After months of planning – the big day has come! In the latter part of 2018, a group of people I met from last year’s Power Morphicon began to organize a big Ranger cosplay team-up; and it was very nice of them to even consider inviting me to join – I felt very honoured to be invited despite being from a different country altogether!
Everyone had different Ranger assignments – I was assigned to cosplay Daigo from Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger (known to Western fans as Power Rangers Dino Charge) as I have recently upgraded my suit for it.
Since everyone were staying in different locations, we picked the two hotels closest to Javits Center as the staging ground where everyone will meet up and get changed. I was part of the Stewart Hotel Team while the others were at the Pennsylvania Hotel. Once both groups are ready, we’ll all reconvene in a single location and walk together to Javits Center.
There are seven Rangers in Team Stewart, namely – Justin (Gokai Blue), Naim (Gao Red), Manny (Gokai Green), myself (Kyoryu Red) and Hilarie (Shiro Ninger). Robin (Dragon Ranger) and Vanessa (Mido Ninger) arrived right after the photo below was taken, lol!
We all know that as soon as we change into our Ranger cosplays, we can no longer easily use the toilet after that as it’s a full-body suit. I downed a jug full of water and was waiting to use the toilet before getting changed, so I volunteered to be the last to get ready.
Watching everyone get changed and looking at the row of different helmets sitting right in my face gave me this overwhelming feeling of belongingness. All these years I’ve mostly cosplayed by myself. I was never invited to be part of a group. I’ll usually arrive at the convention, get changed in the toilet, walk around for photos and hoping I’d see someone I know, then at the end just get changed back and take the next bus home. But this is different. I’m with them.
Just like any other cosplay groups, we’ve had our own share of mishaps. From the zippers breaking, missing velcro strips, props falling apart – all happening at the very last minute! But of course many of the people in the group have probably been cosplaying longer than I am and they’d bring out their super-glue sticks, clothing pins and spare materials all ready to go. I was pleasantly impressed!
We met up with Team Pennsylvania and much to my surprise, we even have two of the Ranger villains joining our group cosplay! Shawn and Jessy joined in our party as the famous Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa duo. Seeing them in front of their hotel lobby waiting for us made me even more ecstatic!
While walking towards Javits, we couldn’t help but attract everyone’s attention on the street. How could we not? We’re a huge group of people wearing colourful suits in broad daylight in Manhattan! We were even occasionally asked for photos from many people who grew up watching the series and was caught up by the wave of nostalgia our group have induced.
Seeing both villains somehow struggle walking several blocks in their costumes, I couldn’t help but volunteer to accompany and help them along the way while keeping them engaged in a good conversation filled with 90’s references, topics about cosplay accuracy vs making-your-own version of a fictional character, jokes about Canada and of course… everything Power Rangers. I was mindblown when they told me that they made their costumes by hand! I’m not sure if I could express enough how much I find that an amazing feat. I considered myself a cosplayer but I never had the time, skills and equipment to do such and I respect and applaud people with such talent.
Our first stop was the Boom! Studios panel about the Power Rangers comic series. We’ve all planned to meet here as there are more people joining us who did not originate from Stewart and Pennsylvania.
They introduced the new story arc that just started called Necessary Evil. It reminded me how far behind I am with the comics, as I’ve barely started reading Shattered Grid still. They announced a new collaboration as well – with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! This is going to be interesting as I grew up watching both!
Before the panel ended, they announced that everyone in attendance will be given a convention-exclusive cover of the comics!
As soon as the panel ended, everyone began to finalize their “transformations” and get ready to head out to the convention floor. We’ve already caught the eye of many fans exiting the Boom! panel, so we’re off to a busy but fun start! We were joined by a few more people – Brian (Gokai Red), Ezra (Gosei Black), Charlie (Abare Black) and Robbie (Gokai Silver).
Time to hit the convention floor!
Whew! I think we were on the floor for over an hour, posing for people and fans. It was honestly so much fun that we did not realize how long we were standing in the floor for. But then again it’s Power Rangers, it’s not as big as what it used to be, but the franchise remains known to everyone and it’s always a treat to see people who would even fall in line and wait just to get a photo with everyone.
Everyone in the floor were amazing. Cosplaying in Ranger gear isn’t as easy as it looks. For characters who have zero facial expressions due to the helmets, we have to use body language to express bravery, happiness and excitement. Our energy must synergize with the audience, particularly with the kids so they’d feel like they’re really meeting their heroes in person and not just a random guy in a costume. Unsurprisingly, everyone did it flawlessly. It helps that everyone just clicked well with one another. After all, that’s what Power Rangers is all about – teamwork and good chemistry.
We were scheduled for a professional shoot later in the day, so we temporarily went off on our separate ways to get lunch and re-assemble at a specific spot later in the day. Elementary school field trips, anyone? 😛
The professional photoshoot took place outside Javits, where everyone was given a chance to have their solo photos taken by a professional photographer and have opportunities for fun groupings and mix-ups as well.
Our photos are currently being edited so I’ll save that for a later entry.
At the end of the long shooting session, we posed as a group a few more times, but this time without the helmets so as to help us remember that underneath those colourful spandex suits are all amazing people whose faces are no less good-looking than their morphed counterparts 🙂
We barely had an hour left before the convention floor closes, so we spent the remaining time we have to cool down and walk around the convention for a bit.
We encountered Ninjaman and BullBlack hanging out at the Boom! Studios booth. While it was unfortunate that we did not see them soon enough to invite them into our group shots, we posed for a photo with them so as not to let the opportunity pass!
Sadly, it’s my last day here in New York as my flight back to Canada departs tomorrow morning, so I bade my farewells to some of my newfound friends in the group and vowed that I will be back for Morphicon and for next year’s NYCC!
Getting back into our respective hotels, we changed back into “normal” clothes. Whew!! Don’t get me wrong, I love dressing up as a Ranger but nothing beats wearing loose sweatpants, hoodie and my trusty old runners after such a long day.
We went to Wagamama’s for a nice dinner with a few fellow Rangers to cap off this fantastic day!