04 September, 2010

Cosplaying Chii from Chobits

If everything goes as planned - and I hope it does - I'll be cosplaying Chii at the next Tekkoshocon. Now, I know what most of you are thinking, and I sympathize. My love of girly things has not blinded me to my own limitations. However, I have some kind of complex where I have to assimilate everything I love, much like Zeiram, the immortal space monster in Iria.

And I love Chii. Chii is, to me, the epitome of beautiful and girly. For those of you who don't know her, she is an innocent and adorable persocom (personal computer) from Chobits. Who wouldn't want a technologically-advantaged android companion designed to look like a pretty girl? I know I sure do.

It just so happens that I knew a girl once who would have made a perfect Chii in cosplay, but she wasn't interested in indulging my (and the rest of the world's, I am sure) otaku fantasies. As a result, the torch has been passed to me. So unless you're a pretty girl, and willing to don the outfit, I don't want to hear any complaints from you.

There are two types of cosplay: cosplay for fun, and serious business. Each has its merits. Cosplay for fun is simply that - fun. Serious business results in some really beautiful - and photogenic - costumes. As a visual aesthete, and a generally serious guy, my focus tends toward the serious business type of cosplay. I am quite concerned about costumes that look good, and that's what I'll be talking about today (as an admirer, not as a creator). Nevertheless, I understand the point of cosplay, so if I criticize a costume, it's from an aesthetic perspective, and it doesn't mean I don't think that costume should ever be worn. If you're having a good time, it honestly doesn't matter how you look. It'd be even better if you had a good time and looked great - I'm not gonna lie - but we can't all look like supermodels all the time; nor should we have to.

Opinions will vary, but mine is that to make a truly successful costume, it shouldn't look like a costume. Your clothing should look like something that would actually be worn (I don't mean you should eliminate fantasy elements, but that you should use fabrics and outfits that don't look "fake" and "costumey"). The goal isn't to copy the character's look point for point, as it appears in the fictional 2D realm, but to adapt that look to the real, 3D world. Otherwise, the logical conclusion to your cosplay philosophy is some kind of cosplay horror like this:

And honestly, you don't want that, do you? This is not "Chii in 3D". This is an abomination. This is what you would get if you put a human and an illustration of Chii into one of Professor Brundle's Telepods. And that is a place you do not want to go.

On the other hand, very few people have the hair (not to mention the legs) to match Chii. So while wearing a wig (unless it's a really high quality wig) is bound to scream "costume!", you have to balance that against the potential drawback of not having the right hair - and her hair is one of Chii's defining characteristics. Still, I give bonus points to anyone who can pull off an effective Chii without using a wig.

Another one of Chii's defining characteristics is her distinct earpieces (which are actually USB ports). I've seen a lot of tutorials online about how to make your own persocom ears (from paper? felt?), and fewer good, solid constructions up for sale. It seems to me that those ears should be hard and plasticy, not fragile and cheap. These look promising, although I couldn't access their store on account of not having the latest version of flash installed. :( But you've gotta have convincing ears - seriously. Lest you end up with something like this:

What are those, pillows? Ear muffs? Yikes. Compare:


And now I will proceed to show you some of my favorite Chii cosplays that I've come across on the net. I like this one because it looks more natural and less costumey than most:

Notice the real hair!

This Chii/Freya set (Freya is Chii's evil protective sister) effectively capitalizes on the duet's sex appeal - notice the emphasis on the legs! Bare legs may not always be practical, but hosiery designed to simulate bare legs is (in my opinion) unforgivable!

Enjoy these other pretty persocoms:

Photo by MiNe (sfmine79)

I love this next shot because it really brings the scene to life. Even Hideki is there!

And speaking of scenes, here's another (rather humorous) scene brought to life:

And in the alternate costume department, here's a super sexy variation - Chii in bandages (as she is first discovered in the series)!

And continuing in that vein, here's super secret project Chobit:

So, as you can see, there are plenty of attractive Chiis out there. I may not be able to compete with the best of them, but I think I can at least do a little better than this:

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