Category Archives: Anime, Manga, Etc

Anime Midwest 2012 Aftermath II: Another Late One!

Saturday of Anime Midwest would see the debut of my newest cosplay, Mamimi Samejima from Furi Kuri, aka FLCL. It would turn out to be a fun cosplay to wear even though she isn’t a character likely to get a lot of notice. That was quite alright with me since Mamimi herself doesn’t get a lot of notice which is actually not so bad if you’re planning to take pictures of other cosplayers. Oh, and Mamimi is into photography too, so it all fit.

Over the day I spent most of my time tasting panels here and there. One that I made an extended visit to was the Fanservice Renji QA which also featured the most beautiful Pocahontas cosplayer I’ve ever seen. Renji was pretty cool, a nice likeable guy who I first saw at Youmacon a number of years ago. Since that time he’s become a convention staple with some cool original music videos about the anime fandom. I enjoyed his masquerade performance too!

The Perfect Pocahontas

In the afternoon I was treated to The Pillowcases, a fabulous Pillows tribute band! I saw the Pillows years ago at Anime Central and they were awesome. The Pillowcases did not disappoint, they were equally awesome with bonus points! Mamimi had a great time rocking to her favorite FLCL songs. ^_^ The Pillowcases also did some other nerdy tunes including a cool remix of the Dr. Who theme song. Saturday night would bring up the the masquerade and later, the way too popular for the room, Midwest Karaoke Madness. The cosplays for the masquerade were quite good on the whole, but the night was stolen by a Chobits group with the cutest little girl ever as Sumomo who lead the audience in morning calisthenics! I also had the pleasure of helping a lady use her Flip camera to shoot some video of her daughter’s most impressive fur suited cosplay.

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After the masquerade, it was off to karaoke. One of my Midwest Karaoke Madness friends was disappointed that I hadn’t brought my Uhura to the con. Maybe I’ll bring her next year. Since this was my first Anime Midwest, I figured I’d stick with anime cosplays. The small room was packed and overflowing. Nevertheless, I got a song in and had some fun seeing old friends and new perform too! I bounced out briefly to go to the dance which I found was running late. Instead I found a dude rapping about video games and nerdy stuff. I learned later that it was MegaRan. It was freakin awesome! And now I know what nerdcore is! After that I went back to karaoke and did what is seemingly becoming a signature song for me, It’s Raining Men. This is coming way too naturally for me, but the ladies in the audience loved it and sang along!

I eventually got to the dance but did not stay too long before ending the day. I’d had a lot of fun already, and didn’t want to be greedy. And my Mamimi cosplay had gotten a really good shakedown.

Sunday it was back to street clothes. I made a few more photo runs and then a dealer’s room pass. If there was anything I was a tad bit disappointed in with Anime Midwest, it was the very small dealer’s room. There just wasn’t enough variety to spark my interest. I was hoping to find some DVDs and some suitable gifts to take home, but came up empty on that note. Still, I’d had my fun and was happy to head for home knowing that Otakon was just a few short weeks away.

Anime Midwest 2012 Pics

Kollision Con 2011 Aftermath Super Late Summer Edition

It’s funny writing about a con that took place so many months ago now. But I’m really compelled to do so because I think that Kollision was a turning point for me and my con going adventures. At a small con, there isn’t much between you and everything else. There’s no place to hide, everything’s exposed.

This exposure can be a good thing because you can really get close to the guests and take part in the activities of the con in a more personal fashion. But it can also be kinda scary if you’re not a very social person. It’s difficult to be a shy cosplayer in such an environment!

My Saturday ended up being a dim sum of panels and running into old con friends. And I finally got to see Eyeshine perform! The concert was a lot of fun, in no small part because we were are right up close to the stage. Afterwards I bought some CDs and then wandered about some before the masquerade which I had entered as a craftmanship walk-on.

My Uhura cosplay is a fun one to walk around it because the red minidress really stands out and because everyone knows what it is. I’m always getting photo request from older people whether they’re at the con or not. And while I didn’t really know it at the time, I was passing really well.

This would be only my 3rd cosplay masquerade walk-on, and I was excited to be doing it because I really like this costume and had fun making it. Though it looked like there might actually be more cosplayers in the hall than spectators. So many great costumes around me! I wish I’d had my camera. In particular, there was an eye-popping Starfire cosplayer whose skin was completely orange. She was gorgeous!

Kollision Con 2011 Pics

We ended up with a nice crowd and I hit all of my marks. I guess at heart, I love the attention you get walking the stage so it was with great joy, and surprise, when I had to go onstage again to claim my Honorable Mention certificate! Looking back, I think that the enthusiasm I had detailing how I made the costume probably helped. And I think Jamie Marchi was one of the judges too!

Most of the night was spent doing karaoke. It was awesome! The song I had the most fun singing though was, It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls. It’s a fun song that I first heard sung by a group of women at Reactor in the old Purple Hotel. I thought the absurdity of a guy dressed as Uhura singing that song would be a fun spectacle and it was! LOL I visited the dance briefly, but the music just didn’t do anything for me, so I returned to karaoke until it ended.

Midwest Karaoke Madness Blues Brothers

Sunday it was back to street clothes and cosplaying myself. Ran into Ed, another crossplayer I see regularly at the cons I go to. It was fun talking with him a bit as at the larger cons, there usually isn’t a lot of time between one event or another I’ll be trying to get to. I feel like I got a little more comfortable with myself at Kollision Con whether in costume or not. And I’ve carried this forward with me since then. It never ceases to amaze me the situations and venues that God uses to speak to me.

So I had fun at a little con named Kollision Con. I don’t know yet if I’ll be able to return for 2012, but I certainly won’t forget 2011.

Otakon Pre-pre-flight

The good news is that the Sailor Mars project was coming along rather nicely. The bad news is that it won’t be finished in time for Otakon. T_T I thought about trying to push it through, but it would have meant working like crazy right up until a 700 mile drive. A cautionary tale of unexpected demise delivered by my lovely lady today convinced me that a more relaxed Otakon pre-flight would be more fun.

So I’m saving Sailor Mars for Dragon*Con next month. I don’t like missing my targets, but I’ve got one new cosplay plus a popular one from last year and an old favorite. Now I can rest up and be 100% for the drive to one of the most awesome weekends of the year for me! That is, me and 30000 others!

Anime Midwest 2012 Aftermath I

What can I say? Anime Midwest proved to be a small con with some big fun. While I love the sensory overload of the big cons, Anime Midwest was well worth the time and effort. Naturally I was feverishly finishing up a new cosplay before the con. Yeah, I can never just relax and get ready. LOL

Taking place over the July 4th holiday period, I was lucky enough to be able to take both the 5th and 6th off. So getting out to the con in Chicago suburban Lisle, was pretty low pressure. When I parked the car, it was over 100 degrees F outside. So I was less than happy when I learned that the hallways outside my hotel room were not air conditioned. Hot halls do not make for happy cosplay makeup and wigs!

Friday, I wore my Stocking cosplay which has proven to be one of my favorites. The wig is hard to manage, but I love this costume and the gothy makeup style I can use with it! Since it was a small con, I activated small con picture taking mode. Even at a large convention, the chances of most cosplayers finding pictures of their cosplays online is fairly small. So at smaller conventions I make an extra effort to take pictures whenever I can. Then afterwards I place them on my Flickr account and squawk about them on Twitter, Facebook, and this blog so that they are easy to find.

One of the first things I noticed was all of the Homestuck cosplay. This had to be the largest single contingent of fans at Anime Midwest. And my oh my were they having a great time. They were literally singing and dancing all weekend long. They were closely followed by the Hetalia fans. Oh my! ^_^

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After opening ceremonies I went to the first guest panel featuring voice actors Jamie Marchi, Ian Sinclair, and Joel McDonald. Greg Ayres popped in briefly as well. This was one of the biggest reasons I decided to attend Anime Midwest. I first saw Jamie at Kollision Con last fall and really liked her. At most of the cons I’ve been to, the actors have proven to be really fun, smart, and entertaining.

I wanted to asked Jamie a question about the English dub of Panty and Stocking. She’s the voice of Panty and the English script writer. But the *ahem* language I’d need to use just to ask the question forced me to wait until the after hours panel. That panel was totally off the hook! At the beginning, each person who wanted to ask a question was required to use at least one swear word in asking it. Over the course of the evening, that number increased to five! The Panty and Stocking dub is awesome! My question was who came up with the exclamation of “Repent Motherfuckers!” during the angel transformation sequence. Jamie said that was her idea. And it fit the lip flaps perfectly. It definitely fit the flavor of the series, that’s for sure.

By the end of the panel, the white board was covered with numerous depictions of genitalia, and I’m sure we had all earned ourselves a thoroughly soapy mouth washing! I rarely swear, so I think I must have used up at least two weeks worth that night.

My first day finished up with a costume change to my Miho cosplay before the Friday rave. Miho has become my go to rave cosplay. She looks like a goth rave girl anyway. Though I’m not completely sure what she looked like to the people I encountered in the elevator on the way to the dance. Apparently, the hotel was also host to a wedding party that night. So my purple hair caused a bit of a stir and one young woman was unsure whether I was a woman or a man. As we left the elevator, she apologized profusely for possibly using the wrong pronouns in reference to me. I assured her it was quite okay, quite happy, as any crossplayer might be, to have done a good enough job to engender such confusion (pardon the pun).

I had fun dancing, but wasn’t too hot on the music. So I only stayed a couple of hours before drawing my first day to a close. The next day would be Mamimi’s big debut. But more on that later.

Anime Midwest Prep Is On

I’ve been getting a new cosplay ready for Anime Midwest which is this coming weekend. With Otakon at the end of the month, at first I hadn’t planned on going, but you only live once, lol. Anyway, I figured it would be fun to check out a young con and the guest list is looking pretty good with Greg Ayres among others slated for the weekend. And of course, we cosplayers rarely pass up a chance to strut out a new costume.

I made really good progress on my Mamimi this weekend, so I think I’ll have it ready in time. FLCL is one of my all time favorite anime series, so I thought it would be fun to run about the con taking pictures of cosplayers as Mamimi!

OMG Kawaii Desu!

It really feels good to have finally gotten OMG Kawaii Desu!: A parent’s guide to anime, manga, and cosplay out the door! I started working on the book over a year ago so this baby was already way overdue, LOL! The book is intended to be an instructive tranquilizer for parent’s whose children have gotten into anime, manga, and/or cosplay. It’s the sort of guide meant to read while waiting for your kids at an anime convention. Over the years, I’ve met a number of parents and grandparents in this role. Many really aren’t sure what this stuff the kids are into is all about. This short guide seeks to answer those questions, and, I hope, encourage parents to join the party!

OMG Kawaii Desu!
The book is now available on the Kindle for $1.99 or free to borrow for Amazon Prime members. So check it out and leave a review or rating to let me know what you think. BTW, the cover art is by my totally awesome daughter Vanessa who is herself  OMG Kawaii Desu (really cute)!

A Girlfriend Would Be Nice

It’s been a melancholy Monday, but I’ve been having fun reading the yuri romance manga, Girlfriends, on JManga. The story really tugs on the heart strings with all its might, but I’m a sucker for unrequited/forbidden love stories.

I think I’ve been feeling a little down because this will be the first year that my wife is not joining us for Anime Central. Just got our badges in the mail today minus one for her and one for our oldest daughter. My wife has never really been into anime or manga and definitely not cosplay. Sometimes I wish I had a girlfriend that I could share these things with along with a love for sometimes sappy love stories. It’d be great to have someone to sing Japanese anime songs with badly and dance to dub step music that I either love or hate all in the same mix. And someone I could hang out with whether cosplaying Roger Smith in  a double breasted suit, or a Japanese schoolgirl in a miniskirt two inches too short.

But with all of that, I’m not really interested in having an affair with anyone. I actually have a friend who likes a lot of these things too. Sadly, she’s kind of gone off the deep end lately, so I doubt she’ll be coming out to ACen again anytime soon. Of course it’d be fun to hang out with dudes too, but honestly, I’ve always preferred hanging out with women. They’re just so much more interesting and more fun to look at!

AMKE Mission Scrubbed

Sadly, I had to cancel my Anime Milwaukee trip this weekend. Just too many unexpected repair bills. At the time, canceling felt like the responsible thing to do and now I can go to my oldest son’s birthday party, which had been scheduled after I’d made my original plans. Despite all of that, I’m feeling rather depressed and I feel like this sacrifice is unrecognized and unappreciated. But I suppose that’s what makes it a sacrifice. The worst feeling though is that an important part of me is being stuffed back into the closet. I guess cosplay has become an important creative outlet for me, perhaps the biggest reason I go to cons at all. Oh well, my other me will just have to wait until C2E2 and ACen in April.

AMKE Approaches!

Laverne and ShirleyYeah, I’m waaaaay behind on my writing, but it’s all good! Anime Milwaukee is coming up next weekend! I’m not really sure what to expect. Some friends went last year and seemed to have a good time. So when I saw the AMKE table at Kollision Con, I started making plans to go. Besides, Milwaukee is a short 90 minute drive from Chicago. And having missed Youmacon and Ohayocon, I’ve been trying to fill my con void with smaller cons leading up to C2E2 and Anime Central in April.

No new cosplays planned, just bringing out some old faves, that I haven’t quite decided on yet. I’ve pretty much settled into one new cosplay per year now. And this year I want to continue focusing on cosplays I’ve always wanted to do. So I’ve got Sailor Mars in the works and maybe one or two more in the works over 2012-2013. You never know which con/cosplay will be your last, and I don’t want to have any regrets when that day comes!

Anime Hoes, Myth, and Crossplay

I’ve followed the crossplay forum on Cosplay.com for a number of years now, and not surprisingly, the majority of the cosplayers there female. Many, if not most cite their reason for crossplaying as being because most of the female anime characters wear skimpy, slutty costumes. And this is often used as a way to assuage fears that their parents may have about crossplay. But casting the women and girls of anime as bitches and hoes is not only inaccurate, it’s something of an insult to the growing number of male fans who choose to cross the line and cosplay them.

The majority of the dresses, skirts, school and military uniforms are relatively tame. Cute, yes, slutty, mostly not. Even the uniforms of the eroge game, Bible Black, are fairly modest. Indeed, the costumes of one of the most popular series for MtF crossplay, the Touhou PC games, are quite modest. And the character personalities run the same range as male characters in my opinion.

The denigration of these characters to justify FtM crossplay just plays into the worst gender stereotypes which generally prefer the masculine over the feminine. It’s always better to be a tomboy than a sissy in that mindset. Which is quite sad because those of us who choose to crossplay female characters often do so, not only for a love of the character, but a love of the female form and feminine characteristics.

We all have both male and female characteristics. Crossplay gives us a way to have some more fun with our “other” and just maybe understand it a little better.

Kollision Con 2011 Aftermath Part I

Almost two weeks ago, I knew that Kollision Con was going to be a nice small con with a chance for fun and a break from a very very busy week. Looking back, I’d say that in a lot of ways, Kollision Con more than met my expectations. It was a small con with more than a few very tasty nuggets of fun mixed in!

I had to work on Friday which is unusual for me when cons come around, but since checkin and parking at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles wasn’t available until after 4pm, it didn’t matter. I packed my costumes and supplies in two bags, stuffed them in the trunk and went to work just like any other day. After work and a drive from Chicago that seemed to take forever, I arrived at the hotel and was able to get parking that turned out to be close to the room I would have for my stay.

I didn’t do that much on Friday except fret about my costume before working up the energy needed to get it ready and go sing at Midwest Karaoke Madness. Even after 5 years of cosplay, I still need a minute or two to cross the initial threshold. Oddly enough though, I have no trouble getting up on stage! Once I got out, I was pleased to see a number of familiar faces from Youmacon, Ohayocon, and of course, ACen!

My goal for the weekend was singing karaoke, concerts, and seeing the guests. So Friday night karaoke was a great start with Shizukana Yoruni, followed by Unwritten a little later. I still remember singing Unwritten at the last Reactor convention with just me and Neo Saturn in the room wondering if anyone else was ever going to show up. I started poorly, but with emotion welling up inside of me, I had a strong finish. More than singing myself though, I really enjoy watching others perform as well and singing along to everything from Mulan’s I’ll Make A Man Out of You, to Cee Lo Green’s Fu*k You!

As usual, I got out an hour late on Saturday morning, missing opening ceremonies. But I did get to see voice actress Jamie Marchi who even complimented my Uhura cosplay as I came in, yay! I’ve been improving my Uhura since its Otakon debut in July and it’s still my favorite right now. So with that encouragement, I later registered for the craftsmanship competition of the masquerade. The judging was done right at sign-up and I had a good time explaining all that went into the costume as well as things like makeup and shape wear. I think the fun I was having actually helped me a bit later at the masquerade, but I’ll have to go into that when I finish this up in the next installment!

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a good weekend

One of the marks of a good weekend is that it makes it hard to get back to work on Monday, in a good way of course. I went to the 2nd KollisionCon this weekend, and while the con was somewhat smaller than I had hoped for, I had fun nevertheless. I’ll write more about that later. For now, I’m looking forward to getting back to work on both my development work and book writing projects!

Resume Play On A Parent’s Guide To Anime Manga And Cosplay!

After a lot of summer adventures, some planned, and some not, I’m getting back to work on my next ebook, A Parent’s Guide to Anime, Manga, and Cosplay. I’m rather excited because I’ve got a kick-ass cover ready and the book is about 80% complete. And with the 1 year anniversary of Anime Aftershocks coming up, it’d feel good to get another title out the door!

Due to another project, I’ve gotten into the habit of working a couple of hours in the morning before leaving for the office. So I’m going to use these power hours to finish up the book at last!