Prince of Stride: Alternative Review

Prince of Stride: Alternative Review

I’ve never been much of a sports anime fan, due to my lack of interest in sports. I grew up never watching any sports, unlike most people living in the United States. So, when introduced to the genre of sports anime, I had a hard time finding ones I liked. The first one I watched was Free! and I thought it was alright, but I never got into it much. Next my friend showed me Kuroko no Basuke, but I only got through six episodes. Next came Yuri on Ice, which like everyone else, I loved. So, I decided to give sports anime another chance. I found Prince of Stride when scrolling through Twitter, since I follow Funimation’s page, and they were advertising the BluRay of it. I thought the art looked nice, and I recognized some voice actors in it, so I gave it a go.

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[OWLS Blog Tour: “TEAM”] Crona Gorgon: Soul Eater

[OWLS Blog Tour: “TEAM”] Crona Gorgon: Soul Eater

This is my very first OWLS blog post! I’ve been very excited to join this group of wonderful, kind people for a long time, and the time has finally come for me to be a true part of the group.

OWLS logo

When given the topic of the month: “Team” in regards of the LGBT+ community, it took me a while to decide on what I would be talking about. I’m very new to the community, so my spectrum isn’t very large. I can count on one hand the number of shows/comics I’ve read or watching dealing with this community. So, I decided to talk about something that wasn’t very expected.

Soul Eater is a show I hold close to my heart. The characters I hold even closer. In My Top 5 Animes I discussed my favorite characters. Number 3 was Crona. I put this character toward the top of my list of favorite characters, and I always have. I’m that strange fan who loves Crona. I never truly knew why, but in this post, I’m hoping to explore that more.

Analysis

Crona Gorgon is the child of the witch, Medusa, whose goal is to release the kishin on the world. It’s clear from the beginning that Medusa is the villain in this show, and when initially seeing Crona, you expect them to also become a villain. At first, yes, Crona listens to their mother and acts as a weapon. It’s not their choice, though, seeing as Medusa threatens to hurt Crona if they do not cooperate.

Later, after Crona and Maka are involved in an intense battle, Maka decides to befriend Crona and they become a part of the group at the DWMA. Unfortunately, Crona is used as 2a spy by Medusa, so this is short lived. During this time, though, we get to see a lot of Crona’s past and what they truly want. Crona was pretty much abused by Medusa, forcing them into an empty, dark room, with only their weapon, Ragnarok, for company. This was supposed to make Crona a more powerful tool for Medusa to use, but only makes Crona fearful of their mother and more unsure of themselves.

Crona is constantly at war with their mind, part wants to follow their instinct and become good, but the other is in fear of their mother and wants to give up. This internal 4turmoil was what drew me to this character. Honestly, these characters tend to be the most interesting. Give me deeply troubled, conflicted characters to feel bad for and I’m good to go. That sounds terrible, but it’s true. Characters that are happy all the time get old, and though arguably, all characters in Soul Eater have a dark past, Crona’s is one of the most depressing.

The DWMA group

When Crona is first introduced, Soul and Maka are in Italy on an extracurricular lesson. Maka notices there are a bunch of souls in an old church, along with a more abnormal soul. When they get close to the church, though, only one soul remains.

5When they go in, they see Crona there. At first, nobody says anything to each other. Crona is communicating with their mother, Medusa and their weapon, Ragnarok. Maka and Soul only speak to each other about the weird person on the other end of the room.

They meet each other as enemies, because Crona had been raised to become the “ultimate evil” as a kishin, meister, and weapon in one body. Maka and Soul’s job is to kill all of the kishin, so naturally, they fight.

The fight between them is interesting, and Crona is shown to be clearly unstable, due to multiple reasons. One being the weapon inside of them, another being the constant voice of their evil mother in their head, and another being unsure of whether they are good or evil. Crona has never wanted to be evil, hence how they become a part of the team later on.

I love all of the episodes Crona is a part of, especially the one where it shows Crona and Maka as children. I love the friendship Crona and Maka have, even though it’s only shown through a few episodes. Maka is entirely accepting of Crona, even though they are technically on the evil side by default. Crona desperately wants friends and is happy when the team opens up to them. Though, it still takes time for Crona to become used to people acknowledging them.

3Something I truly love is the fact that only once is the question of Crona’s gender brought up, if I remember correctly. I believe Liz said it, though I can’t remember what episode that was in. Nobody really knows what Crona identifies as, because it doesn’t really matter at all. The group welcomes Crona wholeheartedly, and isn’t even angry when Crona lets one of Medusa’s snakes loose. The group knows Crona doesn’t truly mean harm, because the only reason they are listening to Medusa is because their own life is at risk otherwise. The group knows this.

They accept Crona despite the insanity lurking within them, their questionable ethics, and unknown gender. They know Crona needs friends, and they provide.

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Fanbase

Most people in the Soul Eater fanbase are not as accepting, though. When Crona is brought up, it’s generally not to say how bad they feel for Crona, or how skilled Crona is.

No, it’s always “Oh, what do you think Crona’s gender is?” Poor Crona is always seen as a question, rather than a well-rounded character like they truly are. It’s honestly annoying as a dedicated fan of the show.

I will admit, I used to be one of those people, and I had a preferred way of seeing Crona, but upon looking at it more, I’ve decided it doesn’t matter. I now use “they” as the pronoun, because Crona has never stated one or the other, and I want to respect that there is no solid answer. The creator themselves purposefully made Crona without gender, and I don’t think it was to confuse fans and start a gender war.

It’s a bit ridiculous to see that the first autofill on Google is “gender.” There’s a whole slew

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This was my actual search when acquiring photos for this post

of memes and “motivational posters” for it. It makes me so upset to see such an amazingly written character treated this way.

 

As a collective fanbase, I think we should ignore this whole question and accept that Crona has no specific gender. I know this is not an uncommon thing to have a non-specified character.

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Dialogue in the Manga and Anime

It’s hard to constantly refer to a character as “they.” Just writing this, I’ve had to be aware of how my sentences looked. I had to use “the group” rather than “they” because it could get confusing about who I’m talking about if I used “they” for both Crona and the group. Which is why Crona is referred to as “he” in the manga and anime. This does not mean Crona is male. It was done for convenience, and not confusing the viewers and readers.

I watched the dubbed version by Funimation, and I own the DVD copy. On there, episode seven is commentated by the director, Maka’s voice actor, and Soul’s voice actor. This was the episode Crona was introduced, so there was a lot of talk about Crona. Including nice.pngthe pronouns. In there, it was explained that the writers of the English script had to go back and forth between what they would use as Crona’s pronoun, so they chose “he” since it was just the default. It was not the writers choosing a preferred gender or ignoring the way the character was written, only allowing the actors to understand their lines.

Another example of this is Hanji Zoe from Attack on Titan. From what I’ve seen, Hanji was non-gendered in the manga, but for the anime the creators changed Hanji’s gender. Again, for simplicity. Hanji is not portrayed as feminine in the anime, or masculine for that matter. I can entirely respect this decision since using “they” in a story is a bit confusing when it comes to sentence structure. But if done correctly, it can be used. I’ve seen it.

Summary

Overall, Crona is a great character that should be recognized more throughout the fandom. Not as “that character with the confusing gender,” but the character with internal turmoil and conflicting motives. Crona is probably one of the most troubled characters in all of Soul Eater. They constantly must go between trusting the DWMA group and their own mother. They feel the DWMA will make them happy, but Medusa has the ability to make their life even worse if they defy her. Not to mention, their own weapon will beat them up just to make them feel bad. Crona must have a whole slew of mental issues, which makes them a really interesting character. The pressure they feel is immense, and they’ve gotten to the point where they break down when given even a small task. “I don’t know how to deal with that” is Crona’s phrase. They have been hurt mentally and physically their entire life, so even the simplest thing makes them give up.

I feel for Crona. I want them to be happy, and it’s hard when your mother is an evil witch trying to kill your friends.

SJiWHC

Here’s a happy, smiley Crona 🙂

I hope you all enjoyed my OWLS post! It was a little weird, but this is probably due to my newness to the LGBT+ community, so I’m still a little unsure about things. I just don’t want to offend any of you. It’s the last thing I’d want to do.

But, I recently finished a fabulous webcomic by the name of “Always Human” which deals with a lot of LGBT+ stuff, so I highly recommend you check it out. I found it on LINE Webtoon, but the creator is also on Tumblr @walkingnorth. I wasn’t told to spread the comic I just loved it so much I want to share it. And what better time than during Pride month?

Be sure to check out the other fabulous posts done by the wonderful OWLS group. The one before me by Naja (Nice Job Breaking It, Hero) and the one after me by Lita Kino . The other tour posts are on the OWLS website at OWLS: Otaku Warriors For Liberty and Self-Respect .

I’ll be doing my next OWLS post on July 7th so look for that!

Black Butler Season One: Review

Black Butler Season One: Review

I’m a little late on this anime, I know. I just finished it a bit ago, and overall, I enjoyed it. I only began watching it because I had met Sebastian’s English voice actor at Youmacon last November. For some reason, I felt obligated to watch the show he is most known for, and I don’t regret my choice. In fact, I just got the DVD of season one in the mail a couple weeks ago. And I got to see Book of the Atlantic last week which was super weird and awesome.

It’s unique, definitely. It’s such a strange concept, and I honestly didn’t think I would like it. I’ve known of the show for years, but I’d always thought it was not for me. I got the first manga for Christmas and enjoyed reading it, so I continued to the show.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the show, it’s been quite popular for a while. But, I guess if you’re not aware of the concept, I’ll give a brief summary.

The main protagonist is Ciel Phantomhive, a twelve-year-old earl to the Phantomhive family and owner of the Funtum toy company. This is due to a tragedy that happened roughly two years before the beginning of the show. Someone set fire to his family’s estate, purposefully killing his parents. He is then tortured by a strange group of hooded people, forcing him to become vengeful and furious. He wishes to kill the people who killed his parents, but the problem is he’s only a child, and he needs extra help for this task. He forms a pact with a demon, whom he calls Sebastian. Sebastian becomes his butler, and will do anything Ciel commands him to do. When the people guilty of killing his parents is dead, Sebastian may have Ciel’s soul.

6Though this show seems dark and violent, it’s very lighthearted for the majority of the show. Nearing the end it becomes much darker and serious.

I’m not really sure what part of the show I enjoyed the most. I enjoy the comedy, historical setting, supernatural creatures, and action that it offers. There are many aspects of this show that are unique to itself, and that’s what makes it stand out so much. I can say for sure this is the only anime I’ve watched set in Victorian England, and has the youngest main character from what I can recall. The fight scenes are very interesting, due to the unconventional techniques Sebastian uses when fighting. It’s quite something to watch a butler throw butter knives into people’s heads.

The premise is weird, I will admit. There are also a slew of bizarre characters. Obviously, we have the revenge-driven twelve-year-old who runs an entire company, and a demon acting as a butler. But the other characters that work for the Phantomhive manor are Mey-Rin, a clumsy maid with terrible eyesight, Finnigan, a gardener with superhuman 1strength, Baldroy, a chef who burns anything he touches, and Tanaka, a butler who doesn’t do much but sit and drink tea. I think these characters are what keeps the show from being too much of a downer. Sebastian constantly has to pay close attention to their antics, and often must fix anything they fail at, which is almost every task they are assigned.

Other characters are Elizabeth, Ciel’s fiancee, Grell, a flamboyant reaper, The Undertaker, a not-so-serious grim reaper, Pluto, a werewolf (sort of), and yet many more. I wouldn’t say this show is heavy on character development, since for the most part, they all remain static throughout the show. Though, there are some themes that are thought-provoking.

Considering the entire end goal is revenge, there are a lot of branches of this topic that can be explored. If Ciel were to change his mind about avenging his parents, he would still be stuck due to the pact he made. It’s clear that this is not the best solution for his grief, but he is still a child, and to him, that was his only option. Throughout the show he is told that this may not be a good idea. He knows that going through with it will lead to his death, and he’s told he will be missed, but he doesn’t think he will be. He feels he won’t be happy living without his parents, or with the person responsible for their deaths to be living. He often says, “I forgot how to smile,” which is a strange thing for a child to say. He thinks he will never feel happiness again. It makes me feel bad for him until I realize how much of a jerk he is.

This brings me to my next point about the show: it’s hard to tell who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy. Yes, Ciel and Sebastian are the main characters, but when you look at their characters, they’re kind of terrible. Obviously, Sebastian is a demon, which automatically puts him on the bad side, and though Ciel seems like an innocent child, 4he’s far from it. He could be nice if he wanted to be, but instead, he chooses to boss those who work for him around more than he should. Practically to the point where he doesn’t end up lifting a finger. Yes, they agreed to work for him, but he doesn’t hardly give anyone a break. He’s constantly unhappy with their work, no matter how hard they try. He never seems to give a thank you or a chance for them to relax. I don’t exactly hate Ciel, since all people and characters have their flaws, but I do wish he was a bit more lenient. And, due to his past and age, it makes sense he would take advantage of them.

On to Sebastian. He’s a pretty cool dude, I’ll have to say, but this would be due to his immortality and demon powers. He is shown to be able to do practically anything, and when he gets hurt, he heals almost immediately. He has an extreme amount of patience 2for what Ciel makes him put up with. This is most likely due to being a demon, but it’s still somewhat impressive. Ciel is a nightmare to handle, along with the other servants of the Phantomhive manor. He basically has to run the place himself at some times. I ended up feeling sympathy for him, though he’s a demon.

One thing I want to say about Book of the Atlantic (don’t worry it’s not that much of a spoiler): at the end, after everything that had happened and Sebastian had saved the day (as he always does), Ciel tells him to take a break. Which is probably the most kind thing he’s ever said to Sebastian. I was honestly shocked when I heard it. This never happens in the show. Actually, Ciel is a lot more kind in the movie now that I think about it. I won’t say much more than that for those of you wanting to watch it in the future.

And, something about this fandom as well: I know a ton of people ship Ciel and Sebastian, but even if I completely ignore the wrongness of it, I still can’t understand 5where that makes sense. I feel they have an understanding of each other, but there’s nothing intimate about it. This doesn’t make me angry with the people who do ship them, but I just don’t understand it.

In all, I entirely enjoy this show in all of its silliness and uniqueness. I do suggest it to others, though I would say it’s not for everyone. And, it’s not my absolute favorite but it’s definitely near the top of my list. There’s just something charming about its quirkiness.

I hope you enjoyed this review, and again I’m sorry for not posting more, but for sure there will be a post on Friday, which will be my very first tour post with OWLS! If you don’t know what OWLS is, it’s a group of anime loving, kind people who accept everyone for who they are, what they believe, and what they like. There’s a blog tour every month focused around a theme and bloggers can participate in when they are part of the group. This month’s is TEAM in honor of June being Pride/LGBT+ month and I will be participating this month, along with next month, so look out for those!

Follow my Twitter! @letstalkanime1

And tumblr @eegghhh

Princess Mononoke Cosplay

Princess Mononoke Cosplay

I wore this cosplay on May 20th, at Detroit’s Motor City Con. It’s not completely done, but this is the base. I’ll be completing the mask and fur cloak for a later con, but this was what I was able to complete for now. I thought it turned out pretty well, and it’s fairly comfortable. The boots I got were a bit small and hurt my feet, but that’s not too hard to avoid. And I made this entirely without other tutorials, which I’m quite proud of.

Clothing20170502_122654

  • White T-shirt
  • Navy blue tank dress, coming to about the knees
  • Tan boots, coming up about mid calf
  • White thread
  • Scissors

I started by going to Goodwill and Salvation Army for these pieces, and I found exactly what I needed, minus the boots and craft materials. The dress I got was not exactly what I’d had in mind, but it worked fairly well and what I didn’t like was covered by the shirt. The dress was easy to 20170517_124415prepare, the only alterations I made was cutting some holes and slits into the bottom. It was kind of fun to do this part, since it didn’t matter what technique you used. As long as it looks tattered, you’re good to go. The shirt, on the other hand, gave me some issues. I started by trimming the collar, hem, and sleeves off. From there, I ran into some troubles, this being my first project I sewed by myself. I had some difficulty pinning the sides together to make it fit me, but with some measurements and marks with a pen, it turned out quite nicely. You want to overlap the front onto the back and sew a small section at about mid-rib. This will give it the look of a tunic. From there, I cut some holes and slits in the side and smudged some red face paint to make it look like blood.

Jewelry

  • Crayola Model Magic clay
  • Earring bases
  • Craft glue (I use Elmer’s stick-all)
  • Ivory acrylic paint
  • Brown acrylic paint
  • Silver acrylic paint
  • Mod Podge (I used the glossy kind)
  • Bamboo skewer
  • Leather cord
  • Thick black elastic
  • Dark blue felt
  • Gray craft foam
  • Hot glue
  • Scissors
  • Paintbrushes

For this cosplay, you need earrings, armbands, a necklace, and a headband. It’s quite jewelry heavy, which was strange for me because I almost never wear any. To make this much jewelry, though, it must be light. The closest craft supply that looks like bone is clay, but you have to get the air-dry kind, or it will be much too heavy and difficult to shape cleanly. I use Crayola Model Magic, which was also used for the eye piece on my 20170423_220010scythe in my Maka Cosplay. I am in love with this product, and has been the biggest help in my cosplay experience.

So, the earrings. You need clay, earring backs (I got a pack of 10 for like a dollar), adhesive, paint, and Mod Podge. For the earring itself I took a small piece of clay, rolled it in a ball, and pushed my thumb in the middle, fanning it out. If you’ve ever made a clay cup in art class in elementary

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This is the ivory paint I used. It’s called Vintage White but looks ivory colored

school, you probably know the technique I’m talking about. Although you only want a slight lip on the edges. If it looks rough, that’s just fine, it is supposed to be made of bone after all. From here, paint the whole piece with some off-white acrylic paint. I used an ivory color. When it dries, coat it in Mod Podge. Though I used glossy Mod Podge, matte would work well also. When that dries, adhere the back to the top of the earrings. If your earrings aren’t completely circles, just pick one of the longer sides. The glue I use is called Elmer’s Stix-All, which has been another miracle. It sticks to nearly anything, much like E 6000, but without the stink.

 

The necklace I also made with clay, and took more time than the earrings, not surprisingly. You will need leather cording, clay, paint, Mod Podge, and a skewer. I ended up making 6 teeth and 5 beads. The teeth I took a medium sized ball of clay, rolled into a sort of snake, pushed one side into a flat surface, and smoothed the rest to a point. From

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Here you can see the difference between the white clay and the ivory painted clay

there, I used the skewer to scratch some cracks into the clay, to make it look more worn and rugged. I then poked holes into the top of each tooth, and then ran a small paintbrush handle through it to enlarge it. I then painted them with ivory acrylic paint and brushed some glossy Mod Podge over them. Again, matte would be fine as well. The beads were much easier. Small balls of clay, pushing each side into a rectangular box. I kept the points smooth because it looked better this way. Used the skewer for holes, then 20170509_170801the paintbrush again. I couldn’t find any black or navy blue paint at the time, and I didn’t have the patience to buy more, so I used dark brown, which worked just as well. After this, Mod Podge again. String them on the leather cording, tooth, bead, tooth, bead, until complete. Make sure three teeth are pointing one way toward the middle, the other three the other way, so all are facing the middle. I tied my necklace rather than adding a clasp, which works just fine.

 

The armbands and headband were a bigger challenge. For me, at least. When beginning them, I wanted to sew them all, but didn’t have the correct needles or thread, so the armbands had velcro on them. For these you will need thick elastic, blue felt, Elmer’s Stix-All, Velcro pieces. Measure the elastic to fit your bicep. I did it close-ish to my

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That translucent piece of plastic is the lid

shoulder. Cut the elastic and apply the Velcro, preferably with the Stic-All. The sticky Velcro does not stay. Make sure it still fits before proceeding. From there, cut three circles from the felt. One will be used for the headband later. To cut the circles, I actually used that little plastic piece that comes on Ramune soda with the little plunger attached. The bottom was the perfect size and I’d just happened to not throw it away haha. When the circles are cut, use the Stix-All again to attach them to the elastic. Armbands done! Now for the headband. When I initially measured the elastic for this, I’d forgotten about my wig which has a much larger circumference. So, I didn’t wear my wig for this cosplay. Luckily, my hair is short and 20170511_183508brown so it wasn’t entirely necessary. So, I sewed the elastic together for the headband, since I was scared the Velcro would get stuck in my hair. The circle in the front at the base is the same as the armbands, but I added a gem. But, I didn’t have any gems at the time so I made my own. I had some gray craft foam, which I cut into a circle using the other side of the Ramune lid, and covered one side in hot glue. I waited for it to dry, then cut off any pointy pieces of glue. I then painted it with silver paint and attached it to the felt once it dried.

 

Spear

  • White craft foam
  • Ivory acrylic paint
  • Red acrylic paint
  • PVC piping (1/2″ diameter)
  • Brown spray paint
  • Mod Podge (Matte)
  • Hot glue
  • Light brown ribbon (thick preferably)
  • Newspaper

This was done last minute, yes. I finished this two days before the con. I would’ve waited longer, but I would be busy that day so I did it the Thursday before. Lucky for me, I had some PVC piping left over from my previous cosplay, and it was 20170518_133749the exact length I needed! I spray painted it with brown, which took nearly 5 coats. (Tip: don’t buy the cheapest spray paint it doesn’t work so nice, it drips like crazy and sticks to the cardboard you’re working on even after it’s dried) Needless to say, it was a nightmare. I did it though,

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Matte Mod Podge

and all was well. When it was ready, I used white craft foam to cut out a spearhead shape. I did this freehand, but I’m sure there’s a template out there. I was on a tight schedule. When they were cut out, I cut four slits in each head. I cut two small, thin rectangles and painted them red. I thread the pieces through the slits, so it looked like a piece of leather thread through. I painted the rest of the head ivory, and coated it all in Mod P20170518_145225odge, matte this time. As before, glossy would also work. I ripped some newspaper up and stuffed it in between the two pieces to form a bubbled out shape. As soon as this was achieved, I hot glued it shut. I painted the hot glue ivory as well, to match the rest of the head. I pushed the bottom through the hole in the PVC piping and hot glued at the base. Taking the light brown ribbon, I wrapped it around the base to cover the hot glue and glued a bit every once in a while until a nice amount had been wrapped. Done! Yeah, it isn’t the greatest, kinda flimsy, but it was alright. I don’t exactly recommend this method if you’re intending to use this cosplay a lot.

Extras

  • Snazaroo red face paint
  • Small concealer brush
  • Bobby pin (optional)
  • Dark brown wig in bob cut with bangs (optional)

The rest it all pretty basic. I got a face paint recommendation from a friend who’s been cosplaying for years and has done full body paint. And I would recomm20170520_082047end this brand to others. I got a large amount of face paint for around $8 on Amazon. All you do is add water and stick your brush in, and have at it. I used a small concealer brush, since it gave me control and even coverage. To draw the triangles, I used parts of my face as markers. The forehead I started by going a bit further from my eyebrows, drew to the middle, and adjusted if I needed more. To remove, just use more water and a Q-tip or tissues. It may smudge, but you’ll get a good amount off. For the cheek ones, I started at my cheekbone at the middle of my eye, then drew out to the edge of my eyebrow, then met it at a point at my lower lip. Again, anything over the line can be wiped away. I didn’t get time to mess with my wig, since I’d never done it and I was a bit rushed for the cosplay. Instead, I used a bobby pin to push my bangs back to make the headband go on smoothly.

 

Sorry for the lengthy post. It took me so long to finish this, I had most of it done a week ago, but I had a busy week last week and had to wait to finish it until I had time. Luckily, it’s now done. Weekends have been hectic the past few weeks, between work and family, so we’ll see how this goes. Thank you for being patient with me!

Follow my twitter: @letstalkanime1

And on tumblr! @eegghhh (I just post some writing stuff and thoughts. You’ll see a lot of likes on Yuri on Ice fanart)

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Me and my friends at Motor City Con. Far left is cosplaying as female Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club, a lot of people thought she was Honey. Also, I made my friend’s Pink Ranger boots and my Tamaki friend is wearing my old cosplay. 

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Bonus picture: My cat really liked lying on my tunic as I was making it.