By Lauren Forrester.
We are dressed as a Japanese animation show called The Dirty Pair (Kei and Yuri). We had been dressing up in these costumes at Japanese animation (aka anime or japanimation) conventions (cons), just for shits and giggles. How we got started in that is a tremendously long story (which i would love to tell you if you want to hear it) but we did it from 1988 to 1995 or 1996, several times a year at different cons. We were a huge hit and got lots of recognition, including appearing in the Dirty Pair comic book, appearing on a Japanese variety show (all expenses paid trip from Atlanta to Los Angeles for a weekend ain’t too shabby), having our own fan club in Washington, DC, being asked to give “panels” at cons and ending up having standing-room-only for !!two nonstop hours!! instead of the scheduled one (a panel is just a question and answer thing), among other things. Wacky shit, huh? 😉
We had tons of photos taken, but this was a particular session we did at our home with some friends of ours, so we would have a good photo to send into Animage (a Japanese magazine about anime) for a particular spread they were doing about anime customers in America. AWOL is a big group of anime-loving weirdos i used to hang out with in Denver (AWOL standing for Anime WithOut Limitations or something)
I’m the one standing up, she’s [sister] on the floor.I was 18 when this photo was taken, she was 21. It’s now 10 years later, and people still think I’m 18, i just don’t seem to age (physically or mentally, heheheh). Leslie lives in TX and I only see her once every couple years, so it’s hard to say what she looks like now (*grin*), but last time i saw her, she still looked damn good.
Yes, it’s our real hair.
My hair was a little above shoulder length at the time, and it took 45 minutes to an hour to make it do that, with the help of a truckload of gel, mousse and hairspray, upside-down blowdrying and constant teasing.
Hers took 5 minutes. *rolls her eyes*
The “war-bikinis” were made out of lycra (swimsuit material) by my sister and myself. Our boots were regular pull-on boots, covered with the same lycra material. The holsters were made of cardboard (!) and the belts were simply belting, both being covered with the lycra. We always had a knack for sewing; this was no exception.
My gun was actually a water-gun painted silver. Hers was also a water-gun but a different type — the barrel was cut off, and the whole thing was painted pinkish. The guns and costumes we have on in the picture were exactly like the anime characters had. Our motto was, if you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all. Our perfectionism won us much recognition and praise. And free stuff. And drooling. And boyfriends. But that’s another story entirely.
These costumes were not shabbily made, either. They held together through many a convention, 3 days at each con of nonstop wear and tear. We built those things to last.
Unfortunately, i don’t have this particular incarnation of “uniform” anymore. We went through many phases, and this was just one of them. I do, however, still own the most recent one we did (which was 5 or 6 years ago), boots, gun and all, tucked safely away in a box with a couple other anime costumes i had made for characters from other anime shows (they’re all pretty skimpy, so they don’t take up a lot of room in the box. Haha). I don’t know if Leslie still has all of hers, but I’m almost sure she would keep them like i did. Wow, my memory is better than i thought it was. I never cease to amaze myself. Or scare everyone else.
Originally posted on NormalBobSmith.com around 2000