Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sailor Moon Transformation Cosplay Idea

I had the craziest idea for a cosplay the other day, one that made me laugh out loud at it's sheer silliness. I also think it would be pretty original...I've never seen it done before anyway.

Here's the idea: what if Sailor Moon's transformation "froze" while it was happening? How would she look, running around all sparkly and covered in ribbons? I could pose gracefully like a dancer for every photo, and I believe a LOT of people would understand what I was. I started figuring out how I would do it. Here are a couple reference photos of what she looks like when she's transforming:

sailor moon anime eyes moon prism power makeup

This is from the first season. Her body is like a whirling kaleidoscope of color inside the drawn outlines. Pink, blue, yellow and sparkles everywhere. Her eyes blink a couple times, and then they are closed until she is fully transformed (because honestly...I would go blind if I had that kind of magicalness swirling around me, wouldn't you?).


sailor moon anime henshin transformation brooch locket compact moon crystal power makeup

This is from the second season. Same concept, but now there are blue and pink hexagonal sparkles added in.

sailor moon anime henshin transformation moon cosmic power makeup

In the third season, her body is mostly pink and yellow as she transforms.

sailor moon anime henshin transformation chibi moon crisis power makeup cosmic dream action

In the 4th season, she and Chibi Moon are contrasted with different colors. Sailor Moon is blue and yellow while Chibi is pink and yellow. They both have their coordinating sparkle colors appearing darker on their bodies.

I didn't include the 5th season because it's my least favorite of the transformations...I feel it isn't as graceful and "dancerly". The 3rd season one with the giant blue heart is my fave.

Most of her transformations have the characteristic "see-through magic ribbons", as seen below, that wrap around her body and create her leotard costume base. If I were to do this outfit, those ribbons would be the crucial element for it to be recognized for what it is.

sailor moon anime henshin transformation moon crisis power makeup cosmic dream action


sailor moon anime henshin transformation moon prism power makeup

There is also the issue of her hair. It is outlined with her body so whatever color the body is, the hair should match. Therefore, it wouldn't be a wig, but shaped from fabric. I would also add wire so it could be shaped as if it were "flying". 

sailor moon anime henshin transformation moon prism power makeup

After her torso gets wrapped by the magical ribbons, her arms and legs get wrapped as well for her gloves and boots. I didn't notice until I took these screenshots that her fingernails stay magical pink up until she gets the gloves on in her 1st season transformation.

sailor moon anime henshin transformation moon prism power makeup arms gloves

sailor moon anime henshin transformation moon prism power makeup legs boots

So after I watched all the transformations a couple times, I figured the main elements for the cosplay to be recognizable would have to be this:
  • The classic Sailor Moon hair shape
  • The whole thing would have to be doused in sparkle
  • The pink ribbons should at least be around the torso, if not also around the arms and legs.
  • The "brooch" needs to be very sparkly, if not flat out-glowing.
  • My poses need to be in keeping with the elegant dance style of the transformation for photos.
Okay, so how do we translate these elements into real life?

First, we start with the body. I considered a leotard with hands and feet, then matching makeup and hairpiece made from fabric to the leotard color...but there would be a disconnect between the leotard and my skin, so that wasn't the ideal option. Plus it's messy and I'm way too lazy to spend hours putting it on. Then I discovered what a "zentai suit" is. Zentai is Japanese, short for "zenshin taitsu (tights)", or full-body tights. It looks just like it sounds:

sailor moon pink morphsuit morph suit zentai suit

*shudder*

As disturbing as they are, zentai suits are pretty popular with dancing troupes and costumers alike, along with people with tight-clothing fetishes. If you're comfortable with your body, then...whatever, right? As long as you're wearing something underneath to hide certain things...I'm fine with it. XD

So if I were to do a zentai suit, I could hopefully make the hair piece from matching fabric and stuff it to look like Sailor Moon's hair. Shouldn't be too hard.

I considered making the suit myself, but after looking at stretchy.org and seeing how much work goes into measuring and patterning...I decided not to. I am looking into buying a Morphsuit from morphsuits.com instead, as long as I can get the hair fabric spot on.

If I can get a super shiny silver or light pink suit, I think that will be the ideal color to go with. It would be a little harder to find something with the exact color combos that Sailor Moon actually has as she's swirling around in what seems to be inter-dimensional space.

Next: The ribbons and the sparklyness...how do we best portray this? The ribbon shouldn't be too hard to find; I would like to get some wired ribbon if possible but I also have some pink fabric already that I could cut into strips and wire myself. I will also add some ribbon to my arms and legs I think, just pretending like the transformation is happening all at once instead of piece by piece.

To get some glow and sparkle going on to REALLY wow congoers, I'm going to go with this:

el wire red pink light up wire

This is called EL wire. It's hooked up to a battery and glows, and is cool to the touch. I can intersperse this with the pink ribbon to give off that magical impression.

pink hair clips fiber optic strands light up

These are super cheap hair clips that have fiber optic strands in them. What I want to do is stick the center of one or two of these in the brooch that will go on my chest and spread the fibers so there are twinkling lights among the magical ribbons as well as the glowing EL wire.

The last problem I want to solve is the eyes. I will probably applique either some open anime eyes on the face of the zentai suit, or just eyelashes so it looks like my eyes are shut. I think open eyes would be a little less off-putting when people try to interact with me, even if they're not accurate to what is actually happening in the transformation. What do you think?

I haven't decided how I will make the brooch glow yet, but I do know that it will be a little bulky as it will probably house the batteries for all the glowy stuff I'm adding and is a centerpoint for all the ribbons to attach to.

One more thing: Should I add some more fiber optics to my hair buns and forehead as if the full transformation is going on, like with her accessories and jewelry? It might be overkill but then again it might be just plain pretty. :P

The ULTIMATE would be to have a whole group to do it with...all the inner scouts, frozen in their transformations.  We could have all sorts of fun inventing how to do the special effects on those...but how do I find 4 girls brave enough to wear zentai suits? Perhaps if my finished outfit generates enough buzz, I will have people swarming to do more of these. I think it's hilarious and can't wait to see the reactions! I hope to have it done by Anime Salt Lake in March :D

mercury power makeup henshin transformation

Mercury Power!

mars power makeup henshin transformation

Mars Power!

jupiter power makeup henshin transformation

Jupiter Power! 

venus power makeup henshin transformation

Venus Power!

MAKE UP!!!



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How I Made The NinjaBee Mascot Costume

This is a blog post about how the mascot making madness started.

In my junior year of the BYU advertising program, I began looking for a place to complete my required internship credits. Being a shameless nerd, I started looking at local game developers for any sort of marketing position. I found out about NinjaBee Studios, an offshoot of Wahoo! Studios, close by in Orem. They had a PR position open so I applied and got an interview. From the sounds of it, they were looking for someone with more of a PR focus than an advertising focus. As we talked, I let slip that I was into costuming and they eventually asked if I could make a mascot outfit for them. I reluctantly said yes, as I had never taken on a project of that magnitude.


I can only think the word "magnitude" in Admiral Ackbar's voice. Hehe.

So NinjaBee's logo looks exactly how you think it would:


I came up with a design that would make sense on the human body but changed up a couple elements for the heck of it:


It was kinda...meeeeehhhhh. So they had someone at their place come up with a new design:



Much, MUCH better! And it matches the look of the logo while still being practical to wear.

So next, I started drafting patterns with cardstock paper and masking tape. This part was fun and not too hard actually, thanks to the design having mostly flat planes. It was much like a big 3D puzzle with flat pieces that just needed to be cut at the right angles to make it fit around the body. I also re-designed the abdomen (the part with the stinger) to hang more behind the person instead of straight down to allow for users of different sizes and heights to be able to wear it.

I can't remember whether I found the foam before or after the pattern was cut out...anyway, I bought a huge roll of foam wholesale from a local packaging company and started cutting it and gluing the pieces together according to my pattern. This is the same foam I made Lugia and Charmander with later with awesome results. 



Luna surveys my work. I had to redo the chest piece a couple times to get the correct shape.

Here is how the foam inner skeleton ended up looking. The hands and feet are still in cardstock draft mode, but the body, abdomen and head were ready for the next stages:



At this stage I took the outfit to NinjaBee for approval...they LOVED it! It gave me a burst of energy to try and complete it before GEEX 2010.

The arm and leg pieces are two pieces of foam glued together at the seams (I cut the edge off at an angle to help the piece open up) and then sewn for added seam strength. I wanted them to open up even more to not be so tight on the wearer so I reinforced them with steel hanger tape (same stuff I make cookie cutters with!) and wire. This was kind of a jury-rigged method for keeping the foam more opened up, and it worked pretty well!


Next, I lined all my pieces in black ripstop nylon fabric from JoAnn. I figured if the mascot gets sweaty on the inside, nylon would be the easiest thing to wipe and sanitize for repeated use.

For the "skin", I ordered 5 yards each of black and yellow vinyl. I got it from http://www.discounteddesignerfabrics.com/. This place is AWESOME and will send you free swatches of fabric so you can see if the color and texture will work. I found the two colors of vinyl in the exact same thickness and they look great together. I cut out all the vinyl skin pieces and sewed them together, then put them over the foam and glued them into the inside edge of the foam.


The underside of the head, all finished, and the foot, ready for the vinyl to be glued under.

The wings were a bit tricky. I made a frame out of thick gauge wire that I hand-bent into the correct shape using a cardstock pattern as a guide. I sewed some see-through mesh fabric onto the frame, then glued a strip of black vinyl all around the edges. The hard part was getting the wings into the thorax piece. I put the wire through the back, then bent the wire ends towards the armholes to flatten them (don't want them skewering the user) and glued some foam over it to try and hold it in place. I hope it worked...


The head was tricky but also fun. I made eyeholes, then used aida cloth and window screen mesh to make "buggy" eyes that stuck out from the "helmet". I glued some white felt on for highlights. I also opened up the mouth for more visibility. I created a ninja mask that went around the whole head and tied in the back. The wearer can see through the mask in the "mouth" as well as out the eyes. The finishing touch was a shiny black pair of wire and vinyl antennae!


The head before any embellishments



Kind of a creepy smile there, Bee!


Figuring out the mask pattern by pinning it onto the foam


So I finally completed all the pieces by GEEX 2010 (just barely, I think a week before actually!) and even gave them a simple sword to complete the look. Here are all the pieces that go into wearing it:

-one head
-one chest, wings attached
-one abdomen, complete with sharp stinger!
-two arm armor pieces
-two calf armor pieces
-two feet (basic boot covers with elastic on the bottom to hold your shoes in)
-two 3-fingered gloves (very simple, with a stuffed layer to puff it out)
-one sword
-wearer's black clothes underneath

It's sturdy, can take a beating and won't hold onto dirt, so this mascot should last them for years! Here are some photos of the final product.


This is the guy who got the PR position. He looked great in it!




I went as Sora to GEEX and got a stylin' photo with my main Bee:


All in all it took me over a year to complete the costume...my excuse is that I had school and marriage and all kinds of fun things going on at that time. I could probably crank out the same thing in 2 months if I really applied myself now that I know what I'm doing :)