If you don't know what cosplay is, check the FAQ.
Ashitare was one of the characters I decided to dress up as for Anime Expo 2000. He's a werewolf from the series "Fushigi Yuugi" (Now that it's released in the US, it's also sometimes called "Mysterious Play"). The costume combines my gray wolf fursuit, the paws from my white wolf, a bunch of chains, and a brand new mask.
This mask represents a couple of pretty major milestones for me. For one, this is the first plastic mesh mask that I've finished. Even better, this is the first mask that I've built that I'm almost totally satisfied with. There are a couple minor things that I'd change, but overall, it was comfortable, looked good from all sides, and I had pretty good vision in it.
Plus, it wasn't all that hot, compared with other costumes. We were out waiting for a panel in the southern California sun for about an hour, in late June, mind you, and it never really bothered me. It was hot, yes — I don't think a fursuit exists that isn't — but I never felt overheated. I was also carrying water (I built the mask with a small hole at the back of the throat so I could stick a straw through to my mouth), and I think that was a big help. Now I just need to figure out how to carry the water a little more unobtrusively...
The mask, as I said, was made of plastic mesh. The holes already in the plastic mesh made it a lot easier to line up the top and bottom jaws; I just used pipe cleaners to attach the bottom jaw to the top. Another pipe cleaner went across my chin and allowed me to control the jaw easily.
The tongue and nose, as usual, were cast rubber latex. The eyes... well, the eye on this one was made with a new technique I've been playing around with, using googly eyes sold for crafts and such. Ashitare didn't have a pupil; his eye was all orange-yellow in color, so I imitated that for the mask. Part of my vision was from the small black area between the eye and the muzzle, where I left some open black plastic mesh.
His other eye was missing completely, replaced by a long cross-shaped scar. The other area where I could see out was through the center of that scar... Ironically enough, I could see out much better from his missing eye than from the intact one. I first cut a piece of paper out in the shape that the whole burned area was to be, and cut the cross scar out of that. I sewed the paper onto the mask, and used it as my template. I built up the burned area with tissue paper dipped in rubber latex — the technique is very like paper mache, only the final consistency is rubbery and flexible rather than brittle. I painted the area with fabric paints, which have a pretty good track record for sticking to rubber latex, and have a semi-shiny finish to them.
All of the fur was sewn on, a piece at a time. That took the longest, but it'll hold together and won't show the seams as easily as glue might. I then cut the fur to a proper length around the face and muzzle. Because the gray fur I used isn't really gray (it's got a black undercoat and longer white fur), I played with layering it to produce some variations in the coloring.
At Expo, we went out in our Fushigi Yuugi costumes a couple times. My friends Julie and Rachel dressed as, respectively, Tomite and Hikitsu. I included a picture of the two of them, second to last picture on the bottom of the page. Tomite is the one in blue with the bow and arrow, Hikitsu has the eyepatch and long hair. The last picture on the left has all of us in costume.
The other Fushigi Yuugi fans and cosplayers around recognized us easily. There were no less than three people dressed as Nuriko running around. I should mention that Ashitare is the one who kills Nuriko in the show. And Nuriko has a lot of fans. So, of course, countless people wanted pictures of any number of Nurikos attacking the single, solitary Ashitare. Heh. But it was all in good fun, of course. I just wish I could've found a Nakago to beat up on in return. (He kills Ashitare... well, his wolf form, at least.)
Oh, yes. Since my little sign never got made, I'll just say it here: BLAME NAKAGO!!!
*runs and hides* ^_^