October 2018 Costume Writeup: Rokurou Rangetsu

What they're from Tales of Berseria (Video Game)
Variation Summer DLC
Created July/August 2017
Debuted (By Fractali) September 2017
Also worn Greenburg Anime Festival 2017, Maple Gel Con 2018
Groups Trimeriad Cosplay with Niho as Eizen and Tomoyo as Laphicet, Feytaline as Magilou, and myself as Velvet.
Wig Arda Wig: Jareth?, in Deep Brown (CL-077) with extra wefts sewn in.
Special Makeup I use greasepaint for Rokurou's daemon markings. Freehanded each time with a printed-out reference. It used to take an hour and a half, but I've got this part down to 45 mins tops. I wish there were an easier solution for this, such as a temporary tattoo that would DEFINITELY wash off for the next day's cosplay, but it doesn't seem likely. The way I've been layering is sealant spray, greasepaint, setting powder with a sponge that has been sprayed with sealant, sealant spray, another setting powder layer, and setting spray. It DOES rub off with time and pressure in the neck region. It's really fun to do his makeup both on myself and other people, but I do need references every time. Don't forget your references, kids, and put them in plastic sheet protectors!!
Patterns Niho helped draft this one, but I think we used the most basic yukata pattern for the top and scrub bottoms for the shorts.

The top was made with black & white swimsuit fabric from The Fabric Fairy; shorts were made with charcoal grey boardshort fabric, also from the Fabric Fairy. Green trim was picked up at Joann.

What went wrong:
This costume required so many layers of paint it's not even funny. I watched like three seasons of Project Runway while painting this outfit. So while that's not strictly "wrong," it took longer than I wanted it to and I used more supplies than I wanted. Another thing I don't like when I wear him is that I sometimes can't pose as manly as I want to, and this outfit hides that less than his default. Damn my ballroom hands.

What went right:
I'm so pleased with how the shorts turned out in particular. That design was VERY difficult to reproduce and make into a template, but it turned out wonderfully and all waterproof. It was my first time really making shorts, and also my first time working on an outfit that would fit someone else's body.

What I'd do differently:
Proooobably iron-on vinyl for the top? But then, I'm not sure how much weathering that could survive in chlorine water. I'd also try to scale things more accurately. At the time, I didn't have any printer ink and was unemployed, so accuracy was sacrificed for eyeballing. I still don't have a solution for stripes on fabric, though. The closest I've come is iron-on vinyl, but it's tedious and sometimes unpredictable in terms of ironing time. I wish there were a simpler solution. I'd also dedicate a wig specifically to this. Y'know what, we're just gonna buy two new wigs and style them at the same time.

Would I wear it again?

Definitely. This mans is so comfortable.

Why I chose this character

I guess I haven't talked about Rokurou because the default outfit we have is bought from Uwowo! So buckle up, because he's close to my heart. Before Berseria came out, I knew Velvet would be my most favorite character of all, possibly of all time. I focused on ONLY her even when it released in Japanese. Because I watched Japanese streams without translations, I was hesitant to judge any characters' interactions with her. We also were given a really flimsy description of Rokurou in the prerelease materials. Like, daemon swordsman, the Token Japanese Character, wants to kill his brother. I wrote him off because there seems to always be one "pervy" character in every Tales party (see: Raven from Vesperia as an example of what I feared he'd be) and I wasn't about to stan him if that really was the case, but I couldn't tell yet. So I waited, shoveled love at Velvet in the meantime, and then the game was released. I'm so glad I withheld judgment. He switches from "opponent" to loyal ally very quickly, and through the first leg of the game where it's just him and Velvet, he shocked me by how respectful he was, both in general and in specific regard to her needs and trauma. I held my breath almost for the entire game, thinking maybe he'd end up being the traitor or something. But no! We lucked out!! Rokurou is just a Good guy! Definitely the most empathetic character in the game. I love him. Also, he's canonically bisexual (for nonbelievers, look up the meanings of "dual wielding" in Japanese, then recall the skit that references his taste for both "alcohol and sweets," and think about the context of Eizen being surprised), which is important to me.

I don't often feel a connection to male characters. But because I can relate to his protecting Velvet throughout the game, and because his outfits are very covering, I felt a strong need to cosplay him. On an even higher level, there's something very comforting about putting on his persona. When I wear Velvet, even if I look intimidating, there are still people who ogle or attempt to harass, and with the deeper connection I feel to my trauma through wearing her, she's not always easy to cosplay. But when I'm wearing Rokurou, not only do people seem to not feel the need to harass me, but I feel like I can use my experience with harassment to seek out would-be catcallers and protect others who might be at risk before it happens. No small part of my healing process has been the effort to substitute the mean voices in my head with a more nurturing voice; cosplaying Rokurou helps me find that voice because he's a character I trust, and one who provides Velvet with a lot of support. Velvet will always be my soul, and Rokurou has earned himself my heart. Aaand I'm getting emotional, so probably time to stop. But you get it, right? I love Rokurou.

Any other anecdotes?:

This costume has a fishing rod as a substitute for Rokurou's giant sword. Fractali ended up buying it and the brand was "Ugly Stik"—you can imagine the uses for such a turn of phrase.

Here's a real anecdote, though: Fractali first wore this at Colossalcon East 2017 (a con known for heavy drinking) and I matched her as Velvet. It was our first con together, actually. We were walking through the hall and at some point, a group of (drunk) people emerged from a suite. One of them started talking at us and at first I assumed it was going to be harassing, but it was actually someone saying, "Oh cool a fishing rod! What did you catch?" at Fractali, who was carrying the fishing rod. Not wanting anyone to either start hitting on her or bother her any further, I answered, "Me!" Much to our surprise, the group all started saying, "Awwww!" and "Congratulations!" and I think even a, "You guys are so cute!" It's possibly the only time a group of people called out to me at a con and I didn't feel intimidated or harassed. What a nice memory!

Photos by me.

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