ColossalCon 2011 Pictures

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Really sorry for the delay everyone, but I’ve been really busy the last few weeks and just haven’t had the time to get around to post-processing the images I took at ColossalCon. I switched over to shooting RAW this time and was a lot more conservative with pictures so that’s why there are not as many as previous years. I also didn’t get to take very good masquerade pictures since I was doing double duty – taking pictures and writing the post. My laptop is very old which means I pretty much had to be next to an outlet at all times which put me in the back against a wall at the far right side of the room. In the future I may just decide to not do the live blog post in lieu of getting better images if I’m doing this alone.

Direct link to the Flickr images

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ColossalCon 2011 Live Blog – Masquerade

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8:15PM

Well I just got into the masquerade after over an hour of waiting. It got slightly delayed because they had some technical issues apparently. It wasn’t too bad aside from the fact that I probably would have gotten about the same seat if I had not waited in line (by the time I got in the front half of the room was already filled and the only seat I could find that had access to a power socket (my laptop battery only lasts about an hour) was on the side of the room about 2/3 of the way back. Not exactly the best seat in the house. I’m torn about even bothering to take pictures of the cosplayers since it looks like I’m going to be blocked by some lights. For future reference the best place to take pictures are in the middle of the room to not be blocked by the lights setup on both sides in front of the stage.

8:25 PM

They just darkened the room and there are some white lights circling around from the front. Seems like the event is going to start soon. Wow, apparently there are still people trickling in. All seats are filled so it’s standing room only at this point.

8:31 PM

The MCs just got on stage and they’re now introducing all the judges.

They’re going to start with the skits now.

8:32 PM

The first skit features the Demonic Duo from Seikon no Qwazer and Devil May Cry. It’s hard to hear what they’re saying but now they’re doing a fight which is not too bad.

8:36 PM

The next skit has Gaara from Naruto. It’s titled “how not to be emo”

1) dance to a happy song. he dances to a song. Another Gaara comes out and they dance to Drogosta Din Tei. Now Temari joins the crowd and they now all start dancing to “All the Single Ladies”

8:41 PM

Next up is Hetalia starring Germany, France, Canada, Italy, and another country I didn’t catch. They’re going to do a dance. They dance to a few different songs including “Forget You”, “Misery”, and “It’s a Small World” among others. It’s not too bad since they’re actually incorporating in dancing that matches up with the lyrics in the songs. The reception is really good, probably due in part to the popularity of Hetalia.

8:44 PM

Next is Kagamine Rin and Lin from Vocaloid. This is going to be another dance. They’re in the standard white outfits and they have it choreographed out pretty well. I’m not well versed in Vocaloid so I’m not sure if they’re doing a dance from one of the actual videos but it seems like it is in which case it must have taken a lot of work to learn the entire thing. I’m actually pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out since often the dances are mediocre and not too well done but these two definitely got the moves down. 5 minutes of choreography is a lot to memorize and the loud cheers and applause they received were well deserved.

8:50 PM

Next we have the Great Saiyaman and Saiyagirl doing a little number. I talked to them earlier and they were really nice. They spent 3 months refinishing their helmets alone. They did something like the transformation dance and then at the end did a fushion-ha!

8:52 PM

Next up is a Kuroshitsuji skit. This is a dance set to a song in Japanese which I think is probably from the anime? Another well rehearsed choreography but there’s quite a bit that’s lost on me since I’m unfamiliar with the series. (side note – just ran into Chris who I haven’t seen in quite a while. He’s going to the Miyazaki panel so I might be able to get some info about that later from him).

8:55 PM

Vash from Trigun talking about Wolfwood. This is the same Vash from last night’s cosplay event. This is a monologue where at the end he says the world is filled with – LOVE AND PEACE! Kind of difficult to hear most of it since he went sans mic.

8:57 PM

Zero from Code Geass. He’s playing the violin and he’s actually quite good. He’s playing Viva la vida by Coldplay. He started out quite well but towards the end he got off key. Still really cool since he was doing it with the helmet on. I wonder what the visibility was like but he’s getting a standing ovation.

9:01 PM

Next up is a Death Note skit. L is going to present a lesson about borrowing. Ryuuk starts off carrying a sign saying Free Balloon Day. It involves a baloon that L stole but then it gets popped so they’re talking about turning themselves in. There’s a bit about how running is good for your buns and thighs and a guy runs up on stage and shakes his buns.

9:07 PM

This is going to be the last skit. This is a Rurouni Kenshin skit done by the people of AndSewingisHalftheBattle. It’s a whole song and dance number about “Master Knows Best” and features Kaoru, Kenshin, and his master.

9:17 PM

They’re now done with the skit section and are going to move on to cosplay – Walk-ons.

I’ll have to get the list from them later since I was just busy trying to take pictures of them all. They’re dark but hopefully I can make them look a bit better with a bit of processing.

9:45 PM

They finished all the walk-ons.

There’s now a ninja that’s doing the half time show. He’s the same guy who did the Bleach skits in previous years. The first thing he does is get some audience participants and they play a game – ninja ninja challenge. The first challenge is to read a really long attack name – it’s like 50 words long. The next challenge is about having ninja ninja energy. They have one person get blindfolded and holding a fork and they have to get ramen into another person’s mouth. At various times they have trolling faces fly across the screen. The left side team won both challenges and are the winners.

9:58 PM

The MCs are back on stage and ready to start presenting the awards.

The awards are as follows:

Juniors

Honorable mention for craftsmanship – Adriana as Ichigo [Tokyo Mew Mew]

Honorable mention for craftsmanship – Marandah as Human Luna [Sailor Moon]

Honorable mention for craftsmanship – Elijah as Baby Mario (this guy was just so cute)

Honorable mention for craftsmanship – Elizabeth as Shunsui [Bleach]

Best Performance Junior – Naruto skit with the three girls

Best Craftsmanship Junior – Demonic Duo from Seikon no Qwazer and Devil May Cry

Skits

Renee’s Judge’s Award Performance – FML Productions – Death Note skit

Rachel’s Judge’s Award Performance – Great Saiyaman and Saiyagirl

Best performance – Zero on the violin [Code Geass]

Craftsmanship

Andrew’s Judge’s Award Craftsmanship – Lady Ava and Oshi [Summer Wars]

Tracy’s Judge’s Award Craftsmanship – Juto and Zelphie [Magna Carta 2]

Melissa’s Judge’s Award Craftsmanship – Ohla [Y’s]

Cosplay Chair Award for Most Improvement – Emily as Link [Oudon Village outfit]

Best Accessories – Jesse as Ryuuk [Death Note]

Best Silhouette – Vanille [Final Fantasy]

Award from convention staff – Rei and Asuka [Neon Genesis Evangelion]

Novice Craftsmanship Honorable Mention – Jeremy as Lucario [Pokemon]

Novice Craftsmanship Honorable Mention – Alex as Terra [Final Fantasy]

Best Craftsmanship Novice – Luther Hamilton for his Simon [Gurren Lagann]

Journeymen Craftsmanship Honorable Mention – Alison Spooner for Ciel Phantomhive [Kuroshitsuji]

Best Craftsmanship Journeyman – Onion Knight and Chocobo [Final Fantasy]

Masters Craftsmanship Honorable Mention – Angel for Ryomou [Ikkitousen]

Best Craftsmanship Masters – Nick and Alex for their BlazBlue cosplays – Taokaka and Ragna

Best in show – Kenshin skit from AndSewingisHalftheBattle

Japan award – Katia as The Elementalist [Granada Espada]

She’s a girl with a large well done dress. apparently she’s just out of high school.

Nick’s group do amazing cosplays and they are well deserved of getting both the Best Novice and the Best Masters.

I’ll try to get the entire list from the staff and update this page ASAP.

Some suggestions for the future – teach the judges to speak clearer and louder so people can actually hear what they’re saying clearly. This also applies to people who are doing skits since they are sometimes hard to hear clearly. The staff/judges should also make an announcement for people to withhold clapping and cheering until the person actually gets on stage since they sometimes start cheering as soon as the person’s name is called and people can’t hear the name of the costume.

[Edit 6/12/2011 – Made corrections/updates to the list of Masquerade winners]

ColossalCon 2011 Live Blog – Best Anime You’ve Never Seen

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First anime on the list is Kaleidostar. The first season is great but the second season is pretty bad. The director is the same person who did Sailor Moon, Princess Tutu and many others. The second season was not done by him. The Kaleiso Stage is a Cirque de Soleil type thing that the main character wants to join. At first glance it seems cliche but there is a lot of struggle. She was just good enough to get in but has to work really hard to get better since the other members of the troupe are even better than her.

The next series is Fractal, which is part of the sci-fi/steampunk. The director was involved with Haruhi Suzumiya although it’s a much more serious show. What we have is the main character who is living in this utopian world that is living in a neural net that provides people with all the pleasures they would need – “4chan taken to the extreme.” One day she runs into a nother person who drops out of the sky on a bike and introduces her to the idea of human interaction. The main character is torn between the idea of the utopian concept and the connection between people. It’s only 13 episodes so it’s not even that long. The animation is also really good.

Up next is a show that won the Japan Academy Prize 2010 for feature animation – Summer Wars. It’s from the director of the Girl Who Leapt Through Time. A quick summary is that the main character wants a favor from a guy for him to act as her boyfriend. The girl’s family is a descendent of a really amazing well off family. The program “OZ” is like the super internet in which everything is run by it including traffic lights, etc. Someone unleashes an AI on it and it starts rage destroying everything and some of the family has ways to fight against it. Each member of the family has some amazing mundane ability such as being really good at folding cranes or playing cards. It’s a movie so it doesn’t even require that much of a time committment.

They then segue into The Girl Who Leapt Through Time which I watched last year. The movie is about a girl who finds herself with the sudden ability to go through time. I really enjoyed the animation which was smooth and crisp. The story was unique and overall it was just very enjoyable to watch. Whenever she jumps she ends up going back in time. What starts out as a really funny charming anime ends up being a lot darker and might make you want to throw yourself off a building. Summer Wars is a bit more upbeat and has a lot more characters but the panelists suggest both.
Le Chevalier D’Eon is another one they recommend. It’s a vaguely historical drama set in pre-revolutionary France whose sister has been murdered and injected with mercury to prevent a proper religious burial. His sister’s spirit possesses his body to try and exact her revenge. She murders people who are somewhat of a threat to the crown so the queen actually endorses it. There’s a lot of people keeping secrets on all sides so it’s full of mystery. The main character is an actual historical figure although the story isn’t exactly based on his actual story. It’s made by Production I.G. so obviously the animation is top notch.

Next they show the opening sequence to Outlaw Star. I can imagine why alot of peple haven’t seen it since it’s older so a lot of the younger people in the audience won’t be familiar with it. It’s a really great series and I watched it back in the day on Toonami. The opening sequence is pretty epic in of itself. It’s a great action anime but the characters are believable. It has parallels to Cowboy Bebop save for some of the more depressing episodes. The characters are trying to get to the Galactic Layline and are trying to get there using a stolen pirate ship they have acquired. The main characters are morally ambiguous and are classified as chaotic good or chaotic neutral. The characters stay true to themselves. The ships also have grappler arms which make for some pretty amazing space battles. It’s long enough to give you a lot of fun but not long enough to be too drawn out. The soundtrack is also really good and the main theme is one that most people should recognize. It’s got so much to offer – space, pirates, ninjas, and pretty much anything else you would want.

The next one is Ergo Proxy. I remember starting to watch this on Hulu. I’m not sure if it’s still on Hulu but if it is I might go back and watch the full series. It’s a cyberpunk series that has the screenplay done by the same guy who did Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell. We have a utopian society that is run by an iron fist which means it’s more of a dystopia since the people don’t feel anything. The main character investigates a virus where the robots are gaining emotions and those emotions are getting really dark. The government doesn’t want her getting to the bottom of this. They live in a bubble city because the rest of the world is a wasteland and if you leave you will most likely die. The series consists a lot of twists and turns. It’s a mind screw similar to Serial Experiments Lain except that there is information there and you’re not left wondering what just happened at the end. That most likely means you need to rewatch it to get the full story. The only thing is that at times it gets a bit slow and it requires a lot of thinking. Also there are references to things but they give you information about the references. It’s a standard 26 episode series.

Some honorable mentions

Neon Genesis Evangelion – Made by Gainax but it’s held back by a lot of plot holes. They’re now remaking it as four movies that makes it much better.

Last Exile – good characters and animation but the ending was very vague and confusing. They released a compendium of information that answers a lot of the questions you may be left with but it hasn’t been translated.

ColossalCon 2011 Live Blog – Science of Anime

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The first thing they talk about is really fast spaceships. They will need to delve into Einsten-ien physics. According to Einstein’s laws of time dilation and energy mass conversion warp travel is not possible. They go over a quick overview of physics.

Three basic ideas

1) constance – things that don’t change despite what happens around them

2) basic concepts such as mass, length, distance, and time

3) derived concepts such as area, velocity, acceleration, force, energy

Mass effects? No not the game. Basically, as an object speeds up, some energy is converted into mass, and that takes more energy to keep the speed up, so you push more energy into it and it gets more massive, and so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Mass effects of near light travel. Basically what this all means is that as you approach the speed of light your mass will increase infinitely. A kilogram object traveling at 95% the speed of light would gain a significant amount of mass, weighing 3.2 kgs. That is just due to its velocity. A regulation baseball weighs 5 ounces. At 95% the speed of light it weighs a pound.

Science in Anime

So what does anime do with all this and how do they fix it? “Ether streams” in Outlaw Star. Multi-generational travel like Trigun’s SEED ships. Just stay in space like Gundam SEED.

Ether streams relies on finding a spot in space that is itself moving very fast. King of like swimming downstream in a river. Einstein’s laws will still apply meaning your mass will increase. What about the Munchhausen Drive? It’s named after Baron Karl Munchhausen whose tall tales were so outlandish they named a disorder after him.

Travel times are very long even if you can go at 0.9 times the speed of light. At that speed it would take almost 30,000 years to travel just to the center of OUR galaxy.

Disclaimer

“Beyond this point everything in this presentation is filled with our own baseless assumptions. Any statements contained within are purely rumor and conjecture”

Explosions

They just showed the giant explosion clip from Akira. They use the size of the tallest building in Tokyo at that time and then used that to measure the size of the explosion. It’s about 8 times the size of the building (240m) which is about 1920 meters. So the blast was at least 2 km at the height and it would be somewhere between 1 and 10 megatons. Little Boy was estimated at 0.13 megatons. IVY Mike was approximately 10 megatons.

Robots and Such

The next part has to do with big robots and such. Given some theoretical data, what can and what can’t a made up mech do? We’re going to assume a best case scenario including no friction, no wind resistance, and no metal wear. They got a bunch of information presumably from a site like mahq.net. They first analyze a space shuttle which weighs just more than a Gundam and goes through the entire fuel tank very quickly. The Gundam’s ground speed is 165 km/hour. With an entire power plant’s energy rating it would take a minute and a half to get to top speed.

What in our world works and movies like a mech? HAL – hybrid assistive limb. I actually saw it demonstrated at the World Expo last year.

They next pit Gundam against the robot Asimo. The stats are heavily in favor of the Gundam.

They next pit the Gundam against a Backyard Mech which is slightly closer. It was created by a US Army Mechanic with four years and $25,000.

The rest of the panel was more of a Q&A with a bunch of audience members asking about an issue and a discussion happening. There are a few topics that touch on slightly political issues. One interesting topic is the use of unmanned fighting machines. If you delegate the actions to the machine and a mistake occurs then who takes the blame? This ends up becoming an ethical dilemma and should be kept in mind. The moment those decisions fall solely in the hands of machines is when you get into the realm of Terminators.

Walking is a very inefficient use of energy with regards to machines. It’s a lot easier with tank treads. Another thing is talking about transforming machines. It adds a lot of complexity and it’s easier to design something to do one thing very well than making it do a lot of different things.

This panel is probably the most educational panel I’ve ever been to, at least from an academic standpoint. The powerpoint could have been a lot better since there was a lot of text effects. However, the main panelist is actually a physicist so the content was very solid.

ColossalCon 2011 Live Blog – Sewing 101

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Sewing 101 I believe is run by Rachel, the same girl who did the wig panel yesterday. This is going on at the same time as Cosplay 101 but I decided to go to this one since there have been a few other general cosplay introduction panels I’ve gone to and I haven’t really been to many dedicated to just sewing. The panel is starting a bit late since they’re waiting on a microphone. It seems like she got roped into doing this panel too and wasn’t originally supposed to do this panel. I guess the original panelist for both dropped out last minute. I guess that means it’s potentially going to be some sort of Q&A.

The first thing she mentions is that if you know how to drive a car you know how to operate a sewing machine.

She starts out by giving a brief rundown on how to hand sew which I’m interested in since I had to hand sew the last part of my Roy Mustang cosplay and I wasn’t totally happy with how it turned out. The proper way to thread a needle is to knot it at the end not at the base (not sure why anyone would ever to think of knotting it at the eye of the needle). She goes over a few stitched like the straight and top stitch. You should hem everything so you don’t have loose threads.

Machine sewing is a lot easier and you should start out by reading the instruction book and knowing where everything is. If you don’t use the correct tension you can have a lot of trouble.

An audience member comes up and draws on the whiteboard a diagram of how to tie a knot which involves holding the thread in a loop and rolling the thread with your thumb.

She then asks if anyone knows what a serger is. Sergers are commonly seen on T-shirts to prevent fraying of the fabric edge. There’s a blade that also cuts off the excess fabric. Roll hemming is an alternative and can be a difficult technique.

An audience member asks about making a garment that come out at the bottom. It sounds like she needs to use some wire support which the panelist suggested too. She also suggested gardening hose as an alternative to hoop steel.

Another question elicits a discussion about bias tape. I get to point to my Roy cosplay which has plenty of bias tape all over.

The next question is about how to prevent a sewing machine from jamming. It was most likely a result of incorrect tension. She was using felt which requires higher tension. Tension goes up for a lot of thicker fabrics and should be lower for easier to sew fabrics.

Next question – how do you do a cross stitch (hand sewing). I think it should be fairly easy to find how to do this online or from a book.

The next question is about altering store bought patterns. The panelist says that you can make a cheap mockup using cheap bedsheets you buy from the thrift store. Also measure twice cut once.

What is the one fabric you would never use? Costume satin. The panelist says that vinyl is great and easy to work with but you have to be careful since puncture marks stay. Her favorite fabric to work with is fleece since you don’t have to hem or serge it and it’s really easy to sew it.

For sewing stretchy fabric you can use stretchy thread. You also need to be careful of whether it’s 2 way or 4 way stretch fabric. You may also need to get specialty needles to make sure the sewing machine doesn’t ruin the fabric. You should also use a zigzag stitch.

She also had a few suggestions for staying safe with using a sewing machine such as making sure everything is secure.

You should also backstitch when using a sewing machine because it ties knots at the end.

There’s a lot of trial and error when sewing and you should make mockups if you don’t know what you’re doing. I probably should have done this but I didn’t. I guess I got lucky that it still turned out ok.

Spend money on a good sewing machine if you’re going to be in the hobby for a while. Get a Brother or a Singer since they’re not too expensive and work well. The Viking ones are really expensive.

You can do embroidery using a zigzag stitch that’s really wide and turn the machine power up and feed it really slowly.

One suggestion for the con staff in the future would be to have all the panels behind closed doors since this was held in the lounge and it was sometimes distracting to hear a lot of noise coming from outside.

ColossalCon 2011 Live Blog – The Church of Anime

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This panel is run by The Anime Academy. They also ran the panel about Anime and Video Games into Movies panel that I attended the last part of.

The first show they talk about is Oh My Goddess. They start out by giving a quick synopsis of the show. I actually watched this a few months ago on Hulu and enjoyed it. The brief summary of the show is that the main character, Keiichi accidentally calls the Goddess Hotline and eventually gets a hold of Belldandy and his one wish is for her to stay with him forever. Eventually Belldandy’s two sisters Skuld and Urd end up coming to live with Keiichi. Their main commentary is that the devil is so hot that it seems less wrong to worship the devil. Skuld is the daughter of the devil and God and is half goddess half demon.

Next up is Tales of Symphonia. There are two worlds. In one world there is a girl that is supposed to become an angel to make their world prosperous again. Eventually you find out that you’re not regenerating the world but reversing the mana flow. You also find out the goddess is actually a guy and he’s trying to make the girl into a vessel for his dead sister.

Tales of the Abyss. The main character is being driven by the sentience of sound. Lorelai is the church of sound. There’s a stone that can predict things and eventually the religion causes the world to slowly decay from people overusing the stone. The church then uses it to start creating acts of destruction and one of the main characters thinks the only way to free the people is to destroy the world and recreate it with clones.

In Final Fantasy X there’s a villain called Sin which the panelists call a “devil whale.” Every summoner defeats Sin and then Sin keeps coming back. The game gets really convoluted.

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is up next. It’s a recent show with the two main characters as angels whose namesake items turn into demon slaying weapons. This is most definitely not a kid’s show and would not be suggested for anyone under the age of 18. The reason they’re doing all this is that they got kicked out of heaven and are working their way back into heaven by collecting heaven coins. Panty’s side quest is to sleep with as many men as she can while Stocking eats a lot of sweets. Their demon counterparts are Scanty and Kneesocks and have similar powers of transformation. Each episode is a parody of something American like parodies of Michael Bay Transformers and 90s Transformers. There’s also an episode where characters get turned into South Park characters. The show has influences from South Park, Drawn Together, and Powerpuff Girls.

The next show is X 1999. It’s a CLAMP series and is incredibly violent. At the last scene of the movie one character cuddles a severed head in heaven. The story is about the dragons of heaven want to protect the Earth while the dragons of Earth want to destroy and reset everything. The main character’s best friend ends up being the leader of the opposing side. There are some strong Judeo-Christian themes in the show.

Black Butler – technically this is not a church but just a show being crazy. The antagonist is an angel who wants to wipe everyone’s memory to cleanse the world.

Next up is Nuns with Guns which only gets a brief nod.

Trinity Blood is another show I watched on Hulu. The panelists call it Trigun with vampires. The only two factions are vampires and Catholics. The pope is a 14 year old who does not really have much power. The character designs for many of the characters have very ornate outfits with large hats.

Next is Hellsing. It’s one of my favorite mangas and I read it right after the original anime came out (which was terrible). Alexander Anderson is a priest who is obsessed with killing Alucard the main vampire (Dracula spelled backwards).

Dogs – Bullets and Carnage is another show I need to read/watch at some point. One of the characters is a blind priest who is a “lolicon” (likes little girls) while another character cannot touch girls.

Then they touch on Chrono Crusade where Rosetta joins the church just to use their guns and uses their resources.

Next is Trigun and they talk about Nicholas D. Wolfwood. The Wolfwood in the manga is different from the one in the anime. Wolfwood is a traveling priest and he carries a cross that is actually a giant weapon.

They then talk about Inuyasha and discuss Miroku who is a priest. He’s lecherous and is also a swindler. “He was Brock before Brock was Brock.” Kikyo is then shown but they’re running short on time so they’re rushing through.

The next show is the “Church of DBZ.” They do a quick rundown of Kami, Piccolo, Dende, Grand Kai, Supreme Kai North, West, South, East, and Supreme Kai, Old Kai, etc.

The last show is the “Church of Bleach” where they run out of time but were going to do a reaper showdown including Ichigo, Grell, Botan, Ryuuk, and a few others.

I was a bit disappointed with the panel. I expected more of an analysis of religion in anime but a lot of the time was spent just going through various shows and giving a brief synopsis of each one and then just talking about the show. There wasn’t much discussion aside from the occasional mention of some religious elements. The initial synopsis of the panel seemed really interesting but it was more of a introduction to a various shows that contain characters who are part of the church or there are some religious themes in them. It’s just my personal opinion since a lot of audience members around me really liked the panel though.

ColossalCon 2011 Live Blog – Friday Summary

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I was almost considering going to some more panels including some 18+ panels but after looking over the offerings nothing really caught my attention. I found a group of friends from Michigan walking around and hung out with them for about an hour and then just wandered around.

I spent a bit of time in the game room taking a look at all the different games. The games there were pretty standard but there was one rhythm game that they had set up at the front with bright lights and loud sounds that garnered a lot of attention. It’s called Technika 2 and I’ve never heard of it but it looked pretty awesome.

Since I’m pretty tired I think I’m gonna call it a night and get some sleep to get ready for a full day tomorrow. I felt that today was a bit slow so hopefully it’ll be a bit more lively tomorrow.

Colossalcon 2011 Live Blog – Friday Fashion Show and Cosplay

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So my batteries kept running out for my external flash so I had to run back to my room to get the charger first.

The Friday Fashion Show and Cosplay is a much more laid back version of the Masquerade. It starts off with people going on stage in cosplay and was followed by people “acting” as their character.

Kuwabara makes an entrance every year and this year he did it bounding with energy, so much so that he actually ripped his undershirt.

They needed to stall for a few minutes so the two MCs who are also part of the Who’s Line troupe decide to do the question game. It’s got some funny moments in there. mostly revolving around the Kuwabara who’s got his shirt half off.

And now they’re back with a trivia challenge where the prizes are glow sticks.

In FMA, Winry’s dog has a automail limb. Which one is it?

In the manga Witch by Clamp, which gender are the angels? It’s a trick question – they don’t have a gender.

I can’t even understand what series they’re asking about for the next question. All I know is that it’s a Clamp series. Apparently they were watching X the movie.

In Ergo Proxy the name of the proxy that is held captive in Rondo is what?

In FFX the little boy wants to be something unusual when he grows up. What is it? He wants to be a Blitzball.

In NGE, what is the name of the final angel?

Kaleidostar has a very famous director. Name another one of his works. Princess Tutu

I think they’ve run out of stalling content.

Now they’re showing a “half time” video. They’re going to show some AMVs

Nostromo – Running Man

Next is a Haruhi Suzumiya AMV (contains lyrics like “i like the way you talk to me i like the way you look at me” and some other English mixed into a Japanese song that has rap elements. – might be Skittles

No idea what the last one was – it was some horror series.

Followed by jihaku – Foo Fighters Best of You

Next is Matchbox 20 – Let’s See How Far We’ve Come

The Race edited by Hito

Awards

Fashion Show – Couldn’t hear over everyone screaming

Next is a special prize for Ichigo (girl)

There’s an excellent lolita outfit for a guy

They either need to display these on the screen or hold off on applause because I can barely hear anything. The judges also are not speaking totally clearly.

Next is for Orharra from Star Trek

Next is a award for Boogie Woogie – he was in a gar suit and did a funny dance

East Asian category

3rd – Rachel for Lina Inverse

2nd – Emily for April (from Trinity Blood)

1st – Shawn for Vash the Stampede (Trigun) – he had all the accessories including a duffel bag

Character Portrayal

Talia for Tensa Zengetsu – she sang a song

Hitaachin boys from Ouran

2nd place – Ryuuk from Death Note

1st place – Sebastian from Black Butler – he did a whole monologue (I believe it was from the first chapter)

ColossalCon 2011 Live Blog – How to Wear a Kimono

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I cam into this panel late and only plan on staying for half of it.

By the time I got in she was already most of the way through showing how to put on a yukata.

When you wear yukata you don’t wear tabi with geta. The round fan goes with the yukata. If she gets tired of holding it she can stick it in the back tucked into the obi.

If the obi has any embroidery or paint you don’t want to put it through washing machines/dryers however if it’s plain you can put it through the wash as long as you put it in a garment bag.

I really like how this panel is run with the interactive demonstration where the panelist gets an audience member up to dress up in yukata/kimono.

Furisode are supposed to be worn only by unmarried women and is pretty formal.

Prices:

Yukata – $15-20 (much less than I expected)

Kimono – $10-15 (everyday pieces)

I totally expected the prices to be hundreds of dollars and wow it’s way cheaper than I had thought.

Unlined outfits are generally yukatas. Kimonos can be very hot to wear since it’s so many layers.

Hitoe is a summer unlined kimono that is more formal. It’s similar to a yukata but one difference is that the seam in the back will be lined.

For men if it’s formal it’s almost always black. Men’s kimono usually are in very subdued colors but the inside is very interesting visually. Women’s kimono is the opposite with the outside being flashier.

Kimono is being brought back more into the mainstream albeit with some changes. For instance, one fashion style is “kimono-hime” which is very flashy and has large bows, frills, etc.

The next audience member is getting dressed up in a komon kimono. The collar has strings to help fold it in half while newer ones will have snaps in the collar. The kimono needs the jubon undergarment. The collar will be a different color and there is no front panel unlike the kimono. Don’t get suckered into buying a jubon when trying to buy a kimono. To make the jubon collar stiffer you can buy or make a collar stiffener using some thin plastic. Find the end there the hinari is open and just feed it through.

The panelist definitely knows her stuff since she was able to explain everything without the help of any aides such as powerpoint but it still seemed very organized.

It’s a shame I can’t stay for the entire panel but I wanted to listen to the Leiji Matsumoto panel. If this panel is offered in the future I would definitely recommend it for anyone that is interested in Japanese garments. I certainly learned a lot.

Nevermind, I decided to stay for this since it’s not as easy to learn about plus it’s just darn interesting. The panelist mentioned that most women in Japan don’t know how to wear a kimono anymore – it’s a dying art. It reminded me of the flower arrangement workshop at Ohayocon. I really appreciate these types of panels at conventions since it’s a nice respite from all the anime/manga/video game related panels.

It’s easiest to tie the obi in the front since you can see what you’re doing and your arms won’t get as tired. When she passed around a magazine there were a couple of tutorials in there showcasing a few different styles of tying the obi bow. I never realized there was so much variation but each one is quite complicated. There are actually quite a few pieces to tying an obi with no less than two pieces of cloth, a cord, and a piece of plastic underneath it all to hold the shape.

The more you wear kimono the easier it’ll get and the more graceful you’ll get at it. This entire process makes putting on gi and hakama seem as simple as slipping into a T-shirt.

Kimono shoes are zori instead of geta. An interesting fact about the cord that goes around – if it’s a happy occasion both are tucked up; if it’s a sad occasion both are tucked down; for normal wear it’s one tucked up and one tucked down. You can put things in the sleeves since the weight keeps it down. Some obi have pockets sewn into them.

A good book is “The Complete Guide to Kimono.” It’s a good basic book if you want to get into the nitty gritty and all of the rules and regulations based on age, etc.

Men’s pieces do not have the slit under the sleeve.

The group AndSewingisHalftheBattle have some questions about a specific obi knot. Seems like it’s going to be for their next group cosplay. It’s going to be interesting to see what the end result is.

Kerry Porter of Ohio Kimono has a beautiful, amazing collection and has done a lot for the kimono community.

If you’re trying to find the worth of something use ichiroya.com. They are notorious for showing every single flaw or stain on the piece. Apparently this panelist also does another panel sometimes about buying kimono without going broke. One thing is to make sure to measure yourself in cm since only the US uses inches.

ColossalCon 2011 Live Blog – Cosplay for Beginners

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This panel is run by five people, including Axelious, LuckyGrim, and two Sams.

Wigs are an excellent way to bump up your cosplay. Some good places for wigs (in order from ok to best quality):

1) some eBay site (didn’t catch the name)

2) Cosplay.com

3) Arda Wigs

Getting a custom color is a pain. Easiest way to do it is to get a silver white wig and then use sharpie (which takes forever). If you wash a wig wash it with mild Dove hand detergent which is the same stuff they use on animals in oil spills. Get hair conditioner for “sassy black ladies” which will get out any tangles. To store your wig you should put it in a clear ziploc bag and press it flat in the bag to get out most of the air and then store it out of sunlight. Build-a-Bear boxes are handy for carrying a styled wig and a wig head. Always wear a wig cap unless you’re bald. You need to bobby pin your hair to the wig cap and then put the wig on. This will prevent the wig from slowly falling off. The process only takes about 5 minutes.

AndSewingIsHalftheBattle apparently has a tutorial on braiding long hair to put under a wig cap.

Underdress

Supposedly about 30% of the time planning the cosplay is spent deciding on what to wear underneath everything. Swimsuit bottoms are good to wear if you’re wearing a short skirt or something similar for a variety of reasons. For guys wearing skin tight clothes wear compression shorts.

For materials you’re not familiar with start with making something small. Also if you’re starting out go to Goodwill and modify the clothing since it’s much simpler than making something from scratch. “You have to start out somewhere.”

corsetpattern.com – you put in your measurements and it’ll spit out how to make it. If you buy it from eBay make sure you get steel boning – plastic is prone to breaking and can hurt more. You can use a combination of spiral and solid steel boning. Spanx and shapewear can help you feel better about yourself if you don’t have the most flattering figure and it also helps the costume lay better.

corsetsupplies.com is where you can get steel boning.

Binding

cosfu.org has a Dante open shirt binding where she uses ace bandages and puts latex over it and airbrushes muscles on it. Don’t use open shirt binding unless absolutely necessary since it can be dangerous. If you’re bustier you can use compression vests. Another tip is to put some vaseline on and then bind or else it will be fairly painful.

Fabrics

Ones to never use – shiny satin is a no no. Sign up for Jo-Ann mailing list. Hobby Lobby is great, Michael’s got caught stealing peoples’ credit card info so don’t go there. Home Depot is great for a lot of things. She buys Scotch Guard by the bucket and dips all her cosplays in them so they’re spill-proof. Try to avoid PVC vinyl and latex unless you’re really experienced. Industry people use stretch cotton and spray a sheen on it. For Wonder Woman she uses a high grade non sheen satin and lines it in muslin to make it really stiff.

For every different type of fabric you should change your needle and thread. Your sewing machine will only do so much. A lot depends on the needle and thread. Buy a Teflon foot for your sewing machine so it won’t stick on fabrics like the metal one can.

Hand sewing needles are usually not as sharp so stay away from shiny fabrics and high weave fabrics. Hand sewing works for a lot of things. There is no way to avoid hand sewing even on the most advanced costumes.

Snaps are your friends. You can make things removable and it just makes everything easier. As a judge, LuckyGrim says well done basics are more impressive than huge things with some things not done well.

Patterns are your friends. Don’t get Simplicity patterns since they use an odd measuring system. There’s a lot of free patterns online. McCall’s patterns are easy to use. Patterns will teach you the basics of sewing. Patterns are very helpful especially if you haven’t made it before.  LuckyGrim says that she keeps a long list of formulas in her sewing room. This is somewhat counter to what I’ve heard about seamstresses where math is more or less irrelevant.

Pin everything. It’s easier to do everything right the first time than having to rip it apart and redo it.

Some good starting projects – vests, circle skirts. No two people sew the same. LuckyGrim says when she judges she can tell a lot about the costume based on stitching, type of thread, etc.

If you’re not a good seamstress don’t worry – just commission it. A good reliable site is Etsy.

Makeup

Use foundation, even for guys. It’s important to start with a good base. It’s like a primer for your face, protects your pores, and evens out the tones. Buy makeup brushes since it’s more efficient than sponges. There are makeup tricks for making you look thinner or any other look. Look at the reference images to look at the makeup to make sure it’s not overdone. A way to get 5 o’clock shadow is to use something similar to steel wool and mix it in with foundation.

For special effects makeup make sure you know what’s in it and how to remove it. Get barrier spray especially for red dyes or else that area of skin will be red for a few days.

Props/Accessories

For Keyblades you can go one of two ways – if you’re going light you can use balsa wood. She then uses a hand drill to sand it down.

Another way is to use expanding foam and spray it over a cardboard structure. Then wrap it in plaster and sand it and paint them.

Another way is to use dowel rod or PVC pipe and use a variety of materials over it. Her favorite is Krylon spray paint. It sounds like they use spray paint without a respirator. I would NOT recommend this. I wear a respirator for pretty much everything since I value my lungs.

Never spray paint over foam. Paper mache it first. Flour, water, and newspaper. One way to get some shading on a super shiny finish is to use a rag and wipe a bit of black acrylic paint on it.

A popular material is paperclay – it goes a long way and is pretty much like paper mache.

A few techniques on armor:

Wonderflex. It’s expensive but it goes a long way. It usually gets purchased in bulk so it can be used to make a lot of things. Cut a practice piece out of foamie and then use it as a guide. Buy a heat gun to work with Wonderflex and heat it up until it gets floppy. It will cool hard and then you can just cut it out, sand it, bondo it, and then paint it.

Foamies also works and there is the famous Amethyst tutorial. Put elmer’s glue or gesso over it and then you can paint it.

Resin casting is excellent but is hard to work with and expensive.

One way to make pauldrons is to blow up a balloon, paper mache it, then use a product called friendly plastic and you can put it over it (can be purchased from cosplaysupplies.com).

You can make your own vacuum former for $20 and it’s good for making armor.

Photography and Cosplay

Every person is different. What may look good for one person may not look good for another person.

Look in the mirror to practice your poses. If the character has a signature pose learn it and perfect it. However, don’t do the exact same pose every single time. Practice your facial poses. Don’t smile and make it look fake. A tip is to fake a laugh and by the time the picture is taken it’ll look more natural.

Hallway pictures usually are not edited so it may be prudent to wear makeup. The infamous “shine”.

It makes your face look bigger if you extend your neck and tilt your head slightly up. Make friends with photographers and you can pick up a lot of techniques.

If you’re larger turn to the side and bring your arms out a bit.

Play with different angles since posing for your body size is different for each person.

Final Remarks

Make the costume fit you.

Experiment. Try new things. Pick something different every time.

Youtube tutorials can be useful.

Someone out there is going to be better than you. Someone out there is going to be worse than you. Just be proud of what you did. No matter how bad it is as long as you’re proud of it that’s all that matters. Don’t mind the haters.

LuckyGrim’s group is on cosfu and they have reviews on conventions, hotels, and tutorials as well as other miscellaneous information.