Monday, September 26, 2016

WIP: Chara and Marle (Animangaki 2016)

It's been awhile since my last proper post! I've had a rather enjoyable time back in KL for Animangaki 2016 so I would like to blog about it! Before I actually blog about Animangaki, I'm gonna write abit about my cosplays for AMG and the WIP/preparations for it.

Just a day after I posted my revamped Cosplay Plans for the year, Hani approached me to ask my to join their Chrono Trigger group as Marle to replace Sizer who cannot make it for AMG. I knew about the plan months in advance since Raz was in it, and since Chrono was a series that is dear to me, I jumped right on it. This also means I only have 1 month to prepare the costume, and I wouldn't be able to commit to so many costumes, so I decided to delay my Ace Attorney plan.

Also, we didn't get a doujin booth spot this year thanks to the amazing new lottery system. So that's one less source of income. TT Skylar who was supposed to CP Ace Attorney with me ended up being unable to attend AMG anyways, so I guess the change of cosplay plans and being boothless kinda works, since I'll probably be relying on her a lot to help with the booth. ;'D

No booth means I don't have to design new badges! Although, I ended up doing so anyway since Comic Fiesta Mini is 1 week after AMG.

I was mainly focusing on 2 of my cosplay plans: Marle and Chara.


You would imagine that a simple cosplay like this would've been easy to pull off, right? I thought so too, but I met with loads of problems with the T-shirt. My plan was to keep Chara's gender ambiguous, as it was in the canon, by using a chest binder and following the official art/sprite where Chara was wearing long pants instead. But if it didn't go as plan, I could always proceed with the short pants/feminine version.

Tshirt #1 from Tesco

I know that the colour was inaccurate, but I was worried I couldn't find the Tshirt in time so I bought this as a back up.

A test run! Looks ok, except for the colours.

T-shirt #2 from the Reject Shop

1-2 weeks later I found another shop that had the t-shirt in just the right colour for Chara! Even with yellow on it, but it's a text print that is sitting a little too high up the t-shirt. I decided to buy it because I really liked the t-shirt colour, and thought that I could remove the print since I've tried doing the same thing before with a black t-shirt for my Yuffie cosplay. (back then I used thinner)

Boy was I wrong.

Initially peeling the letters out by soaking the t-shirt with spirit

After hours of peeling and soaking in spirit, it still showed poor results

This plan was taking me too much time, and showing no results. Even if I were to paint on the t-shirt, the letters would show. I was really disappointed and so I went back to T-shirt #1 I tried painting it to see if I could settle for something less accurate.

Using the seal-the-rest-of-the-cloth-with-masking-tape technique! And my tiny ass brush. Don't judge.

Final results were horrendous...

As soon as I started painting, I felt that something was wrong. I had no choice but to push on. When I was done and I tore out the masking tape, I was devastated. I was painting using a yellow acrylic paint that I've used for my Franziska costume, but somehow on this teal green t-shirt, the yellow had turned into a mustard brown colour. Maybe I should've painted a layer of white underneath before starting? But whatever it was, it's too late for me to make changes, as the "yellow" layer was already so thick and hardened that it made the t-shirt look/feel unnaturally stiff. It'd be too much to paint another layer of white, and then yellow, again.

The t-shirt was too demotivating to look at, so I decided to scrap my plan to cosplay Chara... for now. At least, until I find the right green t-shirt. Alas, I couldn't stay determined. TT

I even made the Locket using acrylic resin. But... not this time. TT


As mentioned, Marle was a last minute cosplay plan. I decided to sew the costume becuase it seems pretty straightforward and easy (AND NO SLEEVES). I did try looking to see if baggy white off-shoulder jumpsuits were a thing so that I could just buy it off the rack. BUT NO, they only have them in black. I even checked Taobao! I guess ain't nobody wanna wear white. TT


I was referring to this tutorial while making my jumpsuit. Since Marle's pants are really baggy, I used a sweatpants as reference, but made the pattern much bigger. I bought about 4 meters of fabric and had leftovers at the end. I chose a fabric that was light, flowy and nice to touch, but isn't too sheer and see-through.

While working on this project, I was watching the World Cosplay Summit 2016 entries and a Chrono Trigger Let's Play. |D Time well spent!

I used a sweatpants for pattern reference. I made Marle's pants much bigger, with seam allowance

How the fabric looks after cutting. Pin the sides and get to sewing!
(just sew the curvy parts, not the parallel straight lines down, those are sewed later when you open the fabric - I made a mistake lol)

The size of my pants before adding the elastics

Sewing the hem at the ankles and inserting the elastic with a safety pin

After adding the elastics, with a thicker one used for the waistband

After finishing the pants, I made the top. I measured it so that it would be able the stretch and pass through my hips and bum, since I'm making a jumpsuit. But after sewing and trying on the parts, it seems that it'd be easier to keep the pants and top on separately. Besides, I would have a belt on top of everything anyways.

Sewing the top. I slotted the elastic through the red lining that is attached to the white fabric.

Mostly finished! I just tucked the top into my pants instead of sewing them together

Belts, Armlets, etc.

Thanks to Raz, who had a store of gold reflective material... thing (I have no idea how to describe it lol), I didn't have to make all my armour parts with foam/interfacing and cover it with gold cloth, which I first intended to. (I used this method for my Leena cosplay) So I first tested the sizes of the armlet, wristlets, necklace and belt on paper until I was satisfied before cutting the gold material out. They were all fastened with velcro. I glued them on with craft glue because I didn't want the thread marks to show on the surface. I also reinforced the belt with a layer of foam because it wasn't well-shaped or stiff enough. Lastly, I punched a hole on the lower middle part of the belt and attached a chain to it.


Shoes and Wig

These were the only two things I didn't make for obvious reasons. I didn't want to be to accurate with the shoes because the original design was slightly odd, and would probably need modifications. I bought a nice strappy brown wedge sandals that I would wear on normal occasions. I felt that Marle would wear something like this too!

Love them :3

The wig on the other hand, was a strawberry-ish blonde wig, since Marle's hair has abit of a orange/red tint to it, compared to Ayla. I managed to find a similar one on Taobao by searching for Umaru-chan wigs, lol. Whatever floats the boat!

Wig test

I had problems trying to tie a high ponytail by myself though. So I only got the wig styled at the event itself by Hani. We had to snip off a good length of the wig, too. ;w; Just so we could maintain the ponytail.

Marle's Pendant

Lastly, I wanted to make the pendant that was the entire cause of Chrono Trigger's time-travelling shenanigans. I made it in a hurry, using acrylic resin from my uni's lab. I couldn't shape it 100% correct as I was rushing, so it turned out abit odd.

Clear acrylic before painting

After painting using acrylic paint and nail polish

Other Notes

I wanted to make the bag and quiver, but they weren't too important so I bumped it to the bottom of the list. The bag would've helped alot, since a cosplayer's woe is always not having a pocket/bag to keep their personal belongings.

Marle's crossbow was iconic, so I wanted to make that with the spare time I had before the event. I didn't pressure myself to making it, since it was kinda last minute and I had to juggle my uni/clinic work as well. Hani had a backup crossbow to lend to me.

I was referring to this crossbow tutorial, which thankfully was even Marle specific! However, when I started drafting out the crossbow, I realized lacked the materials to make it. So the idea was scrapped, lol.

Final Product!

It was a really simple and straightforward project, but I'm still very contented and proud since I managed to make the cosplay from scratch. It's always a good feeling creating something. Plus, it saves money from tailoring, too!

The next thing I would like to make from scratch would be Maya Fey's costume. Hopefully, to be started after my exams end next week. Also, on a side note, Ace Attorney: Soul of Justice was released recently this month and I've purchased it and am halfway through the game!

Another hopefully, is that I will actually finish blogging about Animangaki 2016, and maybe Comic Fiesta Mini 2016, haha.

See you guys around, if there's even anyone still visiting this blog. ;w;

Quote of the Day: "Machines aren't capable of evil. Humans make them that way." - Lucca, Chrono Trigger

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cosplay Plans 2016 (revamp)

Half a year later, I've only managed to cosplay debut Alex Benedetto at PAM. Oddly, this year is a really slow year. I've been having problems trying to decide what to cosplay this year, and what to debut at Comic Fiesta. I do have a lot of dream cosplays and what not, but not much motivation to get it done, and also not many group/partner cosplays in plan. That or they are all kinda pending/MIA/dead, haha. Another reason is also that I have not been following any anime or game lately. Hence zero new ideas/plans/hype.

I do plan on making 2 new costumes for AMG, which is Chara and Maya Fey. But... looking at my schedule for this month, I'm kinda busy so I'm abit doubtful if I can make Maya in time (planning to sew the costume myself! also a side note: my sewing machine is fixed!) But I'll try my best!

Gonna update this list for my own benefit. Will be adding upcoming stuff and any new costumes that hasn't already been included in the last post.

Confirmed Plans

1. Chara [Undertale]

It was hard to look for an accurate fanart that portrayed Chara as I liked, since the only original reference for Chara is a sprite, or in sepia tone. Because of that, I actually have the choice of being accurate to the game (in game reference shows Chara wearing round necked tshirt/sweater, and long brown pants), or be abit more feminine/cute and go with shorts and possibly leggings. Since Chara's gender is not specified, I'm also planning to use a chest binder. Right now, my issue is buying the right shade of tshirt, that is both round neck and long sleeved. ;w; I have already bought one for emergency use, but the colour inaccuracy is starting to nag at me...

I have not played Undertale, and truthfully, I won't be able to complete the game, because I am, as Flowey said, "those pathetic people that want to see it, but are too weak to do it themselves." :'D I have watched through the gameplay, both Pacifist and Genocide routes, and have read up on enough lore of the game to be extremely interested in Undertale. The choice was between the two humans. I think it's been awhile since I took up the unstable/antagonist role. :)

2. Maya Fey [Gyakuten Saiban 6 / Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice]

GUYS. CAN I TELL YOU. HOW GORGEOUS MAYA IS IN THE NEW ACE ATTORNEY. I have always wanted to cosplay Maya. BUT THIS. I NEED THIS. I have started referring to Yukata tutorials and have bought some of the fabric and will be hoping to start work on this soon. ;w; Now that I'm looking at the reference picture, I'm starting to doubt my fabric purchase because I bought cream instead of a pale lilac... .___. YOU'VE ALREADY PAID RM35 FOR 5 METERS OF CLOTH STOP IT SUZ ;_____;

3. Pyrrha Nikos [RWBY]

Since I've added this plan last year, things have already changed. [PYRRHA DIED ;__;] That doesn't change my wish to cosplay Pyrrha! I'm thinking of a Comic Fiesta debut maybe...? But honestly, the work on this costume still scares me so so much...

4. Yamada Ayumi [Honey and Clover]

Honey and Clover holds a very special place in my heart that I can't really explain why, how or what. It is my hope to be able to cosplay and portray a character that I related with a lot, since I was in high school. It would be fun to have a full group of 5, but I'm not hoping on it since Honey and Clover is not the most popular/cosplayed series. I just want to be able to photoshoot as Ayumi. I think that would be a very special feeling for me. =)

Keep in View (KIV)

5. Kinomoto Sakura [Cardcaptor Sakura] (Animate Cafe)

Another Sakura plan to add to the list! Hahaha... |D This one too cute liao. And Skylar wants to do Tomoyo too. Hweeee.

6. Tohsaka Rin [Fate/stay night]

I've kinda always liked the Fate series and I've always liked Rin and this has always been on my mind so I'm just putting this here... |D

That's all for now I guess...? With the remaining 5 months of the year (what? already?) I hope I can do something more...

Quote of the Day: "Yes! Jealous! I was jealous! takes only a great friend to make you jealous!" - Shiki, The World Ends With You

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Gone too Soon

Yesterday morning, 18 July 2016, I've lost a friend to cancer. Cancer is not something I'm unfamiliar with. But this is the first time a friend that I personally known for many years to have left us.

I was in the clinics when I found out. Someone had revived our April Arieses group on Facebook. Hiding away in the cubicle (from my lecturer), I scrolled up the chat in my phone and it had already began to seem grim. It was only until I reached the first message that read "RIP Kids", that it hit me. I was in shock, but I was in uni so I knew I couldn't afford to break down. I went to lunch with my girls, I was scrolling through Facebook, reading the other messages friends have left for Narukids and already had tears rimming my eyes. I closed my phone, deciding that it wasn't a good time now to be mourning. But the skies in Penang were already crying silently on our behalf.

After class, I headed home to read more messages and eulogies for her. It's painful, but it reminded me of a beautiful friend that I had the honour of meeting. Typical of Suzanne, I cried. The more I read, the more it ached. I couldn't do anything this evening, but think of you, of life, cry, and fall asleep.

I'm sure this is not how you'd like us to be. You'd want us to move on with our lives happily. But I'm not as strong as you are. Not yet. You who have been battling cancer since you were 15. Who kept this fact a secret from the vast majority of us. Even while you relapsed, most of us never knew. All these, while still keeping such a sunny disposition. I cannot think of anything but positive things about you. So did everyone else.

Death is the only certainty in live. I've known this for many years now, and have seen so many people come and go. When things like these happen, we always say, "Cherish your loved ones, you'll never know when they are gone," "Live your life to the fullest with no regrets, you'll never know when is your last day." We say these, but we'll still forget. I know I do. I'm guilty for taking things for granted.

I wish I could say that I "live my life to the fullest with no regrets". To put all commitment and my effort in everything I do. I wish I have the courage. To do what I want, when I want. To be with the people I want to be with. I wish I would leave an impact on people, that I would do kind things to the people around me. But I am so lacking, so flawed. What would I have done if I were in your situation? Would I have sulked and locked myself at home? Would I have been a burden?

There's so many thoughts running through me right now. All I can say, and know now, is that I will miss you dearly. I'm crying now, the sky is crying now, but I will be ok. And I will smile, and think of you fondly. Thank you for everything, Narukids.

Quote of the Day: "We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will." - Annonymous

Monday, March 28, 2016

Final Fantasy Trading Arts Mini - Review

A few months back in October 2015, I asked my friend, Wei Xian, to help me order two items from the Square-Enix store in Japan. But I didn't get them until in February/March when Wei Xian came back from Japan.

Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross Arrangement Album and Final Fantasy Trading Arts Mini!

The album was a gift to Raz, which was mailed to me by post in February as it was urgent. I just collected the FF figurines on Saturday from my friend, which is what I'm going to be writing about today.

I bought my figurines from the Japan Square-Enix e-store when it was first released in October.
(which had a limited edition FF:AC Cloud rubber strap as a complimentary gift for early birds, but I missed it ;__;)
Here's the link to the North American Square Enix Online Store.

The store says that it's a "set of 5", but it comes in a box set with 6 individual mini boxes. Since the collection only had 5 different designs, the set includes 5 unique designs as listed, with 1 duplicate. Mine was Squall. I'm not sure if the duplicate is always Squall, or if it's random.

The mini boxes. I've already unboxed them upon collecting the box set and before taking photos because I was too excited.

The packaging in each individual box, with instructions for assembly

The figurines each come in 3 parts, and once the head is fixed to the body, it is very hard to remove (at least for me. I wouldn't want to risk destroying my figurines trying to dissemble it.) The head part has a joint so you could tilt the head slight around, much like other similar mini figurines. (the Hakuoki ones, in particular, that I've also bought before)

Assembling the parts

I wish the parts were interchangeable so I could do this ;w;

The line up!
(please excuse me for lack of stable flat surfaces)

I really love this style of chibi when I first bought one of the Final Fantasy Trading Rubber Straps. The same art style is also used in the upcoming World of Final Fantasy game.

Considering that the figures are really small (shorter than the thumb), it is really detailed. At first, I thought their eye colour were the same. But then I realized Cloud and Sephiroth had mako-infused blue-green eyes while Squall, Lightning and Ace had blue eyes. I really love the detail on the swords, especially the gunblade and Buster Sword.

I was really excited and happy when I first opened unboxed these. But the more I looked at my figurines, the more I realized that they were slightly flawed and defected. It wasn't just on one figurine, which is why I was rather disappointed, and decided to write this review in the first place.

Here are the list of defects on my set.

Squall had the worst hit. At first I thought it was some rust effect, but this gunblade has blotches of black ink. It looks completely normal on the other side, and on my other Squall

His hair here had patches of uneven colour

This is minor, but Lightning has some bumps on her hair, some of which I've already scratched off. This small dot, I couldn't scratch off.

The Buster Sword has a gash on it, and a little grey hole on the brown handle

Sephiroth's hair has these rough bumps that I can't remove by scratching. Even his bangs have a weird hole and irregularity on it.

Sephiroth's belt buckle has a crack line

Ace was fine, so no up-close shot.

I've compared my figurines to other images and videos I've found online from other owners, as well as the promotional images. The defects I've listed out are not seen in other figurines. Maybe you could argue that the figurines are mass produced and made in China, so defects are normal. But how could my set have so many defect? And these aren't knock-offs or bootlegs, too. They were purchased from the Square-Enix store, so I expected quality for the price I am paying

I dunno if I'm the only one experiencing this, so I wrote this post to see if there are others. I'm disappointed in the quality of figurines I have purchased, despite the initial excitement. But I will still treasure these although they are less than ideal.

Quote of the Day: "Happiness can be found in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light." - Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Notice Me Senpai!

I've been playing Neko Atsume for about 2 months now, and recently there has been a new game with a similar concept. But instead of virtual cats, you get to collect virtual boys.

Kind of going to make a game review here, because I actually want to share more of the game contents later, because there's not much of it on the internet yet. :'( Apparently, the game was only first released last December, so that's understandable.

Notice Me Senpai! The human Neko Atsume, now on Android and Apple.

It's a mobile game where, according to the plot, you're the first female student in a boy's school and you've taken over a cafe where you can lure in senpais (what's the plural for senpai anyway?) with coffee and other cafe decorations and goodies. When they leave, they will leave you money (or gems) which you can use to buy different coffee and goodies with. Kinda like Neko Atsume eh? Even the tutorial makes you buy a pre-selected item from the shop, exit, and re-enter the app where a senpai would be waiting for you.

All the red hearts should tell you how much I've been playing this game xD

Each senpai are attracted by different goodies, and you could take snapshots of them interacting with the goodies, just like in Neko Atsume. However, they usually have a default animation where they just stand beside the goodie and wave their hands, but not really interact with it (which is kinda disappointing). But I've noticed that every senpai has a "special animation" with certain goodies where they would -actually- interact with the item! (e.g. drinking tea from the cup or actually playing with the chessboard)

But what makes "Notice Me Senpai!" special is that all the boys have different personalities and traits (they even have an introductory excerpt!) and distinct visuals (other than their beady eyes and chibi forms).

The first senpai that you will meet

On top of that, each senpai has an "Interest Level", with a maximum level of 5 that increases after a certain amount of visits (I think). When you reach different levels, a different event will trigger!

At level 2, you get to change their nickname from a list of 4! (the -senpai is default though)

At level 3, they will leave you a note! All the senpai has different notes and a message that goes with it that reflects their personality

At level 5, you get a confession scene with a CG

Thanks to these elements, this casual game is a borderline otome game. :'D It's actually interesting and exciting to see their notes and confessions! Most of them are really cheesy, but oh well. xD

Also, I noticed the senpais at the end of the list have 3 collectibles instead of 2. I'm still trying to rack up the visits to see what happens...

It's also possible to change your cafe theme (which is your backdrop)! There's 5 available (including the default) and I've already bought 2 of them.

I'm kinda lazy to splice the images together, so here you go :P

Besides snapshots of the senpai, you could take images of the cafe. But it automatically brings you to the option of sharing it onto your social media without actually saving it into your phone gallery, which I thought was pretty lame. Also, they have banner ads on the top of your screen which messes with the screenshots. I get away with them by temporarily putting my phone on Flight mode, so that it wouldn't access the internet and load the ads.

Evil banner ads spoiling the mood of the confession! ;w;

Also, I find that my phone crashes a lot when playing this game, especially when I'm scrolling through the shop. But that might just be my phone's issue...

Currently, there's only 20 collectable guys (some not actually senpais, eheh) but they'll be adding 3 more guys for the Valentine's update! I would really love to see more added content for this game, and more fixes here and there.

I'm kinda hesitant about posting too many photos of the rarer guys, because I realized that some people might find that as spoilers, since it might be spoiling the joy of collecting the guys and seeing their notes/confessions and stuff on your own. (in fact, I might've already spoiled some of it here...) I'll probably include them in a later post with a spoiler tag, haha. I definitely wanna share more about this game because I'm quite a sucker for these sort of games, haha! Besides, you can find a lot of information about Neko Atsume online, but not this. :'D

Quote of the Day: "Sometimes all people need is a good listener." - Shiki Misaki, The World Ends With You.
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