Otakon 2010: Sailor Moon Cosplay Gallery

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I hit the convention floor with the intent to photograph some Sailor Moon cosplay: how many SM cosplayers would I see? Would the costumes be any good? Or would any and all Sailor Moon cosplayers be drowned in a sea of Vocaloids?

As it turned out, there were many Sailor Moon cosplayers, some of the costumes were great, and absolutely everyone was drowned in a sea of Vocaloids, cosplayers and all. I swear, Hatsune Miku may be a great character, but if I never see her again…that would mean never looking at anime PVC figures again. Never mind.

The images here are by no means representative of all the Sailor Moon cosplayers at Otakon, just a small group I was fortunate enough to encounter who had a moment to pose for me. With the near-30,000 attendees at Otakon, it’s obviously impossible to see everyone and everything, but at the very least, a good portion of the SM universe is represented in this sampling. It pains me that there may have been a great Tuxedo Mask or Super Sailor Moon cosplayer that I just never encountered, but there’s always next year. For the record, I did see an adorable little girl dressed as Princess Chibiusa who ran out of the panel I was attending with her parents before I had a chance to ask for permission to take her picture. Wherever you are out there, cool parents, I salute you.

Here’s a nice Black Lady, spotted at the World of Sailor Moon Panel.

A lovely Princess ChibiMoon! Personally, I think those Serenity-styled dresses are some of the classiest cosplay you can do for any series. It’s just such a classic look, and practically every woman looks good in it.

This Eternal Sailor Moon had an impressive wing span. I was really pleasently surprised to see multiple forms of Sailor Moon, instead of just the standard red-white-and-blue version.

A nice group of Inner Senshi. I can only assume that Jupiter was of cooking/beating someone up/blushing at a guy/etc.

SM cosplay would not be complete without at least one dude dressing as Sailor Moon: Thanks for taking one for the team there, my friend.

An excellent version of Neo Queen Serenity.

Well, it’s true that Sailor ChibiMoon does get taller in her Senshi form…credit for this picture goes to my friend Jake from Japanator, I wasn’t fortunate enough to run into these ladies, but he did!

A very interesting trio….

Sailor Uranus was spotted in Artist Alley- presumably looking for Michiru. Come to think of it, that’s exactly where I’d look for her.

Finally, a picture-perfect Usagi! Seeing cosplay like this just makes me a happy girl. I complemented her on how she pulled off Usagi’s hairstyle.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of these costumes- I know I’m psyched to play more of my favorite “Spot the Sailor Moon Cosplayer and Harass Them for a Picture” game at NYAF this fall; it’s fun for the whole family, or at least MY family.

Otakon 2010: Bandai Announces K-ON! dub

At the “Bandai After Dark” panel on Saturday night, Bandai not only formally announced the K-ON! dub, but offered the lead role of Hirasawa Yui to voice actor Stephanie Sheh on the spot. Sheh accepted, meaning that we will more than likely hear her interpretation of the world’s spaciest lead guitar player soon enough. As if that wasn’t enough, the panel continued with Cristina Vee bursting onto the show floor in a K-ON! costume to sing a bunch of the shows better known songs, including the popular ED track Don’t Say Lazy. It was announced that Vee will be playing the role of Akiyama Mio, which she called “a dream role.”

How is this relevant to Sailor Moon? Well, if you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you might not know that the prognosis for anime dubbing has not been particularly good of late. With the decline of the anime market in the United States in particular, and sub-only releases selling to an increasingly picky enthusiast market, we’re long past the boom days when any show that was even moderately popular would receive an English dub. While a dub for a show as popular as K-ON! may seem like a no-brainer, it was still nice to see the enthusiasm everyone at the Bandai panel seemed to have for the project.

One audience member even asked during the Q&A whether or not CDs would be released with the English voice actors performing the K-ON! songs, as Vee had just done; the answer from the panel was “I don’t know,” which surprised me, because I was expecting an unequivocal “uh, no,” for an answer there. The dubbing will be done by Bang Zoom! Entertainment, which, if you recall, did do some song dubbing back in the day, such as with the early Rurouni Kenshin openings and endings. I was under the impression that they had stopped doing that sort of thing for legal reasons, but who knows- the industry has certainly changed in the ten years or so since then.

Vee did a fine job with the K-ON! tracks, and personally I’d be keen to hear her tackle some Sailor Moon songs- either the original Japanese songs, or the sometimes simplistic, but often surprisingly good, songs from the original dub.

While we’re on the subject of Bandai, they also took the opportunity to announce their forthcoming releases of Sora Kake Girl, or The Girl Who Leapt through Space (not to be confused with The Girl Who Leapt Through Time), and a My Otome prequel OVA (to be released together on one disc). Interestingly, they also announced that K-ON! will be released simultaneously on Blu-Ray and DVD.

Other events at the panel included a The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya sound-alike contest, an exclusive clip from the second episode Gundam Unicorn (which is SO not my thing, but at least some people there were very excited) and the exclusive premiere of the Season 2 dub outtakes for that series, the hilarity of which made me wish that Crispin Freeman would be cast in any Sailor Moon redub in some capacity if only to produce quality outtakes. Freeman for Tuxedo Mask: WHO’S WITH ME????

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.

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.