Ubehime

DW from Arthur // Cosplayer : Ubehime // Photo : DTJAAAAM

DW has become so integrated into my experience as a cosplayer because she reminds me to never forget to have fun. I always describe myself as a simple meme and being DW helps me avoid contributing towards the toxic side of the cosplay community that cares about numbers,  racial exclusion based on “accuracy”, and putting people down. Being DW helps me celebrate the positive creativity of cosplay, bring nostalgia and simply making people laugh. I’ve made it a tradition for me to bring DW to conventions that I am attending for the first time so I was excited to continue spreading the laughs and shaking off my anxiety since it was my first time attending Anime NYC (ANYC).

I love the chaotic energy that DW brings in other people. People often come up to me and start singing the “having fun isn’t hard when you got a library card” song. Arthur was such an impactful show. For older individuals, we look at Arthur with nostalgia and laugh about all the memes but Arthur genuinely such a wholesome childhood show that holds a special place in my childhood. It is always very touching when younger children run up to me and recognize D.W. I always let them hold the library card and sometimes the children are smaller than the library card. It’s such a nice sentiment seeing that cartoons can be shared across generations. The wildest experience was walking down a hallway at Holiday Matsuri 2018. A group of cosplayers saw I was D.W and started cheering, suddenly the entire hallway erupted in cheers as I kept waving the library card. Just that sheer positivity was enough to keep me going even to this day.

Putting together DW for me stemmed out of nostalgia and the desire to be the most iconic meme. It all started with finding my childhood white thick rimmed sunglasses while I was cleaning my room. It reminded me of the iconic Arthur meme where DW was gripping at the fence. Finding those literal child sunglasses inspired me to go to the thrift store and everything fell in place. I found the perfect pink dress and shoes. The best part was that my birthday was shortly after and my best friend ended up gifting me the iconic brown Arda bob wig without even knowing I wanted to do DW.  All I needed was the library card and I wanted it big. The first version of the library card was made from foam and cardboard with foam letters and sharpie but with all the wear and tear, I decided to give D.W an upgrade. The second library card is not fancy by any means, if anything it was created in the same chaotic energy and dollar store materials, it’s just happily laminated via masking tape to withstand all the action. 

Cosplay has truly reminded me to be loved and give love.  I’m currently in graduate school pursuing my Master’s so this past year has been physically and emotionally tolling. Cosplay serves as a reminder to never let the “grind” of school and work rob you of your creativity. Cosplay also reminds me to love myself and celebrate who I am in all of my identities. Creating something to embody the characters I love empowers me to not only live fully as a proud nerd but also serve as an advocate for marginalized populations. I am proud to be a plus size cosplayer of color and I want to remind everyone that this hobby should be an act of love. We love these stories and fictional characters because some aspect resonates with each of us and everyone deserves to see themselves in what they love. 

ANYC is that character that hasn’t been fully introduced yet and you don’t know the backstory from but you know they’re going to be your favorite. ANYC is still a relatively new convention, but it is steadily gaining its momentum. ANYC brings anime lovers from all over the world providing amazing programming opportunities. My favorite part of the convention will always be the artist alley which remarkably had over 400 artists. I got to meet my favorite artists that I have been following for a while and being able to appreciate their art in person was such a blessing. Having the convention in New York City was also amazing because the convention truly spans as far as New York City is – while the convention center closes there is literally opportunity at every waking hour to explore and cosplay.