Friday, August 11, 2017

Guren Ichinose Preview

Hallo~

I'm back with some more photos of my Guren Ichinose (Seraph of the End) costume, as I promised in my last post. This is a preview photoshoot just so that you all can get a better look at my costume and my awesomeness, kekekeke that I got from Cosall. Big thanks to them for sponsoring me once again! <3

I also want to add some thoughts about the character here and why I cosplay him; First off, I still need to finish the manga I'm currently reading (Samurai Deeper Kyo for those interested and it's legit good!) so that I can finally start watching Seraph of the End. Yes, I only watch/read one series at a time, so that I can give my 100% concentration and interest to it. However, don't get me wrong, I have read a little bit about Guren's background (I liked what I read *insert feels here*) and from all the pictures I saw of him (while searching for official references) he really seemed like the type of character I would fancy. So yes, I do have some minor knowledge about Guren and the series but this is gonna change once I get to watch the anime.

Besides, I have always loved Seraph of the End's character design (especially the uniforms) so even if I -for a reason or another- would end up disliking the series more than liking it; I would still cosplay Guren purely for the backstory and awesome design.

Anyway, you peeps most likely came here for some photos so let's roll them out, shall we?

Cosplayer: Frozen Angel (Guren Ichinose)
Photographer & editor: Shiro Samurai





Myself, I'm happy with these photos and I look forward to learn more about the character and how I should pose for him. These poses are all thought-up-at-the-moment kind, hehe. Seriously, it's hard to pose for a character you don't know that much about, yet.

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Guys, is it just me or do you also feel that something important, like the essence of my blog, is about to be left out? My blog has felt different lately and somehow "less me" do you peeps understand? Wait, hold on now, I will try to figure it out as I almost got it on my tongue for a split second *intensive thinking*

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RIGHT! I REMEMBER NOW! IT'S NOT MY BLOG WITHOUT THE BEAUTY OF MY DERPS! :DD


Enjoy or run faaar away! Whichever you choose, this beautiful face will follow you all the way to the end of the world... in your mind! *evil laugh*

... okay okay I'm out dudes :DD

Saturday, August 5, 2017

[Sponsored] Cosall Review: Seraph of the End Guren Ichinose Cosplay Costume

Hello everyone!

On 22nd of April 2016 something I really didn't expect happened and I got very excited about it! You see, on said date the cosplay costume store Cosall (they are a sister store to the more popular CosplaySky) contacted me and asked if I would be interesting in a sponsorship with then and review one of their costumes. I of course, as a cosplayer and someone who wants to help the community and people in overall, took this chance and we spoke through the details soon enough. I looked also through their store (which used to be smaller back in the days) and checked through all of the costumes I would be interested in and in the end, I ended up picking their Guren Ichinose costume from Seraph of the End or Owari no Seraph, if you prefer the Japanese title.

Even if this is a sponsored review, my thoughts and opinions will always be 100% genuine and my own. I despise dishonesty of any kind and I strongly believe honesty to be the best policy towards my sponsor(s) and readers in the long run. I will never compromise my honesty as I want others to learn and grow as a business/person. Thank you for understanding.

Now let's get on with the review!

The costume was made and sent to me somewhere around early-mid May and I received it on late May or early June (going after the photos and mail dates, this is long time ago). To my surprise the costume came directly to my mailbox when it arrived which meant I didn't need to walk to the other side of town to pick it up, which is always appreciated! It was packed in a turquoise-green plastic bag with my address on it and when I opened the bag, I found the costume along with the measurement sheet in a costume bag with a resealable zipper. The costume looked really nice in the bag and I must say that the costume bag idea is great! I personally feel it's a safe way to keep the costume undamaged and clean during long distance shipping. Because this is a sponsored costume, I didn't pay for the costume nor the shipping and had it made in my own measurements.

Photographer: Shiro Samurai

Original packaging the costume came in.
Costume in its costume bag.
I tried the costume on at Shiro Samurai's place to see how it fits and the uniform jacket fitted well but the pants were a bit too broad for me at the waist, so I needed to fix that once I go to mom's. I have to say that all the details on the uniform jacket is pretty and on-point! I really liked it and the only two misses I noticed that they did, was that the school emblem logo (correct me if I'm wrong, haven't watch Seraph of the End yet) that should be below the horizontal mark with green, red and white, was completely missing. The other one was this gold colored medal/mark/whatever he has just under his collar, located in the middle of his upper chest. In the official art it's clearly golden and has the shape similar to that of a star with five spikes. On the costume, it is made out of some kind of metal and looks more like an actual medal/mark of some sort. Pretty cool, if you ask me. Myself, I don't mind these two minor details being different and missing, but I think it should be mentioned because there are those out there who expect online costumes to be 100% true to the official art. As these two are small stuff, they are easy to fix/replace when you have some basic sewing knowledge and of course, time. Can't sew to save your life? Google and Youtube are your friends man ;)

Here is an official art of Guren Ichinose (Seraph of the End) for reference:


The costume fabric at Cosall's said costume page is marked as "cotton" and "uniform cloth" but for me they feel like this medium-weight synthetic fabric. Since the jacket is lined it is more sturdy to the touch, compared to the pants making it feel more uniform-like, which is great for both quality and look. Great choice! When it comes to the lower part of the uniform jacket, I had to take in some centimeters from the belt as it was too long for me. This was an easy fix and all I did (at mom's later) was to re-stitch the existing straight seam and make the belt length shorter without cutting off the unnecessary length, just in case. On the pants, I had to do a bigger experiment as they were too big on my around the waist so I had to take in some at the sides to make them fit better. I could have used a belt too but even if I did, it would still look off around my waist as the size was just too big. It was better to fix it right away, mom also agreed to this idea. Since the pants had loop holes for a belt, I had to make sure to not screw any of those over while sewing the excess fabric in.
With both of these sizing mistakes I learnt and figured out, with the help of Shiro Samurai as well, that do not add extra centimeters to your custom measures as Cosall adds that. I have only myself to blame for this and it's not their fault at all - they did it correct.

One thing that had me a bit surprised/disappointed was the belts around the costume's left leg. The material choice was decent (some kind of faux leather-ish fabric, it fit) and the color of the belt buckles was gold, which is what you want accuracy-wise, but what bugged me was that both the belts only went halfway around the leg. Halfway. Belts never go just halfway around something, as far as I have seen in anime and manga but also, of course, reality.

This became easily the biggest fix for me in the entire costume. It was sad to see Cosall have such a clear miss on such a beautiful, good quality costume otherwise. I really hope they do something about it in the future, it's just really sad to see such an obvious miss, that just shouldn't be there in the first place. I'm sure they know how belts work on costumes and that's... just not the way, sadly. Their stock photo of the costume showed this miss too but you could barely see it, unless you checked the back photo of the costume. However, I gotta hand it to Cosall and say that they did an amazing job getting you the very same costume that their stock photo images showed at the costume's page. It was 100% accurate to the image so big points and thumbs up for that!

Because this entire "belts only going halfway" was bugging me, I, of course, took this project to mom's again (end of 2016) to well, fix it. I fixed it on the same go as I sewed in the pants. First I had to remove the belts from their original seam, take out the buckles from them and then cut out two new pieces of "belt stripes" from the fabric I wanted to use. At mom's, I know we have this white faux leather fabric (which I had used in the past) and from that, I cut out the two pieces in the desired length. Mom helped me to get the right fit for the belt circumference and I just had to insert the buckles to the right place and sew the new belts on top of the original seam. It took its time for me to fix this but it was all well worth it and not that much of a hassle, in the end. The costume looked much more complete after this fix and aside from it, I was really satisfied and happy with the costume I got from Cosall.

The photos below are taken on 2/8 2017 (with the costume fully fixed) at Shiro Samurai's place and first off, I really want to apologize to Cosall that this review is so late. You guys have no idea how much my conscience have nagged and chewed at me for over a year because of this. I feel really terrible for doing this so late (hello my ISTJ conscience :DD) but man, am I grateful and relieved that this is now finally behind me. I also want to deeply thank Cosall for their patience and understanding of my situation, as I have had so much going on lately and in short; my life did a complete 360 degree flip on my head and since then, I've been extremely stressed and busy from then to today to get things back in order. It was also difficult to get a time that worked for both me and my photographer, le bro, as he has also been really busy lately. To top it all off, we also needed good weather for this review, something that was a challenge in itself.

Below you find photos of the costume. I will also write a list of what was included in the costume and what was not.

This is what was included:
- Uniform jacket
- Arm badge + safety pin for it
- Gloves
- Belt
- Pants
- White dress shirt (not shown in review)

This is what was NOT included:
- Wig
- Belt for pants
- Sword
- Shoes

Cosplayer: Frozen Angel (Guren Ichinose)
Photographer & editor: Shiro Samurai

Front.
Left side.
Right side.
Back.
Link to Cosall main page: Cosall Online Costume Store 

As you peeps can see, this is a very solid and beautiful costume right down to the details. I love it and I can't wait to take it with me and debut it to a con! The sewing quality is good and clean throughout the entire costume and the golden buttons are sewed well in place, along with the rest of this costume's details. Yes, it's actually real buttons and not those fake ones you often see, which means that you really have to take your time and press your buttons (pun intended) to put on and take off this costume. Personally, I like that Cosall used real buttons for this cosplay, as it feels more authentic that way, because well let's face it, real uniforms have buttons.
 When it comes to the gloves, I think the fabric is cotton as they're really soft and comfy to wear, same goes for the belt but that's a more sturdy type of cotton. The red stripes on the sleeves and the collar seems to be satin band and it even looks good! Yes, I just said that satin can look good. To my positive surprise the black fabric used for the arm badge was thicker and more cotton-like than the one used for the cosplay. It felt more sturdy, which is good, and its white sides felt like either some kind of very thin PVC-like material or faux leather.

What I'm trying to say, is that I like their choice of materials, colors and the attention to details. I think Cosall did a great job on this costume. I don't feel that I need to worry about something to start ripping, fraying etc in the near future when I move around in this costume and that is great! The costume fits me well (after the changes), is nice to the skin and to the touch, comfortable to wear and is just overall pleasant to look at. I love its color scheme to pieces! <3

Here are photos of costume details. Enjoy!

Front close-up.
To show you more buttons and how you take it off.
The medal/mark below the collar that I mentioned above.
Decoration zoom.
Collar, notice the buttons on it. Sleek!
Epaulet zoom.
Arm badge. It's fastened with two safety pins to keep its place.
Gloves and sleeve end.
Belt.
The more hollow metallic buckle is pressed on top of the other one to close the belt.
Lower uniform jacket "skirt".
This is what the belt looks like before I fixed it. As you can see, it stops at the side seams.
I think that's sums it up pretty well but I also want to say that the customer service I got from Cosall (when they contacted me through mail) was really friendly, professional and the replies fast and in good, understandable English. They are also fast to sew the costume, usually within 2 weeks, so you're going to get it fairly fast.

To sum it all up (short version):

Cosall is a China based online cosplay costume store with over 5 years of costuming experience. They have customers from many different countries and are trustworthy with great, friendly service. Their costume variety has grown a lot since they contacted me back in 2016, so now you can find many different series ranging from popular anime titles to book and comic characters, if you're into that. The costumes have good value and you get a decent and solid costume for your money and their prices are also affordable. When it comes to shipping, they have the regular shipping (which is slow but free) and an express option that will cost a bit extra but is really handy if you need your costume within 2-4 days. Costumes may have minor faults, for example, details can be missing so one should keep that in mind. If you order a costume in your own measures, make sure to not add extra centimeters as Cosall takes care of that or you end up like me, sewing and fixing that afterwards. However, measurements are tricky stuff so it's very easy that something, somewhere, might be a little bit off. After all, it's really difficult to sew a costume for someone you can't measure right at the spot; so keep that in the back of your head and be ready, that you might need to adjust/fix some measures to get that perfect fit to your costume. To put it shortly; having basic sewing knowledge will make your already good costume perfect.

Sometimes Cosall have sales on specific costumes, so it's definitely worth checking them out every now and then! Especially if you're a cosplayer or one-to-be when hunting down a specific character costume. Myself, I felt really safe ordering from Cosall, as soon as I was told by them, that they are a sister store to CosplaySky (whom I have bought from in the past).

Final Grade (from A-F): B+
Recommend to others:
Yes

In the end I'm really happy with my costume and that Cosall contacted me. I look forward to help them out in the future and I also want to deeply thank Cosall for making this review possible and for sponsoring me a fabulous costume! Thank you! <3 ^w^

If you haven't checked Cosall out yet and want to buy something cosplay related or know someone who is interested, by all means check them out! If you find something in their store tingling your fancy, don't hesitate to use the discount code CACAFA to get 15% off on your purchase. I will personally return to Cosall to do business in the future.

That's all for this review and thank you for reading. I hope this was helpful to you and if you have questions or comments, send them my way! My e-mail can be found at the left side of this blog, just under the "Disclaimer" note.

Stay tuned for a preview of this costume in its full glory within the coming days! ;)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Pokémon XY TCG - EPIC PULLS!

Hello Pokémon fans!

Today I went to the local toy store to grab that Giratina promo blister pack that I had my eyes on ever since I walked out from the same store a few days ago, with a Black Kyurem blister pack. I bought the Black Kyurem one mainly because of the 3 XY-Evolutions booster packs in the blister, as I heard from my bro, Shiro Samurai that it's basically the very first Pokémon cards since 20 year ago (that started the craze and was a big part of my childhood) re-printed and updated to keep up with the TCG cards of today. The nostalgia hit me in the face when I opened the Evolutions packs a few days ago and I got my favorite Pokémon of all time in reverse holo along with some other goodies, yaay! I think it was a decent pull overall but it's nothing to compare to what I got from those three Break-sets booster packs (still generation 6) in that Giratina blister from today. Holy shit! My jaw dropped all the way to the floor and it even took me a minute or two to realize how amazing pulls I just got! O__O

The best part? These six booster packs were also my very first booster packs of generation 6. I understand now why my friends call me Gladstone (Donald Duck) every now and then! Call me lucky! ;)

Oh and I stopped collecting Pokémon cards ever since the 5th generation of cards hit the market, as I just lost the interest to continue collecting. Nowadays I only buy blister/promo cards with Pokémon that I really like and if the artwork of the card applies to me as well. Yes, I'm just a collector so Energy and Trainer cards and the like have no value to me. I might start collecting the XY-Evolutions set but we'll see about that, as I still find the originals the best. #genwunner

Below you find the two blisters I bought, the booster packs of each and the rare cards I pulled excluding the common and Trainer reverse holo(s). Enjoy!

If you are interested in Trainer/common & uncommon reverse holo cards, e-mail me! I can sell/trade them along with other cards :)

Photographer: Frozen Angel

Black Kyurem blister pack.
Three Evolutions booster packs.
The rare cards of each pack.
The two most valuable cards. Notice that Exeggutor is a secret rare as its card number goes above 108.
Giratina blister pack.
A Fates Collide, BreakPoint and BreakThrough booster pack.
The rare cards of each pack.
MOTHER OF GOD! O___O
Last but not least, I bought the blisters for their promo cards respectively:

Promo Black Kyurem and Giratina along with each blister's coin.
That's it for this post and while you go all jelly over my pulls, I go and freak out somewhere else :'DD

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!