When Japanese company neurowear first announced the necomimi in their promo vid last year, we were a little skeptical. Like you know, cute model and concept aside, cosplay kitty ears that wiggled and perked up according to your mood was just too good to be true, right? XD
Well, we decided to put in a mail order for one of these babies the minute they were launched (they go for about $120 on eBay), and here’s our review:
Big things come in small packages, or so they say. What’s more, it’s good, clean fun for Ages 14+!
First thing you see when you open the package is this nifty little instruction sheet.
And here’s what’s inside – your ears, the headband, and a healthy number of other gizmos to get you nyanning.
And there’s only minimal assembly required! XD
Necomimi come ready to play right out the box, though some minor assembly’s required. It’s fairly intuitive process however, and all you really need to do is to pop in four AAA sized batteries, slip on the cat ear shaped sleeves, and strap it to your head to get started.
How it works is that it reads your brainwaves (you’ll need to make sure the ear clip’s fitted to your left earlobe and the main sensor’s placed above your brow for it to function properly), and the ears either move up, or down, depending on your mood.
If you’re relaxed, the ears will droop down, and if you’re thinking about something, the ears will perk up. If you’re in a state of high interest or concentrating intensely, the ears will also start wiggling to boot.
It takes awhile to get the necomimi calibrated (it took only a couple minutes on Crimson, but we didn’t get a reading from Angelus or our pack Elk till some 10-15 minutes later). After that’s done, though, it’s time to nyan~!
We played 20 questions while wearing these cat ears, and true enough, they seemed to work like a charm.
The ears were in a state of high interest each time we mentioned food (key words being ramen and yakitori) while Elk was wearing ’em, and it went the same for comic books (especially Gambit) on Angelus and games (MMORPGS) on Crimson.
We’ll definitely be wearing these ears to conventions a lot more often, especially with customization options and different ear designs from neurowear in the works. We can also imagine this being a real hit with cosplayers, especially those portraying cutesy cat girls or characters from titles like Loveless and Lamento.
Necomimi add a healthy dose of realism to your cosplay for sure, but it’d help if there was a way to mute the sounds made by the motors or a more effective way to streamline the size and shape of the mechanisms.
As it stands, it’s hard to hide the main sensor unless you’ve got really long hair, or are wearing a wig with a long enough fringe (which means these ears won’t work for just any old character), and the battery pack stands out a little too much for our liking.
Of course, that’s not to say you can’t modify the designs on your own (we’re working on steampunking ours up) to suit your look.
All told, it’s a great novelty item and potentially awesome cosplay accessory. If you’re into kitty ear bands, and don’t mind the cost or shipping, you just might wanna check it out.
All too often, commercial entities attempt to inveigle cosplayers, especially novices fresh to the scene, into working gigs that have little or no relation to cosplay, minimal publicity (in fact, cosplayers are the publicity), and generally no community value.
Kaika’s already discussed why you, as a cosplayer, should be paid, so we’re not going to delve into that. We’re going to delve instead into how much you should be paid, and why you, as a cosplayer, have the right to negotiate.
Let’s face it. The value of cosplay as a marketing tool has grown exponentially over the years.
With the sudden explosion of pop-culture into the public consciousness in the past 5 years, it’s become increasingly apparent to corporations that there’s money in cosplay.
There are a multitude of road shows, trade fairs and retail events out there that tap on the pop-culture demographic. If you want to sell geeks your goods, you’ve got to give them what they want, so to speak. It’s also no secret that Singaporeans are drawn to spectacle, and cosplay is spectacle, no?
Parade an EVA, Gundam, or hell, a guy in a full suit of armor down Orchard Road, and you’re bound to turn heads, that’s for sure.
So what does this mean? It means that cosplayers have value.
Whether you’re distributing flyers, generating what marketers call ‘eyeballs’, or even making up the numbers for a street parade, you’re generating income and publicity for corporations worth thousands (sometimes more).
The thrust here, cosplay friends, is to understand that.
It’s easy for a company to use honeyed words like “promoting Japanese culture”, “expanding your portfolio”, or even “showcasing your talent” to reel you in, but is it really?
Are you gaining any tangible benefits from sweating it out in the hot sun, indulging the public and doing your part for days on end, and all for a measly shopping voucher that can be used only at a selected mall and a certificate of participation? I think not.
Sure, cosplayers aren’t paid models, but the concept of remuneration, of reimbursement for your time, travel and laundry expenses shouldn’t be alien to you.
If pop-culture’s being commercialized, then it’s only natural that you, as cosplayers, should learn to monetize your hobby, no?
So yeah. We’ve been rambling a little bit, but the bottom-line is, all companies have money. They would have folded otherwise.
It’s just a matter of you pushing the right buttons and getting past their “No budget” spiel to ensure that you’re given a fair deal when they tap on your unique qualities and talents.
Here’s an example. One of our friends was recently offered $90 to make an appearance in a robot suit at an upcoming event, when the going rate for everyone else is $20 (several others were offered $60 for armor appearances).
Said friend turned down the offer as a matter of principle, but that goes to show how some stakeholders can and will pay, if they need you desperately enough.
And one way to get them to pay is to standardize rates across the board. Consider a minimum sum per appearance, say maybe $30 per hour if you’re wearing a less elaborate costume, and maybe $50 per hour if you’re in armor or clad in a robot suit.
If every cosplayer’s making the same demands, then sooner or later, corporations are going to have to wise up, or hire models who masquerade as cosplayers (as if that’s not already happening), put them in tacky costumes, and pay an even bigger premium.
It might sound idealistic, but hey, it’s one way to ensure that you’re not being gypped, and that you’re not being worked to the bone for scraps, right?
Think about it, and if you agree with us, tell your cosplay friends, spread the word.
It’s time us cosplayers stood together and made a stand.
Vote for us in Singapore Blog Awards 2012!
If you liked this post, and you think we can make a difference in the Singapore cosplay scene, please do vote for us in the Singapore Blog Awards!
Your continued support will go a long way towards helping us realize this and our win would provide us with a platform to push for more ethical treatment of cosplayers.
You can do so simply by clicking on the ‘Vote For Me’ button, or on this link now.
We’ve witnessed the transformative power of cosplay and pop-culture firsthand, and we know that it’s empowering. We understand that it’s capable of propagating change and dramatically improving the lives of those it touches, and that’s why the team here at The Neo Tokyo Project is committed to cosplaying for social causes.
Most recently, together with our friends from Project Zen, we adopted Make-A-Wish Foundation as our preferred charity, and donned our costumes for their flag day yesterday.
Make-A-Wish Foundation is a charity that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, and as cosplayers, we figured we could help do our part by going the distance and doing what we did best – walking the walk in costume together with Make-A-Wish Foundation volunteers, and posing for pictures with donors along Orchard Road (troopers from the 501st Legion Singapore Garrison were doing the same in Newton).
It was four hours well spent, and it was really heartening to know that our presence made a real difference. It’s positive affirmation that cosplayers can give back to society in our own unique way, and motivation for us to be more socially active and to do even better next year.
Here’s a video interview with Crimson after the Charity Cosplay Walk:
Project Zen also produced a video about the charity cosplay walk, so check it out below:
And finally, here are some photos from the event, courtesy of our friend Darkon Lore (additional photos on Facebook):
Vote for us in Singapore Blog Awards 2012!
If you liked this cosplay tutorial, and the many other guides and tutorials on our blog, please do vote for us in the Singapore Blog Awards!
We’re dedicated to creating more quality cosplay and pop-culture related content, and your continued support will go a long way towards helping us realize this.
You can do so simply by clicking on the Vote icon, or on this link now.
Asia Cosplay Meet (ACM) Thailand took place at Funan DigitaLife Mall last weekend, with a spectacular line-up of performances by some 15 cosplayers from the ‘Land of Smiles’, vying for the right to represent their country in the ACM Finals.
Organized by Singapore Cosplay Club, the two-day event was also graced by Yuegene Fay, a celebrated cosplayer who’s made waves across Asia and won over fans with the superb quality of her work.
Our media team was there on both days, and we were wowed by both the solo acts on Day 1, and team acts on Day 2, which ran the gamut of mainstream titles like Naruto and Macross Frontier, to Castlevania: Judgment and Blassreiter.
While the competition was certainly the main event, there were also fringe activities that included prop-making classes by reputable Thai cosplay group C4 Team, a gothic lolita panel, a photo booth, and vendors from Funan DigitaLife Mall selling a variety of collectibles, toys and cosplay related merchandise for the casual crowd.
When the scores were finally tallied, C4 Team took home the prize, and were crowned champions of ACM Thailand, thanks to their ornate costumes and elaborate stage sets (which included a tricked out ‘motorcycle’ and plenty of LEDs all round).
Check out the videos of ACM Thailand (taken by our video partners at Operation P.Ani.C) below.
ACM Thailand 2012 Solo Performances:
ACM Thailand 2012 Group Performances:
Also, be sure to keep an eye out on our Facebook page for photos from the event!
Are you a fan of anime, cosplay and pop-culture? Do you have a burning passion for all things geek? Do you want to be a part of the team that puts Singapore on the map as a choice cosplay destination for pop-culture lovers, not just in Asia, but around the world?
If you think you’re a good fit, then we want you to be a volunteer at this year’s International Cosplay Day Singapore.
The Neo Tokyo Project is recruiting 15 bold and stalwart individuals to be part of our ticketing, event logistics and security team, so if you think you’ve got what it takes to crew this monster of an event, please do drop us a line.
We sure as heck can’t pay you (ICDS is a not-for-profit event), but we can give you free event passes, backstage access, a chance to mingle with our international cosplay stars, and exclusive volunteer-only goodies.
Also, if you’re a student, we’d love to issue certificates of participation and talk to your schools about the possibility of awarding you CIP points for your trouble.
If you’re interested, do write us at email@example.com with your Name, NRIC, Address, Contact Number and Email address, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!
I’m really, really grateful for this awesome vote of confidence. It’s neat how we managed to make the cut, and I owe it to you – my cosplay friends, geeky fans, and readers – for making this possible.
We’re cosplay warriors, and proud of it! ^^
So today, we’re gonna play a game of 20 (well, really just 4) questions that will hopefully answer everyone’s queries about my nomination for this award, and what The Neo Tokyo Project’s gonna do moving forward!
Are you ready? Here we go!
1. How do you feel about being one of finalists in Singapore Blog Awards 2012?
Elated! The team’s been in a tizzy since I told them about the email last week!
It’s The Neo Tokyo Project’s first nomination ever, and being a part of the Singapore Blog Awards means we’re doing something right. (It’s a group effort!)
It’s great validation, and affirms our commitment not just for geeky coverage, but in documenting the transformative and empowering effects of cosplay.
We’re motivated to do even better, both for our readers in the cosplay community, and for everybody out there who’s curious about just how amazing and positive this hobby can be!
2. When did you start blogging and what drew you to it? Where do you get inspiration for your blog content?
I’ve always had a taste for the geeky things in life.
Yeah, being a warlock (World of Warcraft) irl was pretty geeky. ^_^;;
As a comic collector, cosplayer, gamer, and unabashed Japanophile, I’ve had no lack of inspiration, so all it took was a little push in the right direction to get me started. That push came in the way of Kaika (another kickass cosplay blogger, and she’s a finalist in the vlog category!).
I met her on a sponsored trip to Hong Kong as Singapore’s Cosplay Ambassador for a promo by Animax and Hong Kong Tourism Board, and our conversations got me thinking.
When I first started cosplaying in 2001, the hobby was an arcane thing, but cosplay’s gained ground, increasing social acceptance, and a way, way, way bigger following in the past decade.
So ‘Hey’, I told myself on New Year’s Day in 2011. ‘It’s a hobby that’s turned my life around. It’s broadened my horizons, helped me develop practical problem solving skills, and taught me how to put my best foot forward. Why the hell am I not blogging about it?’
After all, I’d picked up a trick or two as a cosplayer and costume maker, amassed some modicum of stage experience, and loads of geeky know-how; the only cool thing to do was to share.
Blogging about cosplay’s my way of giving back to the community. I delight in helping novice cosplayers along, and it’s always a pleasure to know that I’m contributing in my own small way.
That’s why we’ve got a regular tutorials column, and editorials about cosplay and stage performances on The Neo Tokyo Project. I’m also interested in highlighting (by way of journalistic exploration, interviews and convention coverage) just how exactly cosplay’s changed the lives of people in the scene, and that’s the focus of our Spotlight On column.
ConJurer CJ’s just one of the many cosplayers we’ve featured in our interview column. XD
So yeah. That’s kinda how The Neo Tokyo Project started, and as they say (as cliched as this sounds), the rest is history.
3. How do you feel about the other Finalists in your category this year? How do you think you will fare compared to them?
I think they’ve all got their strengths. They’ve got some really quirky content, so I think it’s gonna be a tough fight all round.
It’s already a great honor for a niche blog about cosplay to make it to the finals, so win or lose, it’s still a triumph for Cosplay, yeah? XD
4. Give a reason why readers should visit your blog and vote for you?
The Neo Tokyo Project’s an all-inclusive blog dedicated to cosplay, pop-culture, and all things geek. Cosplay’s our passion and it doesn’t matter whether it’s comic books, computer games and fantasy novels, or anime and manga.
We’re all about cosplay. We feature cosplayers, we cover the latest cosplay and pop-culture happenings in Singapore, and if we’re gonna create a brand new cosplay costume, you can bet your life we’ll eventually put out a tutorial and show you just how you can make one too.
When you vote for us, you’re voting Cosplay. So if you’re a fan, if you love the hobby and love pop-culture as much as we do, do support us!
I’ve also made a little video about our nomination, and here it is!
Click on the image below, and click Vote For Me! It’s as simple as that (Clicking on the link will open a new window, and you might need to register for an omy.sg account if you haven’t yet).
Just click on the “Vote For Me” button, and you’re done! ^_^
You can cast your vote once per day, so it’s kinda like a ‘Daily Quest’ (like in an MMORPG, or something).
So if you like what you’ve read so far, and want to support Crimson, Angelus, and the rest of the Neo Tokyo Project team, please, please, please, cast your vote every day!
What’s more, we’ll be releasing new and exclusive content ‘Achievement’ style each time we hit a new campaign milestone. Each time we hit 100 or more likes and daily votes in the tally, we’ll be putting out a brand new tutorial or cosplay related tidbit!
How cool is that?
So remember, guys, you’re voting Cosplay each time you vote for us (and don’t forget to vote for Kaika too!)
Cosplay’s awesome, so let’s help our hobby take the blogosphere by storm!
Dunman High School’s Japanese Arts Fiesta (JAF) marks its return next Saturday, with the campus transformed into a playground for cosplayers and fans of Japanese animanga alike.
Helmed by the Yutaka Japanese Cultural Club (DHS YJCC) this year, the event promises more fun and excitement thanks to a the new team promises more fun and excitement, as well as a plethora of stage and fringe activities to whet your pop-culture palate.
Highlights include a maid & butler cafe, a haunted house, a cosplay runway competition, song & dance performances, game stalls, vendor booths, and a studio set-up where cosplayers can be photographed.
Date: 2 June 2012
Time: 11 a.m. to 7.30 p.m.
Venue: Dunman High School (DHS), 10 Tanjong Rhu Road, (S) 436895 (map link here)
Tickets: General admission is free. Tickets are required for the Maid/Butler Cafe ($10) and Haunted House ($2).
It was a mind-twisting, nerve-wracking hour of pure awesome, and get this! There’s going to be a second installment in a little less than a month’s time!
Originally conceived by Mr. Takao Kato and played in more than five countries around the world, Real Escape Game in Singapore, vol. 2 will take place at popular youth hangout *SCAPE from 11 May this time, and with a decidedly darker vibe.
Dubbed “Escape from the Werewolf Village”, the venue will be re-imagined as a mysterious village where werewolves have been known to attack people by night. As the villagers disappear one by one, players must work together, use their deductive skills and gather clues to escape before the werewolves strike again!
We’re certainly looking forward to vol 2, and if you’re a big fan of alternate reality games, you should too!
I mean, just check out this trailer!
Real Escape Game in Singapore, vol 2: Escape from the Werewolf Village takes place from 11 to 13 May 2012 at *SCAPE.
Tickets are priced at $20 (student concession), $25 (adults) and $30 (at the door). Ticket pre-sales are available from www.gatecrash.com.sg, SingPost post offices, S.A.M. machines, and STB’s TicketCube.
It’s been hyped about for months, and just yesterday, Cybertron Con kicked off to a rousing start with fans thronging the Resorts World Sentosa Convention Center to catch a glimpse of toys and products from the Transformers franchise.
A "welcoming" Megatron at the ticketing area.
A quick look at the con interior.
Organized by Hasbro, the event featured convention exclusive swag, panel discussions and workshops by special guests from America and Japan, and for an ’80s kid at least, proved to be a bit of a trip down memory lane thanks to the toys on display. The Transformers Re-Imagined showcase was also a real pleaser, and the team was especially impressed by the fan interpretations of popular characters like Optimus and Bumblebee in diorama style.
The fluorescent lighting was a bit of a bother though, and that, coupled with the milling crowds made the con a bit of a letdown.
It was also a bit of a shame that we didn’t get to see any of the old Transformers comics by Marvel, Dreamwave or IDW on display, or any Transformers literature on sale.
We’ve only managed to take a couple pictures this time, and here’s a glimpse of them.
Unicron - the planet devourer from the classic Transformers movie.
Mickey Mouse x Transformers.
Something a little more practical - Transformers flash disks.
The centerpiece of Cybertron Con - a 22-ft tall Optimus Prime statue.
Exclusive con swag - a limited edition Optimus figurine.
One of the many customized pieces in the Transformers Re-Imagined showcase.
If you’d like to explore Cybertron Con, it’s held from now till 14th March and tickets are $12 at the door.
We’ve also got wind that some Transformers cosplayers might be making an appearance on Wednesday, so if you’d like to catch a photo op, then the con’s the place to be for sure.