December 31, 2016

Year of Cosplay 2016

Good evening everyone!

Once again we're standing where this year ends and the next one begins. Every new year I feel like time rolls by quicker than the last one and I guess soon enough I'll be that grumpy old man wondering where my youth went, lol! Oh well, before I get stuck in an age crisis and overthink things I want to get this post started, boyah!

As is tradition in this blog, I'll start by listing all the conventions that I attended during 2016:

Närcon Vinter - Linköping, Sweden
Cosvision - Hämeenlinna, Finland
Kummacon - Oulu, Finland
Närcon - Linköping, Sweden
Oulun Animeseminaari - Oulu, Finland
Kitacon - Kemi, Finland
Skecon - Skellefteå, Sweden

Yep, that's 7 conventions and thus exactly the same amount as on the previous year. From these 3 cons, possibly 4 (in "north standards"), can be considered local events. Lately I just haven't prioritized attending as many cons as possible and, besides, my economical situation doesn't really afford it anyway. Also, it might just be me getting older but I'm not as excited about attending cons as I used to be back when I started – it feels like I've already seen it and want something new and refreshing. :/ I guess it's time to look into cons abroad to get that convention flame to ignite again... who's with me?

I also feel bad about how little I've cosplayed this year and yeah, it totally shows because I barely have any new photoshoot pictures or new costumes for this past year. I'm kinda stuck in a cosplay rut and have been so for a while; it doesn't help either that I just simply don't have enough space, nor money, to make anything new, inspiring and challenging – hence why I've mostly been either recycling old costumes or making simpler new ones for the past couple years. I'm disappointed in myself but I can't affect my current situation right now; everybody knows what it's like to be a poor student with no job.
When it comes to actually cosplaying at conventions I've lately often been hit by a case of "can't be bothered" or "too anxious" once I'm at the con, which makes me end up just going casual instead. I wish I wouldn't feel this way because I still love cosplaying but, err, some demons in my head are (still) eating away at me and I can't control them as well as I'd like to. I do wish that things will get better soon and that I'll regain my self-confidence.


Honestly, I tried to do some kind of yearly compilation photo of the cosplays that I've worn over the year and... it pooped. I just don't have any good enough photos to showcase because yeah, most are of the "proof that I'm wearing a costume at the con" sort à la selfie. ^^"

Here's a little list of what I wore at the cons I attended this year:

Närcon Vinter: I recycled Battousai version Kenshin Himura (Rurouni Kenshin) on Friday and on Saturday I debuted Kashuu Kiyomitsu's uchiban outfit from the popular Touken Ranbu. Kashuu was not 100% done because I was missing the earrings but I didn't let that stop me because it's such a small detail.
Cosvision: Debuted my Darkrai gijinka from Pokémon on Saturday. This one I even managed to photoshoot and I'm pleased with the outcome. On Sunday I was supposed to cosplay Hatori Sohma (Fruits Basket) but on the morning I felt ill and passed on it.
Kummacon: I only went there on a quick visit on the late hours of Friday and thus didn't cosplay.
Närcon: On Thursday I didn't cosplay. On Friday I debuted my Lugia gijinka (Pokémon) and I'm totally not happy with it because it was a rushed closet cosplay and I didn't have time to make the accessories for it that I wanted. I don't think anyone recognized what I was supposed to be, lol. I didn't wear Lugia for long and spent most of the day out of cosplay. On Saturday afternoon I reused Ibuki from Hakuouki Reimeiroku and during the late hours I changed cosplay into Greece from Hetalia.
Oulun Animeseminaari: No cosplay.
Kitacon: I finally debuted Hatori Sohma. Went to change into cosplay somewhere during the afternoon.
Skecon: I didn't cosplay on neither Friday nor Sunday because I was working at the convention. On Saturday evening/night I did reuse Kashuu's uchiban version, still missing the earrings though.

My favorite conventions for the year would be Närcon and Närcon Vinter, followed by Skecon. Both Närcons were a lot of fun because I went there in good company and just genuinely had a blast and enjoyed the atmosphere of a big convention. Skecon was another working experience for me and also a great last con to end the year with my best friends; it's such a comfy small con that I keep revisiting every year! Cosvision though was a huuuuuuge disappointment and not worth the money; it's a shame because the first one was so good and promising and then, err, what the fuck happened? -.- It was a mess and I just... can't.


I don't have so much more to add. This year has been rather... unimpressive and lackluster. I have started work on some cooler cosplays and some others have been finished, but not debuted yet, so it's not a total failure of a year. Of course I've also had a lot of quality time with my cosplay friends but the cosplay front has been so dry that I'm ashamed. *sob* I hope that next year will remedy this and that I get to create some really cool stuff! Keeping my thumbs and toes up!

Lastly, let me thank all my friends and everyone else follows this blog of mine I hope you all will continue to stay around!

Bye bye & Happy New Year 2017!

December 26, 2016

Blog 5-year birthday GIVEAWAY WINNER

Hello people!

Some of you might remember that originally this 5-year birthday giveaway was supposed to last a bit longer (until 5th January) but some things came in the way and changed my original plans and I thus decided to change the end date to 25th December instead, which was yesterday. Thank you for your understanding ~

Now let's get to the results! 
I just want to clarify first how the winner was chosen. I used a random number generator online to determine the winner. The first number that I got on the generator was the winning one and I matched it up with who posted the comment of the same number on the giveaway entry post.



Aaaaaand here's the screenshot of what the random generator gods said:

Number 2 is... 
*~* Sacchan *~*

I will contact you soon about the prize ~


Thank you to everyone who participated! 
More giveaways will be held in the future so hold on, there will be more chances to win free cosplay-related items!
~ Shiro Samurai out.

December 20, 2016

Lens review: I.Fairy Venus Red

Whooosh ~

Today I will review a beautiful red circle lens called I.Fairy Venus Red. These lenses have a gorgeous and detailed whirly print that looks Victorian-esque and mystical. It's a really pretty lens, in my opinion. ^_^

Let's go!

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

This is a really big lens with a detailed intricate swirly print that is reminiscent of the Victorian period. It's one of my favorite circle lens designs and it goes really well for any darker fashion styles – think goths, Visual Kei etc. ^^ The lens itself is a bit darker in tone and the red color, although an unnatural color in itself, isn't actually overwhelming; I think the black swirls soften the impact of the red. The I.Fairy Venus series have a really noticeable thick limbal ring and even though it's not a solid black it still gives a big impact – in the case of these red lenses the limbal ring is a darker red, mixed with black details.

One lens in. Notice the enlargement.
These cover my real eye color well enough and blends surprisingly naturally at the center, meaning that my light blue-gray eyes don't clash horribly with the red. The red shade is pleasant and actually doesn't appear as freaky or unnatural as one might expect from a red lens. Of course it's still not natural-looking enough to pass as a daily lens but it's definitely a fun pair for alternative fashion fans and those who like to stand out.

The comfort is below average. I had some trouble with the right lens because it kept feeling scratchy even after reinserting it a couple times. These lenses made my eyes tear up and I kept crying for at around 10 minutes before my eyes got used to these lenses not so good. :| My eyes were really watery. I can wear them for around 3 hours before I start to feel the first signs of dryness. My estimate is that I could wear these anywhere around 2-4 hours, possibly 5 hours if I used eyedrops.

Lens photos below!
All photos taken by me during a December afternoon with a semi-clear sky and a setting sun very low in the horizon. We have polar night right now and it means that the sun rises really late and goes down early, hence the orange light. 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.

Apartment room light. Lamps on.
Bathroom light.
Facing a window in the corridor. (not sun side)
Yellow light in the staircase.
Facing a window in the staircase. (sun side)
Outdoors, back against sun. Cloudy.
Outdoors, facing sun. Cloudy.
Outdoors, back against setting sun.
Outdoors, facing sunset. (sun is really low in the horizon)
What can I say? It's a gorgeous lens that's hindered by its below average comfort but, then again, I do have sensitive eyes and I opened these late (meaning a couple months before they would have expired in their vials) so my comfort grade might not be accurate.
The I.Fairy Venus Red could work for cosplay but I mostly see it as an extra-ordinary fashion lens for those who want to make a statement. The design is unique and it's a fun lens to wear! The red shows up well and still something keeps it from being like those obnoxiously bright red crazy lenses, which could be a good thing if you want a more sophisticated red color. :) So yeah, it's an eye-catching lens that still, somehow, manages to not be too flashy, haha.

Distance photo!

Want to see the I.Fairy Venus series in other colors?
Check out these reviews: Brown

Short summary:

Color: 7/10
A slightly darker and toned-down red shade. It's not really vivid enough to jump at you.
Design: 10/10
Beautifully detailed Victorian-esque whirly print. Mystical and mesmerizing.
Opacity: 8/10
Good coverage on light eyes.
Enlargement: 9/10
Big as always.
Comfort: 4/10
These make my eyes really watery after insertion (lasts approx. 10 min) and occasionally feel a bit scratchy. I can wear them for around 3 hours before they start to show the first signs of dryness.
Naturalness: 1/10
If you ever find someone with huge, red, intricately printed eyes then do tell me....

Thanks for viewing, I hope you liked this review! ^.^

December 12, 2016

Game characters I want to cosplay someday! [pt.2]

Hello people!

With the end of this year approaching I thought it could be a nice idea to go through some more cosplay candidates that I want to do in the future – from different kinds of games, just like in the previous post with the same name. ^_^ This post is not a guarantee that all of these characters will eventually happen but it's a fairly good indicator that I want to do them because yeah, most of these have been on my mind and on my cosplay list for a longer time already and haven't fallen out yet. I admit that there is a higher chance of me doing any of the following characters earlier if some of my friends etc are interested in the same series and/or plan a cosplay group! So yeah, comment if you are hyped about any of the characters/series and we could get something together!

Now let's go, roll out the list ~

Characters are in no particular order.


Game: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
Character: Ace Commander

I'm a huuuuuge Monster Hunter fanboy and of course I want to cosplay some armor sets etc but yeah, I also want to cosplay some actual characters that you interact with in the games. I really enjoy playing MH4U (1500+ hours and still going!) and I took a big liking to the Ace Commander. I just love how awkward he is with small talk and showing compassion and yet he's the cool leader type who values the other Ace hunters like family and protects them when it's needed. He's pretty relatable and I love his design, color scheme and... well... I have a bias for males with long silver hair, haha. One day I swear to God I will cosplay this guy, it needs to happen.

Game: Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
Character: Argosy Captain

This one started of as a joke between me and Sacchan but quickly grew to be a real candidate on my cosplay list. I just love this trade captain in MH3U who keeps mixing Japanese words into his sentences and he's just really funny! I also of course like his design and he wouldn't be too hard to do as a first MonHun cosplay, except that the wig will be a challenge and I need to make monobrows to be accurate.... oh shit!

Game: Resident Evil 4
Character: Leon Scott Kennedy

If you had asked me a couple years ago I would probably never consider playing nor cosplaying from a horror game I just don't like anything that might give me nightmares. But then there's my friend Sacchan, who loves survival horror games and is a big fan of Resident Evil and once she brought her PS2 to my place and proceeded to play RE4, from the very beginning, while I watched her play. Turns out I found the game interesting (although I'm still too much of a scaredy cat to play it myself) and ended up liking Leon surprisingly much. Besides, Sacchan want to cosplay some characters from the series anyway so why not join my best friend in the fun? And now I finally get a reason to go to an unsettling, possibly abandoned building after nightfall and have a photoshoot in there...

Game: World of Warcraft
Character: Malfurion Stormrage

Before anyone inserts a pitchfork up my ass I must confess that I've never played WoW (yet) but I've always been drawn to the character designs and I really liked Warcraft: The Beginning. But despite not playing WoW it does have some nostalgic connections with me, mainly because one of my childhood friend's brother played it a lot and that I remember at my first big con I saw some really amazing WoW cosplayers that made me think "oh man, I want to be purple and badass one day too!". Later it turned out that Sacchan had been wanting to cosplay Tyrande Whisperwind for years and she asked me if I wanted to join in as Malfurion. I checked him up and my eyes jumped out of my sockets – OMG, this guy has everything that I've been wanting to create in a cosplay! Wings, huge horns, bodypaint, fur details, a long beard, those famous WoW-eyebrows, huge ears, leatherwork, making a realistic muscle suit etc. This will be one hell of a challenge but I'm gonna do it!

Game: Touken Ranbu
Character: Taroutachi

I think most people know by now that I'm a fan of sword boys. I have already cosplayed a few characters from this online web browser game but there's so many more that I still want to do – and Taroutachi is one of them. He's actually one of my dream cosplays from Touken Ranbu and one of the very first ones I decided that I definitely want to cosplay one day. His design just speaks volumes to me and I can't wait to make a huge-ass sword!

Game: Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
Character: Oscar

Ah, good old Nintendo Gamecube age. I'm still there. Path of Radiance is, so far, the only Fire Emblem game that I've played but I really like it even though it's really frustrating at times. Oscar is one of my favorite characters in the game and I want to cosplay him someday when I'm good enough at armormaking and when... I can get to borrow a horse from somewhere. :D No but really, he's a cavalry knight in the game so yeah, it would be really awesome if I ever got the chance to photoshoot with a real "oat motorcycle", as my father always said. *dreaming*

Game: Umikaze
Character: Kantai Collection

What is this, a female character on my list? Yes, you saw right. Although I'm not into crossplay I will do an exception for KanColle ship girls because yeah, I have a big interest in ships and history etc and hey, why not do something different every once in a blue moon? I really like the color scheme of Umikaze and I thought that "why not? :D". It would be a challenge in itself and way out of my comfort zone. I'm still not 100% sure if I want to do an actual crossplay or a genderbend but I think I'm leaning a bit more towards doing Umikaze as she is because it just makes more sense to not genderbend her since ships have always been referred to as feminine.


I would have a couple more characters to list but I think I'll save those for a third reveal so stay tuned for that. ^^ Thanks for your time and I'm looking forward to hear if any of these characters caught your interest! I'm often up for pair and group cosplays if it's possible to arrange, the more the merrier ~

Bye bye!

December 6, 2016

Lens review: I.Fairy Venus Brown

Hello and happy Independence Day to Finland!

Today I have a circle lens review to share. I will be reviewing the I.Fairy Venus Brown lenses, which I've been eyeing for a long time before I finally decided to try them. It's a really beautiful lens with a unique pattern!

Let's go ~

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

I honestly love the design of these lenses – it's a really unique, gothic, mystical lens with an intricate swirly print. The outer edge is darker than the inner and makes these stand out but in a sophisticated, almost fantasy-like way. The color is a light brown shade, lovely yet soft. The swirls make me think about something Victorian-esque in style. I love these, they really speak volumes to me.

As with any  I.Fairy lenses these are definitely on the big side. The outer edge appears like a dark limbal ring when worn but because it's not solid black it makes the impact a bit smoother and less, err, animated? Not saying its natural but it's a bit watered down when compared to some other circle lenses with bolder limbal rings.

One lens in. Notice enlargement.
About comfort I can say that they aren't so comfortable but still wearable. The first time I tried these I could only wear them for 1 hour before they started to feel blergh; the second time it took 3 hours before they started to feel dry – no super long times but I've had worse. These lenses feel a bit annoying after insertion and I do feel them in my eyes but yeah, I love the design so much that I'll endure it and hey, that "lens in my eye" discomfort does lessen after a while.

Lens photos below!
All photos taken by me during a December morning with a semi-clear sky and a rising sun. Yeah, it's called polar night and the sun barely goes above the horizon, hence the poor/orange light. 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.

Apartment room light. Lamps on.
Bathroom light.
Flash photo.
Facing a window in the corridor. (not sun side)
Yellow light in the staircase.
Outdoors, facing the sun.
Outdoors, facing sun. Cloudy.
Outdoors, back against sun. (facing wall)
I'd definitely recommend these first-hand for peeps who prefer some "darker" fashion styles like goths, steampunk and Visual Kei etc. I guess they'd be fine for cosplay as well but I personally think the Venus series might be better suited for alternative fashion.

I'm a bit disappointed that I couldn't get a photo in clear non-orange sunlight because the sun doesn't rise far up in the horizon anymore (I'm lucky if it gets above the trees, lol) and thus the sunlight is a really bright orange most of the time. I don't have many sunlight hours to take the photos and yeah, I feel like my photos don't do the lenses justice because of that – they're prettier than they look. I had to hurry and my camera wasn't cooperating either... ;_;

Distance photo!

Want to see the I.Fairy Venus series in other colors?
Check out these reviews: Red

Short summary:

Color: 8/10
Pleasant and soft light brown.
Design: 10/10
Intricate yet mystic Victorian-esque whirls. Dark and mesmerizing.
Opacity: 8/10
Good coverage on my light blue-gray eyes.
Enlargement: 9/10
Really big.
Comfort: 4/10
A bit annoying at first and dry out somewhere between 1-3 hours on my sensitive eyes.
Naturalness: 2/10
Not natural because of the highly detailed print and massive size.

Thanks for viewing, I hope you found this review helpful!

December 1, 2016

Blog 5-year birthday GIVEAWAY

Happy 1st December everyone!

On this exact day, five full years ago, I made this blog. It feels crazy that it's already so long ago – time sure does fly by! But yeah, with that said and without further long-winding emotional mumbo jumbo about the past years of blogging and cosplaying and... *sniff* ............ Oh man, I still love you guys for the support and for staying with me all these years, I really do. ;_; I still don't know where you all came from (you are like coins from Saunalahti!) and it doesn't really even matter but hey, I'm genuinely happy that you enjoy my writings and I hope to see you around for a long time to come! I will also try my best to keep blogging for a long time to come as well, so that you peeps have something to look forward to! ♥

To celebrate my 5 years of cosplay blogging I've prepared a giveaway for you all lovely readers and fans! This giveaway is made possible thanks to my lovely long-time sponsor, LensVillage. The lucky winner will get to choose a free pair of circle lenses from their store – a wonderful little Christmas/New Year present!

Here's the information for the giveaway, please read it carefully:

(open in new window for full size)
LensVillage's Facebook page:


• Please note that ALL 3 STEPS MUST BE DONE to get a valid entry! 
• This giveaway is active from 1st December to 25th December 2016.
• The winner will be chosen randomly and contacted.

Psst, if you don't know what Google Friend Connect is it's that gadget at the upper right side of my blog with the images of the (at the time of posting) 225 readers. :) You can enter the giveaway even if you are new and join/follow my blog now! A Google account is needed.
Also, Bloglovin' can be found directly under GFC.

Hint: If you don't want to write out your Facebook name or email address on the comment section, for any reasons, it's perfectly okay to send these separately to my email address: valkoinensamurai at gmail dot com. I only use this information (Facebook, email) to contact you, if you win, and to check that you did the steps required. Just mention in the comments that you've sent contact details through email because yeah, I still need each participant to comment since each comment will receive a number (based on order) and I will use that to draw the winner through a random number generator. ^^ Thank you for your understanding.

So that's my little giveaway for this year's blog birthday! My blog is a big boy now! :D
Enjoy yourselves and best of luck! Remember to tell your friends too ~
~ Shiro Samurai