It's been a while - we're sorry we've been inactive as of late. This last season has been a little hectic, especially in terms of fitting in cosplay around school and university requirements.
Lucy, Imo and Charley have all applied for university this autumn, with successes so far where they have come in. Imo has an offer to study Spanish with Japanese at Manchester (amongst others), and Lucy has an offer to study Chemistry with Industrial Experience at Warwick (amongst others), whilst Charley is currently facing the interview stage in her application to nursing.
Harrie has had a successful first term at the University of Sheffield studying Japanese, but the three of us down south miss her a lot! Donnie, too, is now a term into her second year studying Animal Behaviour up in Liverpool.
The year started successfully, as we cosplayed Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan in the first cosplay season, which was very enjoyable. Lucy was incredibly proud of the costumes, which she put an incredible amount of effort into. She also had fun creating sewing patterns from scratch for the hakama, which she says were her favourite things to see finished in the end.
We wore Hakuouki to May's MCM Expo in sweltering heat, which wasn't ideal, as most of us couldn't wear all the layers of all our costumes. The heat also made the event slightly less enjoyable than usual, and it didn't help that some of our best friends were absent.
However, we did finally take to the competitive stage in May with Hakuouki, which is a first for the group! (And quite ridiciulous, as Lucy and Imo are now well into their sixth year of cosplay...) We hope to try our hand on stage again in the near future.
In August, we had our Hakuouki shoot, which was really successful and a great trip out into the Wiltshire countryside... we packed all our kit into the boot of Donnie's tiny car (cameras, tripods, swords... everything), and then crammed ourselves in. Lucy had managed to locate a Chinese garden not far away from where she lives - and it was a stunning place (our photos really don't do it justice!). The owners too were absolutely charming.
In general, Hakuouki seems to be the highlight of the year - as costumes both well-made (in terms of the skill level we're at as a group), and enjoyable to wear in public. We hope to wear them again, and shoot them again soon.
2012 was also important in coming to terms with future plans for the group - seeing as we're going to be split up all over the country come October next year, we will no longer have our "base" in the south-west. In terms of group cosplays, this will make it more diifcult to work together, especially as Lucy has her sights set on some more elaborate costumes, and no longer has the time to make all five costumes (despite the fact Imo put pedal to the metal this year and learned to use the sewing machine very well indeed).
So, we decided to loosen the reigns a little and permit ourselves to cosplay solo, or with other smaller groups should we be asked. However, we have decided to try and do one group set every season, or at least every year.
We test ran this idea at October's MCM Expo, where we split up our cosplays on the Friday: Lucy and Charley finally got to do Fairly Odd Parents, which they found jolly good fun to wear (and a nightmare to style the wigs). Imo and Donnie wore Vocaloid White Magnet - of which Imo had sewn her entire dress from scratch - an eight piece bodice as her first ever project no less! Harrie ran a little late getting there on friday evening, but briefly rewore Busujima from HOTD.
In the evening, Lucy worked with Imo and Don to photoshoot their White Magnet cosplays, the results of which are still being processed (or Lucy is too lazy to email Imo the photos to edit) - but they looked ever so cute!
On Saturday and Sunday, we cosplayed Lord of the Rings. This has been one of Lucy and Imo's dream cosplays since they started cosplaying way back in 2007. We did all four Hobbits + Aragorn, and it really was a challenge.
The time restraint was the main issue, as Lucy was incredibly bogged down with work at the time, and so had only a week to make all five costumes (alothough she did emply Imo's handiwork for a couple of the days). Furthermore, the project also involved working with difficult suades and leather, as well as the sewing of mass capes, and having to hem them all (Lucy says she is still not happy with the result, as she was rushed at that point and her handiwork was messy).
The wigs were also incredibly difficult to acquire - curly wigs are a nightmare, so we had to settle for some temporary ones which, although matching the colour, were not really accurate the characters. In the future, we look to improve our LOTR cosplays, as we were not totally happy with them - although they did get a lot of recognition in London, and people seemed to love the idea.
October was fun for other reasons however - we bunked with our babies Harriet and Matthew, who were wearing their Tangled cosplays (Lucy actually was commissioned to make Matthew's Flynn Rider shirt, which she says is one of the things she's most proud of in terms of neatness and effort put in to making) - they were absolutely adorable, and great fun staying with for three days. We look forward to working with them more in the future - and hopefully cosplaying with them too!
We had a LOTR trivial pursuit match in the evening of the Saturday with some close cosplay friends, which Lucy likes to boast that she won single handedly with her epic knowledge of Lord of the Rings (which might be slightly truthful), and much fun was had. We had also watched the EuroCosplay finals that day, which was an incredible experience, seeing all these stunning cosplays from all over the continent - Lucy says she was certialy inspired. We were there to support one of the British representatives, Ben, in his Elrond cosplay (fellow Ringer, as you can see), who then popped over to the hotel in the evening to hang out with us. He is a lovely person, and Lucy is certainly very grateful to him for his encouraging words about the cosplay she makes and plans to make - he prompted her to try her hand at solo competition, and now she plans to work towards entering her planned Vivaldi into a competition in the autumn season of 2013.
As for 2013, we have a few plans here and there, though it will be a year of big change as the last three of us take our IB and A level exams and head off to university in the autumn.
For the spring season, we don't have any new plans, as Lucy's exams happen throughout May, so she needs to revise thoroughly. Imo and Charley then have their A level exams in June. For May's MCM Expo, we plan to do some rewears, namely Highschool of the Dead and Hellsing, our personal group favourites. If Lucy has time, however, in the week between the end of her IB exams and Expo, she will remake the Harkonnen for her Seras cosplay.
There might be some photoshoots in the spring time though, so keep your eyes peeled for The Last Unicorn, and potentially HOTD or LOTR. We definitely have plans to shoot all three of those properly, and maybe Hellsing (again) and Usavich over the lengthy summer, as we have been discussing a weekend away for shooting in the summer with our babies Harriet and Matthew.
The long summer will also be of great benefit to our autumn season plans. We might try our hands at some summer conventions in the meanwhile, but the time will be wisely spent on working on some massive projects.
Lucy has her heart set on doing something massive, as she's often quite resticted in what she can do, having to work for quantity over quality. Her current plan is to do Vivaldi from Heart no Kuni no Alice - essentially a full-skirt ballgown, corsetted, with a rather grand headpiece in the shape of her heart. Not only is this something completely different, involving many new skills, but it's also something quite feminine, which Lucy says she wants to do once in a while!
Imo and Donnie, having done a really successful pair in october, want to work together again, and so are uniting in their love for Final Fantasy to do Rikku and Yuna Dark Knight versions from FFX2. The main obstacle here will be armour making, which Imo has already started practicing in, and something that will certainly be rewarding in outcome.
Charley syas she wants to cosplay Momohime from Oboro Muramasa, which will be a good starter for delving into cosplay making. It's also a series we've had lined up on the back bench for group cosplay, so it'll be good to see how it goes down. Harrie is still undecided, having talked about joining Lucy in doing Blood from Heart no Kuni, or instead doing a Kyary Pamu Pamu costume.
Lucy and Harrie have also dicussed doing a pairs cosplay on another day in October - probably Bleach, since they both love it. Lucy and Harrie both liked the new timeskip versions of the shinigami, namely Matsumoto and Yumichika respectively.
Should funds permit, a group cosplay has also been discussed for October, but naturally, with us all doing more extravagent solo pieces, it will take the back burner. However, we would like to do The Bride of the Water God, as it has some stunning costumes, but no characters have been set in stone, a part from that Lucy has her eye on Nakbin, Imo on So-Ah and Charley would make a good Water God (his name escapes us right now). If this doesn't go ahead for October, look for it in early 2014.
So, that's the 2012 review finished! We haven't been overly busy this year, but thank you for continued support, and we'll try to be more active next year, especially come the summer and some freedom!
As always, you can find us on our Facebook page, our Tumblr, our Blogspot and our Twitter - all of which get updated slightly more frequently than this page, and all with different things. Our Facebook page focusses more on announcements, our Tumblr posts old photos and some unseen outtakes, our Blogspot is updated by Imo, who writes reports on events and also updates with progress pictures and tutorials, whereas Twitter is a good place for getting our comments/updates whilst we're out and about.
Have a good new year, and happy cosplaying!
Listening to: Society by Eddie Vedder
Reading: The Hobbit
Watching: Pride and Prejudice
Drinking: Rubicon Mango