My San cosplay has always been my dream cosplay and it was a labor of love. Like so many other cosplayers and anime fans the movie Princess Mononoke holds a special place in my heart. It was my introduction into Japanese animation as a child and changed my views on art and various media. When my friends and I started planning a Gibli group from Anime Boston 2013 I finally had the chance to make my dream cosplay a reality.
The costume its self was very straightforward. The head and arm bands are all elastics that are sewn together and painted. I used a simple dress pattern for the blue dress and made the apron by cutting a large rectangle out of white fabric. Using my dress form I cut a hole in the white fabric and adjusted the neckline and sides until the apron was the correct size and shape. To get the torn affect in the fabric I used a method shown here to give it that torn look while keeping it from shredding further.
Tutorial on torn edges http://norsedanceparty.deviantart.com/art/Torn-Fabric-Tutorial-367269016
The hardest part was the cloak. I was very meticulous about what fur I wanted to use. Most local fabric stores had cheap looking fur or not even what I was looking for. What I wanted was faux fur that looked as realistic as it could while still being fake. One I ordered the fur I made the cloak in two parts: the hood; and the cape. I used some old fabric to pattern what I wanted the cloak to look like before cutting into the fur. There are quite a bit of seam lines on the hood where I had to take it in but luckily the texture of the fur hides it quite well. I quickly found out that fur was very difficult to hem for the fur jams the machine and was very unmanageable. Many online cosplayers used hot glue or fabric glue to work with fur, so I used a glue gun to hem the edges of the cloak.
The mask and tooth necklace were made of air dry clay. I shaped the mask over the back of a foam manikin’s head so that I had a hard rounded surface to work on. This held up well at first; however it started to chip around the areas where the clay was weak. I had some rolls of the thermoplastic worbla lying around which I covered the mask with to save it from further damage. Once the mask was finished and painted with the help of a friend I carefully hot glued the mask to where it sits on the hood. Since the mask is very rigid I have to wear it with the hood up like a hat but I can pull it over my face for pictures. The teeth were shaped of the same clay with holes on the sides. The teeth and beads were strung with fishing line and reinforced with wire for more structural support.
The ears were made of two sheets of foam that were hot glued together around a water bottle to keep its shape while the glue dries. Worbla was then placed around the foam and painted. I punched small holes along the edges of the ears and actually sewed them to the hood itself. I did the same thing for the spear head and knife which were actually the same blade just switched up at different cons.
One of the big problems for me with the costume was the inconsistency of the reference art. The art in this movie is known to change: sometimes the necklace has three teeth, other times four, sometimes the crystal dagger hangs loose, and other times it appears to be a part of the tooth necklace. So I basically took a lot of artistic liberty with some things for example the ears of my hood are much longer than it’s depicted. When making them I kept making the ears two small. This gave a look more like cat ears even though San’s hood ears are supposed to be small. I lengthened them until I was happier with the look.
Overall this is my favorite cosplay to date and I was extremely pleased with the final look. It challenged me with different materials and techniques.
Ashitaka made by: NorseDancePartyCosplay
Ashitaka worn by: Lance (Wondering Gamer)
Photography and editing by: Eric and Chris of Iconograph https://www.facebook.com/Iconography
and C@T Cosplay Photography https://www.facebook.com/CatCosplayPhotography
and Nathan Carter of https://www.facebook.com/AvidchickProductions