We started watching My Love Story on CrunchyRoll we heard all of the wonderful things from it so we decided to watch it, and I instantly fell in love with Yamato’s character! She reminded me too much of my self when I was in high school, baking was what I did to make friends or just to make people happy. I would randomly bake cookies and pass them around school to my friends or just to people who looked like they were having a rough day. She personifies the traits I like, she is sweet, caring, kind and gentle plus her design is adorable! So I told my boyfriend (BlackHornsCosplay) that I wanted to cosplay Yamato and if he wanted to be my Takeo which he was all for, so we decided we wanted to make them for the next con which at that time was A-kon.
I bought my materials from my local Jo-Ann’s, I used a cotton jersey knit for the sweater base, the collar is quilter’s cotton with trimmed bias tape for the striping. I made the pattern for the sweater by deconstructing a sweater that fit me properly. I modified the neck line to fit my sailor collar pattern and also curved in the waist of the sweater to give a more flattering shape when worn. The skirt is made of a sports cotton material also from Jo’Ann’s, I made the pattern on the skirt my self by painting on the stripes, onto the fabric before cutting out the pattern pieces. The skirt pattern was made by me, by using my waist and hip measurements. It’s basically two hexagons, that sew together at the side seams, the front hexagon is bigger than the back because it has the pleating in the front and its’ closure is a side zipper and is all attached to a waist band. The shoes were originally too light of a brown but I redid them by stripping away the leather sealant on the shoes and painting on a darker leather dye to the shoes and re-sealing them.
I started cosplaying in 2007 when I went to my first anime convention back home in El Paso, TX. At that time I really had no idea of what I was doing but I just did it because I liked the idea of being able to dress up as my favorite characters. Cosplay now is different for me, it is still fun by all means but now I take my time with my work, I don't just bust out a costume the night before the convention, I make sure I take every detail into consideration and do my best to properly bring the character to life. Cosplay means a great deal to me, it is how I made so many wonderful friends, built my craft, and how I release stress from my life because when Im wearing my cosplay I feel different. It is difficult to explain but I feel joy the second I wear a cosplay and when I'm in the thing I worked so hard on my confidence rises and when you meet up with your friends there is no need to worry about the small things because you realize they were not that bad. This might sound silly but for me it helps not to be myself for a bit to find the joys of my life. Cosplay is something that enriched my life and now I can not imagine my life with out it.
After finishing up the anime, my girlfriend wanted to cosplay as Yamato because she loved the character so much. I however, was new to cosplaying had no plans to dress like any characters from My Love Story. As a novice, and having a girlfriend who had been in the cosplay game for quite some time, I was ready to take on challenges that were more intricate to my point of view. A newcomer with no knowledge of sewing, prop making, body casting, make-up application, or any costume functionality knowledge, was fascinated by cosplayers who had been doing costuming for years! I wanted to do everything that looked flashy and awesome and did not want to spend time working on small projects. Which is why I was not interested in becoming Takeo from the series. Before I started working on him, or even thought of working on him, I was working on another costume at the time that required so much work and attention it made me realize just how much work "flashy" and "awesome" cosplays take up; and as a novice I really should had been taking baby steps.
My girlfriend kept talking about working on Yamato and we spoke about couple cosplays we could do and she spoke about how easy it would be to become Takeo. With the weight of a massive amount of work on one costume, and a deadline fast approaching, a smaller easier goal seemed like a great idea. After finding a few pieces of clothing in a few thrift stores that I could alter and taking a few items from my own closet, Takeo was complete. I'd like to say that my worries on the complexity of one costume made me choose another costume that was more easier to make.
Takeo's process took about a day's worth of trips to different stores and by the end of a shopping adventure, the pants, tie, and shirt were done. After tailoring the pants, painting red stripes on the tie, using a black make up pen for the sideburns, and just using my old dressing shoes, he easily became my easiest cosplay so far. After completing him I wasn't sure how to feel about the cosplay, wether it was going to have a good response or not, seeing that it was almost effortless; it challenged my sense of being proud of something I worked on if it had been to easy. But wearing him around the convention alongside Riiceations made it all worthwhile. Both fans and strangers to the anime gave us a positive response. The fans got a good impression of how well the costumes were executed and Riicreations' cake prop tied us together even more. She was probably the bigger reason I made the costume, not only for her enthusiasm towards us couple cosplaying, but because of how she made me see how easy and how complicated cosplay can be, and without her this cosplay, those before it, and any other ones coming after, wouldn't happen without her love and care for our relationship.
Cosplaying to me means, showing the connection or the love you have with a character and showing that connection by bringing them to life. Like a tattoo, or the things you own, or your favorite t.v. show, it tells the world a bit about yourself and what makes you the person you are today. By not only dressing up like a character, showing your own rendition of said character shows the world who you are or who you can be. I don't think it's about fun, but more of personification of your feelings towards a character, by being that character, as yourself, the fun comes later after all the sweat, the blood, the frustration, and the hard work pay off after your happiness is emotionally felt with the final product.
What I've learned from cosplay is the one thing I've always have been and mostly likely always will be, and that is how I love to be hard on myself, even on my hobbies. I work hard for what I want and the way I want something to look. I bite off more than I can chew because I love the feeling of taking on a challenge and knowing that I got myself to my goal because of my determination, that no matter how hard or how impossible something is, and how tired I am and or how much blood, sweat, and tears are shed, the harder I work, the prouder I'll be in the end. I call it a good kind of hell, one that you put yourself through because you wanted to go through it to see how hard it can be, a hell you can control because if things get too ugly, you can back away and know you don't have to hurt yourself, unless it's worth it.