After I saw Kubo and the Two Strings in the theatre I had said to Amanda that it would be funny to cosplay as the paper samurai and just walk around pointing at things with the sword. It started as a joke - but the more we talked (and watched the movie again) we decided to give it a shot, and scrapped plans for a duo we had already planned for C2E2 to try and get this done instead.
I originally made it out of red poster board doing measurements on myself - trying to get similar dimensions as what the Paper Samurai had in the movie. Once I had the chest finished and tried it on I could feel that it wasn't sturdy enough to survive the con floor - so I remade it out of foam, using the poster board version as a pattern and then ultimately made the whole thing out of foam. I was nervous at the start because this was only my second foam armor build - my first being a steampunk Magneto that I also took to C2E2 this year.
It was really great, people were really excited and complimentary. The movie was just put onto Netflix so we had a ton of people saying they had just seen it a week or so ago, so it was awesome to hear that it's starting to get even more exposure. And finally any interesting stories while cosplaying at C2E2: we had stopped so Kubo (Amanda) could get lunch - but I couldn't sit in the armor - so I was just standing next to her for a bit - at one point I zoned out and then snapped out of it and turned to her and someone passing by jumped backwards and yelled "oh man, you scared me, I thought you were one of those lego statues!"
The idea for Kubo actually came from a friend while we were brainstorming characters we could cosplay as a duo. C2E2 was only a few weeks away and we were short on building time so I took his praise of the movie to heart and went for it. I had never seen Kubo and the Two Strings, let alone heard of it until then, so I bought it to have as a reference thinking, “This thing better be good…” I absolutely adored film! And thus, Kubo and Paper Samurai (Hanzo) were born. For something that was chosen with little time to spare, it ended up being the costume I spent the most time on and one of my favorite cosplays to run around in! The beetle on the back of the robe is my favorite. I had never made anything like that, and I didn’t even know where to begin researching tips, so I just winged it. I copied the beetle design onto a tracing paper that was light enough to sew over and placed that on top of the fabric I wanted to use, pinning it in place and “tracing” it with my sewing machine. Once it was all done, I cut off the excess fabric and it came out perfectly! After that, I made a foam stamp of the beetle pattern on Kubo’s robe to complete the look. Another first for me.
It was fantastic to see how so many congoers of all ages stopped us to share their mutual admiration for the film and it’s characters and take pictures. I loved hearing people shout, “Look! It’s Kubo!” even if all they saw was the back of the robe, or other quotes from the movie. Rarely will a pick up a costume I’ve made to upgrade the work I’ve done because of other projects on my to-do list, but I couldn’t wait to come back home and keep working on Kubo!
--- Amanda Lopez