First you are a cosplay beginner

Reborn from Katekyo Hitman Reborn!

If you’re a cosplayer, there is absolutely no doubt that you would have a “first” cosplay. It might not have been a very good one, it may have been one you tacked together from household clothes, or one that you bought online, but nonetheless it’s your first one.

Back in the day...

My first cosplay was in 2010, the first time I ever attended an anime convention. Having just finished high school the previous year (as if my parents would let me go to an anime convention before the HSC) this newfound sense of freedom sent me seeking out conventions to go to, and of course I spotted SMASH! as a potential candidate (I’d completely forgotten about Animania, whoops).

Having no way of paying for a ticket to SMASH!, however, as I did not have a credit/debit card, I instead chose to volunteer as a crew member so that I would be able to attend on the day for free, but at the cost of being put to work. As it turned out, due to the event selling out, I was relieved of my Ticketing duties halfway through the day, and although helping out here and there with events, was in fact quite the relaxing afternoon for me.

Naturally, I wanted to cosplay for such an event, and spent quite a few weeks looking for the right items of clothing at various stores in Sydney. My current obsession at the time had been a manga/anime called Katekyo Hitman Reborn, and as it was doubtful I would be able to obtain a wig from my then zero sources, I settled on cosplaying as one of the main characters, Reborn (pictured above).

Clara Tse cosplaying as Reborn at SMASH! 2010

The art of (a beginner) making a cosplay

The outfit was fairly easy — a suit with a red shirt, blue tie, fedora with a orange ribbon, a green lizard, some handguns and a yellow pacifier. Nonetheless it took me quite a weeks in order to find all the items that I needed as I scoured various men’s clothing stores for a red shirt and waistcoat and dollar stores for plastic handguns — during weekends, lunchtimes and after work, as I was on my first internship at the time.

Why is it that whenever you’re looking for something, you never find it?

While the suit required no sewing, I had to attach the ribbon onto the fedora as well as sew the little green lizard I would then attach to the hat. Both were more difficult than they should have been, which I should have expected.

The sides of a fedora are not perfectly straight, which means trying to sew a ribbon around the bottom rim of it will inevitably result in there being some bunch-up of the ribbon. I tried to ignore the imperfections — it looked fine. The lizard was also difficult to make, as I realised that green pipe cleaners and pompoms would not be an adequate solution, and recreated it in felt, using a bent paperclip to make the lizard’s curly tail.

Of course, the one detail I didn’t count on was the character’s two curls of hair on either side of his face.

Although my first cosplay was thoroughly unimpressive, I encountered another Reborn throughout that day, and a few other characters from the same series as I wandered the convention. I was only easy recognisable, however, because of the ‘Hyper Dying Will!Tsuna’ I carried — one of the problems with so simple a cosplay that was also imperfect. The people I met were still all incredibly nice and it was quite the experience to be asked for a photo… even if it was only a couple of times.

Regardless, my first cosplay was a lot of fun and encouraged me to go out there and try again, thought I couldn’t say if I’ve improved at all over the years. Although there can be some bad eggs out there ridiculing other people’s ‘poor’ cosplays, I hope if you ever get a chance to cosplay it will leave a positive impression on you too!

Katekyo Hitman Reborn! is by and © Akira Amano.