I recently experienced my second masquerade, an event I have been preparing for for the better part of a year. My character of choice this time around was Lord Ghirahim, the villain of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and any details on the making of his (horrendously difficult) costume can or will soon be found on my blog, The Duck of Indeed.
I woke up that morning with a large task on my hands. Putting on my costume. It’s a lot harder than you’d think, really, as I had a great deal of body paint that needed applying, my own special blend of light grey to best match the Demon Lord’s flawless complexion. I thought if I put the paint on first, then the clothes, it might rub off onto my clothing, but if I apply the paint after my clothes are on, it will be hard to get close to the clothing without getting paint on it. This proved to be the most aggravating part of my morning preparation, and while I went with the latter method at first, I quickly found that I couldn’t get the paint under the edges of my clothing, nor could I hold the clothing away to a sufficient degree while applying said paint without painting my clothes. I had to then switch to method one, which proved more effective. But, it really didn’t matter in the end, because I had far more paint troubles to worry about in my future. But, we’ll get to that soon.
Anyway, the next order of business was the wig, which went on quite nicely after lots and lots of hair gel had to be applied before I could get the wig cap on. And let me tell you, that wig made all the difference in the world. I looked nothing like Ghirahim without it, but once I plopped that thing on my head, I went through a rather amazing transformation. To make it all the more exciting, this, dear readers, was actually the first time I ever got to see myself in full, or at least, nearly full, attire. Next was my resin earring, which was attached to a clip-on earring, as I don’t have pierced ears. This earring was glued to my earlobe using spirit gum, the same substance used to attach my latex ear. At that point, I planned to put the rest on when I got to the comicon, so I was pretty much good to go.
Or was I?
After putting my things into the car, that’s when things began to go wrong. I lost a great deal of paint on one leg from kneeling on the seat to put my cape and sash in the back seat, and my earring felt quite loose. To make matters worse, I quickly found that having a wig covering one eye, which may or may not have been slightly too far to one side (but there was no way I was adjusting it and risking being unable to get it on right again), was a real pain. I arrived at the hotel, the closest one to the convention center (thanks to a great deal of luck because those rooms fill quickly), more or less sick with anger, or at the very least, frustration. For not only did I find that walking down four flights of stairs after parking in the parking garage is not good for a costume with many pieces, but by the time I reached the comicon, my sash and earring had fallen off, my paint had cracked or crumbled from my skin, and my hair was thoroughly in my face.
Nevertheless, I got my first request for a picture while in line to get my badge, even after telling them that I was a mess, before making a wild dash upstairs to the desk where I had to sign in before prejudging (despite being several hours in the future, but the guy said to sign in as soon as possible, so I was doing it, darn it!). The desk ended up being moved to another room, on another floor, however, causing me to spend even more time grumbling in a peeved fashion as I hunted down its new location. After signing in, I was then approached by none other than Link. Yes, folks, it was the Hero of Time himself, asking to have a picture with me.
I could hardly refuse, despite my costume being in shambles (he’s really a nice guy, after all, so I just might be able to forgive him for callously murdering my Master, who is not evil, but merely misunderstood…), and I got my very first picture ever with someone. I mean, yeah, people have asked for my picture before, but never before, never ever (aside from one time at a Renaissance Faire, when I think someone thought I worked there) in my life had someone actually asked to have a picture WITH me. It was really awesome, and I made sure I got a picture with him on my own camera, as well. And by now, the kindness of those two people really helped to soothe my earlier bad mood.
After that, I went into the bathroom and cleaned up my costume, tightened my sash, and attached my earring back to my ear with even more spirit gum. And then I headed down to the main convention hall. This year, the comicon was huge, and it took me several hours to get around just the main room with the vendors, which was fine, as prejudging wasn’t until four, and I had a lot of time to kill. I walked and walked, receiving many compliments and requests for pictures, all the while searching for what I wanted to bring home as souvenirs from my newest excursion. The wig caused me a great deal of annoyance, however, and I found that depth perception, or the lack thereof caused by the presence of one eye is a very real thing, especially when trying to put a straw into a bottle of water, during which I missed repeatedly. (I used a straw so as to not mess up my face paint. As if it wasn’t already messed up enough by now.)
It wasn’t long before my back and feet began to ache quite badly from wearing a tight sash and ballet slippers (I simply couldn’t be seen in tennis shoes; they would clash too much with my costume), and I had to take a break. I was starving, as I had spent the last month dieting (I could never developer Ghirahim’s abs, but at least my stomach was fairly flat at this point in time), so I got some yummy chicken nuggets and a cookie to snack upon. I had to sit on the floor, as there were very few seats, so I had to be careful to dodge all the popcorn on the ground, which appears to be the main food people have trouble holding, as far as I could tell. Hmm. Must be the butter?
Well, as for what I ended up seeing/buying… At one point, I saw a plushie of Spyro the dragon, and I put very real consideration into buying it, as it brought back childhood memories of this fancy arcade type place in Reno, NV. It was a really cool place, and it even had those rides where you sit in this room like a movie theatre and the seats move. Wow. Well, they had a Spyro plushie, but you couldn’t buy it. You could only procure it by winning enough tickets, and I never could win many tickets at those places. So, yeah, I wanted that plushie for a while, but I didn’t end up getting it, as I found something far neater. But, I’ll get to that soon.
So, I saw this poster of a Minion from Despicable Me in Star Wars Stormtrooper armor, which I ended up getting for my dad for Father’s Day. For myself, well, I got a free The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past poster, courtesy of two dudes who were giving out free Zelda posters to anyone dressed as Zelda characters, who were impressed with my costume, especially the diamonds in the collar. I also got a really cool poster of Midna and Majora’s Mask, a poster for The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (I have never actually played this game before, but the poster looked neat…), and the coolest thing of all, I got Majora’s Mask. I guy had actually carved a resin version of this mask, and it is really beautiful. He made it look like it was old and made of wood, and it was a perfect replica of the mask from the game. It was greatly discounted, however, as someone had dropped it and broke off one of the horns on top. He stuck it back on with resin, but this resin left white spots around the horn. Nevertheless, I couldn’t resist this masterpiece. He said sandpaper would remove the excess resin. I sure hopes so…
I was quite disappointed by this year’s main hall, though, because I could not find the actors that were said to be there, and I didn’t see any of the extra exhibits they usually have. By that time, however, it was getting close to prejudging, so I went to the bathroom to get ready once again. During my time here, there was another person putting on makeup, who told me that you can use baby powder to keep your makeup from cracking, which was a pretty cool tip, and I vowed to try it myself one day. But, alas, I needed to get to prejudging, which was an even more confusing affair than last year. Instead of sitting in seats in the order we arrived, we sat anywhere, and it was about an hour before we actually got started. The large costumes went first, including a really amazing Frankenstein I remember seeing last year. After that, our names were called, in what order, I haven’t a clue, as it wasn’t alphabetical, and we got our number and got in line to see the judges.
I ended up being #13, which the guy (the same guy who acts as the host at the masquerade) said was the greatest of all numbers, and I awaited the judges with a rapidly beating heart. I don’t know why I was so nervous about seeing them, as they were quite nice. They had sheets of paper to write notes on, and they asked me more questions than before, such as how I made the costume, how long it took, and why I chose this character, to which I answered that Ghirahim is a really interesting character, and I thought he’d make for a great performance. The one dude judge out of the three agreed with me that villains are very fun to cosplay as. Indeed they are.
This year, the masquerade was in another building, at a later hour, so I got started trying to find the new ballroom we were going to be using this year. After that, I ran over to the hotel to see if their little store sold baby powder for my makeup, but they did not. It was a good trip, however, as I got to see No-Face across the street, a character from the Ghibli film, Spirited Away, and the cashier at the store wanted my picture, as did another guy as soon as I left the store. I then proceeded to spend a lot of time wandering, including over this cool bridge over the street below that went between the two main buildings of the convention center, which I was told I wasn’t allowed to loiter on when I wanted to stop and look out over the city. After crossing this bridge, I ended up finding that the comicon had an entirely new floor of exhibits, but it was already closing by the time I got there, which was quite sad. Next time, I’ll be sure to check it out, but I guess that explains where everything was that I thought was missing. It was just on another floor.
As the masquerade drew ever closer, I attempted to spend some time relaxing on a comfy chair, where I was once again booted because someone said that part of the building was closing. Grr. I then wandered back to the ballroom, and it was here that I was approached by a girl in a black shirt, who said her friend wanted a picture with me, but was too nervous to ask. Her friend was also wearing a black shirt (I’ll tell you why I’m mentioning this later), and she seemed quite shy and nervous, and she didn’t stand too close when we got our picture taken together. I must say, it was really flattering to have someone nervous around me. I guess gorgeous villains like myself just have that effect on people. These stunning features. And supple skin. Oh, I am truly a work of art…
Ahem… Eventually, I cleaned up my makeup again, and us lovely performers went into the ballroom. This year, we didn’t have a green room to wait in, but instead got stuck standing behind the stage in the dark for a long period of time (our good ballroom got invaded by the registration room, which was quite upsetting, as I really don’t think registration should take the best room of the building). My back was killing me, and I tried to ignore the pain as I watched Foxy (from Five Nights at Freddy’s, a game I recently looked up on the Internet and somehow didn’t get nightmares from) assemble a set for his performance. While he was successful in doing this, in the dark, mind you, he realized it wouldn’t stay upright without weights on the bottom and gave up on it. This whole affair ended up being rather confusing, as we could hardly hear when directions were being called out to us. I got lost in which corner the novices were supposed to stand, and then I didn’t hear them when they called my number as we got in line. To make matters worse, they were having issues with the order of the music when some people failed to show up for the masquerade.
This issue got fixed pretty quickly, luckily, and the masquerade began. We got to watch the performances from a screen behind the left side of the stage (our right, the audience’s left). This big screen made me rather nauseous, again, because I was sore, and hungry, and the screen was big, and we were standing just a bit too close to it. Strangely enough, however, I was not nervous for my performance. I was a bit anxious when the host was talking to someone backstage during the performance just before mine, but I relaxed when I realized that I wouldn’t be going on stage until he actually announced my name. (I had a fear that he’d be backstage when my performance started, but seeing as my name can’t be called without him to do so, well, you get it.)
Once on stage, I forgot my aches and pains and just put all my energy into it. I got a lot of cheers, even more than last year, and I just loved it. Nothing beats hearing people scream and cheer for you, and I even was able to get them to cheer louder by moving my arms up and down, which you’ll see in the video. I practiced for a month or two, and all my poses came from Skyward Sword or Hyrule Warriors, and it was really fun getting to be so dramatic. The beginning of the performance was cut off in the video, however, but it involved me walking to the middle of the stage with my arms out. I then threw my arms out to either side of me, then, put the back of my hand to my forehead in an overly dramatic way. And then I blew kisses. So now you’re filled in on the gaps.
Video from Youtube User: Blao9
But, that wasn’t even when the fun ended. After the host asked for everyone to give me another hand (which he didn’t do for everyone), I sat down in the audience, and Fi ran up to me. She said she had been hearing about me all day and wanted a picture with me, which was pretty cool. Three pictures with people in one day. That’ll be a hard one to beat. After that, I watched lots of great performances, some favorites being Foxy the pirate (his eyes cloud blink, and his ears and mouth moved; it was awesome…but rather scary when I found what game Foxy was from, which, like I hinted on earlier, looks positively terrifying), Frankenstein, and a giant tree named Groot, among many others. Even the people who performed while the judges were making their decisions were amazing. They did battles with lightsabers, and one guy was dressed like Darth Maul, and he could actually throw his lightsaber forward, and it would come back to him. I have no idea how he did it.
Video from Youtube User: Blao9
So I didn’t win, but as I was leaving, two girls in black shirts (the same ones from earlier perhaps) ran up to me to tell me that my performance was their very favorite and that I was the best one. I know. I was. I’m Ghirahim, after all. And so ended another amazing day. I got a grand total of 27 compliments/people wanting my picture, and three people asked to have a picture taken with me. I felt like a movie star. Though, I do wonder what it is about Ghirahim that people want to be in photos with him, but not with Kefka. Both are murderous villains, so it’s rather baffling. But anyway, it was a really amazing day. I returned to the hotel room, where I found the vending machine had lost power (yes, it was 1 in the morning, but I still wanted a soda, darn it!), as did many people in the bottom eight floors of the hotel. Fortunately, even though I was on the fourth floor, I seemed to have been spared their fate. I just couldn’t have my nummy carbonated beverage. Sniff.
I then went through the process of cleaning up, plus I found that the spirit gum had really glued the earring to my ear. After some rather painful tugging and lots of spirit gum removal, I got it off, and I had lots of makeup to remove. It was sad having to take the costume off, but while I can’t stay dressed up forever, it is just nice to know that the memories last far longer. It was really a great day, and I plan to include more pictures and videos on The Duck of Indeed. If I remember. (And sorry I didn’t take a lot of pictures at the comicon. I wish I had more to share.)
Duck Lord Ghirahim