Finally! I had been wanting to get a group together to do Slayers
for a number of years and I finally managed to convince three friends to
go in on it with me. And so, at Anime Detour 2005, in St. Paul Minnesota,
I was dressed as Lina Inverse.
The picture on the left, I should say, was actually taken no where near the con. It was taken on the University of Wisconsin - Madison campus several weeks later by my friend Randy McCullick. Thanks to him for the great pictures we got that day! And to the drunkards who were heckling us when we were doing the shoot; you guys officially suck.
Once again, I found a costume project that tested my skills and took me to new places and once again I learned a lot.
For one thing, I learned that it is neigh impossible for me to bind my chest. I spent the entire Saturday of Detour wrapped up in an ace bandage and duct tape and I think I only managed to squish in about an inch for my troubles. It was hardly worth it. I'm going to have to spend some time reading up on how to do it because I must have screwed up something somewhere along the process for it to fail so utterly. On the other hand, it smoothed things a bit.
The leggings were a simple pattern I found in my mother's substantial pattern collection. I ended up having to take in the seams quite a bit for them to fit so closely, but it worked beautifully. The shirt was a simple T-shirt with a few modifications. I took the side seams in from the underarms to the waist, then flared it back out to the end. I added a high collar and split the shirt up the middle of the front. Much embellishing with white bias tape along the edges and a few patches of velcro later and it was finished. The cloak is 270 degrees of a circle cloak with a high collar to finish it off. The gloves were a Kwik-Sew pattern which I've discovered works best when you hand sew the whole she-bang. A little tedious perhaps, but well worth it. The boots are essentially a pair of spats attached to an old pair of sandles I had laying around. Beads were added to the cuffs of both boots and gloves. A couple of belts I had laying around served as the costume belts and sculpy was used to make the talismans and the buckle of the sword belt.
The big disappointments for this costume were the wig and the epaulets.
This was only my second foray into wig country and Lina's hair is extremely stylized. If I had been able to do my own wig styling, it might have come out a little better. But, since I can't both wear the wig and style it correctly at the same time, I had to ask my mother to help. And, let us say she doesn't have the fervor for Anime cosplaying that I do. She didn't have the patience to do it the way it needed to be done and I had no other recourse, so I was stuck with it. The color, however, was all my doing. It was a synthetic wig which came to me blonde. On advice from my friend Megan Fellows, I painted it with watered down acrylic paint. For a while, I feared I had ruined the wig, but after it spent a night drying I found that the color had taken. So, I did learn something from the experience.
The epaulets were a saga. I tried several different materials for a base, finally settling on tagboard, since it was sturdy enough, yet light enough to wear all day. After a number of tries, I got a shape I was happy with. Then I set about covering them with black vinyl. I have never used so many pins and so many different types of glue before in my life. This was actually the major part of the costume I did last because I was dreading it so. Eventually, the vinyl stuck, though, and I was able to finish the epaulets. With some sculpy, I had made custom-shaped beads and with some red lamé I made little round pillows to be the jewels. The jewels were hand sewn into the edges of the vinyl. The edging was done with gold cording, again hand sewn on and in the midst of all of that the beads were placed in their proper places. Most of this hand sewing was done at the con itself and I didn't actually get to put them on and see how they looked without being held until then. To my horror, I found they were too long and there wasn't a thing I could do about it. Oh well. What I learned from this experience was that I need to redo them. The thought fills me with horror.
Well, on to what happened at the con!
As I said, I managed to convince three of my friends to do the costume theme with me. This picture (taken by a kind passerby) includes all four of us hanging out in the con lounge. These are my friends Deanna (playing Amelia), Ed (playing Zelgadis), and Brian (playing Gourry). And yes, that Sword of Light really does light up. Listed as the group entry known, in a fit of originality, as "The Slayers," we participated in the cosplay masquerade. Competition was feirce and we didn't win anything, but I take comfort in the fact that most of the participants were in agreement that most of the people in the novice class were too good to be there. We got our share of attention and compliments and I was content with that.
The oddest thing about the con was the sheer number of Slayers cosplayers who were there. I had never seen more than one or two Linas, collectively, even at Anime Central. So for a medium-sized con like Detour to have at least one other Lina, three Zelgadises, two Xellosses, and a Zangulus besides us was quite a shock. But, Deanna and Brian were the only Amelia and Gourry and as a result we were the only group with the "core four" characters. So, that set us apart a bit and that made me quite happy.
We didn't do a skit for the cosplay. We had been so involved in making the costumes that we didn't have any time to come up with anything decent, so we just did a walk on in character. Deanna was up first, skipping in a justice-happy-but-clumsy Amelia fashion, followed by me and Brian fighting over a box of Giant Pocky, and Ed bringing up the rear in a typical Zelgadis-sulk. During our little mini-brawl over the food, I lost grip on the Pocky box and so grabbed Brian's Sword of Light before rushing off stage. From the MC, we garnered the reaction "Well, that was a distraction!" ^_^
After a mini-photo shoot, we all had different things we wanted to do, so we more or less split up for most of Saturday. Ed and I joined a group that took the shuttle bus over to the Mall of America in costume where we "scared the muggles." I got a couple good pictures of each of us in front of a fountain. Ed was unfortunately sans wig at that point, but they're still some good pictures.
I also ran into my friend Stacey there. She was wearing a number of different costumes over the course of the weekend, including this very impressive Legendary Heroes Yugi.
I wore a number of other costumes that weekend. On Friday, I was dressed up in my Deedlit costume from Anime Central. I stumped a whole lotta Anime newbies with it, but the old skool fans went gaga. I actually got hit on a couple times while wearing that one. Nice to be appreciated, now and then, ne?
I have recieved reports of people being offered a
squeaky mallet and a chance to whack a pink ninja both Friday and Saturday
nights. I would like to say that I know nothing about that.
As the con was winding down on Sunday, I went around dressed up as Hadoriel Celeblas of the Company of the Combustible Cammode. She's my D&D character. Not Anime, but I felt a certain need to do something pertaining to my gaming group seeing as how Ed and I being at the Con kept our group from meeting that week. I'm without her signature weapon, the duom, in this picture. I didn't want to try and fit it into Brian's jeep to get it up to St. Paul. Instead, I've got a dagger and my signature sword, so called because it's the sword I got Monica Rial and Greg Ayres to sign. ^_~ Thanks to Deanna for taking the picture.
Well, that about wraps it up for the cosplaying report from Anime Detour 2005. Until next we meet!