Otakon 2010: Cosplay Panels

I’ve been to New York Anime Fest before, but this is my first Otakon. One immediate difference between the two conventions is the sheer amount of cosplay going on: At NYAF, the crowd is peppered with enthusiastic cosplayers. At Otakon, the crowd *is* enthusiastic cosplayers, peppered with a few people in video game t-shirts, who may or may not look vaguely out of place depending on where you are.

Appropriately, there’s plenty of cosplay panels and events to be had. Two panels, “Cosplay Solutions” and “The Origins and Lifestyle of Cosplay Subculture,” had tips and advice that will probably be useful to Sailor Moon cosplayers, and aspiring cosplayers- a group in which I include myself.

At “Cosplay Solutions”, run by cosplayers Arras Wiedorn and Meghan Powers, the topic was ostensibly how to cosplay on a budget, but it turned into more of a “Cosplay 101” for newbies like myself. Wiedorn recommended starting with simpler designs for your first cosplay, such as a sailor uniform, making the Senshi school uniforms a good choice.

As far as the Senshi’s battle fuku are concerned, she warned to be cautious of those notoriously short skirts: “Those skirts are really, really impossibly short- it is not possible to wear a skirt that short without flashing someone,” Wiedorn said. She recommends wearing a small pair of shorts under the skirt as “modesty shorts,” or going to a dance store and getting a pair of what they call “booty shorts.” She also suggested just wearing really nice underwear for flashing purposes, but I think I’ll go with the modesty shorts, thanks.

Other useful tidbits included the fact that Aquanet hairspray makes the best cosplay hairspray (the ones that make your hair feel soft to the touch just don’t hold that well, apparently), resin is a good material for making jewels on costumes, and paint foam is a good material for making props and weapons.)

The second panel, run by Anne Marie Chua Lee (known as “Red Pikachu” in cosplay circles), co-owner of redstarcostumes.com, went more into depth about both the origins of cosplay and the public perception of it. Did you know that the first cosplay on record was done by a man named Forrest J. Ackerman at the First World Sci Fi Convention in 1939? I had no idea; I thought it was a creation of ’80s anime fandom. Lee also noted that the first use of the word “cosplay” in Japanese was in My Anime magazine in 1983. Depressing thought of the day; I am slightly older than the word cosplay.

During the Q&A session, one audience member asked if you should cosplay a character even if you don’t have the right body type. Lee says yes: “Even if you don’t fit the body type, you know what, it’s okay-cosplay it anyway.” She went on to say that if you truly love the character, that love will show in the costume and will make it worthwhile, something she learned when she cosplayed as Chun-Li from Street Fighter. I agree; life is too short to say “But I’m not tall enough to be Sailor Jupiter!” Besides, if only people who have bodies like anime characters were allowed to cosplay, there would be like…three cosplayers. You need more than that for a Sailor Team.

Lee recommends hitting cheap stores like Payless and Target for shoes, which are often a very expensive element in any given costume. She also recommends wearing decent underwear in case of “costume malfunctions.” I’m noticing a theme of underwear as an important concern in the cosplay world.

You know, attending these panels and observing passing cosplayers has led me to observe something; Sailor Mars is pretty much the perfect cosplay. You can get a pair of red high heels at Payless, plenty of brunettes (like yours truly) can easily get away without wearing a wig, there are few accessories to worry about, and uh…well, okay, that’s about it as far as advantages are concerned, but still! You get to be Sailor Mars for the day, how much more motivation do you need?

For your cosplaying pleasure, here are some cosplay sites that were recommended by one or more of the panelists:

Carrot Anime
Amphigory (wigs)
399animeshop (accessories)
Electrique Boutique (underwear and shoes)
Folkwear (period costumes)

All panelists also recommended utilizing the dealer’s room at conventions for assembling costume pieces; just from the amount of wig and contact lens booths present in the dealer’s room at Otakon this year, I would have to agree.

Above image shows Anne Marie Chua Lee (RedPikachu) dressed as Momohime from Demon Blade Muramasa; Photo by Fristle. This seasoned cosplayer doesn’t have ONE Sailor Moon cosplay in her gallery at Red Star Costumes, but I think we can forgive her…for now. Stay tuned for a sampling of some of the many dedicated Sailor Moon cosplayers to be found at Otakon 2010.

A BIG Thank You!

Hey Moonies! We’d like to thank every single person who took the Operation Moonrise Phase 5 survey on the first day and of course, everyone who has taken it since and will take it in the month to come!

Our very first survey had just 15 responses on the first day, and our second only 30. Phase 4 (survey #3) did much better at 72, but this survey just takes the cake! 221 surveys in just 24 hours! We’re already past 300 at the moment!

We’re confident we can reach our goal of 500 by the end of the weekend, but don’t worry, the survey will still be available until Monday August 29th at Midnight, so keep those surveys pouring in! All together, we’ll not only show our opinions, but just how many Moonies there are who still care and still want the series back!


Otakon 2010: The World of Sailor Moon

At “The World of Sailor Moon” panel, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Sailor Moon, the two hot topics were the possibility of Sailor Moon being licensed by FUNimation, and the mystery of just what “Star Gentle Uterus” really refers to. I think we can all agree that there will never be a satisfactory answer to the latter, so let’s spend a moment looking at the former.

Ironically, the two panels overlapped, so some time at the Sailor Moon panel was spent wondering what was going on in the other room. “Actually, the FUNimation panel is going on right now as we speak, and we hope that FUNimation secures the rights to Sailor Moon, and finally gives us legit copies of Sailor Stars,” said panel leader Yosenex, editor of Genvid, a.k.a. The Sailormoon Soapbox. However, Yosenex was clear that his hopes were based upon speculation, and FUNimation did not in fact announce the licensing of Sailor Moon at their panel this year. They did, however, announce that they had licensed Shukufuku no Campanella, which has nothing really to do with Sailor Moon but does have pretty colors. If you’re curious, Japanator has the scoop on all of the decidedly non-Sailor Moon titles that FUNimation just announced.

Yosenex went on to share some of the more recent news concerning the international revival of the property in honor of the 20-year anniversary, including the Japanese boxset releases, and the numerous re-airings and re-licenses going on, particularly in Italy. He also shared an interesting rumor; the prospect of an Italian Nintendo DS Game forthcoming. “If that happens, I will go to PlayAsia or whatever [and order it], and I will learn Italian,” said Yosenex.

I have no idea as to the source of this rumor, so I can’t speculate as to how true it is, however it boggles the mind- an original Italian Sailor Moon video game? Am I going to have to change my plans from perpetually failing to learn Japanese to perpetually failing to learn Italian? I’m sure many of us are in the same boat here.

The Moonies in the audience chimed in with their opinions on many topics, including reasons for the superior quality of the manga’s storyline (“Because Tuxedo Mask has real powers,” and “Because the Inner Senshi were still useful after S,” proving to be popular reasons for manga superiority with the attendees), and the general unpopularity of SuperS compared to the other seasons. The panelists agreed that SuperS is more enjoyable on the second watch, but I disagree; I think it depends on how old you are. I liked it on my first watch, but I think that’s because I saw the later seasons relatively recently, and was already old enough to understand some of what I felt Ikuhara was trying to do with that season, but I digress.

In addition to a brief presentation about the history of Sailor Moon (which was all the basics that anyone reading this already knows, but was certainly appropriate for the occasion), the panel featured many clips, including fan trailers for Sailor Stars and Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Japanese commercials for various Sailor Moon products, a montage of the early openings from different countries, and the very beginning of the humorous Sailor Moon Abridged redubbing project. Yosenex recommended Sailor Moon Abridged for anyone tired of waiting for news of more Sailor Moon in some form.

The panel also featured several contests, like the Attack Pose contest, where attendees had to do their very best version of Sailor Star Fighter’s” Star Serious Laser” and Super Sailor Moon’s “Moon Gorgeous Meditation”; a Sailor Uranus cosplayer threw in a “World Shaking” for good measure. The final contest required contestants to come up to the front and shout out Sailor Moon’s introduction speech, which only a few contestants could pull off from start to finish. I don’t know guys, could you do that? Because I’d like to make a snide comment about fans messing up Usagi’s speech, only after 200 episodes, 3 movies and multiple re-watches, I can’t do that speech off the top of my head. Maybe I just get too distracted by all the pretty colors?

The other dedicated Sailor Moon panel at Otakon this year is devoted to, err, hentai. I don’t watch hentai and don’t feel entirely comfortable with the whole concept, but I feel like I must go for the sake of journalism. Wish me luck, guys!

Meet the Staff: Karen Leslie

Name: Karen Leslie
Position: Contributor
I Have Been a Sailor Moon Fan Since: 1998

Favorite Episode or Movie: Episode 34 of the original, 30 in the dub- I like both versions, but the visual of the crystal appearing from Usagi’s teardrop with My Only Love playing in the background is particularly memorable for me. I also think 166, the finale of SuperS, is seriously underrated; am I the only one who thinks it’s cool that the big bad of the season turns out to be gravity?

Favorite Sailor Moon Character: Sailor Venus. She’s crazy in such a special, lovely way.

Other Anime or Manga I like:
Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, Fate/Stay Night, Claymore, Durarara!!, Card Captor Sakura, Ginban Kaleidoscope, Ghost in the Shell, Eyeshield 21, Love Hina, Azumanga Daioh, and uh, there’s lots more- depends how I’m feeling when you ask me.

Other tidbits: I also write for Japanator.com, and am attending this year’s Otakon in a decidedly Moon-Chasey capacity. I want a snazzy boxset of all 200 SM episodes pretty badly- well, actually I wanted that pretty badly ten years ago. Now I’m past wanting it “pretty badly” and have moved on to uncharted territory.

Operation Moonrise Phase 5: Last Survey Ever!

Hey Moonies! Welcome to the last survey ever for Operation Moonrise. We know we said that Phase 4 was going to be our last one ever, but we have a very good reason for this one (we can hear some of you groaning “Another Survey?” already). A few months ago, we sent our first report to a very interested network executive who was impressed! But the exec then suggested that if we were going to have an even bigger impact with the powers that be with this report, that we should ask a few more questions to enhance it. We took this executive’s advice to heart, and put this survey together. There are only 14 questions this time around, and we are not including any space for comments (because we think we’ve gathered enough comments about anything and everything that fans have an opinion on for Sailor Moon). These questions are pretty short and there aren’t a lot of answer options for most questions, so we think this should take the average Moonie about 5-10 minutes to complete (maybe even less). These questions are specifically geared towards respondents who have watched and/or will be watching the series in English, but (as always) will welcome any responses from around the world. We will be splitting these results into two groups, one for those from English-speaking countries, and one for those from other countries.

For those of you wondering about PGSM and the Musicals, the companies are well aware of the level of fan interest for these so it is probably likely we will not have to run a campaign for these two other Sailor Moon related productions. The best we can tell you is that if you are interested in either of these productions, please write a letter to Toei Animation or Bandai Entertainment. These are posted in our forums for members to read. We have done everything we possibly could with the manga so now it is just a waiting game (unless we are asked again).

There are two very important questions in this new survey regarding content in Sailor Moon, and we need you respondents to seriously pretend that you are in these age groups again (6-8 and 9-14) and give us your honest opinion on which content you would find offensive as a kid or tween. This is crucially important should there be any sorts of edits made to the existing dub. The worldwide revival is both capturing the attention of the older fans who have loved the series since the beginning, as well as a new generation of younger “moonies”, and to better understand how to make this work, the powers that be will have a better idea of how to gear a future release with this information. Sailor Moon also will not be able to be as big of a success without the younger audience as they will be the ones who a lot of the toys and other merchandise will be geared towards (also remember that the majority of us who have grown up and are reading this site were kids once too when we discovered the series). If you think you are having a hard time answering these questions, it might be a good idea to see what is popular with kids and tweens around your neighborhood. Ask what sorts of shows they watch and do a little internet research into the contents of these shows, and this should help you figure out a good answer for those questions.

Also, a hotly contested issue among the fans is a possible redub as well as access to the existing version of the dub. We ask two questions about this near the end, and we ask that our fans answer these honestly. One of the questions involves the actors specifically, and we have gotten indications from many companies involved that either the old actors or new actors from FUNImation’s roster are pretty much the only choices that fans will have. We will also tell you that the vast majority of the actors on FUNImation’s rosters are also actors that appear on dubs from Bandai Entertainment as well as Section23 Films. Each company uses nearly the same pool of actors for their dubs and there is a lot of overlap. As of this writing, we are not going to bring in a pool of actors from Ocean Studios and ask for fans’ opinions on them, else we would have to re-run and re-do the first survey and we know that not many fans would be interested in that. The other questions we ask pertain to fans’ first encounters with Sailor Moon, opinion on the episodes’ divergence from the manga, and preferred timeslots on different kinds of networks. For clarification, we have provided some names of networks to make it easier for you to tell the difference between the types of channels. Please pay attention to what the question is asking before you answer them.

Other than answering these questions honestly and seriously, we have no other warnings or caveats to post about this survey! Click the link below when you’re ready! This campaign will be run until Monday August 30th September 13th at Midnight and we have a goal of 500 surveys. Thanks again to all of our readers for their support of our campaigns, and we are hoping that we can call an end to the major parts of our campaigns by October. Our letter writing campaign will continue to be active. And a special thank you to all of the companies for allowing us to be environmentally friendly with these reports and “going green” by accepting them electronically.