January 28, 2016

Tsurumaru Kuninaga sword WIP – part.1

Hello geeks!

So for my coming-later-this-year Tsurumaru Kuninaga cosplay from Touken Ranbu I wanted to start by making his sword, in good time. Technically he is a sword himself so... yo dawg. x) But yeah, you get the point...
I decided to split my progress in several parts to avoid a text wall. I also want to mention that this first part, the beginning, mostly consists of me being a disaster master – everything that can go wrong went wrong, basically. Can't succeed every time. I never do anyway, who am I fooling? trolololo.

Reference image.
What I did was that this time I decided to do things a bit differently. You see, previously I've always made wooden swords from scratch but this time I decided to try the "let's modify a toy sword" approach. With that said I bought a cheapo toy katana from Partajshop and I must admit that I was quite surprised with the quality of the thing – I was expecting something really flimsy and low-end with all the parts glued on but yeah, what I got was an extremely modification-friendly plastic sword that had all the parts easily removable by just pulling them out. Said store gets both my thumbs up for their cosplay-friendly fake samurai swords! ヽ(^o^)丿

So yeah, what I started with is your generic plastic toy katana:

This is what the sword looks like straight out of the package.
This is the naked sword, all removable parts removed.
I noticed afterwards that it's for the better that I keep the part that is the "mouth" of the sheath since it provides support for when the blade glides back in. I thought I'll just cover it with worbla because it looks otherwise really cheap and fake with that overly golden color...

The sheath comes with these two "hanging loops" on each end.
I cut them off with a scissor and then sanded them flat.
I don't know how visible it is on the photos but the sword's handle came without any kind of wrappings which is a good thing because yeah, on toy katanas the wrapping always looks like complete and utter shit. No handle wrapping (aka tsukamaki) makes life easier for me because I don't have to start undoing it and neither do I have to worry about ugly glue remains. :)

I started by making the tsuba. I decided to try my hands at the sandwich method and I must say that it... didn't go quite as planned. I almost ruined my work twice but, by some miracle, I managed to save it. I want to say a few things about it because I ended up with a hilarious fail. xD You see, at first I started heating the bottom worbla piece on my freezer's lid. I had no idea what was a suitable working space for worbla because the damn tutorial didn't say a word about it so yeah, I thought that plastic shouldn't be all that bad – WRONG. My worbla stuck to it like hell (even though glue side was up) and I had to rip it off with force, to the point the whole thing got deformed, bumpy and almost tore. Seriously, don't do the same mistake.
My second thought was to use a metallic surface. The idea was good and I was on the right track but yeah, much to my disappointment I had no worbla-friendly metallic surface to work on; the closest would have been the sink/stove area on my mini kitchen but the problem was that it's way too uneven to work on. As desperate as I was I went to the common kitchen and dug through the closets and then I found a... metallic tray. It had some intricate designs on it but because it was flat I didn't think much more about it – BAD IDEA.
So, well, I did the other side of my worbla piece and –while it didn't stick as horribly to it as with the freezer– the tray had another surprise up its sleeve...

I swear that when I saw that the worbla had stolen the tray's print nyysijä!worbla with it I was laughing so hard that my stomach hurt. xD Thank god that it's from my apartment house's common kitchen and not my mom's – mom would soooooo have killed me. I don't think anyone even uses this tray so I should be safe, lol...
Later on it finally hit me that aluminium foil might be the best surface to work on and... guess what? Of course that's what I don't have at home. So yeah, I had to call Sacchan to fetch some for me since she was coming over to my place anyway.
I need to say that I was right – tin foil is by far the best surface to work on that I've tried so far. The worbla doesn't stick to it! I guess you learn from your mistakes. But seriously, my mishaps didn't end there, no no. You see, because I did a layered design on the craft foam I had the stupid idea that I wouldn't need to glue the detail layer onto the main piece... I guess I don't need to even say that it was a bad idea too. :) Needless to say that when I had done one side (all nicely for a change) the other side moved and the second layer (detail layer) fucked up during the bonding process. I ended up with a tsuba that is not identical on both sides and thus, because the edges don't meet, it looks like shit. I tried to save it the best I could but nothing's gonna make it identical so I just have to suck it up. Oh and guess what? I also got a horrible king-size air bubble inside the damn thing too!! I did get rid of the air bubble but I had to really press down on it with my full palm, whole body weight and use protection gloves (warm worbla is warm). The problem is that because I've used my gloves for woodwork they're damaged on the surface from all the sanding etc and yeah, of course this shit caught onto the worbla and gave it a dirty and knobbly surface. HOW MUCH BAD LUCK CAN YOU HAVE IN ONE GO? щ(ºДºщ)
Note to self: fucking glue the craft foam details onto the main foam piece before using worbla on it. It will save you from raging and screwing up your project.

My first sandwiched worbla piece done.
It's fugly but it'll suffice... I guess.
Because my apartment has no spray paint friendly area shower doesn't count and because it's cold as all hell outside I couldn't paint at home; I had to wait until I had my furniture makeover & redesign class in school on Thursdays. During said class we work in a garage and yes, my teacher totally approves that I do cosplays in school, lol. So yeah, I bought some glossy white spray paint and started spraying the sheath white. I did several coatings but –because I'm horribly impatient with waiting for spray paint to dry– I ended up with a less-than-perfectly-even surface. Oh well, I have a fair chance of getting the ugliest spots covered by random details later anyway.

My creative "where to put it to dry" solutions.
With the sheath turned white it was time to add some worbla details on it. No, just kidding – I decided to start working on the handle first. Oh boy, I need to say that I was up for some serious shit... as if it wasn't bad enough already.

Read ahead for a disastrous PU-foam story. Learn from my mistake and fucking don't do it yourself, okay? Thanks. Oh, and warning for foul language ahead. 

Okay, so after some brainstorming with my teacher and one of the, err, I guess he counts as an extra teacher/helper, we came to the solution that I should use PU-foam (aka expanding foam) to fill out the gaps of the handle. I had taken with me my barely used can of PU-foam and started shaking it and preparing it for use. But yeah, as you know my luck is as shitty as that of Donald Duck so of course nothing came out when I pressed down on the "trigger" on the straw piece that I had screwed in place. Nothing. Nada. Nope. I started twisting and turning the straw and heard some soft clicking sound and hoped that it was the "turn the nozzle to activate it" sound but nope, still no foam came. At this point I started getting both frustrated and confused so I just kept turning the plastic straw around until it fucking locked itself on the can's screwable plastic mouth piece. Fuck me. :) Now I got even more irked and because I was ashamed to go ask someone for help at this point, for such a simple thing, I decided to try and do it myself and oh lordy lord do I hate myself when I catch myself thinking like this things never end well when I don't ask for help, especially when my gut feeling tells me that I should.
Okay so, I seriously got so frustrated that I just thought that it would be a good idea to start from the beginning and so I tried to pull off the straw from its attachment point on the mouth of the can. Horrible idea, okay I accidentally ripped up the whole damn straw, with the can mouth/dispenser still attached to it. >_> They were really inseparable, lol...
Now I just had the black rubbery pipe-like thing still standing and if I peeked into it I could see the foam in the can, oops. I just felt so lost and so infuriatingly stupid and self-hating that I had no choice but to ask the extra teacher what the fuck I should do now. He just casually told me that it's possible to buy a new mouth part for the can. He also wanted to check if the foam hadn't hardened already since he said it does that after a while and, well, I had had mine for over half a year. He looked at me and said: "you can also do like this take something thin and stick it to the can! :D".


I kid you not as soon as he poked whatever thin object into the can a loud explosion was heard across the whole garage, followed by "PFFFSSSSSCHHH" and then foam started gushing out of the can in all possible directions! It flowed so rapidly that it was uncontrollable and it ended up on the floor, into open cardboard boxes, tables, walls etc fucking everywhere, basically.
It was like trying to stop the goddamn Niagara Falls, except that it was Foamgara Falls.

Remember doing shit similar to this during chemistry class in school?
Yeah, something like that.
I swear every goddamn inch of foam came out like a mad erupting volcano from hell and it felt like it would never end. The teacher assistant guy was running around with the foam fountain in his hands and I followed after; neither of us had expected that the foam would be so, err, explosive, and we both were, quite frankly, panicking. When it finally ceased (it seriously took several minutes) I was surrounded by a sticky mess. When I looked around it finally hit me that around me were the scattered remains of my almost filled can of expanding foam; my almost unused can was all wasted and that, I tell you, made me feel wasted that was material for several cosplay projects down the drain. My jeans ended up being a sacrifice to the angry foam gods and so did my expensive winter shoes and, almost, my Sonata Arctica hoodie as well (thank god I had rolled up my sleeves!!).

This is what the can looked like once the foam explosion finally ended...
I spent several hours after class trying to salvage at least my shoes from the grip of the sticky goop of hell. I first tried to wash it with soap and water and scrubbing vigorously with one of those more robust brushes but lolnope, it didn't do shit – the brush seriously went and died before even a centimeter of the foam came off. I also got some of the foam residue on my fingers and I washed my hands thoroughly with soap 3 times during the first 15 minutes (countless times afterwards too) and rubbed my hands like no tomorrow and it barely did anything; I swear the foam residue stuck to my fingers so hard it felt like a second skin (especially when trying to peel it off), except a lot tackier – this crap is impossible to get rid off.
Regarding my shoes I sat for over an hour with a blade from an exacto knife just carving off the fucking foam, painstakingly slow, from my shoes. I was so angry I was gritting teeth and just wanted to kill something. No wait, correction I wanted to drown something in PU-foam.  
Do you know that feeling when a stupid disaster happens, that ends up costing you a lot (both in materials and time), and you just try to joke/laugh it off with your classmates but inside you are about to break down and start crying/screaming because you hate your life and your fucking constant shit luck so fucking much? That's exactly how I felt.

I got some foam where it was intended at least... very overkill though.
I think I'll gladly just end this post here because it's starting to get way too infused with my deluxe bad luck. (ノ_ _)ノ Maybe things will go better in the next episode of this project... or at least I goddamn hope so. I'm getting really sick of this Donald Duck curse that's been plaguing me for the last few cosplays, ughh.

Thanks for reading my... err... explosive foam experiences and unintentional worbla prints, I guess? xD If nothing else I hope you won't need to experience these mishaps yourself, lol.
I also guess it would be uplifting to hear about the not-so-successful cosplay making stories of others, so feel free to share your bad luck adventures with me so that I don't have to feel all alone in this misery, huaah.  ╮(─▽─)╭
~ Shiro Samurai out.

January 26, 2016

Touken Ranbu Kashuu Kiyomitsu's scarf and tasuki

Hello again!

My first con is closing in and I'm starting to really rush to get things done! I'm also crossing my fingers that some stuff will arrive on time, especially considering how shitty the post has been lately. One of my packages got sent back to Japan before I even got a notification that it had arrived, boo. I'm 95% certain about my cosplay plans but I can't publish them just yet because yeah, some critical stuff has yet to arrive. Sorry about that. Cosplay plans will be released as soon as possible!

One of the characters I will cosplay at the con is Kashuu Kiyomitsu's casual (aka uchiban) outfit. I sewed the scarf at mom's last Sunday. Luckily the kimono, juban and hakama I can pull directly from my kimono collection since I happen to have perfect pieces for him, haha. But yeah, the scarf I had to make and I started making it with the thought that it's gonna be a piece of cake but yeah, it took me longer than anticipated, mainly because I had problems figuring out the best way to do the tassels at the ends.

Really quickly thrown together outfit test.
(note: mirror photo! aka corpse mode)
The photo quality is shit because the sun had gone down for hours ago and yeah, I only had my crappy apartment light to count on. ._. I couldn't be bothered to dig out my juban so I just kept my long-sleeved shirt under, lol. I might do a more proper test before the con too, we'll see. Heck, I didn't even tie the hakama...

I barely took any progress photos of the making of the scarf; I was too busy trying to get it done before mom would drive me back home. I do have a few pictures to show though, but they're all taken with my cellphone so yeah, the quality is sub-par at best. ^^; Oh and yeah, my cellphone fucks up the colors real bad, lol.

Kebab arm! :DD
I found a suitable fabric in the attic and used the whole fabric width twice for the length; I made the scarf double so that it would be a bit thicker and look nice no matter which side was showing. I sewed the two pieces together and then put right sides together and sewed the scarf into a long tube. To turn the tube the right way I threaded it on my arm (I had left the ends open), like on the photo above, and just grabbed the edge and turned it around.
I had several ideas about how to make the tassels, ranging from using silk ribbon to just cutting them straight out of the fabric. Mom also did a fire resistance test on the fabric to see if we could simply just burn the edges, to keep them from fraying, but the fabric caught fire way too easily so it wasn't an option. Yeah, basically just us trying to see if there was a way to skip the tedious zigzaging part. xD
In the end I decided to cut out two separate pieces (one for each end) from the same fabric and then pre-sew the zigzag on it and then cut it up, next to the zigzag.

Put our idea to the test – it works!
I did try first to cut and then do the zigzag but oh lord, it was such a pain in the butt that I quickly went back to the original plan. Mom later came to ask me how it went and my answer was a straight "tää on perseestä mutta toimii". :DD lol

Second piece done and ready for cutting.
With the tassels done I just took the open edges of the scarf, folded them inside, put the tassel part inside and sewed the whole shit closed. It was a bit hard to get it to look nice on both sides because yeah, this fabric is the same type as the one I made the Star Wars robe from and, well, it lives its own life. I had to rip up the "underside" twice and redo it because it looked like shit. xD

Tassels pinned in place.
I realized a few days later that the tasuki I had used for Yamato no Kami Yasusada was too short to work for Kashuu. The reason is because they have it tied differently – you can see it on the official art book. Yasusada has the tasuki sleeve cord tied the usual way in the front but Kashuu has it tied in a ribbon at the back.

Touken Ranbu art book reveals Kashuu's back!
I had to ask some of my kimono friends how to tie it like that and I got some good suggestions how to make it work! I ended up having to try it several times and it was harder than I thought to get a neat bow. I will need to practise a lot more... or ask someone to tie it for me directly on the back. #lazy

I don't have any progress photos of the tasuki, except for the one below. Yeah, I decided to make a completely new one for Kashuu because I want to be accurate and hey, the fabric only cost 3 € per meter!!
I made it in school today during my handcraft class. The tasuki was made the exact same way as the scarf but because it's a lot narrower I had to use a wooden pole, to push it back to the right side, after I had sewn it into a tube.

Tasuki in tube form, half-way done with turning it back to the right side.
That's about all I have to say for this post. See ya later and thanks for reading my blog! ^^

January 22, 2016

Convention plans 2016!

Yo peeps!

I thought I could do a list of what anime conventions I have planned to go to this year. I will order the cons by an estimated date when they will happen (not in chronological order since all dates aren't even out yet). ^_^ I've been thinking about doing this kind of list as a reference to both myself and all my friends who want to know where they might have a good chance of meeting me!

 Let's go!


SWE • Närcon Vinter 2016
FIN • Cosvision 2016
FIN • Kummacon 2016
SWE • Skecon 2016
SWE • Närcon 2016
SWE • Nerdcon 2016
FIN • Matsucon 2016
FIN • Tracon 2016
FIN • Kitacon 2016

And here's the "how likely I am to attend each con" list.

Närcon Vinter > SET
Cosvision > LIKELY
Kummacon > VERY LIKELY
Skecon > SET
Nerdcon > SET
Matsucon > VERY LIKELY
Kitacon > SET

The scale goes like this: set > very likely > likely > considering

Please note that these can still change and that I might have missed to list a con or two; if I get sick or something I obviously won't be able to go to a con, even if it was marked "set" etc. ^^" This list is just an estimation and I reserve the right for any changes, adjustments etc. 
Cons that are not listed I have no interest in attending, or the interest is so small that I just didn't bother to list them. Oh, and Kemin mangapäivä (Kemi's manga day) is not listed because I have no clue when it is and well, you can't really consider it a convention anyway.

Thanks for checking this out and I hope to see you peeps around!
Ciao mjau!

January 19, 2016

Kashuu Kiyomitsu eye makeup test


Today I decided that it was high time that I started practising the makeup for some of my upcoming new cosplays! Soon I will reveal for you all the first convention of the year that I will attend. ヽ(゚∀゚)ノ I'm super stoked about attending said con because I haven't been there for years but yeah, I'll get more to that later.
This post is about the next cosplay that I will likely debut and it's no less than Kashuu Kiyomitsu from Touken Ranbu! Yep, that's a cosplay plans spoiler right there. I wanted to try out a new makeup look now that I've gathered some more products. Too bad that I had to rush the whole thing because the sun was already going down before I even started! Screw you, polar night. So yeah, I'm sorry but I had to skip pretty much all other makeup save for the eyes, I just simply didn't have time. :( At least by doing this look I learned a lot of new eye makeup techniques that I sure as hell will experiment further with!

A rare case when I can smile without looking stupid...
This one is taken in yellow room light.
It's a bit annoying how my camera washes out most of my makeup, including the eyeshadows and highlights, ugh. At least it faded my pale-ass beard too so I didn't have to shave it lol. Now that I look at the photos I notice that my eyebrows are way too light; I should have filled them in some more. ._. Weirdly enough they looked dark in real life but yeah, camera...
I also want to apologize for the blueish light, the sun was down by the time I was sort-of-ready so I had to deal with the "blue hour"... or whatever it's called. I also couldn't be bothered, nor had time, to dig out the cosplay so I just took whatever red I had around me and put it over my shoulders, lol.

I'm pretty happy with this look, considering what a makeup greenhorn I am. This was also my first time ever using false eyelashes – oh what won't you do for the sake of cosplay?
For those curious I will review the two eyelash pairs that I used later so yeah, if you're interested keep an eye on my blog! ;) Fun fact is that my natural lashes are already stupidly long (been told that I have long lashes all my life by several relatives etc) so yeah, as soon as I put even a little bit of mascara on them they look like falsies lol. So yeah, when I wear actual false lashes on top of my own it's like... crazy shit.

Styled wig.
I also wanted to put in a pic of the wig when it was newly styled. My friend Sacchan did the cutting and styling for me this time; we had to make a hairline/parting and I wasn't really comfortable with that because I lacked the know-how to do it. I did tie the ponytail though, haha.

That's all for this time, see ya!
Shiro Samurai over and out.

January 18, 2016

Cos Culture Magazine!

Hello cosplayers!

I was approached by Nikko Marie, the creator and editor of a new exciting cosplay magazine called Cos Culture Magazine! I thought that her idea was great and now I'm here to spread the word like a cosplay prophet, hoyaaa! (۶* ‘ꆚ’)۶”

You maybe wonder what this magazine is all about so yeah, I'll explain to you exactly what it will contain and what the whole idea is! Keep reading ~

DISCLAIMER: even though I was asked to advertise for the magazine I don't get paid or anything in return for it. I am not sponsored for doing this; I decided to help spread the word out of my own free will and because I honestly think that this is a cool idea.

DISCLAIMER 2: All photos used in this post belong to and are used with the permission of Cos Culture Magazine.

Cos Culture Magazine is a fairly new name that is preparing to take the cosplay world by storm! They are not your standard magazine so yeah, think of them more like a collector's art book with a focus on cosplay! The magazines are 100% independently published and guess what? It's created by no less than actual cosplayers – as a way to give back to the cosplay community. 
Cos Culture Magazine features and promotes the work of cosplayers, prop-makers, artists and designers from all around the world. Their mission is to become a positive voice for the cosplay community. Now that's ambitious!
Each issue features the work of different cosplayers, photographers, prop-makers and/or artists, and includes interviews, tutorials and stunning photography spreads.

The thing is that, for an awesome magazine like this to go from a rare candy to something periodically released, they need a bit of help. Because of this Cos Culture Magazine is launching a Kickstarter campaign, as a way to gain new subscribers, so that they can increase circulation to print on a bi-monthly basis; this means 6 printed issues per year. So yeah, for all those cosplay fans out there, who'd like this project to actually go through and fully bloom, Cos Culture Magazine needs some of your help to success!

The Kickstarter will go live on 25th January and you can find the preview of it here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cosculturemagazine/cos-culture-magazine-a-voice-for-the-cosplay-commu
 The first edition was released in summer 2014, and received enormous support and positive feedback from the cosplay community. We've since released two more print issues, as well as a total of 9 digital issues through our website. Beginning this April, we will be releasing the print magazine on a bi-monthly publication schedule!

Now you're maybe thinking that this magazine sounds too good to be true or you might be wondering how much of the contents will be... you know... actual contents. But fear not! Cos Culture Magazine is so awesome that they have zero advertising and yes, that's 100% pure content in each and every issue! It is so good that it's true, lol. 
However, because of the decision to have no advertisement they rely completely on the support of subscribers to keep them going. It does make sense, after all.

I also want to bring up that subscribers gain free access to the digital issues of the magazine through Cos Culture Magazine's website. They also offer a variety of print subscriptions and yes, international shipping option is available; the magazine is distributed to stores across Canada, and shipped all around the world through the website. The print issues will sell for an affordable price and be high quality throughout! There's also merchandise like hoodies and t-shirts available!

Nikko's vision is that of a magazine that promotes the positive aspects of the cosplay community in a way that people can relate to. We've focused on themes such as gender stereotypes and identity confidence in cosplay, and have a number of great stories to share in future issues, including one woman’s story of how she overcame her depression and anxiety through cosplay. We focus on the craft, dedication and passion that is involved in this hobby, and are eager to share more of this amazing community with our readers. We are a very small company, and as such can guarantee that our core values of non-discrimination, positivity and inclusivity will be maintained throughout the duration of the publication.

Does this sound interesting to you? (((o(*゚▽゚*)o)))

If you just thought that "hey, I'd read that!" I'd like to mention that Cos Culture Magazine values every single coin and support that they can get! So yeah, help them realize their dreams and you too shall benefit from it by having a cosplay magazine that is 100% awesome in your hands! 
For more information about their ambitions, where the money goes, the Kickstarter project etc please scroll down the Kickstarter page. ^_^ (linked below again, for convenience)

Also, to find out more about Cos Culture Magazine be sure to pay them a visit!

Official website: www.cosculturemagazine.com/

Thank you for reading! ^_^
I'm personally looking forward to this magazine and I hope others are as well!
~ Shiro Samurai over and out!

January 14, 2016

Lens review: Fynale Honoo Red

Yoooooo ~

It was a reaaally long time ago since I last reviewed a red circle lens (we're talking about years) but now it's time again! (*゚▽゚*) Wohooo!
Today I'll be reviewing the Fynale Honoo Red lenses, which are in reality much more of a pinkish red than a so called true red.

Let's gooooo!

Base curve: 8.6 mm
Diameter: 15 mm
Water content: 55%
Life span: 1 year (I recommend 6 months)

As you can see already, by looking at the lenses in the vials, they look very pale for being a red lens. I wasn't honestly expecting them to be a deep red and I had already prepared myself that they might even be closer to a dark pink than a real red so yeah, as soon as I popped one lens into my eye I just stood there and nodded to myself in the mirror – these lenses are not of a true red color.
Even though these lenses don't exactly live up to the 'red' in their name they are undeniably pretty anyway! The pinkish red shade is really something that you don't bump into everyday and I can't help but think that it could be perfect for cosplayers looking for a lens that would be dark pink, pink-red or that middle-ground between pink and red! :D

One lens in.
When I first touched these lenses it instantly hit me that they are thinner than average; the lenses barely held their shape when I put them on my finger! They fold themselves easily when I clean them and/or pour solution on them in my palm too. Despite the thinness I had no issues inserting them and yeah, as soon as they were in my eyes I didn't even feel them. Yay!

Close-up photo of the lens! (sorry about the quality)
The pattern reminds me of a real iris but it still keeps that "hey I'm a contact lens!" look to it. It's cool and I'd say that it's balancing somewhere in the semi-natural range. The lenses sport a thin black limbal ring, which helps in delivering a more cartoony look.
The enlargement effect is really modest and, to me, it doesn't really look like a 15 mm lens not like it's a bad thing though! I personally dig lenses of all sizes so whatever the size is I like it, haha.

Lens photos coming up!
All photos taken by me during a January morning (around 11:00) with a cloudy 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.

Facing the window in my apartment.
Bathroom light.
Flash photo.
White light in the corridor.
Yellow light in the staircase.
Outdoors, facing the light. (cloudy sky, sun is not visible)
Outdoors, back against light.
Indoors in a small storage room. There's a small window, hence the light.
As I already said, these lenses were super comfortable from the first second I put them in; I don't feel them at all and that's always a big plus for me. I wore them 6 hours no problem; if anything then my vision was a bit blurred at the corners, especially when I'm indoors, but it didn't bother me all that much. I could wear them for longer than 6 hours if I wanted or needed but yeah, that's when I started feeling the first signs of dryness so I decided to take them off. Remember that you can always use eyedrops to prolong the wear-time if needed for an event etc!

Distance photos!

Am I the only one being reminded of Koujaku from DRAMAtical Murder
from these pics? xD Maybe I should cosplay him...
So yeah, if you are looking for a pure red lens then I'd suggest avoiding the Fynale Honoo Red or you might be disappointed in the color. But if you need something that's a bit more pink in shade but still is a red lens then these are your best friends forever! Get them!

Short summary:

Color: 8/10

Despite not being a true red these lenses have a lovely pinkish red color.
Design: 8/10
It's not anything fancy, in terms of design, but it looks really good nevertheless!
Opacity: 8/10
Pretty damn good.
Enlargement: 6/10
These have a modest enlargement. They are not big but I wouldn't say that they are small either.
Comfort: 9/10
Really comfortable! I don't feel them at all once they're in my eyes and I could wear them 6 hours no problem. They do blur my vision at the corners though, especially in weaker indoor lights.
Naturalness: 2/10
Don't expect red lenses with good coverage to be realistic. :)

Thanks for reading! I hope this review was helpful! ^_^
Shiro Samurai out. 

January 11, 2016

Contact lenses – The advice and "what not to do" list!

Hello everyone out there!

I got the inspiration to write this post after I, once again, helped someone online to find a fitting pair of circle/contact lenses for their cosplay. I tend to browse online forums and cosplay groups on Facebook etc and help out with questions about contact lenses; I like to help people and so I got the idea to do this kind of "do and do not" type of list when it comes to colored contact lenses. I hope that this will be helpful to someone out there who's about to buy their first ever colored circle lenses to their cosplay!
Oh, and if you need help with finding suitable circle lenses for a character that you want to cosplay, feel free to email* me for suggestions! But please please PLEASE provide reference images of the character (with the eyes clearly visible) because hey, I don't know every single character in existence. xD I'll try to help as best as I can! ^_^  
* = my email can be found to the left of my blog, under "About Me".

Me wearing the EOS Bubble Blue circle lenses.
The thing is that many times –both online and in real life– I've stumbled upon people who say that they've done the same things and, every time, I wish they knew better. I don't mean to be that person but I think it's important to not do any risky stuff with lenses because hey, you only have one set of eyes and if you damage them it's most often permanent. It's worth to think about.

Okay so, this post will be a mixed bag of what I've heard from people I've talked with at conventions along with information I've picked up along the years, all relevant to the use of contact and/or circle lenses. This post won't go through everything so yeah, some important stuff might very well be missing; it's just a compilation of things that I'd especially want to bring up to new contact lens users. ^_^ I hope this will help to clear out some of the question marks!

 Oh, and for those who do not know: circle lenses are contact lenses that give the illusion that your pupil is bigger than normal. They come in a plethora of different designs, colors and brands and are very popular in especially Asia. A lot of cosplayers mainly use circle lenses since they provide a more anime-esque look. Circle lenses are often available in prescription.


I seriously can't stress this enough! >o<;; 
I've had so many encounters at conventions when I've just been casually chatting away with another cosplayer and then, when I ask them about their lenses out of pure curiosity, they tell me that they've had said pair for a couple three years or so. In some extreme cases the cosplayer says this in a nonchalant voice it's as if they think that it's no big deal. At this point I mentally always freeze in horror.
A COUPLE YEARS??!  Seriously??
It doesn't matter one shit if you've just worn the lenses a few times
or if they still feel comfortable in your eyes – if you've had them opened (aka taken out of their original packaging) they have been collecting bacteria since day one. The thing is that as soon as you take your lenses out of their bottles (or whatever package they were in) they aren't sterile anymore. Even if you change the lens cases' solution regularly, clean them properly and don't wear them every month it still won't ever cleanse them 100% and new bacteria will keep building up on the surface of the lens. If you had a magnifying glass I can tell you that you sure as hell wouldn't want to look what kind of yummy friends are on top of those 2-3 year old lenses you just shoved in your eyes... :)
Use common sense, folks. Even if you have the cheapskate mode kicking in just before the convention and/or you don't have time (or money) to order a new pair just, please, don't gamble your sight. A new pair of lenses won't cost you much more than 20$ but really, if you wear an expired pair of lenses and, if the accident was to happen, you might get an eye infection or worse and, well, those bills surely ain't gonna come cheap and you might severely damage your vision too. 
Even circle lenses that are labeled as yearly ain't no exception they won't hold forever, period. If you have a pair and, say, you open them in February 2014, it means that you should stop using them when February 2015 rolls in. Heck, I never ever nowadays wear yearly lenses for a full year, no matter how actively I use them after six months have passed I almost always throw them out, unless I know for sure that I need said pair for a photoshoot on the seventh month, lol. The reason for this is simply that I'd rather play it safe than sorry, always. I want to note though that you don't have to do as I do; I just prefer to keep a six month limit because to me it feels safe and hygienic. ^^



Have you ever bought a pair of lenses and noticed, once you got them, that there was a visible defect on them? It can be anything from a bump to a scratch and even a torn edge. If your answer is yes then you should contact the store you bought them from and ask for a new pair or a refund. Most times the store assuming they care about their clients just as any legitimate business would should take you seriously and help you the best they can. Once a friend of mine received a defective pair and she contacted LensVillage, the shop she had bought from, and got sent a replacement lens, completely free of charge.
The thing is that sometimes a lens can be defective even if it has no visible damage or errors; I've had this happen. You notice it when you try to put in the lens in your eye and, no matter how well or how many times you clean it and/or take it out and put it back in, it still feels horrible in your eye. It can be a constant stinging feeling, it can burn, itch or feel like you have dirt between your eye and the lens etc. If it seriously feels so uncomfortable that you can barely keep your eye open and that you can't stand it for more than a few seconds then yes, you most likely received a defective lens. This is something that can happen no matter how safe and how amazing a shop/brand is. My main recommendation is that you DON'T WEAR THE LENS and do what I said above – contact the shop/seller. The reason why you shouldn't force yourself to wear the lens should be clear to everyone.
Oh and yes, it can very well happen that when you buy a pair that one lens is super comfortable and the other one is defective.


• Rule number 3: Take care of your lenses. And your hygiene. 

By taking care I mean change the solution regularly, change the lens case regularly etc. There's plenty of recommendations and different opinions about how often one should do these things but it's all up to you to decide in the end. Personally I follow a minimum of changing the solution at least once per month, if not in use, and of course every time after use. The lens cases I prefer to change every third month. Protip: you can sterilize used lens cases by boiling them in hot water for at least 10 minutes. You should also regularly wash the lens cases with warm water and liquid dish soap to remove any dirt and debris.

Wash the case with warm water and liquid dish soap to remove dirt and debris.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_7633203_sterilize-contact-lens-case.html
Wash the case with warm water and liquid dish soap to remove dirt and debris.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_7633203_sterilize-contact-lens-case.html
Wash the case with warm water and liquid dish soap to remove dirt and debris.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_7633203_sterilize-contact-lens-case.html
Oh and yeah, every time you touch/handle your lenses you should always remember to wash your hands thoroughly – preferably with a mild soap. I also want to say that using a liquid soap is more hygienic than using a block soap. Avoid touching things that aren't your lenses, as much as possible, once your hands are clean. I also want to mention that when it comes to drying your newly washed hands I'd recommend using something that doesn't leave much "residue" on your fingers – by this I mean that if you, for example, use a towel (fabric or paper) and look closely afterwards you'll see that small dots, fibers etc might have gotten on your hands; these minimal dirts are what you'll want to avoid because they are big enough to stick to your lens and be a bother when said lens goes into your eye. If possible, air-drying your hands is the best choice but yeah, few have a machine nor the patience for that shit so if you use the fabric towel try to not brush your hands against the whole thing; limit your "area" and moves so that you get as little of the "towel fuzz" as possible.
Oh and one thing, when you open the lens case it is possible that the lens might have gotten caught or is too close to the lid somehow and yeah, when you start screwing up the lid you can, if you're unlucky, tear up the lens on the go. This has happened to a friend of mine so yeah, be careful when opening the lens cases. Lenses can also, literally, get blown off your eyes if it's really windy outside. You have been warned.


• Rule number 4: Try to not wear contact lenses longer than 4-8 hours per day, depending on the lens.

I'll admit, I've broken this rule quite a few times. Especially at conventions.
But I generally try to not wear contact lenses for much longer than the recommended time and, if I have to, there's always eyedrops! The recommendation is mainly so that your eyes won't dry out and yeah, if your contacts dry out fast it's often a good idea to either use re-wetting drops or take them out earlier than recommended. Note: eyedrops for eyes and eyedrops for contact lenses are different. Read on the product if it's suitable for contact lenses, it should say so and if not, don't use it with contacts!
Also, if you have dry eyes to begin with it's good be mindful of signs of tiredness/dryness once you wear the lenses; I  have naturally really sensitive/dry eyes and I have days on which I find it really unpleasant to wear contact lenses, no matter how comfortable said lenses would normally be. I've seriously had my fair share of both epic win lenses that would stay comfortable for 15 hours along with those that really dried my eyes up in less than 30 minutes.
If your eyes end up really red/bloodshot after wearing lenses (especially if around the pupil) it might be a good idea to give them a rest and not wear lenses at all for the next days...

Oh, one thing more! For the love of God and all that is holy, please don't ever sleep with your contacts on. Same thing when you are at a convention and you feel sleepy, make sure you won't accidentally fall asleep if you go and lie down somewhere with your lenses still on. A cosplayer I know has dozed off without meaning to, when wearing lenses, and she really panicked when she woke up and realized what happened.


• Rule number 5: Do not use water as a substitute for lens solution and don't try to bring dried-up lenses back to life.

This one is a no-brainer. Water and lens solution just aren't the same thing.
If you ever find yourself at a con, with a really huge need to take off your contacts, and you notice that "HOLY CRUD I FORGOT MY SOLUTION!" then yeah, using water to store your contacts in their cases might suddenly seem like a very tempting and good idea after all, you probably don't want to throw your new pair into the trash bin and neither can you keep them in your eyes. The thing with this kind of situations is that the best would of course be if you could ask someone else in the bathroom if they could possibly lend a bit of solution to you but this of course assumes that the other person is a contact lens user as well, which isn't always the case. 
I've heard of a case when someone was desperate at a convention and used water as a last resort to store their contacts temporarily; when they came home they swapped out the water for solution and thoroughly cleaned the lenses. This might be okay (I guess?) but only if you reaaaaaaaally have no other choice, especially if short-term storage only.
The reason it's normally a no-no is because water and lens solution quite obviously contain very different things; water isn't made to clean, store and maintain your lenses.
Contact lenses dry out without any kind of moisture around them, shrivel up and become hard and unusable; they even crack if you apply a small amount of pressure to them once fully dried out.
Oh, and don't you think that it's a good idea to just resurrect them by adding lens solution to your crispy pieces of plastic; it might work and the contacts might feel like nothing ever happened to them (yay?) but yeah, dry contacts equal no solution to protect them and that means bacterial party galore. You do the rest of the thinking. ;)
I've had a friend who did this once to a very old lens pair that had been dried up for God knows how long and, even though she miraculously avoided problems, she nowadays feels like it was a really reckless and stupid thing to do. It's a really big risk. Just don't do it. Really.

There's probably a lot more that I could add to this list but I'm not too eager to do a 10 kilometers post, haha. For those still filled with questions about how to put in lenses etc there's plenty of really good tutorials online, both by private persons and by contact lens stores. 
Also, please remember that not everyone can wear contact lenses and that visiting an optician before your first lens experience is a good idea – they can answer all your questions and concerns better than I or any other cosplayer can, that's for sure. I'm not an eye specialist or anything, just a guy who has done his research pretty well and who likes to help others. 

Before I end this post I want to recommend some circle lens stores that I've personally bought from over the years and that I have deemed to sell genuine and safe-to-wear lenses:

• Cirkellinser (Swedish) / CircleLensesEurope (Europe only)

For discount codes check the right side half of my blog, you will see all up-to-date (hopefully) discounts visible there to stores that I trust. :)

There surely is a lot more lens stores out there that are also safe but those linked above are some of my favorites and most frequented shops. ^^ Other stores I've used include, for example, CandyLens.

Please don't ever compromise your eyes – the gift of sight is not something to mess around with. If you wreck it, you lose it.

Thank you for reading!
~ Shiro Samurai out.