OneChanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers
Last Updated: 07-05-2011
I first played Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad for a short while a few years ago and found it to be a somewhat mindlessly fun game. It's definitely a B-list game that knows the idea and game play is silly so it doesn't take itself too seriously. I never thought that I would Cosplay from it especially given the fact the main protagonist is a bikini wearing zombie slayer, but in mid 2010 my friend Amber (Ammie) suggested that it might be a fun group project for us along with my other friend Jen (Jukebox) and the group just kind of came together. Ammie planned to make Aya, Jukebox worked on Annna and Ammie suggested that I Cosplay as Aya's no-nonsense sister, Saki. I never really realized until after I debuted this costume, but the design of Saki's that I picked to do was from a sequel game to the Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad game that I had actually played. I picked to make her costume from the later Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers game for the Wii because I thought the design looked much more appealing and cuter than the design presented in Bikini Samurai Squad. I thought her design had just been changed for the Wii version to be a bit more tame, not that it was a separate game entirely. XD
In early 2010 I did a lot of pattern hunting to figure out what would work best for Saki's top and skirt. I also hunted on eBay and found black above the knee socks to use for the costume, I bought brown mary jane style shoes and a belt to be worn over the skirt at Walmart. I ended up digging up an older pleated skirt pattern that I believe I purchased a few years ago for my Hitomi costume. I used Simplicity pattern 4963. The top was made using an excellent simple pattern from McCall's, M5854.
The skirt took quite a bit of time to make because the pleats with the pattern that I used were really tricky to set. I had to re-do them once and my mother offered to hand sew a basting for each pleat because my chalk marks kept rubbing off as I tried to line-up the pleats in my first attempt to iron them down. I had trouble getting pleats exactly even enough that the skirt was long enough to attach to the yoke to. It was really not that fun to work on, but I was really happy with how the skirt turned out in the end when I was able to finish ironing the pleats. It really looked like a real uniform skirt. I was quite happy with the wool material that I found for it as well. The pattern of blues is pretty darn close to Saki's skirt design. Ironically, while I was working on the skirt I remembered that there is a Catholic school not too far from my home that has a blue plaid skirt as part of their uniform. If I had hunted at thrift stores in my general area I probably could have found a skirt that I could modify that would have worked just as well and I wouldn't have had to struggle to get my pleats to work out. XD
The shirt was fairly easy to make. The pattern called for a fabric with stretch as it's moderately form fitting and I really didn't want to put a zipper in it so I was thankfully lucky enough to find a great Jersey knit fabric in dark blue at Fabricland. The shirt came together with little trouble as I didn't really have to modify the pattern. I had to design my own collar and cuffs, which were also pretty simple. The cuffs were just white strips of fabric sewn together with dark blue bias tape as an added detail. I created the sailor collar using the collar from the Eternal Sailor Saturn fuku that Amber made for me as a guide. I enlarged it and made a pattern piece from it. I then cut the piece out twice and sewed it together. I topstitched on more blue bias tape to the collar for the detail and I used snaps to attach the collar to the top. I used a handy web pattern to make the red bow that Saki wears around her collar and I sewed it to the collar to hold it in place. Saki actually has a rather complicated pair of gloves that appear to be both black and silver or white with several little buckles on them. Since I knew the character was super obscure, I decided not to overwork myself by trying to struggle with making detailed gloves and instead I re-wore my awesome x-small black fingerless gloves that I bought a couple of years ago for my Rebecca from Resident Evil costume. I bought a simple golden bracelet from an accessory store to finish the look.
My awesome friend Bonnie lent the sword that I used for this costume to me. I really didn't want to make a sword from scratch given how obscure the character and game is and I had originally planned to buy a toy sword to use. I started working on this costume in early 2011 so it wasn't close to Halloween when weapon props are more plentiful to buy in costume shops. I posted about my dilemma on my blog and my concerns about making Saki's complicated sword harness, and my friend Bonnie offered a sword that she had for an old Jubei-chan (from Jubei-chan - lovely gantai no himitsu) costume that she had made. The look of the sword and the colour of the sheath were perfect for Saki so I was really touched and thrilled that she would lend it to me. Since the sword had a string attachment for wearing it, I decided not to make Saki's sword harness so I could focus on my Shinku costume instead. I think that was a wise decision as making harnesses is definitely not one of my strong points. XD
The final really difficult matter of this costume was finding a wig. I own quite a few wigs as I've made/worn over 50 costumes since I started Cosplaying, but up until this point I've managed to avoid Cosplaying characters with long pigtails. I never would have guessed that long pigtails can be such a difficult thing to deal with. I had to work on the wig for my Shinku costume at the same time and that's also a long pigtail wig. I managed to find a great wig to use (Arda Wigs' Leia wig in black) which aside from being pre-styled in braided pigtails was perfect for Saki. I hot water straightened the pigtails out, but Arda's wigs are known for having large wig caps and that along with the fact that the pigtails make the wig super heavy was a real challenge to work with. I had a hard time wearing the wig and keeping it from slipping back on my forehead as the pigtails would weigh it down. The morning of Friday of AN 2011 I spent at least 2 hours trying to get the wig to sit properly on my head so I could leave for the con. Hopefully I'll be able to develop a good technique for wearing it despite the weight. I was quite lucky when it came to the green flower clips that I clipped into my wig to frame my face and keep the bangs back. I was able to find a great set of clips on eBay that pretty closely match the pair Saki wears in the game.
As expected, since this character especially the version that I made of her is quite obscure, I wasn't recognized when I wore this costume at Anime North. I could hear some whispers of some people thinking that I was Cosplaying from Sucker Punch though. XD Due to some funky weather at AN and other costume plans, Ammie and Jukebox were unable to find time to wear their Onechanbara costumes to Cosplay with me. It was particularly tough to get the group together at the con because of Aya's rather scantily clad design, which wouldn't be a fun thing for Ammie to wear in the cold rain. I really look forward to Cosplaying a sister character to Ammie and I can't wait for whenever we get a chance to wear our costumes together. (^^) Despite being a complicated costume to wear, I do love how overall the costume turned out and it's rather comfy to wear because of the ease of movement and the great footwear. :3 That was a real blessing at AN with all the walking that I had to do.
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