Thursday, August 26, 2010

K is for Kristi

Kristi is my little sister, who has kindly agreed to help me blog today. She's gearing up to go to Kumoricon, an annual Anime convention hosted nearby. Kristi's attended for the last couple years, this now being her third, and she's agreed to answer a few questions for me about her prep and the event in general.

So, Kristi, are you excited for Kumoricon?
This is so weird. Um. Excited: VERY! Though, I feel like I might be a little stressed because of it.

What type of activities are you planning on attending?
A lot of different things. A couple friends and I are actually running a panel.

What's a panel?
How do I describe it? Um...It can be many different things. Mainly it's just a time slot that you rent a room, where, pretty much, anything can go on. There are groups that do activities, there are authors and special guests that do signing or talk about things that relate to the Anime world.

Anyone you know who will be there that you're particularly excited to see? Author-wise?
Main people who are there are mainly voice actors. But the person I'm probably most excited to see is Sonny Strait, who does the voice of Hughes from Full Metal Alchemist. He's one of the characters I regularly cosplay.

What is Cosplay?
Cosplay is short for "Costume Role-Play". Basically, it's being able to dress up like a character and some more serious people actually act like the character while in costume. It doesn't end in only Anime characters, it can also be people dressed up as movie characters and TV characters. Like Star Trek.

How many Cosplays are you doing this year at the Con?
Um...Five? Yeah, five characters, but eight outfits. Because I'm doing three different outfits for one character.

What's the most-cosplayed character you've seen at conventions?
Naruto. Sadly, I've only seen two who I'd consider 'really good'. Sadly there are people who think that they can put on a ninja headband and scream "Believe it!" everywhere and that makes them Naruto. So annoying.

How elaborate can the costumes get?
I think it depends on the convention. The bigger conventions have people who go full-out with swords being 10ft long (I'm completely serious) to people who wear ball-gowns with elegant wings (extremely expensive). Cosplays: one of the most expensive hobbies ever.

Between fabrics, patters, and wigs...yeah, very expensive.

Do people usually make their own costumes? Or can/do they buy them?
It's kind of a 50-50. There are companies who make costumes, so there are cosplayers who buy them from there. And there are cosplayers who make them themselves.

What's your preference?
Making them. It makes me feel better about my cosplays when people comment on them. There are a few outfits that I would break down and buy, but for the most part I'd rather make it.

What goes into making a costume for you?
It really depends. Because I live in an urban area, I go to places like Goodwill a lot to find anything I can either get that fits the costume, or be able to alter it. Not being the most skilled person on the sewing machine, this can be difficult.

For example, for my Sven (Black Cat) costume I literally bought my whole outfit at Goodwill. Not as a set, but in pieces. I bought a shirt, a jacket, pants, shoes, and tie, then used my grandpa's hat. The whole outfit probably only cost about $50, and when you consider what a suit goes for nowadays... I did have to buy a green wig, which cost around $20—which is good for a wig. Good quality wigs usually start at $20 and only go up from there.

What was your most complex costume for this convention? Most expensive?
I think Kaito (Vocaloid) is my most complex (I don't have it completed yet). He has a white trenchcoat, but it's very specific and hard to find in stores, so I'm making it myself. Heh, still not done...nine days left...>_<

My most expensive...that's hard... To be truthful, probably Envy (from Full Metal Alchemist) because I had to buy 2 wigs. The first wig decided to be difficult, so I had to buy another one. With both of the wigs it was probably $80+. Sigh.

Are the clothes you buy for your costumes re-used in normal wear? Or are they exclusive for your characters?
For the most part I wear the clothes from my cosplays in normal wear. It helps that I like to dress up a lot no matter where I am. But there are a few things that I just use for a particular character. I know other cosplayers, whether they buy or make their costumes, have fabric that isn't machine-washable, so they only wear the clothes while cosplaying.

If money were no obstacle, what character would you want to cosplay?
Any one of the main characters from Birth By Sleep (the upcoming Kingdom Hearts game) when they're in their armor. That would be totally awesome!

What's your most-repeated cosplay?
Probably Kaito (Vocaloid) and Riku (Kingdom Hearts) are tied.

So you mostly prefer male characters?
Yes. Because they're more comfortable. Most female characters seem to show more skin than I'm comfortable with. And, personally, I find male characters are more bad-ass and fun. At least in Anime.

What about makeup? Do you ever have to do extreme measures to your face?
Yes. For Gaara (Naruto) I actually do shave my eyebrows because no other ways of covering them look true to the character. For other characters who have weirdly colored hair, I have to color my eyebrows to match. If I had the money I'd buy contacts to change my eye-color too. Um...other than that, I've added fake-beard stubble, and applied general make-up.

Nothing too extreme, heh. People think shaving my eyebrows is weird, but that's beside the point...

Alright, any advice for attending conventions in general?
There's a whole list about what to do and what not. I think the main thing is to have fun and not stress, something I'm still trying to learn. And don't put too much on your plate. And do the buddy system. It's always better to know at least one person at the con, instead of standing around awkwardly.

Kewl. Have fun!
I shall! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Thanks again, Kristi!

So, any of you out there into cosplaying? Or maybe you limit it to dressing up for book (or movie) premiers?

Some K Movies I've Seen:
(because honestly I haven't read any K books)

One of Kristi's Favorite Songs
Performed by a K Group:

The K Font: