I even have a ridiculous title for it, to boot!
May I present: Cosplay/Convention reCounting: Stories of Horror, Hilarity and Hootenanny! (This may be a temp thing before I decide it's too excessive and just drop it. . . hmmm). . .
For anyone who doesn't know me, you will probably heavily reconsider getting to know me based on these situations, how I handled them and why in the world I got into them in the first place. Of course, it's all from MY perspective and I am not usually the most intelligent nor judgementally sound person on the planet. You HAVE been warned. And I can't completely promise the accuracy to most stories....but I will try my best to recount said tales.
But they've all helped me learn and shape me, big or small, into the crazy hybrid of consequences that I am today!
Here we go!
The very first cosplay experience I remember, was waaaaaaaay back in 2006 at my first "official" Anime Convention, Anime Banzai in Salt Lake City. But, they do use citing it to be in Salt Lake City rather loosely, because it sounds recognizable and FANCY to most people. I mean, Anime Banzai in Taylorsville doesn't sound as exciting, now, does it?
Now, while I did go the year prior, I'm not sure that THAT convention should constitute as a legit one...
Reason being, is that there were maybe four people actually in costumes. And even we thought they were weird ("Why are they wearing costumes...?"). There were two or three viewing rooms in the basement level of a local Community College (I think they wanted to sweep the whole event as figuratively under the rug as possible). There was also a fair sized room with half a dozen "booths," which were just tables selling the most typical and basic of swag items you'd expect at a convention. Such as, Pocky. Lots and lots of Pocky. Some Ramune, Hi-Chew, those panda whatever things and so on. Plushies of the popular crap and etc. I suggest not even using your imagination when visualizing how basic their wares were for anime nerds.
Don't think for a minute I'm excluding myself from the crowd. I wore a pink wannabe kimono/yukata/yet Chinese looking, I don't know. It looked asian, so ALL OF MY MONEY/WANT was thrown at it.
Not to mention that I had such a good time spending two days of malnutrition, dehydration and sleep deprivation, that I NEEDED MORE. And the OBVIOUS choice was to go DEEPER and attend the next year.
The change was EXPLOSIVE!
Mostly the crowd, really. Instead of the 100-300 ish people (throughout two days, not ever at the same time). It ballooned to what I think was four times the attendee number. So of course the College couldn't sweep us all into the basement and we just took over the Student Center entirely!
Backtracking a little, I was so very excited for this convention that I was completely determined to do this "cosplay" ordeal (and henceforth make my live horrendously more difficult from that point on). Of COURSE I knew absolutely bare minimum when it came to sewing. So with my first job out of High School, I threw my paychecks at China for a few things.
First off, I was madly obsessed with Kingdom Hearts back then. And I wanted to have an Organization XIII coat simply to have it. I thought I was being HILARIOUS and was just going to wear it and claim to be the reject of the group, such as "I'm No. NEGATIVE II." That's if anyone really asked me. I also bought two Kingdom Keys, one as Sora's original and then Mickey's counterpart keyblade. I'd say I happily spent at least $400 on the coat and keyblades set.
I was also obsessed with Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. Now, at the time, I couldn't even FATHOM dressing as a boy up, regardless of if they were my favorite character or not. I just assumed that since I was a female, I was limited to that. (OH HO, and how I would be adamant in avoiding female characters for years to come). Truthfully, Syaoran was my cliche favorite, so I picked the next closest thing and chose Sakura as the costume.
UNFORTUNATELY, when sending them my measurements, I failed to understand the difference between a Hips measurement, and Waist measurement.
I somehow managed to convince one of my friends to cosplay with me, promising I would provide the costume and any other details. All they had to do was wear it with me so I wouldn't be alone and be the weird ball. This was also the first time I ever ordered a wig. It was for the character Fai D. Flowright. Blonde, wavy bishounen looking hair.
What I ordered claimed to be a Squall Leonhart, Final Fantasy VIII wig. . . . but it was blonde. What? The style was what we were looking for, so I dismissed the buyer to be innocently colorblind and ordered it right away.
Fastforward a few weeks closer to the actual date of the event, I received my Organization XIII coat and was greatly pleased with it! The Keyblades came and it inflated my excitement to show them off. How nerdishly cool I felt!
But then it started to go downhill once the Sakura outfit came in and I paid for my...inexperience with measurements.
I forgot to mention I also had very high hopes for me loosing weight in time so I would be confident enough to show off my midsection. The pants that came with were probably devastated by the expectation of the task of covering both my butt AND front crotchel region. Luckily, white pants were not hard to come by. The tabard/skirt whatever she had, however, just laughed at me. "You want me to fit around your WHAT?"
My mom was the first to help remedy the situation with alterations and a band of elastic. Though I doubt she knew what she was getting herself into when she was roped into making Fai's fluffy coat. I had ordered the costume, so the coat was the last thing that needed to be worried over. Luckily, I have a kind hearted mother and she put up with our odd antics.
The next travesty to arrive was the confused rat's nest that arrived in place of the supposed Fai wig I had ordered. Either it had a very rough trip from China, or I was duped by a faulty seller. What came in place of the wavy bishounen wig I was EXPECTED as advertised, was short spiky wig that was trying to be blonde but also a rebellious dirty dishwater brown.
My friend and I were. . . well, we weren't sure what to do. Pissed? Disappointed? I think "WTF" fits the bill. It was mere days before the convention and there seemed no point in ordering a replacement, since it couldn't get to us in time. Of course, neither of us had the thought to go to a costume shop to look for a wig to remedy the situation....however, it all works itself out.
While playing with the spiky rat's nest, though I'm not sure what compelled me to put it on myself (I think I was trying to get my money's worth while simultaneously being silly).
Wouldn't you know, it was a GOOD thing that I had no idea how to put on a wig! On a try that I tried putting it on, it was backwards, I realized the spikes resembled someone. . .
I threw on my Organization XIII coat, and TURNED the wig to the side (so I'm not only wearing it backwards, but the whole wig is sideways at this point), and ABRAKADABRA!
I was suddenly cosplaying Roxas! Unintended to be styled spiky wig!
There was no way I could pass it up, it was far too convenient of a chance. Without telling my friends of this discovery, I spent the next day hunting down boots and gloves to fit me for my surprising new Kingdom Hearts ensemble.
I was too shy too get dressed BEFOREHAND and drive to the college where the Convention was being held, so instead, I ended up going to a bathroom and throwing it all on. Then joining my friends in the registration line, which the time it took me to put on the bit made them overly suspicious. They were both surprised and impressed by the ingenuity of throwing a costume together well enough so last minute (A skill I still wish, to this day, I never developed).
The funniest part about the day is that while being dressed as a male, my coat luckily pushed against my chest and flattened me out so I went from girl to just stocky looking, was getting treated as a male. I assume the concept of crossplaying hadn't occurred to anyone else, so I was innocently assumed as a anatomically correct male.
I believe I've never felt so cocky in my life with all the compliments I was getting. It was extremely different to what I was used to. That being the feeling of totally ignored. It was a very addictive feeling, but still, drugs likely would of been cheaper and less stressful in the long run (as you all know).
With all the praise and attention, I assume the universe wanted to bring my back down a good few notches and humble me with my next memorable event.
An encounter with a textbook fanboy.
Of course he assumed I was a dude, at least, I hope so, with how roughly I was treated. At first, he approached me innocently enough. I was completely ignorant to all of the warning signs, however. The poor hygiene and the Naruto Konoha Headband he proudly wore on his forehead. The bright red Fullmetal Alchemist shirt (or Inuyasha? I forget exactly, but it had some arrogantly grinning protagonist on it), a Pokemon plush or some series I care not to remember. Not to mention the pile of trash of typical Japanese candies clustered around him and his buddies.
He of course referred to me as "Roxas" and that if he could see my Keyblade, and without any suspicion or ulterior motives to be seen, I extended it to him. Almost IMMEDIATELY, he raised it over his head and yelled something incoherent and ran off with it.
I was so startled and shocked, I stood there for a moment processing what had happened. Then flared with anger, I attempted to chase him. It was a pathetic attempt on my part because one, I was not fit at ALL. Two, wearing TONS of leather and severely dehydrated. And three, new boots I had not thought to break in.
He eventually circled back around and held a battle pose at me, presuming to fight me. He said, "If you want it back, you have to fight me."
Not even kidding.
Still furious, I made an easy hit at him, both of us CLEARLY not knowing at all about fencing or swordplay. He blocked the next one, but I couldn't control myself and hit him again and chopped him in the neck. He seemed surprised he was hit/loosing so easily and I went to hit him again, still clearly angry.
Before you get too worried, I also remember directing my hits TOWARDS the weapon like a four year old with a stick, and not so much AT him. I doubt I even bruised him....well, I most definitely bruised his pride.
And thanks to my choice to throw any reason out the window, my last hit ended up cracking my own Keyblade at the base by the handle, and the silver "blade" part of the Keyblade fell off entirely. He was very shocked how fast it happened, and I was instantly upset that my prop was broken. By my own hand, no less.
I immediately went to pick up the broken piece and tried putting it back together. Luckily, it stuck into place, but it was wobbly and not at all secured. The fanboy looked at the onlookers and declared to all that, "Mickey's Keyblade is better than Sora's!"
Furthermore, instead of showing any remorse or apology for both stealing and provoking me, he asked for a rematch. Only I would get the broken Keyblade while he had the whole one. Some of my friends late to arrive also verbalized their distaste by his unfair challenge.
I said something along the lines of, "Absolutely not, you jerk." Took my Keyblades and left, but not before giving him the dirtiest look I could give him.
One of my friends who witnessed the spat berated me for acting so rashly and "fighting" him to begin with, that I deserved to have my prop broken. But, he was also proud I told him to go screw himself in the end, even if I did want to further bludgeon him into a mushy pile of failure.
And it taught me a great introductory lesson on overly excited fans and to take care of better care of my props. And I believe I'm better at handling situations, non-violently, of course. I'm not even gonna TRY to justify fighting the jerk other than I was pissed off and impulsive. Violence just seemed like the easily and most effective solution in that moment. Usually does, doesn't it?
Plus, I was able to fix Sora's Keyblade a year later after being introduced to a future best friend, Gorilla Glue!
The next day, I arrived late to the convention due to sleeping in. Which I oddly found hilarious considering I was supposed to be Sakura-hime and her character is notorious for oversleeping and napping. My friend who was going to partner up as Fai ended up being FAR too excited about the rest of the con and I spent a good while tracking him down. He was also asked to help with events, since a few staff members loved the character he was cosplaying.
So in short, he was too busy to hang out with me after all. But at this point, I had MUCH to learn how time consuming and demanding "volunteering" at a convention would be.
I doubt I wore the Sakura costume for more than an hour, including looking for my Fai friend. For one, I wasn't getting a sliver of the same amount of attention as Roxas, which I honestly was sorely missing. As conceited that it sounds, but understand, I spent the better part of my life feeling ignored and treated like a wallflower, so actually getting attention was like getting hit with a train made of self confidence and then BECOMING said train of confidence. Anyways, you can safely assume that I was not on schedule to flattening my mid section enough to show it off. Confidence can be the bitter nemesis of a female character cosplay when applied to myself.
So I went back to my car and swapped into Roxas once again. After maybe an hour of trying to be Sakura.
At some point walking through the convention, I was turning a corner. I heard a shrill that resembled someone screaming "Roxas!" and saw a blur of black and platinum blonde. Then I thought I was hit in the face with a hammer. Something latched to my neck like a python and threw all of its weight against me, nearly knocking me to the ground.
This was my first "Glomp."
Which is also funny to me, since the person who gave said glomp also would be part of a cosplay group I would join roughly a month or so from the date.
I still didn't understand what had happened and sort of just.... stood there with a blank look, even after her friends pried her off me and dragged her away, all while profusely apologizing on her behalf.
At some point, the zipper on my coat couldn't take the excitement anymore and decided to half it the rest of the night. The convention was dying down and most of the people left were clustering into groups.
Turning another corner will be my unknowing first encounter with Sheniji!
She was part of one of two cosplaying hordes. One, was the Naruto horde. The other, was the Full Metal Alchemist horde. Of course, she was the in the Naruto one.
Sidenote, I actually avoided that series for years because it looked too ridiculous to me. That and someone tried to explain it to me and it sounded absolutely horrendous. But during their AMV showing, where I sat down to get off of my feet, I saw the "Seizure of Power" Naruto AMV with the Resident Evil Marilyn Manson song. And that's what made me cave to watch the series.
Anyways, going back, Sheniji actually made her cousin ask for a picture of me (SO CUUUUTE!) because I intimidated her. It's surreal to think, because a lot of my future cosplay friends said I intimidated them when they "met" me. But I also had not mastered the art of NOT LOOKING LIKE A MURDERER with my stoic expressions that I probably scared all my future cosplay friends.
After the photo request, I smirked and I remember feeling so very cocky about this particular picture request (looking back now, I find it funny because it involved my future OTP, which is what I think now is why I felt like a stud in that moment).
BUT! This is my life, so it didn't go as cooly as I hoped.
As I went to pose, Sheniji's cousin corrected me that she wanted me to do movements since she was recording. So I stumbled a bit, flustered, then again tried to look cool.
Remember the Keyblade that BROKE?
Yes. It went flying out of the handle and slammed against a solid railing. I panicked and went to grab it, but then my coat zipper gave out and burst open and tried to slide off me.
This was the wonderful first impression I gave to Sheniji.
Sheniji rushed over to help me recover and fix it, and hurriedly tried to tell me ways I could repair it and gave me my first ever quick fix safety pin! We had a good laugh, especially when I gushed over how stupid I felt and that didn't go at ALL how I hoped. And they both sweetly tried to take blame for it. So after I adjusted myself and fixed it all, they settled for a picture and we parted ways.
I quickly was fed up with my cosplay trying to quit on me, so shortly after my encounter with Sheniji and her cousin, I left the convention. Not to mention, I had nothing to eat since the previous night, and I was just then realizing I hadn't eaten for a full day.
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT! A recount on my first cosplay experience! I hope you found it amusing enough, and if you're curious for more, drop a comment or even feel free for another sort of story from a costume or con.