Saturday, July 31, 2010

It's still hot! We need Hoth!

The weather didn't change much after my last post and I, if it's in any way avoidable, will not work in these circumstances. But now there are some signs in the air, that next week would be more bearable and I have few days off, so there is costume progress ahead of us... At last... Again...

To make this hiatus acceptable I can reveal what I have done in two weeks time. No, I haven't just sat on my behind, I have gone trough dozens of plastic bags and organized fabrics and other supplies. When we actually start to make something, we don't need to fight with serious mess. I also took a closer look on the things and details we need to redo for Snowtroopers. Even if we need to upgrade Yoki's costume and construct mine, we are more than half way there. All the clothes have been made and we can use the old molds for the armor after we fix them up a bit.

Last weekend we put on our rubber boots and went to the countryside. We were looking nice places where we could have a photoshoot for Joxter and Muddler. The scenery has already been seen on our Snufkin vid, but this time we will widen the view. As we hiked on the fields and forest we made a draft of the script. We might need some extras if we are going to follow the first version. Gladly our metal expert Esa has promised to make a cameo if needed!

All together, next month will be a busy one. We have planned a second part for Akatsuki interview and if we manage, we will film it next week. Joxter and Muddler we will shoot later, because we need to wait for the apples to ripen. Then of course the Snowtrooper costumes needs to be finished. And then... Yoki will move to study and leave me! Okay, it's only three hours by train, but still... So in the future, Yoki being busy with her studies it will be more me and less her, if it is in anyway possible. But let's work hard before that!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Convention report: Heat at Tracon V

We left from our hometown at ten on Friday morning, a day before the convention. Karan drove the first half of the almost four hour journey and I had the honor to freak out at Tampere's traffic, which for us small town girls was little crazy. The convention site was gladly easy to find. It just took one turn to left from the main road. Our hotel was just beside Tampere-talo. The first casualty of the journey occurred, when we drove down a ramp to the hotel's parking hall. It was a small scratch in the side of the car, caused by really narrow passage.

We booked in and found our room cool, while outside it was 30 Celsius. We had left some of Karan's props in the car, so she and Yoki thought they would go and get them while I would un-pack our costumes. But the car keys were missing. We were like... okay, when did this happen? In ten minutes time? Karan started to turn over her belonging. While she was going a second round I ran down to the desk, because for me it sounded like the most obvious place where they could be. And tadah! There they were. Happy ending for the second trial.

Well, that’s all about our arrival at Tampere. The next day started with wake-up call at seven, breakfast at half eight and preparations and make-up. We were ready approximately at ten. We thought that we would be able to see the opening ceremony, but didn't quite make it. It didn't bother us much, the first program we had planned to see started at eleven and it was a cosplay dance show.

Karan drawing arm tattoos.

Yoki's make-up close up.

MyuPro is a cosplay dance crew and new acquaintance for me. Of course I have seen videos from other countries, where cospay performances including dance and “musical” elements are a lot head of ours, but somehow I have missed groups doing the previous here in Finland. At Tracon MyuPro's show was themed Bleach. The name of the performance was “Valkaisuainetta”. In English I think it would be Bleacher. The show itself was build from individual pieces or performances with music from series openings to tracks from the rock musical. At this particular show they didn’t have special lights, because the circumstances didn’t allow the use of them. I changed few words with the group and they felt bit sorry for it even if the show worked without them. I have been acting in amateur theater for almost ten years, so I agree with them. The lights quickly change moods and can lead the eyes of the viewers to desirable direction. As a plus the shifts from one scene to other were thought trought. There was always something happening on the side of the stage, even if sometimes the meanings missed me. Did Rukia have a crush on someone or did she just want to dance with the guys, when she crawled to get to them? Never the less, I thought it was well played from Rukia and Yoruichi.

The hosts. The insert for the show was really character loyal.

The construction of the show was good. In some points there were too many repeats of a series of movements and at times it was clear that some of the pieces were not trained enough with the whole group. But those were just minor things my eye cached. Over all I enjoyed the show. It’s great that MyoPro has stepped up and given something new to Finnish cosplay scene. And it was a good cosplay! I’m somehow used to group performances with moderate costumes, but in the case of MyuPro I was happily surprised. The costumes were consistent trough the group. Star sticker approval for the props, the body paint and the wigs! Especially Hitsugaya’s wig caught my attention. It was also clear that the characters were casted with thought, keeping in mind the proportions of the group members. I'm looking forward of their other shows in future conventions. Best wishes for MyuPro!

Funny coincidence.

Water bottles were wih us all the time. And apparently with everyone else too, because there were zero heat strokes at the con.

The core of MämmiKunniaan.

At one we headed to Fandub lecture, hosted by Finnish fandub group MämmiKunniaan. They have made regular fandubs and comical ones from Naruto, Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist and many others. They talked about the constructions of the clips, which programs they are using and showed videos from requested by the audience. The audience was also free to ask questions from anything related to the production. People asked about how they could join the group at least twice. I don’t know was it only me, but I saw the question irrelevant and pushy.

After the Fandub lecture we had spare time, which we used beneficially by eating. We had bought some picnic food the previous day and stuffed them into our hotel room’s fridge. We just needed to pick them up, take a blanket with us and have a meal at the Sorsapuisto, park just next to the convention center. We were going to eat dinner at restaurant after six, when the con was closing for the day. Actually our timetable for feeding times proved to be the greatest idea ever. Nobody suffered from hunger and there were no tension about going to the store or finding a place to eat. In the future we shall continue on this road and plan the meals for conventions accurately.

Pan free time for Muddler.

Yummy salad for Takeru.

Sour grapes for Joxter.

At four we headed to lecture “Tales, legends and historical characters in anime and manga”. It was almost two hours long and I personally found it little dry at some points. I think it was in the beginning, when the lecturer went trough the different eposes. Of course it was essential part, but still too lengthy. Maybe it would have worked if the examples were mixed in the lecture thorough. What I found rather irritating was the attitude towards the corrections from the audience. They were passed by without polite thank you or any comment at all. Maybe this was because the lecturer was ill? Still the lecture gave new information. The examples varied from series from eighties to the newest one. One of them brought up nice memories from childhood and it was Starzinger. I never have paid that much attention to the design and the story line of the series. Well, I haven’t watched it in ages! But yes, now I see the influence from Journey to the West.

In the evening we went to after party. I drank few beers. Yoki and Karan enjoyed alcohol free refreshments, because they are wise. We arrived little late and didn’t see the bands booked for the party, but we did see the epic match Heroquest style! After the battle we sticked to table socker and had our own, tense tournament. We played three rounds, so that everyone would play two rounds with a partner and one alone. I can't remember who won. It must be either Yoki or Karan. I surely would remember if it was me.

Karan's favorite pose.

The next day started as the previous. Only difference was that Karan sat back and monitored our preparations. She had decided to not to wear her costume, which by the way was Izumo no Takeru from Opera Susanoh Sword of the Devil, but to take pictures. I so understand. She was so sweet, always ready to grab my camera when I had to pose or to hold my hat , when I was off to take pictures. Thank you again!

Yoki and Karan taking care of my hat.

Cutie Yoki taking care of my hat.

Karan taking care of my hat.

No, I didn't pose like this more than once. Only for Karan.

First we went to see the By-product of anime interest. I knew something about everything the lecturer brought up, but it was nice to have more information from them. The Vocaloid were the most alien for me. The lecturer stated in the beginning that he is going to handle the Vocaloid in the end and as long as he has time, because it is his own interest in them. It was well planned, because in our case, we didn’t find it that relevant. But in all, I liked the lecture. The lecturer had contact with the audience and the image material was good. For some sections I leave a question mark. I didn’t really see them as by-products, but as their own individual phenomenons.

At two we went to see the Cosplay group contest. I was surprised that there were still at least a handful of groups which dropped out from the competition. The performances were really music influenced, which is not bad. There were no embarrassing fan service or yaoi scenes, which made me and surely many others really happy. My favorites were the winner Koorizatou, even if I’m not familiar with Ragrarok Online and the group with four members, two “identical” tulle-skirt girls. The girls ecpecially were awesome. I got chills in a positive way on their “singing” parts. Talking about accuracy and performing. I think they were left without any special attention, because the series were not well known. They should really be acknowledged.

Test shots.

The hosts of the group competition.

Robotic tulle girls.

All the participants of the group competition and the winners. The ranks goes with the height. First pair is on the right.

After the competition we went to buy some snacks and chilled in the park until the closing ceremony. As usual the winners of the competitions were announced. We didn’t see the individual contest and when the winner was named I felt a bit sorry. It was Tira from Soul Calibur! One of my favorite characters from the game series! Noooo… But I checked the video from the competition from Youtube and she looked great and the performance was character loyal. Me likey. In all the closing ceremony was warm and nice way to end the convention. I specially like the moment when the people behind the event takes the stage. From my opinion they made Tracon a great and enjoyable convention and I hope we can attend it the next autumn.

The only thing left was the journey home. We changed our clothes at the convention site and headed to our car. Our luggage was already there, because we had checked out from the hotel in the morning. I was first to drive and you know what happened? The narrow passage got us again! The second scratch was accomplished. Again we drove in turns with Karan. It went well, even if we all were pretty tired.

In the end everything went well. The only casualties were the scratches on the car. I and Karan had sore leg muscles, because we didn’t have the most comfortable shoes. Mine were too a size too small and Karan’s… Well, I don’t even know how they stayed on her feet! Later this summer we are going to have a photoshoots for pictures and for a video starring Joxter and Muddler.

P.S The free water serving was great!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Completed: Detangling a long wig (and preparing it for future project)

There has been some time since the last post. I've been writing a long report about our experiences from Tracon and it is starting to seem like a forever project. I will try to step up and finish it on Sunday or Monday at the latest.

In May I started and experiment with silicon spray and a long wig. I had to put it aside, because we needed to work with costumes for Joxter and Muddler. Yesterday I had a day off so I went back to it. The working was a lot easier, because I had a stand for the wig head. It is actually from my fitting dummy, which I picked up from Yoki's place after... two years? I had planned to chech out the local flee markets for an cheap and old floor lamp, but then I realized that it would just take space and be somewhat unnececessary item laying around. Before I tried to use my table as a platform and my legs to keep the wig head still. Not succesful I assure.

Before, after and bundled.

I was really happy with the result after finishing the whole wig and it looked rather wearable as it was. For my purposes, I wanted to solve the fibers as well as possible. I'm going to use most of the lenght for wefts for a ridiculous ponytail. I also used pretty thich comb, which for some might sound horrible. But really, there were not too much of hair loss and with patience the fibers didn't get streched, which usually causes the wig to look messy.

The fibers doesn't get greasy looking when you take your time with the comb and remember to spray the silicon far enough. I haven't tried how the silicon will react to hairspray and other styling products so I can't guarantee that they will work normally.

After the detangling I prepared the wig for later projects, in other word cut it shorter and stored it and the material for the ponytail. Next week we are going to continue the making of the Snowtroopers and finally finish them. I hope that next week the weather would be bearable. I'm not designed for 32 Celcius for long periods of time. My productivity suffers greatly.

Because I didn't have a pair of helping hands I used yarn to make the cutting little easier.

Red rubberband marks the spot. I took off the gray yarns and cut the ponytail just over the rubberband.

Wig after the excess lenght has been cut out.

Trial for the placement of the base of the ponytail. Needs to be higher.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tracon V cosplay in pictures

Now I understand why some cosplayers choose between wearing a costume and taking photographs. I was lucky to have Karan as a helpful aider. She always was ready to grab my camera, when somebody came to as for a photo. Naturally Yoki was handicapped because she needed to pose too. So big thanks to you, Karan!

We didn't hang out at Sorsapuisto more than few times for photographing purposes, but I did take some photos from cosplayers whose costumes intrigued me. One category of costumes, which I spotted from the colourful crowd was the "tents". As a dress maker I am drawn to them and in the case of Belle, I was sold because of the costume and the character. And the cosplayer was pretty as a picture!

Then there where my own favorites, like Grell from Kuroshitsuji and Raistlin Majere from Dragonlance. Yes, I'm an olf fantasy literature freak.

Balanced groups caught my eye as well as "dynamic duos". When you cosplay as a duo you start to pay more attention to the balance between the creations. The first pair, which I didn't even recognice (help needed!) I wanted to photograph just because of the previous. They were really nice too! And what would a convention be without western comic cosplays?

Kuroshitsuji is a pretty nice source for cosplay. The costumes are rather detailed and impressive. The One Piece group was inspiringly different and even if I don't really follow Reborn! I found the group coherent. The Sailor Moon cosplayers were so sweet and also MyuPro's members, who cosplayed and danced their way to my heart.

I took generally two or more photos from every cosplay posted here. If you are in the picture and would like to have the original and possibly the other one too, leave a comment! You can also contact me, if you want your photo deleted.