Monday, January 13, 2014

Cosplaying Adventures as Homura Akemi

At Otakon, I was Homura Akemi from Puella Magi Madoka Magica on Friday, while Saturday I was Ayano Keiko a.k.a. Silica from Sword Art Online. I have to say it was quite the experience: getting ready the morning of and having photos taken…quite often, which was unexpected!

Let’s start with Day 1, August 9th, where it all began at 7am. Yes, I woke up that early along WITH my cosplay crew: Kyoko Sakura and Mami Tomoe. I swear the only main difference between us getting ready and professional actors is that the latter have professional make-up artists and hair stylists to assist them. That morning we did everything ourselves, while helping each other out: make up, styling wigs and even prop making. I did not realize the preparation for us took close to 3 hours until I had to get ready and line up for the Cristina Vee autograph session.

We ended up skipping breakfast, BUT we brought along our snacks, fruit cups and cereal bars, to keep our stomachs happy. While walking along the pedestrian skybridge, it felt like every five feet we were asked for a picture. I knew we were going to get asked for a photo, but I did not think it would happen that often. Put bags downs, hold up props, pose, camera flash, thank you’s, pick bags up, walk on then the cycle repeats itself (I am sure that there are more than a dozen photos of us out there somewhere). This kept happening until we reached the line for the autograph session.

While we were making our way to the signing, Mami received a random commentary. Well, sort of random, made by a female attendee who was sitting on the floor. “I’m sorry about your hat.” All three of us were like huh? Obviously, we kept walking, but I only came to one conclusion, which was what happened to the character in episode 3. SPOILERS!

We made it to the autograph session and waited in line for it to start. Then someone on the line called out “Mami!” We turned around to the voice and it was a guy with a creepy smile putting on a Charlotte hat. This was another reference to episode 3. I may have cracked a smile, but my protective instinct kicked in. No offense to that person, but seeing how creepy someone looked, I ended up doing a protective gesture towards my friend.

After that silliness, while we were waiting, we were asked for pictures. I remember when we reached the front of the line to enter the autograph room and I believe a staff member and other attendees asked for a photo. Somehow I was surprised and not surprised? I think I was more surprised that we were spotted when the front of the line was facing the wall with a narrow walkway that was not accessible by the other attendees.

After we got our autographs (story will be in another post), we parted ways (Kyoko needed to fix her wig and Mami was there to assist) and met up later at the Puella Magi Madoka Magica fan gathering located at the Indoor Fountain. This was the first time that I have ever participated in a fan gathering. So it was a new and a play it by ear experience (fan gathering experience will be in another post).

Once the gathering concluded, we went outside to get food. During the humidity, we got our pictures taken too. I remember a man, who was with his female companion, standing outside the entrance of the center. He did not look creepy, just a regular looking 40 something year old with a simple t-shirt and jeans attire. However, he had his camera in both hands around his waist, and it looked like he wanted a picture. Probably for a good few feet, while I was walking and he was standing still, we both just stared at each other. Somehow I think he was afraid to ask, so I ended up asking him “Did you want a picture?” He nodded yes.

While we were getting into our pose, his female companion told Mami, “don’t shot!” and raised her hands up in the air. Hahaha. Then other people started coming along taking pictures while we posed for the man. Great fun in the heat, eh?

Alright, so we got our lunch at Jimmy John's and went back to the hotel to eat. When we were at the hotel lobby elevator, I realized that we did not take pictures of ourselves FOR ourselves. I swear I tend to forget to do that; I take photos of other cosplayers but not of myself.

After lunch, Kyoko and I went to the Dealers Room; Mami stayed behind to rest her feet. Even though it was just the two of us (song playing in my head), while browsing around, we still had photo requests. We even took a picture with Kyubey! Just a side note: It is difficult finding photos of us, especially if no character name is tagged or associated with the photo. There is one photographer, whose pictures I would like to see. He was using a professional camera, adjusting his flash a couple of times and took multiple shots of us. So whoever you are and if you are reading this please let me know where I can see it!

Ok back to the Dealers Room adventures. Like any other dealers room, it was the mall of the convention. Kyoko saw something of interest. It was a booth with pink, green and white cat plushes. The green one was called Green Tea Cat and Kyoko decided to purchase it. The vendor ended up telling Kyoko to not eat the Green Tea Cat; “this is not food!” The vendor knew Kyoko well, because the character in the anime series love to eat and green tea is edible! And, no, my Kyoko did not eat the plush. :P

Then it came Kyoko’s turn to go back to hotel and rest her feet. Yes, I was last, because the dance shoes were pretty good to my feet. Once the 10th hour came (I think that’s how long I had the shoes on), I was like “oh my god I seriously need to take these shoes off.” I always keep my shoes on, because I do not know what I will be stepping on. Once I reached the carpeted pedestrian bridge to the hotel, I basically gave in and took off my heels. I figured ok carpet, nice and soft….no, bad idea…At some point I ended up stepping on a wet area of the carpet. (>_<) I was like ew man (!) what did I step on! I was praying to god that it was just water. Obviously, once I reached the hotel room, I bathe my foot and cleaned my stocking like mad. Remind me to bring a pair of flats or something.

Well, that was the end of my Puella Magi Madoka Magica cosplay adventure! Since this was my first time cosplaying in a group at an anime convention, it was and still is nice of my friends to cosplay with me as my favorite series. :3 The experience is definitely different than when cosplaying by myself: way more picture requests, received more attention from on lookers and having someone to share the adventure with. There were the usual moments and some awkward ones, but it was definitely an adventure to remember and learn from.

© 2014 Linda Thai
Photography by Chet Royer
For more pictures, check out the Something Deeper: Anime, Manga and Comics Page on Facebook

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