR
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BELOW:
photographer – Hakuseki Ryoshi
edit – Saga Yuui VX
Cosplayers – Hoshizora Rin as Mikasa Ackerman & Saga Yuui VX as YMIR

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Below:
photographer – Reeves Photography
Edit – Saga Yuui VX
Cosplayer – Hoshizora Rin as Mikasa Ackerman & Saga Yuui VX as YMIR

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   And lastly, had to take a photo with chibi ryoko (P = Hakuseki Ryoshi) ~~  Enjoy your weekends, people.

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