October 18, 2016

Kitacon 2016 cosplay plans

Hello guys!

My next convention will be Kitacon in Kemi, Finland, held on 29th October in Sauvotalo. I see no reason not to go there seeing that I live close and Kitacon has always had free entrance, woop! Free local cons are always appreciated for a poor student like me, lol. I will go there with Sacchan and some other friends and, as per usual, I have little to no expectations of the con itself – Kitacon rarely has any kind of big things happening and I always spend a huge majority of my time just derping around with friends and chilling at some random corner. Not like it's a bad thing though because it's really relaxing with a small-scale con every once in a while. ^^
At first I wasn't sure if I could be bothered to cosplay, since Kitacon has always been one of those small "hang with friends" type of conventions, but after some thinking I decided to bring a costume – especially when Firith asked if I could do a pair cosplay with him. Firith was considering to bring Ayame Sohma from Furuba and asked if I could join in so that he wouldn't have to be lonely Ayame again; he even said that going solo in said cosplay had started to taste like wood. I can wholly understand, solo cosplaying is rarely as fun as group cosplaying when you get the chance. So of course, as the good friend I am, I decided to spare my pal from another wooden experience.

Cosplay plans in 3.... 2.... 1...

Series: Fruits Basket
Character: Hatori Sohma

So I decided on going with Hatori, mainly because he fits with Ayame, is easy to wear and I was originally supposed to debut him earlier this year anyway but then shit happened and yeah, it's been bugging me since then. ^^" I needed a costume that I can easily change out of because –as how things seem right now after the con I'll be heading for a Halloween party so yeah, nothing too complicated that takes hours to take off. Hatori is a lovely character anyway, one of my favorites from Fruits Basket. I'm glad I get a second chance to debut him together with Firith as Ayame ~

That's all for this quickie. Hatori makeup test coming soon so stay on the line!
Bye bye!

October 13, 2016

[Sponsored] Lens review: GEO Xtra WI-A13 Green

Hello lovely people!

I present to you today a circle lens review of a green pair – the GEO Xtra WI-A13 Green, also sometimes known as GEO Xtra Crystal Green. ^_^ The lenses I'm reviewing in this post were sponsored by the trusty LensVillage, whom I really recommend if you feel an urge to buy some colored contact lenses too! I've been their customer for years now and never had any issues – they have a wide range to choose from, many different brands and LensVillage also holds sales quite frequently, which is always a plus! ♥ Be sure to check them out ~

This review, although sponsored, consists of 100% my genuine opinion. I value honesty very highly when reviewing and won't compromise it.

Discount code "SAMURAI15" cuts 15% OFF on your purchase from LensVillage!

Base curve: 8.7 mm
Diameter: 15 mm
Water content: 38%
Life span: 1 year (I recommend 6 months)

As I said above, I've never had any problems with LensVillage and I always get my lenses in a timely manner, which is in approximately two to three weeks. They've always been kind and super helpful and the lenses come securely packaged in some kind of foam, bubblewrap or such to protect the glass bottles from breaking during their journey to your home. ^^ Because I got GEO lenses I also received an information sheet together with my order, complete with desciptions on how to insert lenses and care for them etc – it's really handy for beginners! With every LensVillage order also comes a business card and a free lens case. Just be sure to pick up some lens solution beforehand because that's not included!
Oh and yeah, of course are all their circle lenses authentic and GEO lenses, like mine, come with the anti-fake stickers so that you can check them up online to prove that the pair you got is genuine and safe to wear. 

This is everything that came with the order.

I put the lenses to soak overnight, before wearing them. This is highly recommended because the solution used in the vials is not the same as normal lens solution and it might hurt your eyes.

To be honest these lenses look kinda bland and boring in their vials (that was my first impression) but, when worn, they definitely look better! I was kinda expecting the color to pop a little bit more though but nevertheless it's a really pretty green shade that borders into a blueish green in some lights – kinda like a seafoam green. I'm suspecting that the color would be more like a vivid real green on dark eyes but on light blue-gray eyes like mine it does turn into a teal-ish color. ^^

One lens in. Notice the size.
I don't have so much to say about the design itself since it feels rather ordinary. It is semi-realistic yet versatile and the darker dot-like strikes makes it so that the green appears to have several different tones and not just a solid color.
The enlargement is there but it's nothing that's gonna make or break your look, meaning that the size boost is fairly average. It's good if you want lenses that aren't too big and could work for everyday looks since I'm sure these would look just fine without eye makeup, if needed. Of course they are also suitable for cosplay if you want a more natural approach yet want the color difference to be visible.

Lens photos incoming!
All photos taken by me during an October afternoon with a clear sky.
There's no color filters or such on the close-up photos and that's so that the colors would be as true to real life as possible.

Bathroom light.
Flash photo.
Facing a window in the corridor. (not sun side)
White-ish corridor light.
Yellow corridor light.
Weaker yellow light in the staircase.
Standing in the staircase, with natural light (window) behind me.
Indoors storage room.
Outdoors, facing the sun while being under the shadow.
Outdoors, back against sun. (facing wall)
Outdoors, facing sun.
Sideway view. Outdoors, in the shadows.
Regarding comfort I had no problems inserting these lenses and they were comfy right from the start. They don't blur my vision or anything but I experienced a couple sudden bouts of dryness – luckily those were short-lived and went away almost as suddenly as they showed up. I'd say that the comfort is average because I could wear them for 2,5 hours before my eyes felt tired and dry, borderline watery. The comfort is definitely not bad but it's not amazing either, at least not for me and my sensitive/dry eyes. I'm sure most people would have no problems with these though and hey, eyedrops exist for a reason!

Overall these lenses are definitely wearable, versatile and lovely! They make my eyes look like crystals and the color is somewhere between emerald green and seafoam green, depending on the light. In some poorer lights they can turn a wee bit grayish in tone but it's no biggie because the real color is such an exquisite and unusual shade! Oh and yeah, because these lenses lack any kind of a defining black rim they won't give you dolly eyes either.

I would recommend these first-hand for cosplayers (especially for doing bishounen characters) but they would even add to most j-fashion outfits as well. I can also imagine wearing these as an everyday lens, assuming you're fine with the unnatural color that is quite eye-catching.

Distance photo!

Remember, if you order from LensVillage you can use my discount code "SAMURAI15" to enjoy 15% OFF storewide! (incl. sclera lenses, cosmetics etc)

Short summary:

Color: 8/10
Unusual yet beautiful shade of green that balances somewhere between emerald and seafoam in color.
Design: 7/10
Appears dull on first impression but the crystal-like effect it gives when worn makes up for it!
Opacity: 7/10
Decently opaque.
Enlargement: 5/10
Not big but there's still a modest size increase.
Comfort: 6/10
Average. Comfy to wear, no vision blurs etc but dry in about 2,5 hours on my sensitive eyes.
Naturalness: 7/10
The design is quite natural and size isn't too big. Works for a daily lens, assuming you don't mind the unnatural blue-green color.

Thanks for reading! I hope you found this review helpful. ^^
Thank you, LensVillage! ♡
Shiro Samurai out ~

October 8, 2016

Lens review: I.Fairy Casper Green

Good evening!

I've just barely recovered from the flu and now I'm currently preparing for my last two cons of the year, one in Sweden and one in Finland. But before I get to posting any kind of cosplay plans or so I wanted to do a circle lens review! I will be showing you peeps the wonderfully multi-colored I.Fairy Casper Green lenses today! 

Let's go!

Base curve: 8.6 mm
Diameter: 16.2 mm
Water content: 55%
Life span: 1 year (I recommend 6 months)

Ever since I saw these lenses for the first time I've been wanting to purchase and try them on! I fell in love with the multi-color design they have – it goes from yellow in the center, to green and lastly violet. *o* It's a really unique color combination and the print itself is mighty nice too; it's quite rare to find colored contact lenses that incorporate so many different colors into its design – most times it's just difference nuances of blue etc but yeah, the I.Fairy Casper series are bold enough to mix it up even further! Of course the green is the main "middle" color (it has the biggest first impression) but the other colors complement it. I really love how the yellow ring brings the attention to the eyes and then the luscious green takes over and lastly there's that lovely purple color which crowns it all.

One lens in. Notice size difference.
As is typical for I.Fairy these lenses are big. Not humongously big but definitely big; I'm pretty positive that these would look out of place if worn without eye makeup. But despite being large in size they don't give that traditional dolly eye look since there's barely any black limbal ring to even speak of. Nevertheless it's a really pretty and colorful lens that's a treat to wear if you want to feel like a peacock for a day!

Regarding comfort these lenses are pretty okay. Felt itchy after insertion and it lasted for about 5 minutes – nothing unbearable but a bit annoying still. I had to reinsert them a couple times each because they felt stingy. These lenses also made my eyes watery after I got them in, which rarely happens to me; I had to stand there for a minute or two and pat the corners of my eyes to get them to stop tearing up. But yeah, despite the shaky start I can quite easily wear these for 3,5 hours with no problems. Sometimes I feel them slightly blurring my vision though. Around 4 hours they started to feel a bit dry and so I took them off, although if needed I could likely wear them even longer.

Lens photos ahead!
All photos taken by me during a really dull and cloudy October afternoon. All close-up photos are free from color filters and such and that's so that the colors would be as true to real life as possible.

Apartment room light, lamps on.
Bathroom light.
Flash photo.
Facing a window in the corridor.
White-ish corridor light.
Really yellow corridor light.
Weak yellow staircase light.
Standing in a storage room indoors, no lights on
except for some weak yellowish staircase lights behind me.
Outdoors, back against the light. (aka facing the wall)
Outdoors, facing the cloudy sky.
The design of these lenses makes me think about forest dwellers like fairies and other fairytale creatures – and peacocks, of course. The colors go well together and don't clash or look weird in any way. One might expect though that the lilac would overwhelm the green, since it's the edge/final color but yeah, they do somehow blend nicely so that when you look at the lenses they do give the illusion that your eyes are first-hand green. It's quite fascinating, honestly.

Distance photo!

It's a really refreshing and different lens to wear and well suited for alternative fashion and fantasy costuming. ^.^ I'm tempted to try out other colors of this series but we'll see ~

Short summary:

Color: 9/10 

Alluring and pretty multi-color lens that has yellow, green and even lilac in it! Good color pigmentation!
Design: 8/10
Really nice fairytale-esque design.
Opacity: 8/10
Covers my real eye color well but isn't too opaque to look super costumey.
Enlargement: 8/10
Definitely big in size but the lack of a thick black rim keeps them from looking overly dolly.
Comfort: 7/10
Quite good. A bit itchy after insertion but it goes away in a matter of minutes. Can wear them for a little bit past 4 hours before they start to show signs of dryness. Might blur my vision slightly.
Naturalness: 2/10
Mjah. Too many colors going on to be passable.

I hope you found this review helpful!
Shiro Samurai out ~

October 1, 2016

Area 88 Shin Kazama fighter pilot helmet

Good afternoon everyone!

Just to be clear: this is a post about a future cosplay that I will make and to which I have started gathering materials. I haven't set a deadline or anything because this costume will most likely take a few years to complete, depending on how lucky I am with sourcing some of the military items needed. Yes, I know that I have several other costumes started/unfinished (I'm bad at this :'c) but they will all eventually get done – some are set to be long-time projects anyway.

Oh and yeah, feel free to scroll past the introduction at the beginning if you only want to see photos of the helmet and don't care about knowing why this cosplay (and game!) is really important to me.

U.N. Squadron/Area 88 (Super Nintendo game) complete OST.

Have you ever had a series or a game etc that you grew up with? One that, although it might not have shaped you into who you are today, you remember very fondly and smile at just the thought of it? One that is tied to a lot of good and precious memories?
I have.

For me it is a SNES game called U.N. Squadron, or Area 88 in Japan. For many the game is probably unheard of but, for me, it has a big and irreplaceable place in my heart. When I was really young (probably 6 years or younger) I used to play on my big sister's Super Nintendo upstairs during any opportunity that I got – after school/daycare, during weekends, vacations and so on. Playing video games was one of my favorite pastimes. Some of my favorite games included well-known classics like Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario Allstars, Mario Paint... and then there was U.N. Squadron. The hidden gem. For those not in the know U.N. Squadron is a 1989 side-scrolling shooting game released by Capcom for the CPS arcade hardware and, later on, for the Super Nintendo.
Oh and yeah, it's worth mentioning that Super Nintendo was the first gaming console I ever touched and thus it created –and sealed– my big gaming interest. Officially sealed by Nintendo, lol.

Many years went by and I had almost completely forgotten about this amazing game and, honestly, once the Super Nintendo was put away, in favor of newer game consoles, I even forgot the name of it! I only had some vague memories of a really good "airplane shooter game" with awesome musics and it took me many years until I, by a coincidence, rediscovered the game – you can only imagine the wave of nostalgy and extreme happiness I felt when I found this pearl again!
So yeah, some time after that I learned that my much beloved fighter jet game is actually based on a manga/anime series that's called Area 88. Guess how thrilled I was with the discovery and I, of course, immediately had to check it out!
I found the OVA and the TV-series, marathoned them both and fell in love all over again. I quickly decided that I need to cosplay someone from this game/series because it holds such a special and tender place in my heart, from times before my life went upside down and hell broke loose. When I was young I didn't think too much about the game (except that I enjoyed it a lot, the music was badass and that it was really hard) but afterwards I realized that it resonated with me on many more levels and now I cherish it maybe even more than all those Super Mario games that I used to spend more time with. U.N. Squadron (referred from now on to as Area 88, for convenience) reminds me of my blissful and troublefree childhood that I wish so dearly that I could relive at times... and it also reminds me greatly about my incredibly strong, brave and inspiring big sister, who loved collecting model aircrafts as a kid. 
So yeah, Area 88 makes me remember my first home and the good old times before my parents divorced and I had to move to a new town where I got severely school-bullied. It's incredibly important and bears great value to me and, while unknown to most, this game to me is something different. It's like a reminder of that worryless life that I had as a child and that was taken away from me too early.


Okay so, after watching the OVA and the animated series I decided on cosplaying Shin, even though, funnily enough, I used to play with Mickey the most in the game. I thought for the longest time that Shin was a girl because of his hair on the game image. xD Shin just appealed to me more and I loved his character and how human he was. I knew before starting that I wanted this cosplay to be as close to perfect as possible, because I wanted to pay homage to this very important game/series to me. I was sure that I'd rather wait for perfection than be quick and end up with something half-assed. I knew it could, and probably would, be a long-time project that would end up being very expensive.

I decided on doing Shin Kazama as he appears in the OVA.
I started looking around for a suitable helmet soon enough (because I decided it could be a good point to start at) and realized that my best chance was to check out military surplus shops and pray for good luck... ridiculously good luck. I managed to find a few other Shin cosplayers online whose costume descriptions helped me out in figuring out what helmet models would be suitable etc; I also learned that just sourcing a good-enough base helmet alone could take years. I had a hum on what I was looking for but, of course, I couldn't be 100% sure because I'm not an aviation collector, enthusiast or anything – but I do have a rising interest in the matter. I guess I've always had it inside me but didn't realize it; I've always been fascinated about flying and aircrafts.
By some miraculous luck I managed to find a HGU-33 US Army pilot helmet (that's what it was listed as, don't quote me on that) that looked decently similar to what Shin is wearing. Best part was that I didn't even have to look outside Sweden or Finland, booyah! :D I actually wanted to avoid buying from outside Europe because of high shipping costs and customs/taxes.

Front. With visor partly down.
As far as I've gathered this model is not in use anymore and thus fairly rare to source. I sadly don't know too much about it just yet (I'm waiting to ask at a military forum for more information) but I'll hopefully mention any new knowledge that I gather in the next helmet post! This post will just be to show you guys a bunch of detail photos of the pilot helmet, before I do any modifications. I thought why not share some photos of it, in case someone out there, one day, is doing this same cosplay (although rare/unlikely) and stumbles upon this post. :) Aviation fans might also be interested, hehe.

The thing is that I'm not even sure if Shin's helmet is taken directly from the real world or if there's some artistic liberties taken on its design. I do know though that the series is surprisingly realistic (portrays existing fighter jets etc) and based on the 1970's and 1980's – it's definitely worth a watch if you're into war/aviation series, especially the OVA. It's one of my personal favorites and yes, I'm biased because of my childhood but sssshh. Seriously, check it out if war drama and realistic portrayals about how war affects the human mind is in your interest.

Side view.
The other side.
Seen from above.
Visor knob closeup.
Closer look on the inside.
Ear cup closeup.
What appears to be a Gentex sticker on the inside.
Chin strap.
Chin strap, other side.
Closeup on the chin strap's adjuster.
What I assume is the holders for the oxygen mask.
Label on the backside.
Fun fact is that this helmet was waaaay out of my price range on what I'd ever be willing to pay for a single costume prop that's not even necessary for character recognizability. Honestly, it cost me 278 € on a sale (don't know if overpriced or not) and normally I'd never shell out that kind of money for a costume item – except for this one. Normally I don't even have that kind of money anyway, lol. That should tell you just how precious this cosplay is to me and how far I'm willing to go to make it look good and at least decently authentic; I just love Area 88 so much and I want to do it justice. ;u;

This is already my most expensive cosplay to date... and I only have the helmet at the moment, oops. This is one of those cosplays that I only have to briefly think about to get really happy, giddy and excited – do you know that feeling?
I can finally do a character from a game that played a big part in my childhood and it makes me so much more satisfied than any other cosplay from a come-and-go fandom. Area 88 stayed with me back then and will always stay with me – its place has been secured already in my heart a long time ago... and now it's time to show it to the world.


That's about all I had to say for this time. I'm probably forgetting to mention a thousand things but oh well, that's why I can (and will) do another blog post. ;) Thanks for reading!