January 26, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Amari Nobunaga cosplay from InuYasha!

Hello mah friends!

A while ago I started a new Throwback Thursday themed blog series on which I'll go through some of my early cosplays. In last Thursday's post I talked about how Byakuya from InuYasha was my debut cosplay and today we'll stay in Feudal Japan and fight youkais. Today's showcased costume is actually one that pretty much no one knows that I've done, hehe...

Ever since I found some really old cosplay WIP photos in the deep dark corners of my laptop I've been wanting to do something with them – like, for example, show them to the world because we all started somewhere. Yes, I totally took progress photos before I even started cosplay blogging. 
This means that, once a week, on Thursdays (because it's called Throwback Thursday for a reason), I will invite you all to experience a 'blast of the past' with me featuring old cosplay photos, WIPs and stories ranging from late 2009 to 2011. Fasten your seatbelts, we're gonna be riding the time machine and you'll get to backtrack into my cosplay history and see some never-published-before photos on this here blog!  
Be warned that this, naturally, means a lot of (potential) embarrassment for me and highly varying photo quality for you. ;) I only had a crummy compact camera back then and didn't even notice if a photo was blurry or not...

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Amari Nobunaga. InuYasha.
Holy fuck. This guy. I guess not many people remember him from InuYasha and, well, understandably so – he only appears in one single volume in the manga (early in the beginning) and one episode in the anime and is never to be seen again after that. He was my third cosplay and don't ask me why I decided to cosplay him; it was a spur of the moment combined with being nostalgic, rereading early InuYasha volumes and also wanting to wear my hipster frames to do a cosplay that, likely, no one else has ever done before. :'D
Oda
Amari Nobunaga is a really obscure character from a popular series and if anyone remembers him it's probably either because his pet monkey stole Kagome's underwear or that he was the guy in the episode with the toad demon and the princess. Kagome also at first thought that he was the famous Oda Nobunaga but... he's definitely not.
Actually, Amari is a very different character from the usual character archetypes that I cosplay – he's clumsy, kind, naive, idealistic and honorable and, despite being weak in combat he still tries his best to protect those he loves. He's also a comic relief. I can't help but like him – he's hilarious and yet so human. 

I sadly have no memory of when exactly I started working on this cosplay but it must have been around mid to late 2010. I made all three layers of clothing (the undermost white kimono was my Bleach one recycled) and the hakama myself. I skipped making a sword exclusively for him since his sword is so generic that I could just use any katana and call it a day.

Almost done with the violet and the outer kimono.
This was also, just like with Ichigo and Byakuya, done during a time when I didn't either know (or care?) about seam placement regarding kimono accuracy. I knew a fair amount of other pieces of information about kimono construction but I just did my shoulder seams without a second thought and lived my life happily. Needless to say that nowadays it bothers me because it's actually important if one cares about an authentic look. Oh well, we learn from our mistakes.

Ribbons and stuff attached.
All those brown decorations are made of bias tape. Also, regarding those white 'window squares' all of them are appliqued on. I made a base of plastic and then used it as a template to draw and cut out a lot of identical squares. I didn't count them or anything, just went by my own judgement. I sewed them on in the exact same way as I did with Byakuya's haori applique, aka a very wide yet narrow zigzag.
On each square decoration I ironed on some interfacing fabric on the backside so that it wouldn't be wrinkly once sewn on – it made for a really neat appearance.

Close-up image of one of the squares.
The hakama were my first try at making accurate hakama for a cosplay – I had learned from Byakuya's ripping fake hakama and wanted to do it right. Or well, not 100% right because I didn't bother to handsew the whole thing and I didn't follow any specific "authentic measures" or  such, I just went by eye measures. I also happened to find in one of mom's old pattern maps a pattern for some really humongous 80s pants and well, after widening them even more they were good to use for a hakama base.

Hakama in progress.
To make the side openings I just folded the 'corners' in and sewed them in place; I made sure to take in the same amount from both the front and the back so that the slits would match and be equally deep. I sewed straight stitches across the ties to strengthen them.
Of course I sewed on all those squares before I started pleating or doing any sewing.

Close-up. Notice the pins. I had just finished pleating.
After pinning the pleats in place I ironed them; I used steam and water (aka placed a wet rag on top) for them to be crisp and last longer. In case you didn't know hakama have five pleats in the front and two in the back.
I did notice afterwards that I should have made my hakama even wider because in the end the pleats weren't quite as deep as I would have wanted, but it still looked okay when worn so it's not too bad.

Close-up of the back. Finished hakama.
(note: flash photo)
For the koshiita insert I cut out a piece from a plastic candy box, glued craft foam on both sides of it and wrapped the whole shebang in a lot of jesus tape duct tape. I left one side of the koshiita open so that I could insert the... insert. Hurr. :DD I sewed it closed afterwards.

Finished hakama. Front.
(note: flash photo)
Finished hakama. Back.
(note: flash photo)
The ties in the front are notably longer than those on the back
– that's how it's supposed to be. Oh and yeah, the blue fabric that I used is a medium-ish weight cotton. It's actually the same fabric I used for my Team Aqua cosplay. When it comes to Nobunaga's wig I was still dumb – meaning that I had a medium length wig that, of course, couldn't be put up in a high ponytail just like that. So needless to say I did the low ponytail shit that I did with Byakuya as well. Eww. :DD But, unlike with Byakuya, I barely have any cosplay photos of Nobunaga and that's simply because I only ever wore him to Uppcon 2011 and that year was a warm one and, well, three layers of kimonos is equal to being a portable sauna! So yeah, I could only wear this cosplay for a few hours before it got too hot to bear and I really had to go back to the hotel to change out of costume. That said, I have no photos to show of me actually being in costume because since then I haven't touched it... :'(

Recently finished hakama properly folded, for storage.
I still of course want to rewear Nobunaga because hell, I've spent a fair amount of time and effort on this cosplay and it'd be a waste if that short-lived Uppcon debut was to be its only chance to come out of the closet.

Regarding props I already mentioned that I didn't go out of my way to make a generic katana for him... but instead I went out of my way to find a white monkey plush. You have no idea how fucking hard it was to find one! xD I plowed through all local toy stores and whatever other stores carried plush dolls, on several occasions, and luck finally hit me at former Barnens Hus (nowadays Barnens Land). There on the shelf I found what I was looking for – my much needed pet monkey prop!

I found you, Hiyoshimaru! :-DD
It's stupidly cute and just the right size! ;U; I love plush dolls, okay? I could probably pin him to my shoulder the next time I wear Nobunaga out – good thing one of my newer wigs will work just fine for him! I just need to do some minor modifications on the sleeves of the kimono (I've realized they're inaccurate), namely sew the sleeve mouth closed since I had originally left them open, just like on Bleach shinigami kimonos and that's simply because I wasn't sure since the manga references didn't show clearly what his sleeves looked like; I decided to leave them fully open so that I could alter them later, if needed.

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So there you have it, my third cosplay and my second InuYasha cosplay even to this day. I still of course plan to do more InuYasha cosplays and Nobunaga will definitely see the light of day again, hopefully in a near future. Nobunaga is one of the most obscure cosplays that I've done, but probably still not the ~most~ obscure one. ;) I just like to give some cosplay love to characters that haven't gotten any instead of doing characters that have been done to death. Not like it's wrong though and I've done some really popular chars myself but hey, sometimes it's fun to enter hipster mode; it's a cool feeling to know that you just might be the only one in the whole world who has done a certain character... hahah.

Current status of this cosplay: Needs some minor modifications.

Stay tuned for next Thursday's episode!

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