I’m sure everybody could find some way to relate to Retsuko when it comes to their jobs, but I was especially going through a hard time at my current job so I found the character super relatable to me.
I’ve tried quitting the job for awhile now but, like Retsuko, I was having a hard time finding other job opportunities or bringing myself to talk to my boss about it. That’s how I knew I had to cosplay her and I wanted to do it as soon as possible.
Half of her cosplay is hand made and the other half I purchased. I’m decent at sewing, but I have more of an interest being the character than spending the time to make the cosplay from scratch— it’s never shameful to want to purchase your costumes or find ways to cut corners and I’ve always felt that way.
Since Momocon was right around the corner, I didn’t have time to make a costume either but I had such a desire to cosplay her I went ahead and purchased her work uniform on Amazon (expedited shipping!! yikes…!) and made the rest of the costume (ears & tail.)
Lucky me, I was able to find a long pile white remnant of fur at Joann’s to make her ears and tail with. The fur was white, so I knew I would have to dye the fabric to get the color I wanted. I could have purchased fur online, but sometimes you are not sure if the color you receive will be accurate to the color you want so I went the dyeing route so I could make sure the golden/orange color of her tail would match her wig. I had never dyed fabric before so I did some research and found that fursuiters and cosplayers have different methods to coloring fur, and I went the Rit DyeMore for synthetic fabrics route and diluted fabric paint. The dye worked well for the brown color of her stripes, but I had to dilute fabric paint with warm water and brush it over the fur to get a bright golden orange color for the rest of her tail.
When dyeing the fabric, I made sure to consistently brush the fur out in the proper direction so it wouldn’t dry at a different angle. I’m pretty happy with the outcome of the tail; I simply made a raccoon pattern for the tail and stuffed it with polyfill and attached it to my body by wearing a small belt under my clothes and sewing elastic loops on the tail. Her ears were also made from the long pile fur but I used #3 guard on some clippers to shear down the fur on the insides of her ears and paint them with fabric paint. They were made from a craft foam core with wiring at the base so I could bend them into the right shape and then the fur was hot glued on. They clip into my wig with alligator clips that are hand sewn and hot glued on. The wig is a Chronos in golden blonde from Epic Cosplay Wigs (which happened to also be on sale at the time! Nice!)
The response was very positive! I wore her Thursday of Momocon without any one else cosplaying with me and I got stopped for a lot of pictures, usually it was people wanting pictures with me. Everyone was very friendly and wanted to talk to me about the series and it had been awhile since I had cosplayed something that grabbed positive attention like that. I had, for awhile, cosplayed from lesser known series or ones that were not very popular at the time (Binbougami Ga, Osomatsu-san: Hesokuri Wars, Gintama for example) after cosplaying from very large fandoms that were very popular at the time (Homestuck, Hetalia.) Needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed but I enjoyed every moment of it because of how excited people were to see a Retsuko cosplayer. She’s a fun character to be, also, so that made it even more enjoyable for me since I love being in character for people.
Whatever your drive is for cosplaying, keep driving at it. It could be entering cosplay contests, it could be making intricate costumes and showing off your skill, maybe you love being a panelist, maybe you prefer to wear comfortable costumes or buy your costumes. Maybe you could be like me and just love being somebody else! Cosplay is for you, whatever your purpose is, so use it as a way that can make you, as an individual, very happy.
Photo : Amanda Swanson Photography