Photo :   Leeannah T  homas

Photo : Leeannah Thomas

Tuxedo Totoro was both combination of what I grew up with and how I became passionate in dancing. I grew up watching My Neighbor Totoro many times when I was young since I was raised in a Japanese/American family that had the movie in VHS. The other was I'm a huge fan of attending formal dances at Anime Cons that got me into ballroom dance and Swing Dance. I went to Fanime's Black and White ball and I heard a Jazz version of "Tonari no Totoro" song being played. I looked it up on that version and it was a part of the "All the Jazz" album which they convert a lot of Ghibli songs into Jazz. When I listened to that song, I imagined myself as Totoro in a Tuxedo swing dancing to that tune. That's how I got the idea for my next cosplay. It was also perfect idea since I wanted an actual cosplay related formal attire at the dance.

I'm not really experienced with making outfit so I had to get it commissioned. I had to ask couple of my friends on Facebook about how a Tuxedo Totoro should look and took various suggestion designs from few other friends online. I went to my other friend under Taiyo Cosplay & Wigs  for help. We got together and we talked about how I want to envisioned it. So I suggest him can you make an outfit of how Totoro Tuxedo looks just similar to how Penguin does for traditional Tuxedo. In the making process, it was basically we found a good deal on a specific grey Tuxedo, grey top hat, and white vest online. I'm no sewing person but I've been told that compare to the other commissions, he worked on, it's actually very simple work. Add ears on the top hat and patch the grey patterns on the vest and the coat. That's it.

I have never had so much response compare to my other cosplays especially when I attended formal dances. I debuted at Anime Boston in 2014 just to show it off at the Charity Ball. People compared to me with Dustbunny's Totoro Gown and wanted to see both of us meet up. Me and Dustbunny finally met at Anime Expo 2014 and took pictures of ours together. The picture has been shared all over the internet. Lately I also been asked few times that they would love to dance with me during other dances which was rare since I did mostly the asking. I won Duke at a formal dance in Anime LA 2015, Best Dressed at a formal ball in Katsucon 2015, and King at a formal dance in Anime California 2015. My Totoro outfit gives many people smiles.

-- Brain Age Guy Cosplay