Posts Tagged: ‘cosplay’

Free! Cosplay/Crossplay Photoset and The Healing Powers of Sports Anime

November 5, 2015 Posted by rissvandal

Hey friends, it’s been far too long since I updated. I’m still alive and I’m happy to say I’m back in South Korea ^_^ Actually, I’vee been here for two months now. You can expect some Seoul-centric posting to drop in the coming weeks (and I’m also planning and plotting to finally make some vlogs). But in the meantime, I wanted to share the last cosplay photo set I put together in US, featuring a male and female version of Rei Ryugazaki from Free Iwatobi Swim Club.

4There are countless reasons people choose a certain character to cosplay–maybe it’s their favorite from a series, the one the identify with most, or the one they almost perfectly resemble. I usually choose characters that I in some way (or in the case of Nana Osaki, entirely) relate to. This recent cosplay, however, was a character I couldn’t have less in common with. Painfully logical and more studious than I could ever be, Rei is basically the anti-Riss.  That said, he’s a character that became incredibly dear to me. Silly as it sounds, spending a chunk of my summer watching this character’s development in an anime about competitive swimming helped me through a rough time.
1My summer started on a high note–a grand home coming followed by a trip to Disney–but there was a sort of downhill domino effect after a devastating breakup followed by all of my concrete life plans quickly flying out the window. Without an apartment, I ended up stationed in my family’s home in the Pennsylvania country, far from the life I’d known for the last 10 years. With no steady job and no car or form of transportation in a town where there’s virtually nothing within less than a 20 minute drive, I was stuck with a permanent deer-in-headlights expression from how helpless I felt. (more…)

Gothic Lolita Teatime

September 21, 2015 Posted by rissvandal

 She had me at tea party.

If anyone ever mentions a tea party, I’m in. It doesn’t really matter what it’s celebrating or where it is, I all about anything related to dress up or pretty foods. In this case, however, my cousin asked me to help her plan and host a Lolita tea party for her sister’s birthday. Of course I accepted the offer, then proceeded to procrastinate so that I ended up having to make about 5 different dishes two hours before the party. All in all, things turned out pretty good, though. Take a look at the spread below.

photo 252You’d be surprised how versatile cream cheese is and how many different times you can cram it into one dinner menu without anyone really noticing, so long as you use a little food coloring and creativity. I made tea sandwiches, vegetable canapes, scones, and stuffed tomatoes, while my cousin supplied all the desserts (no damn way could I have made those petit fours). Note the wide-eyed and mega kawaii food pics contributing to the tablescape, courtesy of my brother. (more…)

4 Methods for Redirection, Renewal, and Reinvention

May 12, 2015 Posted by rissvandal

A few times a year, usually as a new season approaches, I feel an overwhelming desire for change. I start to explore new looks, new hobbies, and new methods of self-expression. One defining thing about me though, is that if I plan to make a change I want it to be big. Most times, however, in order to see big changes you need to make big commitments. A dramatic new haircut or closet spring cleaning is a suggestion I often see in regards to a change you can immediately make. Both of those seem like decent enough ideas, but what if the haircut sucks and you’re left mourning your lost tresses? Or maybe a month later you’ll begin to regret that heavy-handed closet purge. Here I have 4 methods to either reinvent your look or push your life in a new direction that I practice myself. Each one is painless, fairly immediate, and requires little commitment.


Despite the many times I’ve changed my look throughout life, the majority of my look have all been rooted in the same sources. Since my teen years, Siouxsie Sioux, Nana Osaki, and the deadly stylish characters of Tim Burton movies have reigned as my main inspirations. As I age, I’ve begun to crave duality. I’ll never totally abandon black, but in recent years I’ve been admiring sweet lolitahime lolita, and fairy kei looks from afar, though unwilling to actually give these looks a try myself.

blog10That is, until I stumbled across Saaya Hayashida’s Instagram account. Saaya is the creative force behind the sugary sweet Japanese brand, Swankiss. Her look that’s part adorable, part angelic, and part ethereal princess is one of the most striking ones I’ve seen in some time. And after style stalking her long enough on Instagram, it lead me to ponder if I could pull off pinks, pastels, and delicate hues.


Photos via

I’m not abandoning my trademark style, but I’m opening up to the idea of letting more color in. Judging from the responses I received after pulling off this look (i.e. “I think Korea changed you“), colors can clearly be more shocking and subversive than I realized. My initial three style icons now need to make way for a fourth. And I challenge anyone to start exploring styles way out of your comfort zone–it could have some wonderfully dramatic and eye-opening results.

blog-3Flower crown: Claire’s / Hair extensions: Hair Plus Base / Bodysuit: thrift


Cosplaying in Seoul and the Challenge of Being an Otaku in Korea

April 22, 2015 Posted by rissvandal

Let me be honest about something–I never quite got the hang of Seoul Comic World. So far I’ve attended five events, so don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the cons a whole hell of a lot. What were my issues? Well, obvious challenges arose, such as cultural differences and language barriers. What I hadn’t expected, however, was an abundance of rules that cosplayers were asked to adhere to. And while it was navigating all those rules that ended up making me feel a little bit off to the sidelines, it also ended up teaching me a lot about the state of the anime fan in Korea.

Nana Osaki CosplayI occasionally have grouchy “back in my day” moments where I lament how mainstream cosplay has become, but overall I’m quite happy about how accepted it’s become. I love that conventions are nerdy free-for-alls and how, when a convention rolls to town, most cosplayers will cruise through streets and parking lots without much of a care. With nothing but US con experiences under my belt, I went to Korea expecting that same sort of atmosphere, only to find out, not so much…

Gothic Lolita, Lola CapuletteTo further explain, first it’s important to note that Seoul Comic World is an event that ends in the early evening. Its a day trip thing, not a save-and-plan-all-year-and-book-a-hotel-room thing. Therefore the question arises–how exactly do I cosplay? (more…)

Otaku-ing In Tokyo: 6 Notable Places to Indulge Your Inner Fanboy/girl

August 12, 2014 Posted by rissvandal

When I was 12 years old I made a dramatic, seemingly life or death pinky swear promise with my friend to visit Japan before I hit 30 years old. A somewhat arbitrary number in the scheme of things, but I take a personal sense of pride knowing that I made the cutoff and little Riss would be incredibly pleased. I enjoyed so much about my first trip to Tokyo–the food, the sights, and of course the fashion. We’ll get to the fashion later, but ultimately this trip was about indulging my otaku side, and that’s what I want to talk about right from the start. Here’s a sampling of some of the noteworthy otaku spots you can find in Tokyo. Oh man, the feels. The anime feels…


Akihabara is an ultimate otaku zone, electronics and gaming zone, and a place that all around just slaps you in the face with fandom. Anime billboards decorate this district, and you can’t take more than ten steps without running into yet another UFO catcher arcade or cluster of gashapon machines.

Akihabara, Tokyo Club Sega, Tokyo


Exploring Seoul’s Hello Kitty Cafe and Comic World

June 23, 2014 Posted by rissvandal

fdThere are so many wonderful and breathtaking things to explore in Aeoul, but I’ve realized that while traveling in general, one should never set their expectations too high. As someone who’ll soon be able to say that she’s visited all of the countries she’s dreamt of seeing since she was a child (Korea being one, Japan the other) I’m working on perfecting this whole “reasonable expectations” thing. I bring this up because I have accounts to share about my two recent adventures–to the Hello Kitty Cafe and to Seoul Comic World. Some aspects of my adventures were surprisingly amazing, while others, not so much. Let me elaborate ^^


Seoul Hello Kitty Cafe

The Hello Kitty  Cafe is a cotton candy-hued building nestled away in a hilly side street in Hongdae. I’ve been there twice–on a Saturday and Sunday–and as one might expect, the experience varied drastically depending on the day. It’s a sought after destination for tourists and kawaii girls no matter what day, but if you show up on a Saturday, anticipate that it could be a madhouse.

Seoul Hello Kitty Cafe (more…)

5 Brands to Get on Your Radar in 2014

January 29, 2014 Posted by rissvandal


We haven’t even made it more than a month into 2014, but I already have my list–my list of new and/or fast developing brands and designers I’ll be keeping an eye on in the coming year. In other words, here’s a look at who’ll be getting most of my money in 2014… This is going to be a year full of bold snapbacks, sophisticated casualwear, edgy otaku swag, and not to mention, some lolita sweetness. Take a look at five brands it’s time to get on your radar.


khj (more…)

Holiday Sparkle Photoset and Otaku Gifts From Jlist

December 17, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

Happy Holidays! First off, can I just start out with a tip for everyone? It’s a no brainer, really, but when you’re getting ready to travel, whether it be around the holidays or not, by all means make a list. And even after you do make a list of everything you need, go back and make sure you indeed did pack what you thought, and your eyes did not deceive you.


I bring this up because I’ll go right ahead and admit that this photoset was supposed to look different. No major issue–I’m happy with the end result, but I did this shoot over the Thanksgiving holiday, and as I packed the outfit I put together right before traveling, not only did I forget a piece of it, I grabbed the wrong wig as well (“major fail” I hear you thinking to yourself). Apparently I’m partially colorblind, and think a purple wig is a blue wig, or else my apartment has worse lighting than I realize. Either way, lesson learned, figured I’d pass that painfully obvious yet crucial advice to double check your luggage (I see you rolling your eyes, thinking “well DUH”).

unnamed m

The shoot ended up a bit more cutesy Lolita than expected, but hey, I rolled with it.

The wig is from Gothic Lolita Wigs, the dress is vintage, and the hairbow is from Rakuen. The shrug is offbrand, my apron is handmade, and “Maybelline Color Show Nail Falsies” (seemingly no longer available, according to Maybelline’s site) allowed me to pretend I had lovely nails for the day. (more…)

PA Renaissance Fair & Demon Mage Cosplay

November 30, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

Happy Belated-Thanksgiving, everyone ^^ I hope you had a lovely holiday full wining, over-dining, and long, awkward conversations. There are a lot of things I’m thankful for, and right at the top of my list is my large, close-knit family. Every time I visit we try to make it memorable, and one of my favorite family outings this year was to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Manheim, PA.

 photo gh_zpsff4362f9.jpg

My family was a little resistant to the idea of dressing up at first, but when I found out they’d booked the trip the weekend right before Halloween, I explained to them that it was non-negotiable–“you have absolutely no choice” I think were my exact words. Though the Renaissance Faire has an obvious, err, Renaissance theme, there are no strict rules you need to adhere to. In previous years I’ve seen everything from Ghostbusters to werewolves to Spock and Kirk galavanting about amidst the jesters and maidens. That being said, my father went as a vampire prince, my mother as a maiden, my grandmother as a glam witch, and I went as a Demon Mage.

 photo R8_zpsfd70c3c7.jpg (more…)

Photo Set: Creepy Kids and Cereal Killers

October 31, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

Happy Halloweeeeen, friends! ^_^

Monster Cereal hits the stores but once a year and what better way to celebrate the arrival of this seasonal spooky goodness then with a photo set? To tell you the truth I only tried three of the cereals (I recommend Yummy Mummy). I’m actually not supposed to eat cereal, nevermind sugar, but I like the idea of Monster Cereal so…

Here’s some costumed fun for the holiday with a bit of behind-the-scenes anecdotes throughout:

Killer Gothic Lolita: The entire time those pictures were being taken, my grandmother was standing off to the side  (odd timing for a visit) repeatedly asking “What are you doing? It’s not Halloween, I don’t understand, why are you doing this?” Sometimes the best response is to pause then just say “the Internet.”

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Photographer: Carlos Phillips Images //Model: Riss

Ultimate Fruit Brute


Model: Markus AD (more…)

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