Characters of finalarcanum!
After work on Thursday I took the bus down to DC from Philly. The ride is uneventful (unlike last time, which was horribly late) and I finally arrived by 10PM. Fun fact: when my cab driver drove by the harbor as we approached the Gaylord, I audibly “wooah”d as I saw the new ferris wheel all lit up. He probably thought I was crazy. After settling into the hotel room [which I was sharing with bluucircles (Amanda), ZeronXepher and his girlfriend] Amanda and I went out on an adventure in hopes of finding food. We did not. Everything was closed at that time since it was a weekday, so we ended up at the sports bar restaurant in the hotel (which was fine except for the incredibly slow service).
The new ferris wheel is so pretty at night!!
Friday morning was an easy-going one. For me, I had no obligations so I was in no rush. I took the opportunity to iron most of the costumes for the weekend. Eventually I got dressed into Hiro, which was originally intended for Katsucon, but I finished early. (I’ll have a lot of overlap with Katsu, actually).
I even surprised myself with how kawaii I am as Hiro. I did not expect this. Everyone wanted to pinch my cheeks and I was like “no stahp.”
Right after I arrived at the con, I had a special moment with sorairo-days (Sarah). I was heading down a flight of stairs, she was coming up them. I looked at her, pretty sure it was her but not 100% sure (cosplay does this sometimes, it’s magic). When we passed each other, we made eye contact, and just kinda smiled at each other and kept going. I figured since she didn’t say anything that it wasn’t her, but about 5 minutes later I get a text saying “OMG are you Hiro today?!” I’m still laughing about it, so I had to document this.
This is about when I ran into my brother Tadashi! I can’t believe I found one so quickly, I had to take a selfie with him!
Then I actually met up with Sarah and crashed her shoot with tangledinblue, hahah. We hung out outside, the temperature was actually comfortable (for me). We ventured to the Titan statue, which was a first for all of us.
Photoshoot crashing, so I was inspired to take a Skwinky-esque selfie at the Titan statue, lmao.
I always love selfies with sorairo-days!
Back inside, we bummed around kdoranphoto(Kacie) and skwinkography (Steph)’s shoot with Amanda. There was shenanigans. Not long after, we ran into barnabunbun(Stef), yonakaniji(Katrina), and company. I then left with Steph and Kacie to help with some trips to the car to get luggage. Between the trips to the car, I got to see skeletim(Tim), death-rae(Rae), vintage-aerith(Lauren), shinjaninja(Mary) in the room, along with some new faces!
After the great task was done, I wandered around and ran into some peeps, including monobolical and celsius, and then hung around a bit with janiekat(Jane) and fenihel(Jess). Then there were lobby shenanigans, such as when Mary, Lauren and I all hid underneath Amanda’s giant Peach dress, haha.
I told you not to pinch my cheeks
Later, after Amanda was more mobile (aka. not wearing a ballgown), we headed out for dinner, but not before happening upon the Triforce Quartet at the Gazebo! We stayed and listened, and although I don’t really play video games, there were a few familiar tunes, and I love violins. After the performance finished, it was time for dinner for real, but still no friends were around to join us, SOBS. We ended up going to the Thai place, which really hit the spot after not eating all day.
We returned to the Gaylord and hung around at the lobby bar and saw a bunch of people there. I turned in early because I had some hand-sewing to finish up and such (and was also tired).
Saturday morning, Amanda and I prepped for our Over the Garden Wall shoot with Steph. And with Kacie assisting, it was a blast, as always. It was pretty cold outside, especially for costumes, so Amanda hid inside my cape in between taking photos. But it was super worth it, the photos turned out wonderful! (See below for a preview)
A little birdie told me to take a selfie, and I listened, because I’m such a pushover.
Love this photo from skwinkography!
We finished up with a few more photos back inside, and then ran into Sarah, blanko and sashadee-cosplay. We then did a quick take for Kacie’s video— she had a super brilliant idea for our characters, which I’ll let you see for yourselves in her awesome video: watch here. Soon after, we grabbed a bit to eat for lunch, which I’m realizing eating actual meals during the day is nice (oops). But it was soon approaching time for SUPER SECRET SURPRISE MISSION.
Around 4PM, Amanda and I changed into our secret costumes, which were part of a huge plan to surprise Steph for her birthday. A bunch of us made costumes of her characters from her webcomic, Final Arcanum, which coincidentally just finished up its first major arc. (Go give it a read!!) When we were done changing, we snuck over to Headquarters, aka. the hotel room where Steph and co. were staying. There were met up with ringleaders Lauren, Mary, Kacie, Tim, and everyone else— and so the super surprise mission was initiated!
terminallyxsadistic and Emory played as the distractors, keeping Steph busy while the rest of us got ready. Then, they led her on an elaborate “treasure hunt”, map and all, through the Gaylord— all in keeps with the world the comic is based. Then, suddenly Steph was “captured”, just like the protagonist Acacitli, and the story played from there.
Mary’s character, Iver, waits for Steph as she’s escorted up the elevator to sky prison. As she comes off the elevator, who’s waiting for them? Non-other than my character, Vale, the girlfriend, who is confused and concerned about what’s going on (in the story). Mary and I ad-lib as we bring Steph down the (very long) hallway to the prison cell (aka. hotel room). Once there, in keeping with the story, Steph’s comrades burst through the (connecting) door to save her!
Mission successful! Here’s everyone after the surprise was complete, with the birthday girl in the middle!
L-to-R: death-rae, vintage-aerith, bluucircles, skeletim, kacielacie, skwinky, grandemagnifico, shinjaninja, firewolf826, shazzbaa
Steph was so overwhelmed with happiness, I’m so glad we followed through with this and made it happen! I’m glad I was able to work my way into the group, sort of last minute, and was able to be part of this. I really support Steph and her comic endeavors; she makes me proud! Special thanks to Mary and Lauren for initiating this idea, and to everyone else (really EVERYONE) who participated and managed to keep it a secret for so long!
We all then went down to the atrium to take some quick shots. Time (and light) was limited, but janiekat was a trooper and powered through to get pics of everyone. After about an hour we wrapped it up, and headed over to Public House restaurant for the birthday dinner celebration. Unsurprisingly, hilarity ensued, and the services was very nice and accommodating for our large party.
At dinner! I love taking table shots, but this was hard with so many people! I had to stitch three photos together, lol.
After dinner, we all went back to the room to have drinks and hang out. I had fun talking about art and webby stuff, amongst other things. And then we laughed, we cried. But no really. Good bonding friendship times all around. It was getting late, and some needed to turn in for the night, so a few of us (Steph, Tim, Amanda and I) went to the arcade room. I was surprised that we stumbled upon Stef, Katrina, Laura, and Zach at the DDR machine! We ran into some others as well, including supitscarrie. Giving into the noise, we left to go up to the board game room. There we spent over an hour or so playing the anime pitch game, Channel A. Or rather, I watched everyone else play because games like that make me nervous/self-conscious because I am not funny or clever at all. But it was entertaining nonetheless. By now, it was SUPER late, past 3am, so it was an odd miracle that I wasn’t sleepy at all (because I’m an old granny who’s bedtime is like 11). Everyone dispersed because it was seriously bedtime all around!
Some selfies with my boys~~! Plus one of my favorite photos from the night— when they recreated the last scene of Final Arcanum ;^;
Sunday morning I took my time packing up my luggage and changing in Rin from Free. I wasn’t feeling very confident (I felt better during my costest) but resisted the urge to tear everything off. I hope to improve so I feel better when I wear him briefly at Katsucon [
now passed, I fixed up the wig so I did feel better at Katsucon]. Around checkout time, I met up with Jane and we dragged my stuff to the car. Then, I grabbed some breakfast and coffee, and we later ran into Gianna, Alex, Jeremy and company, and hung around with them for a while. (I loved their Digimon kigus. I felt like all my friends made them for this con, I can’t wait to make my own too!)
By the afternoon, we were joined by Lauren, Steph, Amanda, and Kacie, and continued the lazy Sunday hangout times. We briefly toured the Dealer’s Room and then ventured out to Potbelly to grab lunch (Lauren and I had a super cute interaction with a little boy while standing in line!). The weather was nice, warmer than it had been and sunny, so we sat outside, but by the end of lunch it started to get a bit chilly. We all headed back inside and hung out in the lobby, where we were joined by Ceri, Kat, Violet, and Jess.
Around 5pm, people started dispersing, so it was time for goodbyes! Luckily, with Katsucon right around the corner, we’d all be seeing each other soon enough.
It’s a few months (4 MONTHS) after the con, and I’m finally sitting down to write this con report for AUSA. The latter half of 2014 was really hard on me, and although I had a really good time at the con, I was hit by a terrible onslaught of depression (which was building up prior) soon after. Therefore, not only could I not emotionally write this up at the time, I also wanted to be in a good headspace while doing so. So I put it off, forever. I’d be totally lying if I said I was any less depressed now (maybe slightly better overall… maybe??), but with Magfest, and now Katsucon, I don’t want a huge backlog of con reports. This is a weird problem to have, so here we go…
Photo by kdoranphoto
Luckily I always write “notes” outlining each day at the con right afterwards (I take my con reports very seriously) so I can still write this in some detail, hahah. Though I may be more blunt/straightforward than usual because I don’t remember, and also to get it over with. At least there are pictures....
The Megabus ride down to DC was pretty terrible. The bus was late, and we were stuck in traffic for an hour barely out of Philadelphia. Then took the arduous pit stops in Newark, Delaware (laughs at Amanda) and Baltimore and FINALLY arrive by 10pm. Like a 5 hour bus ride, which is absurd. bluucircles (Amanda) and I grabbed dinner at the pub in the hotel and then continued working on cosplay things in the room. Eventually, sewthoughtful and Armen made their appearance! Then we all settled in for the night.
Friday morning Amanda and I get into Tsukishima and Yamaguchi. Since we were just wearing their tracksuit outfits, it was super easy and comfy way to start the con (let's be real, all sports cosplay is easy to wear). We had a shoot with kdoranphoto(Kacie) who was super excitable and excellent as always! It would not be the last time shooting with her this weekend.
Tsukiyama selfies <3
While hanging around the con, we met monobolical for the first time! We also ran into ceriene and katspaw, who we managed to run into multiple times during the weekend, A+. Janiekat(Jane), the last comer to the hotel room, arrived and Amanda and I changed to our next costumes (Amanda into Perona, and me into The Rising: Ivan). While Amanda was off shooting, Jane and I wandered and ended up at McDonalds. I am a pro fry-stealer, fyi. Back at the hotel, we stumbled upon Amanda at her shoot with Kacie, and tagged along a bit.
Ivan hiding in the backgrou-- no actually, just hair flipping at a photoshoot!
Weirdest crossover I've ever seen...
Eventually in the evening, Amanda and I changed /back/ into our tracksuits, but this time as Kageyama and Hinata! We met up with supitscarrie at the Noodle House and had good dinner times there. After dinner, while Amanda was busy being too in-character as Hinata, Jane and I hung out in the lobby, and stumbled upon a bunch of Haikyuu people there. It was quite a riot at times. When Amanda returned, she was sure to treat Jane like the trash king she is. After that it was time for bed.
Bluucircles treating Janiekat like the trash king that she is.
Friend selfies courtesy of Sorairo-days and Monobolical
Saturday morning, I changed into Kageyama (jersey uniform) for an intense morning/afternoon of good HQ times. First, I met up with sorairo-days (Sarah) as Hinata, and took some great shots with gqbravo. Then, we were joined by other members of Karasuno (and Nekoma, too!) and grabbed some more pictures! We even played a bit of volleyball, and when I say "play" I mean standing around in a circle poorly hitting the ball to each other. But I'm glad anytime I can play with a volleyball.
look at all these haikyuuties
Next I went to the shoot with Kacie, who shot with me, Amanda as Hinata, and Jane as Sugawara, for a solid 2 hours! Kacie was super prepared and brought a travel volleyball net, which we tied up to some posts outside. It made for some great shots in an unlikely place!
God we are so fucking cute, I can't...
Behind the scenes photos of our shoots with KDoranPhoto and Sorairo-days, courtesy of bluucircles (let's be real, 90% of the photos in this post I stole from her)
We then filmed a bit for her video, which you can watch here. Eeeee, we're even the opening and closing scenes, cries a million times. I love shooting video. It's a bit nervewracking, because unlike photos, timing is everything, but the finished project is so much fun. You don't often get to see your own costume in action!? SO YEAH, go watch Kacie's video, you won't regret it!
Awkward photoshoot times where we had to scream "IT'S CANON" to innocent bypassers...
After filming, Jane ran off to a panel and Amanda and I finished up the shoot with our Kings outfits. Amanda was gracious enough to make my cape for me!! It's so fluffy and regal, I hope to use it again. So can we talk about how amazing Kacie is for capturing the "controlling king no longer" scene perfect on camera AND video??? Because, I could talk about it all day. (opening photo to this post)
Midday, Amanda and I put some last minute touches on our Eureka 7 costumes and then got ready for our shoot with sorairo-days! The shoot was great and fun and WE LOOKED SO ANIMU. Sarah did a fabulous job capturing the beautiful light we had. After finishing with Sarah, we shot with zeronxepher, who also got some super duper cute pics of us!
SO FUCKING ANIME.
Pre-photoshoot selfie, I love all our faces~~
I don't even know what I'm doing.... (these are cute mittens Sewthoughtful bought!!)
After our E7 shoots were done, we headed back to the hotel room [lol] to change into dance party!Rei and Nagisa (one of our go-to fun nighttime cosplays to wear, apparently). Then we joined barnabunbun, Zach, tangledinbluecosplay, Janiekat, and co. for dinner at the bar restaurant in the hotel. I'm so glad I wrote down what I ate, because the beef mignonettes were fucking delicious and so was the brownie dessert. Much needed food, for sure. Anyway, it was a nice dinner with everyone.
This is about when I realized I am to the right side of Amanda in literally EVERY selfie we take together, and I don't even know what that means...
Then, Amanda and I wandered around with Jane to take a few pics, and then ran into grandemagnifico and co. Then we hung around with amecandy, who was a pleasure meeting this con! It was a silly night. Back at the hotel room, it was a bit of packing before turning in for the night.
Saturday night begins...
Saturday night intensifies???
What is Saturday night, even?
Sunday morning was a lazy morning [lol] but after finally getting up, it was time to finish packing and get into costume. Amanda and I wore our KageHina track suits again for easy Sunday cosplay. After meeting with Jane to pack up the car, Amanda and I hit up the Artist Alley and Dealer's Room, which we hadn't really gotten to all weekend.
Then we met up with skwinky, vintage-aerith, and skeletim, who were visiting for the day, and hung out with a bunch of us outside on the lawn. Then we went to Chipotle with various folks and ate outside since the restaurant was full (there was a bee that wouldn't leave this one person alone, it was sad!!)
After lunch, it was mostly wandering around and saying goodbyes!! And so the weekend came to a close~ And it was time to return to real life, which hit HARD.
So 2014 is finally over. Good riddance, hahah. It started with some intense cosplay work. In fact, I was too busy working on Origami Cyclone to even write a year review for 2013 at the time, hahah. Amongst the usual cosplay routine, I continued my hunt for a house to buy, and finally got one and moved-in in October. It was very scary and stressful, but even before closing on the house, I had many hardships slapping me in the face. These external events basically really took a toll and lead me straight into serious deep depression in the latter half of the year. I was (and still am maybe?) very mentally and emotionally unstable and spend most of my time incapacitated with tears. In short, not a fun time. I have many internal struggles to overcome, and I hope I can find the strength in 2015 to battle some of my inner demons with more fortitude. So, if nothing else, I want to start the new year off on a good note.
A Year of Cosplay
You can see my cosplay review of 2014 in this deviation. I accomplished a dream costume (that actually still needs some work, haha), and spend the rest of my time having fun with friends. I don’t think I leveled up my game or anything this year, but as long as I enjoyed myself, that’s a success-- and as far as cosplay goes, I did have a good time.
New Year's Resolutions
I usually fail hard at resolutions and gave up even pretending to set any. But this year, besides tying to get into a better mindset (aka not depressed 24/7), I want to draw more. A busy full-time job life leaves little time to do much, let alone when you spend most of your creative energy on cosplay. Thus, I don’t draw nearly as much as I’d like. And between wanting to drawing in two styles (simplistic illustration vs. ‘anime’), it’s hard to progress at either. But I ironically and unintentionally welcomed in the new year by looking at my plethora of art books. I’m hoping that’s some weird sign and also a spark of inspiration to make more art.
My birthday is very soon and basically I want to cry, hahah. But no really, every birthday just makes me question where I am with my life and where I should be going.
First Conventions of 2015
I’ll be attending MAGFest this year in January, which should be pretty low-key. After that it’ll soon be time for Katsucon.
Thanks to my followers for finding interest in my work. And especially thanks to those strangers who offered kind words (albeit on tumblr, not here) during some of my darkest moments this year. It’s always kind of astounding when people you don’t know extend a hand of kindness. And thank you to my friends who have put up with me this whole time, too.
Find me on the web
Here are a few other places you can find cosplay things from me, in case you didn't know!:
|I am a college graduate with a BFA in graphic design (interactive and illustration) and a Japanese minor, and am working as a web designer & programmer in downtown Philadelphia. I really love doing cosplay, started in 2004. I am pretty stubborn, have high-expectations, dream big, and often over-extend myself.... I'm not quite sure where my life is going, but for now, I'll just be having fun cosplaying... ^_^;|