I’ve always made it a point to make sure I attend Ai-Kon, Winnipeg’s annual anime and Japanese culture convention. It always runs on a weekend in July from Friday all the way until Sunday. Unfortunately I did not make it to the Saturday one (the busiest day) as I had prior commitments but I made the most out of it.
Day One – Friday
I had a short first day at the convention as I had to go to work during the day, but I managed to squeeze in two cosplays – Kyoryu Red from Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger (aka Power Rangers Dino Charge) and Geiz Myokoin from Kamen Rider Zi-O!
Suprisingly, Ai-Kon had a Power Rangers panel so it was a must for me to attend the panel. I’ve been a Super Sentai fan ever since I was a kid and I’ve met many other fans from last year’s Morphicon so I already knew most of the materials that were presented in the panel, but it’s still enjoyable in a way that I get to see a different view on its history and how it’s perceived by local fans. I even got a shoutout from the panel host as he mentioned that Dino Charge is one of his favourite seasons!
I’m equally surprised later in the evening when I changed out of my Ranger costume into Geiz, as Kamen Rider is obviously more niche, meaning an even smaller fanbase… but at least a dozen people recognized me! They were amazed at how accurate my cosplay was, but little did they knew that I actually bought Geiz’s full gear from the official Premium Bandai Shop in Japan. They sell the actors’ actual civilian clothes there as a clothing line! Couldn’t get any more accurate than that! 😀
Day Two – Sunday
I was expecting Sunday to be low-key as it’s the last day of the convention. I figured this would be the perfect way to debut my upgraded Mighty Morphin’ Red Ranger costume to a more relaxed crowd. Upgraded in the sense that I got new parts and did a few changes to the OG costume design. I basically made a mashup of the OG Red, Green and Gold Rangers to come up with a mix of my own – the Red Dragon King! It’s basically the Red Ranger with the addition of Green’s golden arm bands, Dragon Shield, textured suit pattern and Gold Ranger’s Zeo Staff. It looked modern and screams “power”!
Sunday turned out to be the busiest day for me at least. I met one of my fellow Ranger fans who came in dressed up as the Green Ranger, so we came up with the idea of walking around together. We figured we’d attract more attention if we’re together, and we weren’t wrong!
It was really fun walking around and doing poses for everyone, particularly the little kids that get excited when they see us and ask for a photo. We then give everyone fist-bumps and high fives and we get those satisfied smiles in return.
My only complaint usually is the helmet visor fogging, but I managed somehow by actually using an antifog solution that I bought from Amazon. It works but it had a quirk – once I take the helmet off to breathe for a few minutes and put it back on, it loses its effect and the visor becomes foggy again. In the end I had to reapply the antifog before I put the helmet back on. Walking around in a pocket-less costume is a chore in itself as well, but hey, anything for the kids! 😀
My ranger mashup costume for this day turned out to be a success! It looked way better than I imagined! I wanted to bring this ensemble for my next event (NYCC) but sadly, the Golden Staff is too big to fit in my suitcase, so it looks like it’s limited to local events for now.
Overall Ai-Kon was a success! I wish I could go on all three days next year. I really should be managing my scheduling more effectively.
If there’s anyone reading here who’s interested in cosplaying, here’s where I got my cosplays from for your reference:
Kyoryu Red – Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger (2013)
Helmet, underhood, boots – Aniki Cosplay
Body suit – Ravseams
Shoulder armour shield, dino chest badge – ACT Studios
Cuffs, belt – Studio Boheme
Gloves – Caca-zan
Glove claws – NDW Design
Belt buckle – Oli Mansfield
Red Dragon King – Original (2019)
Helmet, underhood – Aniki Cosplay
Body suit – Stephen Lynch
Dragon shield, armbands – Maniac221
Boot and arm cuffs – TJ
Belt, buckle, boots – Unknown (bought them second-hand from someone)
I know many fellow Ranger cosplayers here have heard of Aniki, and I have my own adventures with them, but that will be for another story.