Cosplay #4 ~ the prince

Mana (MDM) by FallenAngel1973

Mana (MDM) by FallenAngel1973

Mana-sama, formerly of Malice Mizer, and currently leader and guitarist of “solo” project Moi Dix Mois, mentor to Lolita-rock rising star Kanon Wakeshima, founder of Elegant Gothic Lolita fashion label Moi Meme Moitie, and prince of gothic Visual Kei, is hailed as one of the most difficult cosplays to get right. You really have to have the natural physiology for it– a certain facial structure that makeup can’t alter. This Elegant Gothic Aristocrat version, done with roots in the MDM era, is pretty much spot-on. Check out FallenAngel1973’s page to see more Mana cosplays, as incredible as this one.

acce_main~Sources and Tutorials that may or may not help you achieve the perfect Mana Cosplay~

xxfullmoonxx’s makeup tutorial for a Gothic Lolita Bible-inspired Mana

Mana Wannabe’s Versailles-era inspired Mana makeup tutorial

and a few videos that may help you get the signature lips and hair down pat….

And remember…personality….is everything:

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Cosplay #3 ~ ASAGI

ASAGI by ibarakanmuri

ASAGI by ibarakanmuri

ASAGI of D fame, as portrayed by ibarakanmuri. The attention to detail and care put into this one is awesome…note the rose tattoo.

vidolld18fcibarakanmuri at deviantart

Cosplay #2 ~ girugamesh

girugamesh_cosplay_by_AngelAzuraI honestly don’t know enough Jrock fans to cosplay a duet, let alone an entire band lineup. ’nuff said. girugamesh lineup, as cosplayed by AngelAzura et all.

8163Cosplay by AngelAzura… also check out her artwork. She’s done an amazing portrait of Sakurai Atsushi from BUCK-TICK.

Cosplay #1~ Reita

Reita_Cosplay_I_by_Kei_DynamiteReita, illustrious bass-player of the GazettE, as cosplayed by Kei_Dynamite. Not only has kei_dynamite totally captured Reita, the quality and lighting of the photograph is completely typical of the Gazette. Photograph of the real Reita below:

Reita

Although I can’t help you find the leather jacket, here is a video that will help you get the (longer version) hair and basic makeup. The divine help me, it looks so simple.

Credits: visit Kei_Dynamite’s deviantart page

Video by Eme-Raude, visit her youtube page for more excellent Visual Kei makeup and hair tutorials

Get Your Goth On

image by aoi_loves_you

image by aoi_loves_you

To follow up my latest post on Visual style and how it interfaces with cosplay, I’m going to take it upon myself to do a short series of featurettes displaying some of the best Visual Kei cosplay I’ve seen on the web lately. If looks could kill, these cosplayers would be unwittingly massacring the cosplay community.

As I mentioned briefly in Of Corset Is, in my personal opinion I believe that the true purpose of cosplay is not to achieve the most correct costume of the character, but to capture as closely as possible the essence and personality of the character. It is important to remember that despite what the image on hand shows you, you are your own person, and unless you adapt the cosplay to be true both to yourself as well as to the character you are portraying, the cosplay will never really hit the mark. I have seen some really wonderful cosplays, but the cosplayer donning them had spent so much effort on getting the exact pattern of brocade for their Ten-Ten tassles, that they forgot to affect her airs and that particular feeling we associate with her. I’m (a tiny bit) less fussy about anime and video-game type cosplays than Visual Kei or Jrock ones, because with VK and Jrock we are attempting to affect the styles of a real person, and besides that– I’m just wicked touchy about the subject. ;)

The reason I have chosen to feature these particular cosplays, is because the cosplayers have done an exceptional job not only at piecing together the outfits, makeup, and hair-styles, but they have also worked to portray as closely as possible this elusive essence of the object of cosplayification.

Stay tuned to Secret Garden… roseblood

“Of Corset Is!”

Ha..ha..get it? AAAACzViJZYAAAAAAB1LVA

Crimson leaves are starting to fall, and rockers far and wide are digging up corsets, frock-coats, and implements of bondage to identify with the gloomy change in weather.

The other day I was talking about how Halloween is coming up, and how I will be spending it at a con. I hope the rest of you have interesting plans for the gloomy un-holiday. I at least hope that you have a party to attend, where much Malice Mizer will be blaring. Martha Stewart suggests complicated green curries cooked in gutted pumpkins, and acrylic-nail application parties for Les Halloween ’09. But we’re a long way from Connecticut, Visualists…

nail-art081

Visual style has wormed its way into the apple of rocker fashion. Most Visualists are rooted strongly in their individuality and creativity, hacking their own look into the world of Visual style. However, because of the nature of Visual style and the rising popularity of Visual Kei as a mainstream genre, it has also transcended personal style and gone into the, shall we say, band-boy-band-girl and/or cosplay modes of expression. A lot of people who appreciate Visual Kei style and music feel that cosplay and band-fan-dom is a way of forging a closer bond to their favorite artists and bands.

Although I personally believe in Visualism and Jrock as a life-source, not to mention life-style, I also believe in cosplay  as legitimate means of expression and appreciation of bands and idols. Even if you decide to do a simple cosplay, and can’t find all the Moitie accessories to glam up your Mana-sama, cosplay well, (and this goes for everyone across the board—) and cosplay with integrity. There’s nothing less appreciative of a band or specific band member than half-assing your depiction of them. If you’re short on time, cash, garb, gear, or all of the above, consider simplifying your effigy by focusing on several very characteristic traits (hairstyle and makeup, for example…whatever the personality is really defined by.) and toning down the other elements. For example, Kanon Wakeshima? Broke? Full-time job (yup, they do go together)? Con in a week? Simple solution! Focus on the hair and makeup and any accessories you can manage, and then try and emulate the experience and sentiment of her outfit without actually recreating it in full! This is much more appropriate than buying a $14 cheesy prom dress from Salvation Army and hauling a cello around.

kanon-wakeshima…and remember…next year, start making the costume right after the convention, not right before. (To be fair, I tried this and failed miserably. Wish me luck that I don’t return a hypocrite….Not that you’d know  either way :D).

Whether you’re seeking to improve your own Visual style, or considering cosplaying your favorite band-member, here is something that may help along the way– and remember, do your best, and have fun! ganbatte ne!:

If you’re totally green to Visual style, but want to go the whole nine yards, a DVD was released in September called Visual Makeup Lesson. The DVD has a variety of lessons to show Visualists how to do typical Visual Kei style makeup. Japanese language with English subtitles. Learn it from the best– and by that I mean, of course, learn it from the Japanese…

Pumpkin Fever?

jack-o-lantern

It must be something in the water these days. Perhaps there’s some form of roadkill in the mountain creeks, rotting its little heart out, and everyone is drinking the diluted stuff, pepped up with fluoride and antibiotics put in there to neutralize the eau du fetid stag. It makes them overexcited. I received a rather telling email yesterday explaining to me that this rather rinky-dink anime convention held annually in my neck of the woods has been forced to put a cap on attendance this year. (The cap is gawking teen anime freaks X 700– yes, I give you permission to laugh). That means nearly 200 extra g.t.a.f.’s will be in attendance, up from last year. Now, the reason this solicits musings on our poor dessicated wildlife there, is because I was wondering why 200 more people got the idea to get out their space-suits and ice-picks and schlep the ol’ pig-skin up to the barren, northern wastes. People are raised by wolves up here. When crossing the border, instead of confiscating aforementioned ice-picks and any other sundry articles or armaments, Homeland Security gives them toboggans and an extra slab of lard and sends them grimly on their way with a prayer.

On an entirely (although not irrelevant) different train of thought, we are now officially well into the first week of October. I noticed, because I saw those great monstrosities of inflatable pumpkins, deflated in the dewy murk of the drive-to-9-to-5. There are a few holidays which I truly enjoy– among them are Christmas, my birthday, July 4th, New Year’s, and Tanabata [July 7th]– and Halloween is not one of them. We’ve ceased the spooks and hit the calories. To be fair– I said ‘we’. This year, however, the ripe venison in the aforementioned paragraph has truly stepped in on my behalf. This year, the (again) aforementioned convention will settle its calorized flanks over Halloween weekend. The cosplay at this convention is usually surprisingly good, and this year I expect pumpkin fever will possess the g.t.a.f.s into great feats of costuming ballistics. (Goodness, don’t look at me).

I would like to make a formal request as I close off this topic now– that request is that the West Coast anime con-goers not be smug. Jrock is so very alien in this icebergian tundra that it was voted out, either through lack of popularity or collection, at the con’s resident dance party. It was with a great issuance of ennui that I beheld the switch from head-banging to dir en grey till ones ears bleed to bopping along to those repetitive techno loops of echoing female and male voices mysteriously chanting in ominous tones, in the darrrrrrk forest…..

I know it seems a pathetic and meandering topic without premise, but its purpose is to assure–myself, more than anyone– that Gacktpause carries on. That rather hysterical and often invasive thing, ones real life, has been asserting itself forcefully of late, and it seems I am powerless to resist its harrowing call. With the turning of the weather, the coming of great costuming events that are conventions and Halloween– whether you cosplay or merely flaunt your usual frockage–, something tells me it’s time to turn mascara-ed eyes to Visual Kei. Coming up next, on Secret Garden.

mm_mana_ice