Deep down inside, everyone wants to be a JRocker. They have cool clothes, wicked hair, funky makeup, and nobody notices that they're really short because their shoes are usually three-feet high. Sadly there are precious few oppurtunites for us gaijin fans to nance around in public dressed like our favourite Japanese celebrities.

I said FEW, not NONE.

God bless Conventions. Aside from the truly frightening fanboys who think following a girl around and LEERING is a swell way to impress her, Cons are a great place to go for a weekend and have some wild and crazy fun with people who have the same obsessions as you do. And it's one of the only places on earth you can walk around in a costume when it's not Halloween and not be beaten savagely. While not the norm, JRock costumes do pop up at anime conventions and some of them looking so fucking kick-ass I could weep.

However, it isn't always easy to turn yourself into a JRocker. This year, my sister Shawnibuya and I decied to attend SakuraCon dressed in our JRockin' best. This episode of the Flannel will walk you through our amazing transformation.

First things first... who to go as? I had originally wanted to do Toshiya's outfit from the 'Cage' video, but I realised that I cannot sew to save my life so I'd have to pick something a little easier. So instead I thought I could pull off his 'yurameki' getup... until I figured out how much a leather jumper would cost me. All of Shinya's outfits required too much damn sewing as well.

"Well, fuck," I thought. "NOW what? Kyo's so friggin FUGLY... Hey... Kyo has my glasses!"

I am blind without my specs. Like, hilariously so. So for once I did a SMART thing and picked a costume that would incorporate my little windows-to-the-world. So that's N-chan's first tip for costumes... pick something that works for you - don't choose an outfit you know you can't pull off. I decided that Kyo's "ain't afriad to die" outfit (you know... the Austin Powers' suit) would be pretty near perfect for me.

Shawnibuya, on the other hand, was destined to cosplay Mana. Mana is both doll-like and scary as fuck... just like my sister. The problem was which Mana wouldn't cost an arm and a leg to create? She really, REALLY wanted to do Mana's gothic-lolita getup but there just wasn't any way we could get our greasy mitts on the material to make it. After browsing through a ton of images at Gardenia she finally decided on an adorable black-lace and blue ensemble Mana worse in pictures where he seems to be kidnapping a little kid to eat later on or something.

Okay, so we had something to aim for! Now we just needed all the parts to make up the outfits. During this time, Value Village and the bargain bin at the fabric store were our best friends. Tip #2 - if you start way in advance, you can take your time and find some really good bargains.

The real problem with my choice in costume was my hair. I have been dyeing my hair black for YEARS and have actually forgotten what my natural colour IS. I didn't want to wear a blonde wig for two reasons:
1) I wore one last year and it itched like MAD and drove me nuts
2) a wig is much harder to style than real hair.

So we brought out the bleach. Here's the process:

How I look normally.

Bleaching in progress

First bleaching = Red

Bleach-job #2 = Orange

Bleach-job #3 = Tangerine?

Two bottles of ash-blonde hair-dye were then required to FINALLY give me BLONDE hair. By this point my hair would actually break off a little at the tips when I combed it and felt like straw. None of my clothes matched my hair, either. I remember going out to dinner and my mom saying "You look like trailer-trash."

But it was worth it! View the photographic evidence!

Yeah ok, so my hair wasn't as spikey, but still.. not too shabby, no?

And Shawna as Mana:

I had great full-body shot of her, but my foofy Kyo-sleeves blocked the lens of the camera. I was most pissed.

Now... the BEST PART of cosplay!

Izam is Evil. Pure bitch-evil. Because of this, there is no chance in hell that I will ever ACTUALLY get to beat the living piss out of him. So I had to settle for the next best thing...


Izam doesn't look scared of Kyo's Fugly face...

But he doubles over witht the PUNCH!

(Thank you Theo, for letting me play out one of my dreams!)

"N-chan, what was it like to be a J-Rocker?" you may be asking. Well, the answer is... fugly. My lip felt weird from the fake piercing and those sleeves were a total pain in the ass. People kept asking for my photo, so I had to look like I wanted to eat small children a lot. And the pressure of PREFORMING!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen... Kyo as you've never seen him before! Singing The Japanese Flannel version of Soul of Fire! Dig the 4-inch-platforms.

So, being as J-Rocker for a day was swell. It was just like being the real thing... except I didn't get any money or groupies. Fuck.



To read a review of SakuraCon and see more wicked J-Rockin' photos, go here!