Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cosplay Don'ts

I made this list because it disappoints me to see some cosplayers having jealous fits and making a big deal about not being noticed or appreciated. This is not your typical list of cosplay don'ts where you see reminders like "don't scrimp on the eyeliner" or "don't use shiny fabric". Instead, this list is aimed at certain attitudes to cosplay that may cause some feelings of self-doubt, bitterness, hatred, and anger, as well as some of the reasons why you cosplay. I hope these can inspire you to have a better attitude towards the hobby and to your fellow cosplayers.

1. Don't cosplay to impress someone - Especially if they're strangers, you don't know them, and they're not your friends. Chances are, none of them would care, and you'll only be disappointed and miserable. If you're going to cosplay, do it for yourself. (or perhaps, maybe even for the people who genuinely care, love, respect, and support you).

2. Don't cosplay to spite someone - It takes the fun, enjoyment, and meaning out of the hobby. If you successfully spite someone, you are just making them hate you. Unless you're Kirei Kotomine and people's anguish and hatred sustain you, then stop doing this. (But seriously, Kirei jokes aside, just don't. :p)

Even Kirei is judging you.

3. Don't cosplay to make someone jealous - You are corrupting the hobby and inducing hate. Chances are, the person you're targeting doesn't even care, or if they do, it will just encourage more hatred and fights. So, please stop that. It's probably asking too much to want everyone to get along, but I believe small efforts to be a better and nicer person can make a big difference and may start a positive chain reaction.

4. Don't cosplay to become popular or famous - It's a hobby. Do it to have fun and because you love it and it helps you grow or improve as a person. Fame and popularity are just a bonus. 

5. Don't cosplay a character just because you think you're better at it than anyone else who already cosplayed it and those who are planning to cosplay it - Seriously, you are not the character. You are just portraying it through cosplay. Good for you if strangers and friends praise or acknowledge your cosplay, portrayal, and your craft. If not, don't let it get to you. Either way, don't let it get to your head.

Final thoughts: 
I've been cosplaying for years now and I know I have gone through some of these feelings before, but I realized that all they have done to me is make me feel bad about myself and treat people badly. They add to the drama, too. But I believe it is never too late to change oneself if you are willing to become a better person. If you are guilty of one or all of these things, I hope I have somehow opened your eyes to the reality. Now, I am encouraging you to become a better and happier person. ^_^'

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review: Nendoroid Sleeping Bags

Good Smile Company Nendoroid Sleeping Bags

I pre-ordered these Nendoroid Sleeping Bags last year and I got them today. I thought they looked cute and that I could use them for my favorite Nendoroids, Saber and Gilgamesh. I initially ordered a pair (red and blue), then added another red for a friend.

Here's how the sleeping bag looks like without the block of foam inside:
Nendoroid Sleeping Bag in red

I love how the sleeping bag was made. The fabric provided the look and feel of an actual sleeping bag. The zipper glides smoothly, so it is easy to close the sleeping bag once the figure is inside.

Back of the sleeping bag

Every aspect of the Nendoroid sleeping bag was well-made, including the interior as you can see here:

It looks comfy in there

Here's a first attempt at placing a Nendoroid inside:

*muffled crying*
You might be thinking that it does not look like anything from the promotional material. The figure's face must be exposed, right? However, the figure just keeps slipping down, causing the lower half of the face to be hidden.

There's a solution though, and you can find it in the back of the packaging:

Comes with instructions!
You might be saying, "Boo-hoo I can't read Japanese desu~" but when you observe the pictures, you might be able to understand what they are trying to say. Remember the block foam that came with the sleeping bag?

It's still useful! Follow the instructions and cut it into a certain shape. Then place the Nendoroid figure on the piece of foam that you cut from block of foam.

Something like this. Even Rin is unsure
what this shape is called. :p

After that, you can now insert the foam and the figure inside the Nendoroid sleeping bag, or you can put the foam in first then fit the figure inside.

It should probably look like this, haha. :p
And then you're now ready to zip it up and adore the cuteness of your Nendoroid figure.

Saber doesn't seem too pleased
The sleeping bag fits snugly around the Nendoroid. Hence, you do not have to  worry about the figure slipping out or falling off, even if you swing the sleeping bag around or dangle it upside-down.

Aww, babies.
If you noticed, each Nendoroid Sleeping Bag gives you the option to hang them wherever you want. Well, I tried:

The King of Heroes is not pleased
No, of course I won't go out looking like this.

But I don't think I'll be hanging them on my stuff and go out with them. I do not want them to get snatched from my purse. :p

Are Nendoroid Sleeping Bags worth your money? I'd say yes, especially if you collect Nendoroid figures and you love to play with them. The sleeping bag has ample cushioning, so I think it can somehow protect the Nendoroid if you intend to travel with it or put it inside your bag.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Common Mistakes Cosplayers Make In Photoshoots

I love cosplay photoshoots. They're quite fun to organize, too. I myself have enjoyed a share of photoshoots with friends since 2009. However, there are times when they can turn out to be a drag or a total nightmare. My friends and I have our share of horror stories in some photoshoots that we have had or attended since we started cosplaying, and due to those experiences, I was able to recognize common mistakes that some cosplayers tend to make when organizing photoshoots or during the photoshoot itself. 

I am not claiming to be an expert in cosplay or organizing shoots or anything, but I'd like to share some of the common booboos that I've observed (both on myself and other cosplayers) during photoshoots, and perhaps give some tips or suggestions on how you can prevent them.

Not applying makeup
Makeup is important in cosplay. Applying makeup is a great way to make your face look flawless on photographs and to change your facial features to make them more appropriate for the character that you're cosplaying. However, sometimes, there are cosplayers who go, “Uh I think I'll skip the makeup because I'm lazy.” and then complain later that they look bad when they see their pictures.

“I don't need these. I can just whine about how fugly I am later and then make the photographer or one of my friends photoshop my face.”
Photo from University of Makeup

Laziness is not an excuse. And while it is not wrong to ask your photographer for a little post-processing and editing, you can't expect him or her to edit your entire face just because you didn't put any makeup on. It takes a lot of effort to post-process and edit photos, and if there are too many pictures, then it will be a drag for the photographer to edit every single photo of your face.

Make an effort to put on makeup, even if it's just something to conceal your pores and your eyebags. It's also much easier to apply makeup than to photoshop a face for its flaws.

Arriving late
Some shoots are scheduled for a limited time because that's what the permit or the terms and conditions of the venue would allow. If you have a very limited time for your shoot (i.e. only around three to four hours), make an effort to arrive at least an hour before the the shoot, so you have ample time prepare.

If you have more time for the shoot (say, 5, 6, or more hours), then you're lucky. You can probably arrive on time and spend at least an hour prepping up.

"I'm on my way!" but the truth is, you just got out of bed.

Arriving late can also be inconvenient if you have a cosplay group. Certain group shots might be delayed, incomplete, or cannot be done if you are not there yet and other members of your group have already been there for hours. So try your best to make it on time and not be late, unless you have a valid excuse such as you are coming from a class or your work shift ends right before the time when the shoot would start.

Not getting a permit or failing to ask permission to shoot in a venue
Some venues require a permit and a fee before you can shoot. It is best to contact the venue in advance and ask for the terms and conditions for shooting there, rather than show up on the day of your shoot, only to find out that you're not allowed to shoot there for whatever reason. Get the necessary permits first and ask permission to shoot in a particular venue first when applicable. This way, you can avoid the hassle, embarrassment, and the frustration of not being able to shoot in the venue that you want.

Cancelling or backing out in the last minute
I hate this. I really do. Whether you're the shoot organizer or one of the cosplayers, it is such a hassle and a big drag if you suddenly cancel the shoot or back out from it, especially if you created a lot of hype for it and you got everyone very excited for the shoot.

Unless you have a really valid reason such as death in the family, you got sick, you have a contagious disease, you have sudden duty at work, there's a storm or a natural disaster, etc. (you get the idea), then just. Don't. Back. Out. Or Cancel. The. Shoot.

I've encountered some cosplayers who suddenly backed out two days or a day before the shoot or the day of the shoot itself. I've heard reasons like, “Because I don't feel like it anymore.” or “Because I am confused with a lot of things right now and I need to go and find myself.”, as well as “I'm backing out because I have other priorities.”

Those statements caused a lot of “huh?”s and “whut”s, but knew I had to let them go to avoid further conflict.

“I'm backing out because I'm a selfish prick and I don't care about your efforts in organizing this shoot. It's not you, it's me. We should see other people.”

Backing out in the last minute can be very inconvenient for the organizers who already did a headcount of the number of cosplayers who are part of the group shoot. It can also be inconvenient for the division of payments, in case everyone in the group intends to contribute money to pay for the venue.

I also find it distasteful if you suddenly can't attend the shoot and you did not even inform the organizers or at least one of the other cosplayers who are part of that shoot. Find time to send a message. There's no excuse for not showing up without any warning. It can also be worrisome, like what if we start thinking that you got mugged, killed, or kidnapped on your way to the venue or something. :p

Inviting too many photographers
Whenever my friends and I organize group shoots, we always make it a point to count the number of cosplayers before deciding on which and how many photographers to invite. We used to think that the more photographers we have, the faster we can accomplish things. Apparently not.

In my experience, I found that having a lot of photographers does not necessarily mean that:
a. You can have more pictures taken of you - because chances are, you'll only have the same poses taken from different angles in different lighting situations and places, and from different cameras.
b. You can finish the shoot faster
c. The shoot can go as efficiently as possible – not exactly, because there might come a time when it would be difficult to keep track of who took photos of who.

This doesn't make sense. Unless maybe you're in a cosplay event or a convention.

Eventually, I learned that we are able to accomplish more with only one or a few photographers. Here are some examples:
  • 1 photographer for a one subject or for two cosplayers (i.e. in a tandem or couple shoot) or for 3 cosplayers.
  • A maximum of 2 photographers for 2 cosplayers in a tandem or couple shoot, or for 3 cosplayers.
  • A maximum of 3 to 4 photographers for group cosplay shoots with at least 7 to 10 cosplayers.

But wait, what exactly is having “too many photographers”? I think it depends on you. But for me, these are examples of having too many photographers:
  • 1 cosplayer and 5 photographers
  • 10 cosplayers and 10 photographers
  • 2 cosplayers and more than 5 photographers

You get the picture.

There was one group shoot that we had with 14 cosplayers and only two photographers, and it was one of the most fun and productive shoots that we have ever had.

But then again, it's up to you. If you have organized a cosplay shoot before with a large number of photographers and only a few cosplayers and it was so successful and you had plenty of pictures, then good for you. Though I'd still say “quality over quantity.”

Using another cosplayer's photo as your reference picture
It is totally okay to be inspired by another cosplayer's photo, but to copy the exact picture, pose, and composition is a huge no-no for me. I don't recommend asking the photographer to copy the picture either. That's as good as plagiarism.

I understand that you probably want to have a picture that is as awesome as the photo that you want to copy, but if you truly want to produce outstanding photos with your photographer, then I believe it would be better if you could think outside of the box and be as creative as you can.

Acting like a prima donna
Whether you're in a group shoot or a couple shoot, you DON'T act like you're the center of the universe. Be a team player and cooperate with your cosplay group. Also, if you're an organizer, don't just spit out orders for other organizers and other cosplayers to do, such as reserving the venue or following up on the payments and cosplayers, etc., especially if you have the time to do those things by yourself.

Boss be like, “Do this and do that for me because I'm a lazy bum, I'm afraid of negotiations, and I am actually shy to ask the owners of the venue if we can shoot there.”
Image from ModernServantLeader.Com

On the day of the shoot, avoid hogging the spotlight unless you're the only subject. Stop with the “me, me, me” attitude. Nobody likes that. The cosplayers who are with you are not just there to make you look good and stand out, whether you're cosplaying the protagonist or not.

Hesitating and being too shy
If you do not ask, the answer will always be, “no”. Some photographers may give suggestions on poses and things that you can do for the photos, but others won't. Bottom line is: you'll never get anywhere or accomplish anything if you are hesitant or shy to speak up on what you want to do in the photoshoot.

"Boo-hoo! I wasn't able to do Jojo poses with my friends!"
Image from here

Be open and talk to your partner or group and the photographer about shots or poses that you want to do with them, and do not hesitate to give suggestions. Be a bit more assertive instead of wallowing later in regret because you weren't able to have a certain type of picture taken.

Making new members of your group feel left out
Sometimes, you can get so excited about forming a cosplay group that you end up inviting cosplayers who you don't really know or you are not not familiar with into your circle for the sake of completing the characters. In this case, do not ignore them or make them feel like they are complete strangers. Try your best not to make them feel left out. Get to know them, make small talk, ask if they are okay, etc. Don't treat them like decorative elements or your props in the cosplay shoot.

Now you have many friends.
Image from My Anime List

Monday, October 6, 2014

Unboxing: GSC Nendoroid 410 Fate/Stay Night Gilgamesh

Not sure if Saber is pleased or appalled. Most likely the latter.

I got Nendoroid Gilgamesh around early September and he instantly became a new favourite figure for two simple reasons:

  1. Yours truly is a huge fan of Gilgamesh
  2. I have always wanted a Nendoroid of Gilgamesh
I usually wait a day or two (sometimes longer) to unbox a figure because I'd always be busy doing non-figure related things, but for Gilgamesh I set aside those tasks to pay attention to him.

Now let's begin.

The figure

Nendoroid Gilgamesh is Nendoroid number 410. Nendoron and Kneadz K@Z sculpted him, and he is made of ABS and PVC. He is almost 4 inches tall (around 100mm) and he was released on August 20, 2014.

Obligatory photo of all sides of the box
When I pulled the blister pack out of the box, I already got a whiff of that 'new figure smell'.
Fresh out of the box
And once you take off the top blister plastic, you can completely smell that 'new figure smell' all you want until you get sick of it. 
The top blister (left) and the bottom blister pack (right)

Close-up of the figure and the other faceplate
Nendoroid Gilgamesh comes with all the props that he is notable for:
  • Gate of Babylon (with some weapons)
  • A gold goblet (which is attached to one of the extra hands)
  • A gold wine jug
  • Ea
I'm a bit sad that he only comes with one extra faceplate. I expected two extras, but nope. But that doesn't mean I love this figure any less. :p Hehe. 

Gilgamesh's head, hair, and faces
All Nendoroids have a leaflet where you can check out the parts of the figure and determine what they are or where you need to attach them. It does not exactly help when you need to attach the weapons to the Gate of Babylon. More on that later. 
The leaflet that comes with the figure
And here is Nendoroid Gilgamesh:
All sides of Nendoroid Gilgamesh
I am impressed with the details. Gilgamesh in Nendoroid form looks so cute to me.


His shoulder guards can come off, so you can easily detach the default arms and attach the arms that you want.

Ea is Gilgamesh's ultimate noble phantasm. It's easy to make him hold it. Get the appropriate hand, detach the handle from Ea, insert the handle into the hand, and then reattach the sword's main body on to the handle. Then, I attached the hand to Gilgamesh.
Close-up of Ea

Detached parts
And here's Nendoroid Gilgamesh with Ea.

He's miffed and going like, "Stop taking my pictures, mongrel!"

Gate of Babylon

This prop made me remember the toy shape puzzle, which one of my younger cousins used to have. It's that puzzle toy that's shaped like 3D octagon with holes shaped like a square, triangle, circle, star, etc., and you have to insert the appropriate block of shapes into those holes.

Ripples of the gate

The weapons
I took me a few minutes to assemble the Gate of Babylon. Instead of doing a trial and error with the weapons, I referred to the box to see which weapon goes where.

Tip: Save time and check out the box

It's ready!
You can place the Gate of Babylon on the peg that holds the figure. Not sure if it should look like this because I had a difficult time balancing it:

How the Gate of Babylon looks like from behind
And finally, here's the King of Heroes with his Gate of Babylon with some of his noble phantasms coming out of it:

Gate of Babylon
The Gate of Babylon slips off or becomes dislocated sometimes. At one point, I just had to make it lean against the background. I have yet to figure out how I can properly place it on the peg.

The wine jug and the goblet

It was silly of me to expect another goblet because of Bandai Chogokin Fate/Zero Gilgamesh, which came with three goblets. Nendoroid Gilgamesh had only one goblet and it's permanently attached to a hand.

A close-up of the goblet and the wine jug
It's not difficult to attach the hand to Gilgamesh. In fact, I had no difficulty attaching any of the extra arms to the King of Heroes.

Gilgamesh holding his wine goblet with the jug by his feet

More pictures of Nendoroid Gilgamesh

And of course, I can't resist taking more photos of this cute version of the King of Heroes. Here are some of them:

Gilgamesh brunch with Saber

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Unboxing: Good Smile Company Nendoroid 345 Misaka Mikoto

Nendoroid of Mikoto Misaka is from the series 'Toaru Kagaku no Railgun' (A Certain Scientific Railgun). I unboxed Good Smile Company Nendoroid 345 Misaka Mikoto around late January, so this is actually a really late post. :p

Obligatory photo of the box
Nendoroid Misaka Mikoto was sculpted by Nendoron and Udono Kazuyoshi. She was released on October 24, 2013. She stands approximately 3.9 inches tall (100mm), and she is made of PVC and ABS.

Obligatory photo of all sides of the box
The design of the Nendoroid boxes have been revamped. I actually like the new, minimalist packaging. The overall design doesn't look so busy without background print any more.

She comes with five extra arms, two extra faceplates, a bag, and a cellphone. There are also special effect accessories, which you can use to create that electricity effect.

In case you get confused, check out this piece of paper that comes with the figure
A closer look at the parts and other face plates
Nendoroid Misaka Mikoto comes with an extra ahoge (if that's the right term for it? XD). The basic ahoge can come off and you can replace it with this other ahoge with a cartoonish lightning attachment.


The box isn't the only one that was revamped. Check out the new construction of the faceplates and the neck joints:

I think this is a good improvement. The neck joints do not feel as flimsy as they were in older Nendoroids, and in case a joint breaks, I think it is already easier to fish it out from the head. An extra neck joint is included with newer Nendoroids, too. It is usually packaged with the base.
You can still use these faceplates with older Nendoroids, but it takes a little more effort because you need to assemble the neck and the joint with the back hair of an older Nendoroid.

A closer look at the cellphone

Mikoto's school bag

And finally, here is the figure:

When you first open her, there is plastic around her skirt. You need to disassemble the lower part of her body to get rid of it properly. I recommend against recklessly pulling the plastic off the figure, because it might leave bits or pieces of plastic and it can be messy. I just want to get rid of the plastic in one piece. :p Besides, you can also get a complete glimpse of her shorts underneath that skirt.

The Nendoroid is also wearing shorts 
Fully assembled and on her base
Here are more photos of Nendoroid Misaka Mikoto:

Ready to shoot!

Her Gekota cellphone is cute

Obligatory photo with my favourite Nendoroid Saber
Nendoroid Misaka Mikoto at Team Onii-chan's Figure Display
during Ozine Fest 2014 at SMX Convention Centre.
Nendoroid Kuroko Shirai belongs to my friend, Nami.

Final thoughts
Nendoroid Misaka Mikoto is a cutie patootie, but I feel like she lacks poses. I would have appreciated it if this Nendoroid came with extra legs, like one with a bent knee. I think she looks a bit stiff with that generic standing pose.

And that's it for the unboxing of Nendoroid Misaka Mikoto. :)