February 25, 2014

Keisuke Sannan photoshoot (aka preview!)

Yoo ~

Today I decided to put on my Sannan cosplay for a preview but it quickly turned into a cosplay photoshoot instead. I swear these glasses had something against me because, sweet lord, how hard it was to put them on! Either my head is huge or the glasses are ridiculously small (well, they are antique) because there was just no way I could get them to go over both of my ears – even just one ear was a hard task. Somehow I still managed to get them on after a lot of laughing and helping hands.
Also, I must say that wearing waraji in the snow is nothing short of suicide – my feet turned into no-feel pieces of meat at the end and the photographer even stepped on my toes at one point. xD Totally worth it because my feet aren't even visible on a single pic... *shot*
It was around 0 °C outside and a bit windy and at the end I couldn't feel my fingers anymore either (they were screaming red!) but it was actually worth it this time.

Now prepare for photo overload!

Cosplayer: Valkoinen Samurai (Keisuke Sannan)
Photographer: Jäätynyt Enkeli

Later on I put on my shinsengumi gear (haori and headband) and BOOM! More action-y pictures!

Bonus picture! 

 Well, now I'm outta here. See ya!
~ Valkoinen Samurai

February 22, 2014

Kitacon 6 cosplay plans – Mysterious guys with disturbing smiles


My next con will be Kitacon in Kemi, Finland, held 1-2 March. This of course means that Kitacon will kick off my con year 2014 and I dare say it's about time! I've had quite the con withdrawal syndrome since Chibicon in November and I'm happy to finally see an end to it. Finallyyyyyyyyyy.

So let's get back to the purpose of this post, namely revealing my cosplay plans because hey, there's only one week left until the con! So here goes in 3, 2, 1...


Series: Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan
Character: Keisuke Sannan

Yep, I'm going to cosplay RILLI Sannan. I do like him (I don't understand the haters, c'mon he's pretty awesome in his own way) and ever since I did that one quick test with the green kimono and glasses –that I helped Jäätynyt Enkeli order– I've wanted to know what it would look like if I cosplayed Sannan properly; soon enough I will know! I must admit I'm very excited for this one and hey, Sannan-san needs more cosplay love! <3 I will borrow some cosplay parts from Jäätynyt Enkeli for this – namely the wig, glasses, green kimono, blue "vest", swords and the black sash.
Oh, also I'll likely end up doing a cosplay preview before Kitacon so prepare for that!


Series: Bleach
Character: Gin Ichimaru

Wow, I've only cosplayed Gin twice and the last time was at Uppcon 2012 – it feels like forever ago. Damn I miss Uppcon. ;_; For quite a while I've wanted to wipe the dust off him and give him another appearance and well, now is the time! It turned out that me, Jäätynyt Enkeli, Sairu-chan and Hasakitsuki will have a Bleach group as well so that's probably gonna be fun!

That's it guys, see you there!

February 18, 2014

Valkoinen Samurai edition: Who ends up in my cosplay list and why?

Whazzup guys?

Last month I made this cosplay decision process post and –as some might remember– at the end of it I asked if there was interest for a follow-up about how I personally choose my cosplays. Well well, seemingly some peeps were curious so I'm gonna go ahead and make a hopefully not-too-long post about what kinds of character qualities and such tug on my "need to cosplay" strings!

Before I start I'd like to apologize in advance for eventually messy text coming through but oh well, it shouldn't be too bad I hope.
So, where to start huh? Hmm well, if we take it from the start; when it comes to series that I end up watching/reading I wouldn't be lying if I said that a big chunk of them have some sort of roots or at least references to Japan's history. I'm a sucker for history and historical figures to begin with so of course any series that has this will have additional appeal points from me! Oh, and we need not mention samurai series, these especially catch my interest before anything else does. But of course I still end up watching/reading other stuff – everything from Digimon to Uta no Prince-sama and Wolf's Rain. I can get interested in pretty much anything as long as there is at least something in the series that catches my interest, be it character design(s), art/animation style, plot or even a single badass weapon.

Inuyasha's Tetsusaiga sword is epic, hands down.
But when it comes to the characters themselves in any given series there are indeed some more or less specific things that can add to a more secure place into my ever-growing cosplay list.

Character personality: I have a rather noticeable preference towards more silent, calm, serious and/or distant characters, sometimes even outright "I'm better than you"-minded and possibly cruel ones like Sesshoumaru from InuYasha. Mysterious characters who you can't really tell if they are good, bad or neither tend to tickle my fancy... and so does anti-heroes every now and then as well. There are a lot of different character personalities that can appeal to me in all sorts of combinations so it's pretty hard to just say some traits because anime characters are sometimes very diverse. But I do often like characters who start off as almost emotionless/uncaring and cold and then gradually turn out to be or turn into a good guy in one way or another. Oh, and occasionally I will end up liking the seemingly mean/teasing/trolling one of the bunch, especially if they are anything like Okita from Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan who's often cracking jokes at the expense of others and such – I tend to like the sarcastic bastards.

Okita, y u so awesome?
Character story/background: Well, this is a pretty hard one to answer because it can be anything. For me the character's past isn't the most important part if I plan to cosplay them or not but it can be a nice bonus. But I must admit I'm a bit more fond of characters who've had a tragically spiced past, something that evokes feelings and makes one feel for the character. But yeah, I'm pretty much open to anything when it comes to character backgrounds. Then again, I sometimes tend to be a bit "meh" about characters whose background stories are never revealed or explained/developed enough. But most of the time, cosplay wise, it's not an issue – design and character personality comes first.

Character design: Okay guys, everyone better go hide away from Captain Obvious who will land on Earth just about now and tell you the fact that I am indeed very biased towards characters wearing kimono or Japanese styled/inspired clothing. Hands up if you honestly didn't see this coming!
*insert long silence here*
– No one? Okay, good, thought so.
Also I do like stylish outfits in general with details, armored parts and stuff – chains, belts, wings and flowy clothing parts give bonus points as well as jackets with buttcapes and such. There's a lot design wise that I find awesome. I also like fantasy style clothes or what to call it, especially ones with cool details like Reyson from Fire Emblem, for example. Oh, and speaking of which I dare say I often end up cosplaying pretty boys. There, I said it.

Character props: Let's say this – if I like a character enough to consider cosplaying them it doesn't have any big significance anymore if they have a prop or not. Sure thing that a guy wielding a badass sword that eats half the universe because it's so awesome has a higher chance of ending up in my cosplay list than, say, someone who only has pockets to put their hands in but well, some characters are awesome as they are... even without a weapon or whatnot. So yeah, characters with props might be more interesting but I'm not gonna dismiss otherwise likable characters just because they don't have a weapon or whatnot to tell me how they are 20% cooler.

Yuan from Tales of Symphonia is one of my favorites in the game and one of the extra reasons I want to cosplay him is because of that huge epic weapon!
Hmm, I guess that about sums it up shortly. I have a feeling in my stomach that I might have forgotten something but anygays, I feel pleased with this for now. I hope those who wanted me to write this this found it interesting as well as whoever ended up reading this thing! :D

Valkoinen Samurai leaves the building!

February 15, 2014

Experimenting with blood capsules!

 Hello neh ~

So this weekend I'm spending at mom's place together with Hasakitsuki. Mom and stepdad are currently in Thailand so the house is empty and we thought quickly that it would be awesome to go there and have some cosplay experimenting with no risk of anyone seeing us and getting scared shitless and well, just chill around in a house that is big enough to live in... for a change. So, while there on the Saturday 15th February, aka today, we decided to put on our Hakuouki cosplays and have me –as Okita– trying out something bloody...

Eeyup, I'm gonna use these things. See where this is going?
Blood capsules, yep. They are not mine but Hasakitsuki's but she kindly let me use some. The ones in the plastic round box are powder edition and the ones in the blisters are liquid edition. The powder capsules say on the packaging –in German– that they stain and you can't wash it off clothing and that it might take several tries to get it off your skin. We'll see...

I went outside far enough into the woods in the big yard so that when mom returns she won't immediately see some suspicious alarming red spots in the snow. Good thing we had already the day before walked in the snow and thus made safe "feet holes" to walk in without sinking through the snow all over again; I wouldn't have been all that happy getting at the very least ankle-deep and at best, knee-deep in the snow in cosplay. Okay, so when I got far enough into the woods which was, not that far I just put one capsule in my mouth –the liquid one– and put on my acting cap and let's go!

I must say the taste of this thing is not pleasant but it wasn't really bad either, at least according to me. Then again, who expected fake blood to taste strawberry cheesecake anyway? Not me for sure.
There's not all that much blood in one of these but still sufficient for a few coughs or whatever you want to do with it. Oh, and obviously because I was cosplaying Okita, who has tuberculosis, I was doing the coughing scheme but you can use these for other things as well.

In my case it's not all that hard to act like I'm sick but then again that miiiiiight just be because around this exact time 3 years ago I was hospitalized with a pretty bad case of pneumonia. *shivers* Sure that doing this, especially in February, gives me some rather unpleasant flashbacks of that time but oh well, what won't we do for cosplay and the love of a character?

Okay, so back on track about the liquid capsule. Except for the not-so-good taste it wasn't really hard to use – sure it needs some timing and acting skills if you want to make it look more realistic but it's not bad. Oh, and obviously you have to bite it whenever you want to use the capsule.

When I was done with the liquid one, which didn't take all that long, I decided to try the powder capsule right after. This thing requires that you use your saliva to get it to work because, well, it's blood powder. I didn't have any problem with this but what I did notice pretty instantly was that this thing tastes even stronger than the liquid one, if you ask me. Yep, still definitely not strawberry cheesecake for you...
Oh, and it's not really noticeable on the pictures but the powder one is a few shades darker as well. Actually, the blood ended up looking brighter on photos than IRL anyway, both of them.

I must say that personally I prefer the powder variant, mainly because it's a tad darker and also takes a lot more time to use up. I was actually pretty surprised how many times I could cough and still have a fair amount left in my mouth. To be honest even when I thought I was done I still kept getting more of it and it took quite a lot of spitting to get rid of the red afterwards. The only slightly hard thing with capsules is to not have it show on your face that you have it in your mouth because yeah, if you plan to scare the bejesus out of your friends they'd better not know you are up to something... ;)

I'm sorry about the photo quality but they are taken with my old camera, which is a lot lighter than my SLR to carry, and thus easier to take self-photos with.
Oh well, when I was done coughing blood I hurried back inside because staying around 20 minutes outside in a not-very-warm-at-all cosplay in 0 °C will eventually make you cold. Duh.

This is what the ground looked like when I was done...
Back inside I washed my bloody hand with warm water and yeah, the powder one seems to stain. It's not all that visible on this picture but IRL it's kind of easy to see. It seems to fade nicely after a few more washes though and all in all it's not bad staining at all if you ask me. I was prepared for worse.

Notice the stains.
Soon enough I was back in the cold again but this time for some quick pictures together with le Chizuru, aka Hasakitsuki. I was the one taking the photos and yeah, still with the old camera and it shows in lack of quality. Didn't really get any good photos because it had already gotten too dark but oh well...

Oh, and before I let you go I must tell you about a funny and rather awkward thing that happened. So when I had put on my cosplay I looked out of the living room windows (they're big) and saw a random man walking on the yard. I hurried to go hide in case it was this guy who mom had told to bring in the mail but......... it wasn't. So this unknown man rang the door bell once and I thought "let's pretend there's no one home" but then he rang a second time and some seconds later he was still waiting outside. I decided to go "fuck this shit" and went –in full cosplay– to open the door and guess? It was no other than this one old friend of stepdad who, more of less often, comes and asks if stepdad is home and I tell you, he does this whenever he pleases and yes, it has happened at least once in friggin' midnight! Another critical detail about this guy is that he is drunk 90% of the time and always asking for alcohol if you let him in. Love Finland. But yeah, I opened the door to this guy and told him stepdad is not here and frankly, he's far away in Thailand. I swear he was looking at me with a weirded out face and there was a moment of awkward silence before I just tried to get him to leave already. xD Yeah, awkward.

With that said Valkoinen Samurai is out!

February 8, 2014

Masamune's gloves + arm guard test!

 Hello hello!

On 7th February I decided to paint Masamune's gloves and thus get some more progress done on the costume. The gloves I got for free by the awesome Kandi & Cyber some time ago (thanks <3) and now they got a cosplay make-over!

Glove before my treatment
Okay, so what do? Well, first thing was to check how the paint would behave on the fabric. I obviously don't have any scrap piece of the same fabric so I was stuck with doing a paint test on the glove itself. Of course I did this on the inside just to be on the safe side.

Paint test
It seemed to take the paint really well (and it didn't leak to the other side even though the gloves are not the thickest) so I felt sure enough to start painting. But of course before I could start painting I dug up a bunch of Masamune Date references that I had saved on my computer.

Ta-dah! Better.
Because I'm left-handed I figured I would paint the right glove first and wear it while painting. Turned out to be a good idea because I could get a better idea of how it would end up looking and I could turn my hand when needed and so on.

Started painting..
... and painted some more...
... and wham! One glove done.
I did a few layers of paint because it faded slightly every time it dried, not bad at all though.
When I had the right glove done I realized I was up for a dilemma - I can't paint my left glove by using my right hand! D'oh!
Well, I needed to find a right-handed victim helper who would be willing to act as my hand stand while I did the painting - Hasakitsuki was up for the task. So for 1 hour she ended up with only one hand to use meanwhile I painted the glove on the other. I must admit it was a bit harder to paint the glove on someone else's hand but oh well, ultimately it still turned out okay.
With both gloves painted I had to wait 6 hours before going to iron and thus set the paint, according to the instructions on the paint that is. I decided it's better to obey the instructions every once in a while so I let 6 hours pass.
A few hours from midnight I thought it would be okay to go and set the paint. I walked to the laundry room, put the iron to heat and started turning my gloves outside in.

And this is what they looked like when turned. Sexy.
I waited a bit for the iron to heat and did a quick try on one glove and well, it was barely hot at all. I waited some more and put slightly higher heat and then tried again and... it felt like something glued itself to the iron and didn't want to let go! Luckily I had quick reflexes so I pulled the iron away out of instinct that something wasn't right and well, when I looked at the glove I saw this...

PERKELE!!  (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
The fabric literally melted away; the edges next to the holes are a bit harder. Note to self: don't iron stuff if you aren't 100% sure of what fabric it is. Thank God I didn't melt any part with the paintings on or a showing part for that matter! I'm a bit relieved because I avoided a disaster seeing how the damaged part is far down and would likely get covered by the arm guards anyway. But I'm still going to try and repair it by sewing some fabric to it.. now to just hope that mom remembers to bring me a piece of black fabric tomorrow. Yes, I cosplay emergency called her.

Okay, so 8th February dawned and mom appeared with the fabric. I ended up with the whole roll because she couldn't be bothered to cut out a piece for me. Ah, the joys of having a mom who used to have her own fabric store - you borrow whole fabric rolls for your projects. xD

le savior fabric
I must say this fabric is an okay candidate, it's not exactly the same obviously but I would say it's close enough; it's black, feels similar, about the same thickness as the glove fabric and has slight stretch. 
I just did some quick measuring and cut out what I needed...

... and this was it. So worth borrowing the whole roll.
Yeah. After that I quickly zigzaged around the piece (which proved out to be a bit hard because of the ridiculous size..) and then it was time to sew it on to the glove itself. I thought for a moment if I should sew it to the inside or outside but decided that it would maybe be better on the inside after all. I must say this was a pretty scary mission because even if I took off a part of the machine the sewing surface wasn't small enough so that I could pass the glove through and thus avoid the worry of accidentally sewing my glove shut. :'D This might have been easier to just hand-sew but I'm too lazy for that so I decided to rock the more hazard edition anyway.
So I put the glove next to the presser, adjusted it carefully so that I wouldn't have fabric underneath where I was about to sew and then I just slowly started sewing around the square with a straight stitch. It took a while and I was pretty nervous but it went well and at the end I had my glove feat. repair patch.

Sewing in progress
Inside of glove after reparation (yes, my fabric paint test is there..)
Outside of glove after reparation
Sure it's not the prettiest ever but at least there's not a gaping hole there showing my skin or anything. Also, this should prolong its life slightly. Hopefully.

So with the glove repaired I thought I would try the whole arm guard system on and see if I could even put on all the completed parts. I swear at some point I started feeling a bit unsure and thinking it might not work but BAM it sort of did after some struggling! But hands down I must say it was overly hard to put the guards on by myself.. I would need at least two or three arms lol. Valkoinen Octopus' Cosplay. But yeah, as I said I managed to put the guards on... or well, one of them.

This was a test try-on but I did realize that I will need something to hold the top ends bent over each other or its gonna explode in any random direction. If you look a bit closer on the pics you can see that my first solution for this was to use hairpins. xD It actually worked surprisingly well but I'm not sure if I would call it a discreet enough solution... unless I find black ones somewhere that are half the size of the ones I used. I'll have to think about this but I have a feeling that I might end up using hairpins anyway.

But that's it for now, smell you all later! ~