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MJ's Ultimate Cosplay: Final Four

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Art by Willian Murai

Note: If you’re just joining up, I’m on a mission to elevate Magic’s profile in the cosplay community and develop a great costume with your support. This week, we have four badass legendary ladies to choose from in the semifinals. Battle on.

Abstract: Value-Added Cosplay Narratives

Well, I guess in order to be a successful cosplayer I need a Wampa outfit—while I prefer Ani-Mia’s ’70s-inspired supermodel Wampa, I’ve gotta admit Jessica Nigri’s hip-deep-in-frigid-water Wampa has, um, a lot to offer . . . too. For my cash, I might have to go with the severed-Wampa-arm ice scraper.

Maybe there’s something wrong with me, but I find this Jester’s Cap by Dariocosplay sexier than mostly everything I’ve seen that is trying for overt sexiness. I mean, I admit that historically I like the jester type in general, starting with Danny Kaye in 1955’s The Court Jester and recently Jester in the children’s program Jane and the Dragon, but from an artistic perspective, I think Dariocosplay’s interpretation of Jester's Cap has a lot going for it. It’s much less sneering than Dan Frazier’s painting, but the twinkle in the eye is present. He got the volume of the hat right, which is important in making the cosplay recognizable as this particular Magic card. The deep red background hints at a dark side to our jester, just as Frazier’s night-hued backdrop in the original does.

But what I love most about this Jester's Cap cosplay is that the cosplay photo shows us something we didn’t know about the character. Frazier’s jester is cocky, confident, and nearly assassinlike in aspect. In the cosplay version, we see a softer side. Perhaps he turned to look at you in a quiet moment in the great hall, between cracking jokes and dropping poison into goblets. He is reflective, almost melancholy, yet there’s a coldness in the eyes that tells you he’s definitely our Magic jester, unafraid to destroy the delicate workings of your deck and have a good laugh about it afterward. While deceptively simple, this cosplay photo has a lot going on between the lines. From what I’ve seen, there’s a lot of room in the cosplay world for growth in photo quality as well as pushing the boundaries of photo narratives.

But let’s go into what really matters: seeing how our MTG champions fared last round and diving into the next pairings, fast and furious!

Results Quickie

Basandra, Battle Seraph and her cat-o’-nine-tails decisively scourged Planeswalker Nissa Revane from the arena. In what quickly developed into a polarized nail-biter, Jeska eked out victory over Nin by a mere twentyish votes, helped along by rk post’s promises of Jeska swag should she win the challenge. In the right bracket, the Grand Cenobite completed this round of her domination by putting a big alabaster butt in front of Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni’s hopes of victory. And, in our black supremacy battle between horn-y contestants, Drana came out on top of Erebos.

Gotta take a minute to say a heartfelt thanks to all who’ve been participating in the voting. It’s been so much fun, the perfect salve for a troubled 2013 holiday season. I am grateful. This week’s voting is short and sweet since it’s Final Four time! Today, we’ll revisit some of the technical cosplay aspects that each remaining legend has to offer.

Battle of Fire: Basandra, Battle Seraph vs. Jeska, Warrior Adept

I’d say Jeska has the leg up on armor, though Basandra has the leg up on . . . leg. I just purchased cosplayer Kamui’s The Book of Cosplay Armor Making, so we’re ready to go. Jeska also has the edge in terms of weapon-making, with that huge sharp thing in her hand. However, Basandra’s wings are truly epic in scope, and her outfit, while small in size, is large in detail and LED opps. Other notes: Need to do massive deltoid work for Jeska and buy some ab cuts for Basandra. I’ll admit I look feckin’ fantastic with red hair, though Jeska’s ’do is the more unique and interesting one. Red contacts needed for Basandra, and looks like . . . grey for Jeska. Jeska definitely has the storyline advantage, but if we’re talking one-shot impact at a con, I have to give it to Basandra. Both these ladies represent easily recognizable fantasy prototypes—warrior-woman and dark angel—making these cosplays appealingly audience-friendly.

vs.

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Battle of “Life” and Death: Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite vs. Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief

At first glance, we’re entranced by Elesh Norn’s massive headdress. Her high-contrast ensemble featuring saturated scarlet is going to turn heads anywhere. But I want to draw your attention to a downplayed feature of Drana’s: those colorful insect wings on her back. Rules text: “Flying.” While vampire-with-butterfly-wings still isn’t as overtly arresting as Elesh’s rib cage, it’s a detail that gives us mad creative play. The wings could be done half or completely unfurled, which might contradict the card art but would make the cosplay more striking as a whole. These both have high annoyance factors: Elesh’s over-eyes hat brim and waifish waistline; and Drana’s pasty makeup and arm augmentations . . . but these are great learning opportunities, too. Also, if done right, these unusual female characters will cosplay with a timeless, sculptural, serious-art gravity.

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No holiday break this time, so the next round will post next week! Check back to see who makes it to the Championship bout in our cosplay ultimate fight.

Thanks for reading! Till next time, may Magic be your octagonal cage match.

-MJ

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