Cosplay Profile – Asuka Langley Sohryu, Neon Genesis Evangelion

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  • The costume – This was my second cosplay I ever worked on and completed. I certainly didn’t make it easy on myself. I didn’t have very many skills as far as costume crafting goes, but I was passionate and determine to do this costume. I am a redheaded, spunky German girl, and so is Asuka. I love Evangelion and revere it as one of the best animes ever created. I could have done Asuka’s school uniform, or her yellow dress from her episode debut, but I got crazy and just HAD to do the plugsuit. This is the original plugsuit version from the original 26 episodes.
  • The parts – This costume just had one part – the plugsuit itself. It was all one piece of costume, if that makes sense. Everything revolved around a zentai suit that I altered to have all the detail and all the features of the plugsuit.
  • The research – I watched EVA several times to watch for range of motion and try to understand these crazy plugsuits. I looked at other cosplayers online to try and understand how they worked with certain materials or how they had featured some of the details. As my second cosplay, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into! My knowledge of some materials was so limited and that point I was really just running on positive energy. I wanted to create a cosplay for a character that I was passionate about.
  • The construction process – I started with the zentai suit, and with the help of my mother (my primary cosplay support eight years ago), we gradually added pieces to the costume with a variety of adhesives and sewing methods. Many parts of the fabric were mounted on foam to create dimension, so that some of the details really stood out against the red background. I had to have assistance because at the time, I didn’t have a dress form, so in order to get some of the details to be placed correctly, I would have to be wearing the whole body suit and my hands would be covered! My mom didn’t really understand what kind of hobby I was getting into, but she helped me out all the same. In the days before learning about using materials efficiently, moms really are the best help!
  • The finished product – For my second costume, I’m really proud of what I was able to accomplish. Not only did I find it successful, many people at the conventions I attended approved too! I was inundated with photo opportunities throughout my convention and even earned a chance of a photoshoot with Eurobeat King. His photos are featured below! I feel I learned a lot through this costuming process. Now that I know how to work with materials like spandex, if I were to redo this cosplay, I would be able to make the entire thing from scratch and sew the details in as I go. I do hope to redo this cosplay in the future because I’ve learned so much and I think I can accomplish more the second time around. In the mean time, I love what I produced for a character that I adore so much!

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Slightly Derailed – When Cosplayers Get Screwed By Real Life

It’s been a couple months since I got back from Sakura Con and was looking forward to dedicating a lot more of my time to cosplay and where I hope it will lead the rest of my life. But I have been slightly derailed along the way. For one, things in my life just keep changing and I have to put other things first before I consider my future. One day at a time, right? That’s how it has broken down lately. My fiance was accepted to a masters program at NYU at the beginning of May. The past month has occupied my life with going through everything I own and deciding what goes with me, what stays to be store, and what gets thrown away. It’s hard to think about shipping cosplays, a sewing machine, pounds and pounds of crafting equipment when there are dozens of other more essential things that need to have funds delegated to them first. Plane tickets, money for new housing (it is New York, so it’ll cost a lot) shipping the essentials like clothes, kitchen and bathrooms things, and buying necessary things for the trip, like luggage. So, this move has occupied one of the months that I had hoped to use doing an abundance of things for this website. I’ve had to put off uploading cosplay profiles, transcribing my panel or collecting statistical data from my survey. I had also hoped to have another cosplay completed by now. This move has occupied my life and my creative energy is shot, not to mention that I am also working two jobs right now. I think about how fast pace things will be in New York, the likelihood that I will get to work one Monday-Friday job 9-5. I’ll probably still work two jobs, have less funds to cosplay, and I now have to incorporate a plane ticket into my seasonal con trip, which pretty much doubles to triples the cost. I’d like to think New York cons are good, but I have no idea. I will remain incredibly loyal to Sakura Con because I have attended it every year for the past nine years. It will just cost a lot more.

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I’m not ignoring the site. I think about cosplay and trying to building my portfolio and anthropology with cosplay constantly – I just don’t have time to do anything about it right now. I am hoping that New York will expand my horizons for cosplay exponentially, but right now I have no idea how it will affect my life as a whole. I have never lived anywhere else that the state I live in now, and New York is about 3000 miles away – a different climate, a different time zone and totally different pace of life. I’m scared, anxious, excited, overwhelmed, emotional, just a big mess. I hope I can make another cosplay soon. I want time to work on the site. Please bear with me. Wait until I move to New York and this all blows over and hopefully cosplay life can resume if not normal, then better than normal. I need something consistent and reliable going on in the chaos of my life right now.

Sakura Con 2013 – Post Con Update

It’s been a week since Sakura-Con ended and I am just now getting to the website. The hard shock of reality taking you back to grocery shopping, paying bills and going to work causes what my friend Heidi refers to as PCRDD – Post-Con Reality Distortion Disorder. In the nine years I have been attending convention, I actually do suffer when my main con, Sakura-Con, is over. I look at people on the street and they’re not cosplayers. Bawls suddenly isn’t an integral part of my diet and I have some withdrawal problems. Instead of trying to find my next panel, I’m trying to find my serving apron and I’m running late for work.

But in the beauty of it all, I get to look back on a truly magnificent convention this last year. Sakura-Con blew my mind for a ninth year in a row. Here are some of the big highlights of my year at Sakura-Con:

– I hosted a panel for the first time ever. Need Input: A Panel for Cosplay Research is my first step in a quest of anthropological field research to find out why people cosplay and how they feel belonging to a community at a convention. I was able to record all of the dialogue from the panel, including all of the feedback from the audience. I plan to make a transcript of the entire panel so people can read over all of the dialogue that took place. It is in progress as we speak, but transcription is a slow process. Stay tuned for the PDF file.

– In addition to my panel, I also conducted a 125 person survey to gain statistical information from the cosplay community, for cosplayers and non-cosplayers alike. I asked all sorts of questions, from basic info like age, gender identity and interest and scaled questions about feeling from cosplay, motivation to cosplay and level of intimidation from being judged when cosplaying at a convention. Now I just have to figure out how to make statistics out of this massive poll that I took…

– The AMV Contest is a very integral part of the competitive nature at Sakura-Con. It is one of the biggest contest with the most amazing handmade trophies I have ever seen. In a room with thousands of other Con-goers, we watched 35 awesome anime music videos battled it out in various categories. The AMV that won not only Best Technical also won Best of Show for the Audience AND Best of Show for the Judges. Here’s a link to Ileya’s awesome Evangelion AMV that stole the show and rocked out to my favorite Imagine Dragons song – http://youtu.be/7rMcBwbZbKM

– I debuted my newest cosplay, Megumi from Burst Angel. I will admit, I have been seriously been lacking with updating my cosplay profiles, and I plan to try and change that today after I make breakfast and before I have to go to work, but there will be photos of this cosplay in time to come. I decided that I needed to get back to being sexy with cosplay, so I chose one with tons of T & A. My fiance took some amazing photos in a photo shoot after the convention. Since I’ve told you all about it now, it would be rude not to give you some visual to go off of…

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– So on Friday night at the convention, I snuck into my old tromping grounds that is the Anime Swimsuit Contest. I have had something to do with this panel since the first year it happened. I competed for three years in a row, taking first place the second year by Fan’s Vote and third place the two other years. Last year I sat on the judges panel. I walked into the panel seeing the regular crowd that runs the contest, including my friend Frank the Bearded Man. The host of the panel was missing, and it was set to start in 10 minutes. I decided to just walk in a join the judges. I got to assert seniority with someone asked “who the hell I thought I was sitting on the judge’s panel” and recited my history with the contest. That somebody quickly silenced themselves. I could hear the contestants talking about the contest in previous years, especially two years ago when the Horo lady crushed a beer can with her thighs. They all said they wanted to meet her. I cleared my throat and waved at them like some retired legend from an ancient battle. The legend lives on….

– I participated in Cosplay Chess again this year as Little Sister, a huge success I must say. I definitely think I scared some competitors on the chess board and all of my battles went well ^_^ Good job everyone! Mark and I will be doing an outdoor photoshoot with Little Sister since I have a new set of contact lenses to make the cosplay ultra creepy!

– I also managed to survive my entire convention is a horrible cold that I think I acquired on top of the fact that I also had bronchitis. So yeah, I was pretty damn sick at Con too.

This concludes my epic Sakura-Con update! Next post will probably consist on my future plans for my next conventions! I also plan to post my prospective cosplay plans for the future!

-KLR

Cosplay Profile – Winry Rockbell, Fullmetal Alchemist

  • The costume – This was an awesome cosplay to start my career off with. It was my first year at an anime convention, and Fullmetal Alchemist was insanely popular in the States. I was a blonde at the time, and I have always been a skinny girl, so this would be a fairly easy costume to create as my first ever cosplay. I chose Winry’s mechanic outfit that she is most commonly seen in throughout the anime. This cosplay debuted at my first anime convention, Sakura-Con in 2005, and re-debuted at Sakura-Con in 2012 just for giggles. I did have to wear a wig though (not a blonde anymore!) and it didn’t work as well ^_^;;
  • The parts – For all the parts of her costume, I will start at the top of her head and work my way down: 1) Maroon bandana, 2) Black tube top, 3) Very worn leather gloves, with a brownish/greenish tint to them, 4) Lavender coveralls, rolled down and tied at the waist, 5) Sandals or loafers for shoes

  • The research – I managed to score a Winry figurine in her mechanic outfit from my job at Suncoast, and the colors were very similar to what she was wearing in the TV series. From my first cosplay, I learned that figurines can be very reliable in a lot of cases where you can’t see the back of the costume in a game or series. Though commonly, colors between the manga and the animation differed, I decided to go with the more common color combo from the anime. I look online at Cosplay.com and saw a whole mess of Winrys wearing all different colors: bright red bandanas, brown or blue coveralls, and frankly, I was very confused with where people were getting their color ideas for this costume. I stuck with my figurine and the screen shots from the series.

  • The construction process – This was a very easy costume to put together. The hardest thing was getting coveralls that would work. I didn’t want to any pieces of my costume to be inaccurate, so I bought some size small white coveralls off the internet, and dyed them in my washer. I used standard purple Rit dye, and I just didn’t let them stew for very long. They came out a perfect shade of lavender to match the animation color. I bought some maroon fabric at Jo-Ann’s and ripped it in a couple spots to make it easier to tie around my ponytail. The tube top was a cheap score from Hot Topic, off the clearance rack. It had a little cherry decal on it, so I just folded it in half, and that actually helped to keep it from falling down. With my first run of the cosplay, I tried to make some fancy orange sandals that matched my figurine. I threw them away after Day 1 because they kept falling apart. Instead, I used some brown clogs because they were more comfy, and with as baggy as my coveralls came out to be, you couldn’t see the clogs anyways. I borrowed some really worn gloves from my tech theater program at school, and my teacher said they were so worn out that i could keep them for my cosplay. The wrench was another item I borrowed, and was eventually told to keep because it went so well with my cosplay.

Photos 

In the beginning, there was a cosplayer…

Welcome to the beginning of Red Leaf Cosplay!

Red Leaf Cosplay started in 2004 with a cosplay of Winry Rockbell from Fullmetal Alchemist. The cosplay debuted at Sakura-Con 2004, my very first anime convention. With the popularity of Fullmetal Alchemist that year, my cosplay was very popular and I received tons of comments and photo opportunities.

As the years followed I created several more popular cosplays, including Asuka Langley Sohryu’s plugsuit from Neon Genesis Evangelion and Misty from Pokemon. After graduating from Portland State University with a BA in Theater Arts, with an emphasis in props, I used my collected skills from over 10 years of doing stage props to make my first cosplay prop, an Adam Gun for my Little Sister cosplay from Bioshock (see photo above). This became another cosplay to receive rave reviews from the convention public for authenticity and theatricality.

As time has passed, the potential for making cosplay and prop creation a career has come to the surface. I don’t enjoy theater as much as I used to, what with the demand for hundreds of props per production, little time for artistic detail, and the underwhelming support and appreciation for all the work that I do. Cosplay has never failed me in the element of challenge, appreciation and admiration from total strangers, and the lift of self esteem and pride in my work that has come as a result. This site will be the foundation that collects my work from over the years,  my processes and research that have contributed to the finished product, and the portfolio that leads me to a professional career in cosplay, modeling and prop making.

-KLR

Theater Resumé

West Salem High School  

  • Spring 2003 – Prop Master – Little Shop of Horrors – Directed by Lori Van Dreal-Clark
  • Spring 2004 – Prop Master – The Miracle Worker – Directed by Lori Van Dreal-Clark
  • Spring 2005 – Prop Master – Bye Bye Birdie – Directed by Lori Van Dreal-Clark

Chemeketa Community College

  • Winter 2005 – Prop Master – Epic Proportions – Technical Director – Terry Rohse
  • Spring 2006 – Collaborator/Assistant Scene Designer – The Quintessential Interpretation Project – Technical Director – Terry Rohse

Portland State University/TASO

  • Fall 2008 – Prop Master – The Triumph of Love – Directed by Karin Magaldi
  • Winter 2009 – Prop Master – Sophocles’ Electra – Directed by Devon Allen
  • Spring 2009 – Prop Master – Minutes from the Blue Route – Directed by Josh Spencer
  • Spring 2009 – Prop Master – The Odd Couple – Directed by Dug Martell
  • Fall 2009 – Prop Master – The Tempest – Directed by William Tate
  • Spring 2010 – Chorus Member – Hamletmachine – Directed by Ben Roberts

Portland Center Stage

  • Winter 2009 – Fall 2010 – Intern at PCS Scene Shop under Erik Olberholtzer

Portland Public Playhouse

  • Fall 2009 – Prop Master – Tomfoolery – Directed by Bruce Hostetler
  • Winter 2010 – Prop Master – A Christmas Story – Directed by Dustin Milberg

Working Theater Collective

  • Spring 2010 – Master Electrician – Peaking – Directed by Nate Harpel

Bag and Baggage Theater Productions

  • Fall 2010 – Prop Master – The Glass Menagerie – Directed by Marion Ross

Misc. Work

  • April 2008 – Cirque du Soleil: Corteo – Scenic Property Crew, Portland, OR
  • May 2010 – Cirque du Soleil: Kooza – Scenic Property Crew, Portland, OR

Education/Training

  • High School Diploma: West Salem High School    06/2005
    Graduated with National Honors in Academics and Technical Theater
  • Associate Arts Oregon Transfer Degree: Chemeketa Community College  06/2007
    Influence in Arts and Letters
    Graduated with National Honors Phi Theta Kappa
  • BA in Theater Arts: Portland State University   06/13/2010
    Graduated with National Honors Alpha Psi Omega
    Technical Theater Track
    Focus: Stage Properties
    Skills: Trained to work with a variety of tools and saws, some woodworking, experience in casting, mold making and crafting with foam, stained glass, slumping and fusing, knitting and hand piecing

Cosplay Resumé

Cosplays

  1. Winry Rockbell, Fullmetal Alchemist – debuted Sakura Con 2005
  2. Askua Langley Sohryu, Neon Genesis Evangelion – debuted Sakura Con 2006
  3. Princess Ashe, Final Fantasy XII – debuted Sakura-Con 2007
  4. Misty, Pokémon – debuted Kumori Con 2008
  5. Little Sister, Bioshock– debuted Sakura Con 2010
  6. Sage Wolf Horo, Spice and Wolf – debuted Sakura Con 2011
  7. Siddartha (Undead Female Priest in Absolution Regalia), World of Warcraft – debuted Sakura Con 2012
  8. Megumi, Burst Angel – debuted Sakura Con 2013
  9. Jean Grey, X-Men: Evolution – debuted New York Comi Con 2013
  10. Horo (Green Dress), Spice and Wolf – debuted KatsuCon 2014

Cosplay Props

  1. Cross Punisher, Trigun
  2. Adam Gun, Bioshock
  3. Grand Magister’s Staff of Torrents, World of Warcraft

There will be profiles to follow for each of the cosplays and props posted above. Each posting will come with photos, research involved, construction process and oh, so much more! Stay tuned!

-KLR