Return to Finland and Desucon Frostbite

21 Feb

After a year away in Japan I have returned to Finland and so the Finnish con scene. And I have really missed it over this past year. But this post is not about cosplaying in Japan, I will write about that another time. This post is about the latest wonder in Finland: Desucon Frostbite.

I said I’ve missed going to cons, and I have. Even so, I don’t think I’ve ever been to such a great con as Frostbite 2014 before. The quality was amazing and just the general feeling of the whole event completely different. In a very positive way. And I’m doing my best to make it clear I thought like this everywhere, because I want that con to happen again.

Me and Betsi arrived Saturday morning. We skipped Friday due to hotel costs. This was the first time ever we had a proper hotel room booked and I fear there is no going back. That was the best decision ever made. On Saturday there were a lot of interesting programs, and I couldn’t even make it to all of them. But I listened to both Ogata Megumi’s and Yamaguchi Kappei’s interviews.

On Saturday we cosplayed Nezumi and Shion from No. 6, something we have planned to do for a long time. I first saw the anime a little while after it came out in 2011 and since then I followed the manga tightly till its end last November and read the original novels. It’s one of my favorite stories and it was about time we cosplayed them.

I started working on Nezumi almost right away after I came back to Finland a month ago, but a lot of other things caught up with me as well, like things do when you come back from a year abroad, and it took a lot longer than expected. The jacket was also quite traumatising.

Noora so nicely helped us get some beautiful pictures outside in the cold. It was a lot easier than in summer though, mainly due to the cold. A lot less people casually hanging around outside. I took the freedom to edit the pictures a little, and here they are:

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I deeply regret not staying for the afterparty. I will forever be bitter about missing Ogata’s gig. We did however have quite an enjoyable one in our hotel room as well, completely 18+, just like the real one!

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Then came Sunday. As two of the members of this blog are involved with organising the Cosvision event in Turku in May they had a table to sell tickets at. This table worked a bit like some sort of Home Base for all of us the whole weekend. On Sunday I also sat there and sold tickets for a little while myself. It was quite a lot of fun and I’m really excited for that event!

Recently I’ve been pretty into Noragami. I started reading the manga a little while before the anime started, and I’m still making my way through the volumes in Japanese. The anime is also very good and so I felt like cosplaying something from it. That ended up being Yato. Well, let’s say that on Friday it still wasn’t sure if I’d wear it or not, as I started making the cosplay at 8am on Friday, right before my work shift. I did finish it the same day, however, and it turned out to be the most comfortable cosplay I have ever worn. This time Miro helped me get pictures!

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Team Gods!!

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I really enjoyed wearing this cosplay and I hope I’ll get to wear it soon again. Hopefully with some fellow cosplayers joining in!

All in all I had such a great weekend! It feels good to be back and cosplaying actively and one of the best parts was seeing all my friends again. I’ve missed all of you! ♥

After the con I finally gave in to the need for a cosplay page on fb, and here it is: (X) Please do like! ♥

When cosplay hurts

5 Mar

Warning! This post might make you experience pain and feel a deep urge to find a healthier hobby than cosplaying. The author takes no responsibility for this. The post also includes bloody pictures. You have been warned.

Cosplay without pain is pretending.

We hear it all the time. You can’t complain about the discomfort of your cosplay at a convention without hearing that line. Most cosplayers have to come to terms with this fact at some point. Why? Because cosplay really does hurt.

Finding just the right shoes – especially for rather casual cosplays – can be nearly impossible. That’s why you often settle with that much too small pair from the flee market. It seems like a good idea when you try them on and think “Hey, this doesn’t feel so bad!”, but after ten hours of wearing those same shoes at the convention location you damn them to the deepest level of Hell. Been there, done that? Then you also know that you’ll use that very same pair the next time you wear your costume. Will the pain be easier to withstand? No way.

Pain of this sort is the kind you get used to. You get used to the discomfort of a wig clenching around your head, the way colored contacts make your eyes feel and the manner in which hot glue burns your fingers. You don’t mind having to tape or glue some parts of your costume onto your body and you stopped caring about the excruciating heat or the fact that you’re freezing a long time ago. This hobby makes you resistant, that’s what it does.

Of course, there’s also the mental pain. There’s the amount of money you’ve used that you don’t even want to think about – not even briefly – because that would hurt. There’s the lack of sleep you suffer from while trying to finish your costume in time for an event. There’s the despair that engulfs you when you’ve used your last trick for making that pile of fabric look like a shirt and it still failed. Oh yes, cosplay is painful in more ways than one.

We’ve all gone through a whole lot of pain while having cosplay as a hobby. That’s why I want to share some of that pain with you in the form of pictures from Sandra and myself. If you don’t like blood or bruises, then this is the time to stop reading, because now it’s time for the pictures!

 

We all love working with finnfoam. This was on day one of I-don’t-know-how-many-days.

 

Wrists are not made for cosplay. Just saying.

 

Can you open a contact lens vial without bleeding? I can’t.

 

Don’t use expansion foam to peel your skin. It hurts.

 

A wonderful Monday morning with a bump and a bruise after cosplaying as one half of a motorbike!

 

A quick fix and back to work!

 

Needles. Sewing. Dangerous stuff.

 

More finnfoam. More pain.

 

Every now and then I question my reasons for sticking to this hobby. Why do I cosplay? Cosplay hurts, in more ways than one. It consumes time, money and effort, and sometimes you’re still not happy with the result. Cosplay makes you very much  aware of your looks and your level of skill in all kinds of odd handicrafts. Sometimes I wonder why I can’t have a simple hobby, one that doesn’t cause so much pain. Why did I stop playing the piano? I’m sure it would’ve been easier to learn a long, classic piece than to learn how to style wigs.

Each time, however, I come to the same conclusion. Cosplay has given me things no other hobby can offer. Cosplay has given me the chance to meet people I would never have met had I chosen to take more piano lessons instead. To me, cosplay is worth everything – the pain, the sleep deprivation, the despair and the stress. Why?

Material for your cosplay [and band-aids for cuts]: 150 €

Train tickets, two hotel nights and entry to the con: 200 €

Finishing your cosplay in time and being happy with it just once: Priceless.

Late is late

4 Mar

I know I’m good two months late, but ah well.

First, for those who don’t know, I’m spending my exchange year in Netherlands at the moment. Hence the (cosplay) silence.

But it doesn’t mean I haven’t missed it. Or it doesn’t mean that during the Christmas holiday, I didn’t manage to squeeze time to sew something very simply and photoshoot it just a bit. Which, in my case, meant Izaya Orihara from Durarara!

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Truth to be told, I’ve never been that fond of DRR, but I’ve always liked Izaya. And dear god, now that I’ve cosplayed him, I just love the jacket. (And the rings. It was so much fun to make them!)

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Sadly, however, Finland’s winter isn’t the best season for DRR, which is why I’m awaiting summer. Plus, a friend of mine promised to cosplay Shizuo for me.

Despite the fact that shoot had to made in a hallway of block of flats, I love these pics a lot. The biggest reason is that I look nothing like myself in these pictures.

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Moreover, there’s a con coming up in Netherlands – Elven Fantasy Fair. It’s not cosplay orientated, but I’m sewing something of my own there. Hopefully I get pics so spam you with.

Oh, almost forgot. Happy (very late) new year to you!

Post-Frost

20 Feb

So, Desucon Frostbite flew by. Funny how you spend weeks and weeks on end stressing and waiting and using all of your energy to prepare everything for one single weekend and then those two days are spent in the blink of an eye.

Frostbite was different from previous cons in many ways. I spent Saturday on the Artists’ Alley, which was a first for me. And boy, it was fun! I never really realised how many people pass through that area during one day and how many of those people will stop and chat with you even if you’re a complete stranger. It was a pleasant surprise indeed to find that people weren’t there just to check out your merchandice, but also to make friends and meet old ones. It even served as a fashion show of sorts, because countless cosplayers visited our table and we got to see so many wonderful cosplays! Like this incredibly cute Mewtwo-kid!

 

Just look at that cuteness!

 

We spent a total of seven hours at our table – and Noora even longer – but it didn’t feel long at all. We had something to do at all times and friends came by to say hello whenever it was slightly more quiet. I can definitely imagine myself doing this again! Animecon, perhaps? We’ll see!

Spending an entire day at a con out of cosplay felt somewhat strange. Not bad, just odd! I did choose to wear something slightly different from what I usually wear, so I did have that special feeling that comes with every con. But it was surprisingly relaxing not to have to check on your clothes all the time to make sure that every detail was right, that you weren’t missing pieces or hadn’t managed to break your prop. It’s something I definitely want to experience again, so I might just wear something similar one day.

My cosplay for Sunday wasn’t exactly complicated, either, so I sort of got two relaxing days – which is a miracle at a convention, if you ask me. I made some changes to my old costume and went as Crowley from Good Omens [a simply fantastic book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. For those of you who have read it, I give a gold star. For those who haven’t, I give you an order to read it as soon as possible!]. I had the enormous honour to be accompanied by Aziraphale and to be able to do a hilarious photoshoot with Noora as our photographer. Simply ineffable.

 

You talking to us?

 

“The point that I’m trying to make is the dolphins. That’s my point.”

 

You’d trust these guys to save the world, wouldn’t you?

 

So, Frostbite was a lot of things cons usually aren’t. It wasn’t busy, it wasn’t stressful. It was calm and relaxed, and I wouldn’t mind if I managed to make my cons like this in the future, as well. It’s definitely something I’ll be aiming for when the next con comes around!

My cosplay plans for 2013 are still a mess, so we’ll see what happens. Some plans have been made, but they don’t always stay that way. Tampere Kuplii is the next event on my list, but what will I wear? You [and I] will just have to wait and see!

Looking back on 2012

2 Jan

Another year flew by – famcy that. I’m still stuck somewhere around 2010, so I guess this will sink in by the time we’re closer to the 2020’s than the 2010’s. That aside, the year was filled with a shitload of great things, including cosplay. That’s why I wanted to do a summarizing post of my 2012 in cosplay, and perhaps a small peek into my plans for 2013.

Last year [and I cannot even begin explaining how odd that sounds] was both about making new costumes and finding the love for used ones. I enjoy wearing cosplays multiple times, even though I might do some fixing up before re-wearing something.

Not all of the pictures are going to be very serious, simply because I enjoy a good laugh. I decided against doing a lot of explaining [because none of you are as interested in the text as you are in the pictures. Don’t try to hide it, I can see right through you!], so this post is going to be a long line of pictures in a chronological order, with just a few words about locations and characters. This way, you can switch off your brain – starting now – and just enjoy. Here we go!

Desucon Frostbite

Tampere Kuplii

Tampere Kuplii

Kikucon

Desucon

Desucon

Tracon

Tracon

Animatsuri

Cosplaygaala

Since none of my Brave-pictures are up yet, I decided to share a couple of extra ones with you. This was, after all, my last cosplay for this year!

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Cosplaying Merida was a nice break from, well, cosplays of another kind. The character might not be the perfect one for me and I might not look the part, but it was a cosplay I didn’t do for the costume, but for the feeling. I had a great time running around and beeing cheerful, finding a part of the vitality and energy that lives in Merida. For me, it felt like the right way to end a year of cosplay.

When looking forward to this beginning year, I have far too many plans and dreams to be fulfilled. Some of them will see the daylight and others will be tucked away for a later appearance, or perhaps the status of a permanent one-day-I-will. What I strongly suspect to be created are a couple of bad-ass female characters with an Ôkami-related one among them, a Magna Carta man with crazy hair and a gijinka of some sort. And, naturally, there will be some Final Fantasy involved at some point, unless something strange happens.

In the coming year, I’ll also be taking on a challenge of a whole new kind and move from being a visitor to working behind the scenes at Bakacon. I hope to make the best of it and give it my all – if nothing else, I’m very excited and determined to do my best. Wish me luck!

With that said, I wish you a wonderful 2013 and a positive attitude for the entire year to come. Do check back before the year ends – I promise the blog will be updated before that!

The Shiva Sisters – Nix : The Making Of Part III

28 Sep

After a long summer of not being at home, I’m back with a lot of pictures, problems and bad jokes! This is the final part of the Shiva Sisters -series for me, starring

THE HEAD AND THE REST OF THE STUFF

Catchy header, I know. And yes, pun totally intended.

So, I’ve briefly gone through the way I made the arms and the legs. What remains are mainly the head and the wheel.

 

Foam was the keyword when making the heads. Finnfoam for the base, expanding foam to fill in all the gaps and foam coming out the corners of our mouths when problems occurred. We had to cut out two identical pieces of finnfoam, since it wasn’t thick enough. With some leftover pieces and a whole lot of expanding foam, the heads became perfectly wide enough. The whole process was a real gamble, since there wasn’t exactly a tutorial to follow. But hey, I think they turned out great!

Also, the picture is very misleading when it comes to tidyness. Let me show you something more accurate.

That’s more like it. There was foam – of both kinds – everywhere. All the time. After this project, I’ve come to hate those materials.

Yet, as I look back, expanding foam was useful. We used it to create the round shape of the heads, as well, and to hide the wires we used to attach the helmets with (which turned out to be useless, since the foam kept the helmets in place). The thing that made the expanding foam tricky was the temperature. We had to use it outside, on my balcony, and it was freezing. We ended up with approximately three or four cans that simply froze half-way through and couldn’t be used. Oh, that amount of rage. And cans.

Finally, I painted the whole thing and covered some parts with wonderflex. Here I’m working with the visor (and learning that I suck at forming pretty, round shapes out of wonderflex). All in all, the thing I’m most surprised about is that even though the head was put together from so many different bits and parts, it didn’t look as much like a puzzle as I’d expected. Definitely a victory!

After the head, the largest project was the wheel. The floating wheel, mind you. But, surprisingly enough, I loved making that thing!

This was the painful part. After carving out an entire head from finnfoam, I had to carve out more finnfoam, this time with round shapes. Oh, man.

Pain aside, the wheel really was fun to make. Once the shape of it was done, I could start making the inner pieces. They involved a lot of 3D-painting, so you can only imagine how happy I was to get to that point!

So, first there was drawing:

Then there was cutting:

And then there was a shitload more of both!

With some painting and fixing, and a whole lot of puzzle-building, the wheel’s inner part started to come together.

Also, check out the Anonymous Animals. (I suggest you read that comic!)

And, after yet some coats of paint of all kinds, I ended up with this:

The outer ring of the wheel got a few coats of 3D-paint as well, and the strange markings on both sides. In the end, the whole thing ended up looking like this (and for me, that’s not half-bad!).

I attached some fishng line onto it, so that, from a far distance, it appeared to be floating. Perhaps not the most imaginative way, but it worked well enough, anyway!

So, that was it for me and Nix! I hope you enjoyed reading and seeing all the insane cosplaymaking that was documented in this small trilogy. To finish off, I want to share with you the moment when I packed up all of the bits and pieces of my cosplay on the night before and realized that I would have to get home from the con by train. In the end, I managed. How? That’s another story.

When SwanSong went to Estonia

27 Sep

Last weekend four of us (Well the 4th being Noora who’s been too lazy to introduce herself) headed down to Tartu in Estonia for their annual Animatsuri. I’ve been there twice before and Sofia once, but for Miro and Noora it was a new experience.

This year we participated actively by holding a few programs. On Saturday we first had a presentation about Finnish conventions and how to get to them and later in the afternoon we introduced the Estonians to the wonderful world of FF-Fight. And that was quite the success.

On Sunday me and Sofia took part in the cosplay competition and later right before the end of the festival we held a panel about leaving cosplays to the last minute and sharing stories from our own experiences. People really seemed to enjoy it and that made me very happy. 🙂

It was amazing getting to see all our friends there again, and just as fun to meet so many new ones! We’re definitely coming back next year with more FF-Fight and maybe something new.

on our way!

We took the ferry early Friday morning because who cares about normal life when you have Animatsuri to go to. After a quick lunch in Tallinn we headed to the bus station and oh boy Estonian bus tickets are cheap.

Bus silliness

 

Dorpat Konverentsikeskus on Friday

In Tartu we met up with Kertu and Zanne who had just arrived from England to live over there for four whole years. Oh my!

On Saturday I first took part of the Fashion show, just like last year. After that I changed into Lightning and we found some new friends also cosplaying FFXIII. Took quite a lot of pictures with them and we ended up hanging out a lot over the whole weekend too. Thank you for being awesome! ❤

THE WHOLE GANG!

 

On Sunday we wore the same outfits for several reasons, one being the cosplay competition which me and Sofia took part in. That was a lot of fun, thanks everybody! 🙂 And I finally got some pretty good pictures of my Lightning cosplay! Still waiting for a few more but I’m really happy with this one: (Thanks Miro!)

And after our panel in the evening we just attended the ending ceremony and headed for our bus. Once again, big thanks to everyone we met, everyone in charge and especially the amazing Alo. See you all next year! (Or in Finland?)