Friday, November 25, 2011

Weekly fav's 25/11/11

Get ready for more stuff to read! 'Weekly favorites' is one of our new things to do on the blog.

'Weekly favorites' is a summary of the blogposts, articles and other online content that gets posted during the week. Every week, we will post a new blogentry with the 10 most interesting posts from around on the web about cosplay of course! (This being articles, tutorial, reviews and a lot more).

You can also contribute with posts from your own blog or other interest readings and goodies.

Be a comrade and e-mail your favorite reads about cosplay online, and if we like the content, we'll post it along with our stuff here. Send it to

Down underneath, you'll find this weeks bunch of online goodies.

1 - Soomi Park creates LED lights to open up smaller eye shapes

Found via @francescadani

Soomi Park has created a new type of accessory for the eyes. Two sets of LED lights that reacts to movement, and fits on the lover eyelids. Can these be a new trends in cosplay?
Let's see where this goes.

Read more here:

2 - Volpin props walk-through of Thrall's Doomhammer build

Found via

Known for his genius skills in propmaking, people that follows Volpins blog here on blogspot. has been amazed with many awesome cosplay prop- and costume builds. Here is an amazing walk-through of the build of Thrall's Doomhammer from WarCraft.  

Read more here:

3 - CosplayGen 4th issue now available

Found via

CosplayGen is an international cosplay magazine that released its fourth issue in the start of November, for purchase on their website. This issue contains tons of interviews of cosplayers across the world and renowned japanese cosplay idol Kaname.

Read more here:

4 - Cosplay for a cause calender

Found via

Cosplay for a cause is a project, where cosplayers take a picture with sign including a message to the victims of the catastrophe in Japan. Now has created a 2012 calender with a selection of cosplay idols from around the world. Buy a calender and support the victims. The proceeds will 100% go to the Japanese Red Cross.

Reed more here: 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Perfect Performance?

Warning! The following article may contain heavy loads of sarcasm and may be harmful to those with an underdeveloped sense of humour.

This might as well have been titled "The ramblings of a bitter old cosplay hag".

Inspired by Casper's analytical description of different types of performances cosplayers can give on stage, I decided to do a little list of the DOs and DON'Ts of doing a cosplay show (or a "List of things that irk Elina"). Whether something is a DO or a DON'T is completely up for you to decide.

Scenes from the source material
If someone has already scripted a nifty little play for you, why bother coming up with anything else?

Scenes directly from anime or video games are incredibly popular and usually consist of dialogue and music, ripped unabashedly from the source material. The good thing is that the scenes are usually well thought-out and very impressive (if done well, obviously). On the downside, someone who has never seen the original series or played the game is unlikely to get what's going on.

Also: no one likes spoilers. Seriously.

Fighting scenes
Action and gun/sword fighting is awesome. But only if it really looks like someone is going to lose their head. Otherwise it'll just look like a few nutcases walking around the stage, afraid to really hit one another with their fragile props.

Fighting on stage is a lot like dancing. It needs to be well choreographed and each and every move has to have a point. Aiming, dodging, hitting; it all has to happen for a reason. Poking at one another with wooden swords until one of you "dies" isn't really all that exciting.

THIS is what a fight scene should look like.

Death by gunshot
You've all seen this. There's a character, alone on stage, doing something pretty epic. And then, at the height of the performance, a gunshot rings out of nowhere.

The character stumbles backwards, grasping their stomach with one hand and reaching out dramatically with the other. Touching violin music plays. The character falls down on their knees, says a few lines and dies. The audience is in tears.


... I haven't either, really, but I've watched enough CSI to know that's not how dying from a gunshot wound really happens. Seriously, you guys. Do your research!

(Ballroom) Dancing
Remember what I wrote about stage fighting being a lot like dancing? Now apply that same thing to actual dancing. And practice. And then practice some more. And then a little more.

And you might look like this (start from 2:40).

YAOI ^_^ xD lol
The Finnish cosplay scene seems to be a perfect place for the teenaged yaoi fans to express themselves. And for some reason a lot of them prefer to express their love of boys loving boys on stage.

The typical yaoi themed cosplay performance goes something like this:

There are characters on stage. They do something. Someone implies that someone else might have homosexual tendencies. The audience squeals. Characters do something again. Suddenly two of them throw themselves in each other's arms and snog. The audience goes wild and lets out high pitched screams. No one can hear a thing for the rest of the day.

Flowy fabrics, ribbons and other things you can wave around
There very rarely is a point to waving around fabrics (which isn't to say there never is a point to them). Which means that if you absolutely must incorporate gymnast's ribbons or other such things into your performance, at least know how to use them.

Like this.

Or like this.

If your character has something that is supposed to glow, installing LEDs is a magnificent idea. If you just feel that LEDs would give your costume the much needed ~pop~, ask yourself this: "What is wrong with my costume in the first place?"

LEDs, a lot like spandex, are a privilege, not a right. They're cool when used right and ridiculous and a bit embarrassing if used just for the sake of using them.

Also, I've managed to pinpoint the exact moment when the entire cosplaying world decided it would be great to incorporate LEDs into everything.

This is when it happened.

And now it's challenge time! (I didn't know such a time existed, but now it does.)

I challenge all of you to go out and find me a video of a perfect cosplay skit and link to it in the comments.

I also promise to personally mail a box of cookies to the first person to link me to a yaoi themed cosplay skit that's actually good. And I mean really, actually, properly good. Good luck with that.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The guys need to step it up - Denmark

(I wish that more guys would participate along side me in the cosplayshows in Denmark.)

The performance in cosplay in Denmark consists of about 98% women and the remaining 2% are the guys. Converted into an amount of persons, we got about 2-3 guys making an appearance on stage in a cosplay competition.

My question to the male part of the cosplay community is, why is that?

I would love to see some more guys unfold into the art, in acts with fights and things alike.

What I get from observing the presented cosplay communities at the conventions here, are that the guys simply aren’t interested in performing on stage. Can this be the truht?

I’ve seen and been in awe of homemade costumes being displayed at the Danish conventions, and the male cosplayers wearing the costumes has done an awesome job both wear and constructing them. There are so much potential just being wasted on Hall cosplay.. Why not put this awesomeness on stage?

Social cosplayer theory
In this current world of cosplay, I’ve developed a bunch of typical profiles that most of cosplayers can be labeled with. One of these are the ‘social cosplayer’ profile, which I from only observating male cosplayers at the popular conventions here in Denmark will state, is the most common amongst male cosplayers here.
Whether we like it or not, our clothes is a communicator, and cosplay makes a great tool for this. Put simply, cosplay is being used as an indicator for people to make easy contact with others alike.
I could go on and on about theories, but what I am trying to defend here, is a theory that males mostly use cosplay as a social tool. (I'll be writting a separate post about the stereo typical cosplay personas that I think there is find in the different cosplay communities)

It’s an artform - put it on the stage!
As a male cosplayer myself, I find that cosplay easily makes contact with other fans of a particular series possible. Putting the ‘social tool / communicator’ aside, in my mind and world, I strive to portrait cosplay as a visual- and performance art, where portraying a characters true self is the highest priority. Not saying this can’t be done off the stage, but is most nicely done before an audience. So fellow male cosplayers, please do consider bringing your newly polished cosplay boots to the stage and interact with the audience.

What would it take for the guys to step it up?  
Sadly I don’t have an answer to this question, which I would love to have.
What I’ve tried to do was creating a platform for both female and male cosplayers to brighten their horizons with. The Danish cosplay magazine ‘’, which I’m the Editor in chief for, was started in 2008, with the goal of raising the interest in cosplayers creating their own costumes and illuminate what parts of the popculture and news that is relevant to keep up with the trends, construction and the social part of the cosplay community.

Taking a look at the typical reader of the magazine, one finds that the typical reader ofcourse is female, which could be that it (by it meaning the magazine) simply doesn’t appeal to the male audience, since it’s layout and content intent isn’t targetet towards females 100%.  

What I’ll be trying to do about this
At the next couple of conventions happening here in Denmark, I’ll try to talk with these kind of male cosplayers and incourage them to take the leap and join their female counterparts on stage.

Besides incourage them, I’ll try and analyse their answers and bring it in a later blogentry some time in the feature.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Trends in cosplay on stage

(This is written with how the Danish cosplay scene has been and is, in mind).

Since performance in cosplay has begun to grow as big as the craftmanship part, judges has as well begun to expect more of effects and such in acts on stage.

In Denmark, the 'walking on stage' and presenting the costume, was a pretty common thing back in the day, but as the social part of the internet displaying the art grew, the whole cosplay performance scene has now evolved into much more than that. 

Talking a look at the media today, gives one a good idea of what cosplayers can use on stage. 

Dancing / singing / performing - inspiration from media
As the local TV stations the world over broadcasts programs as 'Dancing with the Stars', ' Insert country name - Got Talent', 'Idol' and so on. A large amount of the viewers probably are cosplayers, so they will be inspired by what this kind of media serves them. At the moment dancing is a big trend in the Danish cosplay scene, and the media has its part of involvement, but is of course not the only source of inspiration. 

Singing has been and still plays a huge part of the acts on stage. Software like Vocaloid has become a revolution to cosplayers singing and performing dance on stage. Here the online social media like Youtube and Nico Nico Douga, has played its part in developing the interest in these part of performances. Alot of fans of the software, has created and posted videos of the characters singing and performing, for other fans to comment and get inspired by.

Action / Fight
Alot of anime, manga and other entertainment, contains scenes of either fights, violence and thing alike. To do actual martial arts, I encourage people to take classes of actual martial arts, to make the 'performance' or 'act' as realistic as possible. Of course at some point, some costume doesn't allow you to respond with normal body movements, and you are forced to go down another road to make your performance more alive.  

This topic takes part in many anime, manga, entertainment and so on to give things a push in different directions. On stage in an act, this has been used amongst popular shows like Naruto, Bleach and so on. Performance wise, comedy is a great way to catch people, but it can be hard to attain the right effect.

In 2009 scenery started to emerge, and in 2010 most of the groups participating in the cosplay competition at the convention J-Popcon, had a piece of scenery with them on the stage. After this year, the convention created a high black piece of scenery, that could be placed where the cosplayers wanted it on the stage.    

VFX / Lights in the costumes / dolls
Among cosplayers in Denmark, putting lights in costumes, has since 2009 begun to catch on, and people put light in everything from their props to their costumes and scenery. Not only has lights sunk it's claws into the cosplayers, visual effects like flying confetti, bubble blowing is being used to show magical moments or explosions.

When competitions only allow a certain amount of people, and an act only makes sense when an extra person is on stage, people often use dolls to visualize it. This method has been used for a while in Denmark, and has become pretty normal. Lately puppetry has also been used to present characters and such.

Changing costumes on stage
Changing into or from a costume to another, became popular some years ago, and has catched on. It is being overused, but can be really interesting, if the changing of clothes are a huge part of the performance. In Denmark in 2011, a group performing at the convention J-Popcon, Copenhagen, did a performance, where one of the participants changed five times on stage. 

What makes a performance spectacular / non expected / a new experience?
Trends are 'old' things that used to be original in performances like VFX and unexpected things in an act.

There is not a recipe for an act to be spectacular or new. The only thing that you can do to give a spectacular experience for the audience / judges watching your performance, is having a look at the previous trends, and decide what parts you want to include or exclude and find something that no one has used before, to create something extraordinary.

It can be hard to find something that has not been done before, but it definitely is possible to create something that will make the hearts of the judges beat faster.   

My thoughts as an experienced cosplayjudge
I find that the different media can be a great inspiration, to what you can add to a performance to present an atmosphere, feeling or so. People do tend to creat performances that are similar, since everything is a 'remix' of something else. (Like movies, music and so on. Watch the series of 'Everything is a remix', to get some ideas of what has been created from other things (Star Wars etc).) When I get to judge a cosplay competition, I try to see how people are being true to their character and the game/entertainment source, while trying to create a new experience from an already know script etc.

Personally, I find that just copying a whole scene from the source and just presenting that without 'remixing' it with something new, can just be a boring show. You got to make it 'yours' and present it in your way.

But what is most important, is that you create a performance that you are satisfied with, and that you feel represents the series-/game-/entertainments source the best.

Things are up for discussion, so please feel free to link to this blogpost, or write a comment below.