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Cosplay: Akroma, Too Furious


Akroma, Angel of Fury by Terese Nielsen

You’ve met Arielle of Air Bubbles Cosplay before (I interviewed her about her Chandra and Liliana), and her work speaks for itself. As it’s one of my goals with this article series to increase awareness of the MTG cosplay scene and raise the profile of cosplayers in the community, I was really excited when, several months ago, Arielle announced she was going to do an Akroma. And while Wrath has been done several times (and done well) by other cosplayers, I had yet to see a Fury, and so when she said she was doing the red version, it was pure bonus on top of good news!

Arielle has a background in costume design, and that experience shows in her attention to detail and tailoring. In addition to MTG she cosplays from fandoms like Destiny, which I know nothing about, except that the art looks sweet and Arielle makes a killer Queen of the Reef.

Reef Queen by Josh Romero, original image found here.

Arielle wants to take her cosplaying pro, and she’s constantly improving her game by gaining experience in front of the camera, pushing her crafting skills and learning new techniques, and challenging herself artistically. Plus, she’s a credit to the community with her positive, kind, hardworking, and inclusive attitude. I hope you’ll join me in supporting her efforts. Enjoy her photos, PAX Prime vignettes, and cosplay tech!

Akroma, Angel of Fury by Air Bubbles Cosplay. Photo by Undiscovered Photography.

1. Today, I'm featuring your Akroma and a few of your non-MTG cosplays. What drew you to cosplaying Akroma, Angel of Fury?

To be honest, it was completely random. I don't remember exactly what drew me to her, but part of the reason was I wanted a challenge, and I wanted to make something outside my comfort zone. Wings and armor and skin showing? Oh yeah. Way outside my comfort zone.

I don't play red, so I didn't own the card; I actually purchased it to get me pumped for making the costume. There are a lot of Angel of Wraths out there, so I decided to be a little different and pick Fury. She's a redhead, so it meant I didn't need a wig either, so win-win there!

Akroma, Angel of Fury by Air Bubbles Cosplay. Photo by Undiscovered Photography.

2. What was it like putting LEDs in the armor? Is it as hard as people think?

Oh geez. Well, I'm not an engineer, so it made my brain hurt. That being said, it really depends on what you decide for LEDs. I was going to make my own circuits and solder them together and whatnot, but then my friend Allie (Allie Cat Art & Cosplay) showed me this fantastic string of lights that Adafruit makes. They come in three-foot strands with I think eleven LEDs on them, and they are powered by two-button cell batteries. This meant all I had to do was think about how I was going to hide them and put them into my costume, which wasn't too bad. All in all, I have no space, time, or money to solder things, so this is the best option for me. If you're smart and understand the circuit stuff, totally go for it! It's really not as bad as you would think!

3. You challenged yourself by building articulating wings for this cosplay, too! Give us a brief rundown on that part of the build. How do you feel about the end result?

Oh yes! I wanted to be able to store them in my tiny apartment and be able to travel with them as well, so making them articulate was a must. Also, PAX is super-duper crowded, so I wanted to be able to move around easily.

The design I went with is actually super-simple. My grandpa helped me build the wing frames since he has a garage and tools and all that, but we used aluminum rods, which are very light and yet very durable as the main part of the frame. There is a hinge point where two rods meet, and this point is able to be tightened or loosened depending how hard or easy I want the wings to open. To open the wings, there is an aluminum tube that runs up the rod closest to my body. Within that tube is a steel cable (very durable) that, when pulled, opens the wings.

The brace itself was a collaborated piece I did with my friend Brian (ZakLabs). He had space/materials and whatnot to make this, and he wanted to try to make a brace with no straps going over the shoulders. We made a brace that stops at my shoulders and has one strap around underneath my bust. It's made out of Sintra, a very lightweight moldable plastic that is reinforced with aluminum. It's very sturdy though! There are a ton of progress photos of the wings on my page if anyone wants to see them!

I also made the feathers out of foam because real feathers cost a lot and would end up weighing the wings down, so I cut out probably over three hundred individual feathers and painted them all as well and then hot-glued them in place. Total weight of the wings is a little below four pounds!

All in all, I wish the shape were a wee bit different, but I'm happy with them!

Air Bubbles as Akroma battles Avacyn by SpaceHamster Cosplay. Photo by Plainswalker Photography.

4. For Akroma, you also display a wonderful body confidence and look fantastic. Have you had to deal with any cosplay trolls, and do you have any tips for how other cosplayers can push through their insecurities and/or deal with the haters?

Aw, thank you!

I have been pretty lucky and haven't had to deal with many trolls. The most trollyness I've gotten has actually been for Queen of the Reef where I was called "Queen of the Beef" and told many times my face was too round to cosplay her. Those comments do hurt, and it takes a lot of effort to not push back, but as my boyfriend has taught me, “Don't feed the trolls.”

That's one piece of advice I can give. I know it may seem like retaliating and pushing back may seem like the best thing to do (in some cases, it is), but in most, if you do, you're just making them know they won, and that makes them stronger. Nice people to death and smile a lot—it'll confuse the heck out of those haters, and that means you've won! I hope that makes sense.

Other advice is just carry yourself with confidence. If you carry yourself with confidence, you will look confident. If you walk around thinking you look terrible, that will show through. Be proud of what you've made! Show it off with pride! No matter what shape or size you are, strut your stuff! I was honestly terrified to wear this cosplay showing so much skin. I have Scoliosis, so my spine is quite curved, and you can definitely tell based on my hip placement and my sides. I have one side that is very hourglassy and the other not as much. I was super self-conscious about that, but after receiving compliments and just walking around having fun, I forgot all about it. So go out there and strut your stuff and nice those haters to death! They won't have any clue how to deal with it!

Air Bubbles as Queen of the Reef . . . about to “nice us to death.” Photo by Plainswalker Photography.

5. You have an interesting selection of non-MTG cosplays. Can you tell us what it is that She-Ra, Queen of the Reef, and Silk Spectre have in common that speaks to you? And what is it about them as individual characters that made them must-cosplays for you?

Hmm, what they have in common? Well, they are definitely all mostly sewing projects, and they are all very strong female characters. While I did not grow up watching She-Ra, she's a character that is still so powerful and well-known today, I always have little girls running up to me yelling "She-Ra!" It's adorable.

Queen of the Reef and Silk Spectre are sexy/strong female characters that don't need a man to run things. It's their way or the highway. Silk Spectre had been on my list for a very long time, and it just took some convincing to finally get down and do it. For being just a dress mostly, it was pretty challenging. The best part about her is that people look past the “sexy” lingerie look and just see the character and the work. That speaks volumes to me of what she means to people who are fans.

As far as the Queen, she's . . . she's my baby. That project took me forever, and she's been fixed up and changed a bunch. I'll probably never stop working on her because I feel like she's my staple now. When I saw her cut scene for the first time, I was like, her. I need to do her. She's so strong and beautiful and graceful, and she even rules over her brother, which is super-awesome and not common in games or even society. So yeah. Badass ladies.

Air Bubbles as Silk Spectre. Photo by ZeZe Photography.

Akroma, Angel of Fury by Air Bubbles Cosplay. Giant . . . tentacle . . . courtesy Wizards of the Coast.

6. You got to do the PAX thing! Give us your "Akroma, Angel of Fury Goes to PAX" Top 10 Moments:

These won't be in any particular order since they are all equally as awesome.

  • Playing in the Spellslingers event dressed as Akroma alongside an Angel of Tithes
  • Not having a wardrobe malfunction (this was definitely a top moment especially since my skirt fell off at Rose City Comic Con in front of the costume contest judges . . . )
  • Being given a giant Shepherd of the Lost card because Akroma should not have been in Zendikar
  • Seeing that amazing Eldrazi coming out of the annex!!!
  • Partying with friends at the Wizards party
  • Being able to hang out with my friends whom I don't normally see very often
  • Meeting my friend Jason in real life. He was following my page, and then we started playing Destiny together, and we play together like every night. He's so awesome, and I'm so happy we met!
  • Hanging out with Barnacles from Barnacles' Nerdgasm again!
  • Seeing my sister in my She-Ra cosplay and my nephew as a tiny He-Man and watching everyone swoon over how cute he was
  • Meeting so many other awesome Magic cosplayers and being able to do photoshoots with them!

Air Bubbles as Akroma, Angel of Fury and Purple Rogue Cosplay as Archangel of Tithes. Photo by Plainswalker Photography.

7. What's next on the MTG to-do list?

Too many things! Haha . . . So the lineup is Hanna, Ship's Navigator for Grand Prix Seattle–Tacoma and then pre-spark Chandra, and I'm redoing Chandra, Pyromaster sometime over the course of next year since I've learned so much since I first made her!

Akroma, Angel of Fury by Air Bubbles Cosplay. Photo by Micktography.

8. What are your personal cosplay goals for the rest of this year and heading into 2016? We'd love to help further your master plan anytime we can help!

Oh geez. Goals would be to finish Hanna and have it not be a complete train wreck . . . figure out how to put my Akroma wings in a suitcase so I can bring her to Comikaze with me at the end of the month, and, hopefully . . . get pre-spark Chandra done by the end of the year. Want to make her backpack thingy smoke, so if anyone has any ideas that won't cost me a fortune or catch me on fire, I'm all ears!

I'm also having a really hard time deciding what to make for ECCC . . . Had discussions with a friend about doing Chandra's parents, and then I also want to make my warlock from Destiny . . . I'm just having a hard time! So many options.

The help would be, well, moral support! So following my page, and comment, share, like, and all that jazz. I love to see what everyone is up to as well as get advice. Everyone can learn from everyone!

And then, purchasing prints . . . supplies aren't cheap, and I don't have enough time to devote to a Patreon yet, so for now, it's print purchases that will aid in my cosplay endeavors! I will be adding more prints to my store.

She-Ra, Princess of Power by Air Bubbles Cosplay. Photo by Mike Wu.

9. Where can fans see you in person over the next few months?

  • Comikaze in LA: October 30–November 1
  • Grand Prix Seattle: November 7 and 8
  • Wizard World Portland: February 19–21
  • Emerald City Comicon: April 7–10 (right before my birthday, and I love chocolate and popcorn and Magic cards—hint-hint, wink-wink)

10. If you had to take one Planeswalker home to meet your parents, whom would you choose and why?

Without being too predictable . . . I'd bring Chandra home with me. I expect we'd be sisters-from-another-planes.

Air Bubbles Cosplay as Akroma, Angel of Fury. Photo by David Ngo.

Arielle works super-hard at her craft and is such a positive force in the community. I hope to keep seeing great things from her. Ship that moral support by following her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook, and remember that kind and constructive words are pretty much all us cosplayers work for, so when you like it, let us know!

Till next time, may Magic be your answer to (undesired) wardrobe malfunctions.


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