In the cosplay world, “crossplaying” is defined as the act of cosplaying a character of the opposite gender to one’s own. It’s equal parts art and hobby, which I’ve been absolutely addicted to for the better part of a decade.
To say that I was hesitant at the time would be a gross understatement. At this particular point in my life, I was a pretty avid blogger, and that was more than enough excitement for this guy!
Sure, I adored anime and I loved the convention experience. Still, I didn’t think I had the courage to actually cosplay and draw that much attention to myself. She persisted, though, and I eventually relented. I told her I’d cosplay, but only if certain ground rules were followed.
- I wanted to use my natural hair (i.e. no wigs)
- I wanted to crossplay as a female character.
At the time, I honestly thought these rules would deter her from persisting further. How naive I was. Instead, my guidelines kicked her motivation to get me cosplaying into overdrive!
For weeks, Stephanie and I plotted and planned. She was taking care of the cosplay outfits themselves, while I studied up on my Sailor Moon lore in order properly “play the part,” as it were. Stephanie worked her fingers to the bone, as she sewed our skirts in-between battle rolls at the Pathfinder table. Week after week, the outfits came ever-closer to completion. I, in turn, grew ever more nervous about making my big convention cosplay debut. Things were almost derailed entirely at the last minute when I realized that I had forgotten to order my heels!
In a time that was far too long and far too short at the same time, the big weekend came. KumoriCon in Portland, Oregon would see the two of us make our senshi debuts. I have to admit that I was nervous when I stepped off the elevator for the first time. My skirt was quite short and my heels didn’t fit right, which HURT. Still… I had come that far, and there was no way that I was going to chicken out.
Perhaps the most interesting experience of the weekend, though, came during one of our rest moments. Stephanie and I were both in pain from uncomfortable shoes. We were sitting on some chairs in the hotel lobby when I suddenly found myself with a young man kneeling in front of me with hope glimmering in his eyes.
“Will you have my children?” He asked earnestly.
“That’s sweet of you to ask,” I replied, being as gentle as I could, “but I don’t have the right equipment,” Defeat washed over him, and he left a few seconds later.
After that break, I decided to step outside for a smoke. (Yeah, a sailor guardian smoking a cigarette… it’s a charming visual, I know.) I didn’t make it more than ten feet past the doors, when I suddenly heard “Rei-chan! Rei-chan!” Looking up, I saw an excited group of Japanese tourists waving their cameras around.
It was at that moment that I unlocked the “Excite Teenage Asian Girls” achievement.
Still, the support that I got from the community was wonderful. Even the convention parents were incredibly sweet. At one point, I was walking from one building back to the main hotel and stopped to rest my feet.
“Honey, those shoes are adorable, but you look like you’re in so much pain,” the mother of a younger con-goer said.
“I am,” I admitted in response before we found ourselves engaged in a very pleasant conversation. She asked questions about Sailor Mars, which I was happy to answer before we parted ways.
All in all, it was a wonderful weekend — though it did take about a week for my feet to recover from being in those damned heels — that reminded me that the anime community at large can be quite the amazing place and filled with downright wonderful people. Stephanie and I bonded as friends in a way that very few people get to experience, and I’m glad that I did it.
Since that weekend a decade or so ago, I’ve crossplayed many more times. I’ve always enjoyed my experiences, thanks to the fantastic people that I’ve met along the way… and I have the memories to prove it.
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