Monday, March 26, 2012

Run Robot, Run!

National Geographic presents... um...
Or How I survived my first 500m Run in a mecha costume.

Last Sunday I joined a fun run organized by a cable channel network called Fox Entertainment (yep, same company with 20th Century Fox).  Fox Entertainment approached to help out promote the run and gather cosplayers interested in this unusual activity, and I felt the need to make sure the cosplay mecha category would get represented. XD

Of course when I presented the invitation to a Mecha and Armor Facebook group that I joined, some commented, some reacted, but a lot seemed to find the idea hilariously suicidal.  But despite that I decided to be less suicidal about it and took on the challenge.

The only mecha costume I have was my Zaku I that I wore in Singapore in last year's Anime Festival Asia.  Of course I would not touch my wife's black Zaku II and risk a heavy karate chop at the back of my skull, so I proceeded to plan a way to join the run without destroying my pride and joy.

My first challenge was to make sure I was very mobile, so I decided not to use all of the parts except the helmet and the chest.  Everything else I tried replicating using cushion foam, the kind used for car seats and couches.  So off I went to Divisoria on a Sunday but couldn't find any green color available, so I opted for a grey and blue, and bought green latex paint instead.

Fashioning parts from foam is harder than it looks.  It's so soft, it was like trying to glue together cloth but building it like a cardboard box.  Took a lot of trial and error but with the help of my friend Ricki we were able to build one on time.  We took the whole Saturday before the race to build it.

Wilson and Addy, along with Ricki, spent the night over at my house so we can attend the race at 5am the next day.  Jewel couldn't join, as she will be busy at home that time, but gave me a good luck kiss before we left. Wilson cosplayed as the hilariously funny Phoenix Wright while Addy came as Claymore.  Ricki, wanting to join my attempts to run in mecha, came in his awesome Iron Man Mark 1 costume!

The run was scheduled to start at 6am and there were 50 participants in the run, including two full fledged company mascots, one of them was Chuck of Chupa Chupps lollipops!  There was another cosplayer in full gear Monster Hunter costume, and we were even joined by an X-Man Cyclops and even a movie version of Captain America!  But I love this family who joined the race as The Flintstones, now that's awesome!

We were waiting for the countdown for the race to start, and everyone was in an excited mood, and there were tons of jokes on how the race would end.  It was also so cute that there lots of kids in costumes who joined as well, props to the kid who came as Aang of Legend of the Avatar (probably as the Book of Fire version, with the mop of hair, hehe). My friend Guy Singzon, known for his awesome armor costumes, showed his crazy side this time by running with a giant raw uncooked chicken turkey for a head (photographed with President, Jedi Pablo Bairan as he prepares to carve him).  He kept telling everybody good luck and "see you at the hospital!"  By coincidence, there was a hospital not far from the race, and everyone joked the finish line would be at the Emergency Room door.

The run finally started, and my friend Jason (who wore a Bleach Shinigami costume) recorded the whole ordeal (at least it was for me, haha) with his trusty video cam and uploaded it for all to see.  Click the image below to take you to the video in Facebook.

See any kids behind me? Nope, no kids behind me. Only a creepy blue suited lawyer. XD
I was just glad I survived all 500 meters of the run.  I stopped to walk 3/4th of the way for a few seconds to catch my breath, but then I saw the finish line and started running again, enough to make sure I wasn't the last one to finish, heheh.

After the run the other regular runners as usual asked for our pictures taken and received our freebies of energy drinks and toothpaste (Yes!  You should have good strong teeth while running, for that winning Finish Line Smile!).  We walked back to the tent to receive our well-deserved souvenir pins.

I Survived the 500m Run in Costume!
Awards were given in front of the tent and presented by me and Pablo the cosplayers for the following:

Best Male in Costume (Captain America)
Best Female in Costume (Sailor Saturn)
Best Mecha/Monster (Monster Hunter).

There were also other unusual awards like:
Against All Odds - finishing the race despite the encumbering costume (Iron Man Mk1 - Congrats Ricki!)
What-The-Hell Award (Phoenix Wright - Congrats Wilson!)
Rainbow Award (Tekken Lili crossplayer, who was the most hardcore of all us for running the race in high heel boots!)
Fast Track Award for most athletic-looking (Richter Belmont of Castlevania - Congrats Ryan!).

We ended the morning by taking back all our calories spent at running with a hearty breakfast at Jollibee.  Thanks again to Ricki for helping me build the foam Zaku, and Wilson and Addy for running with me, and providing these awesome photos, along with Erving Go.  Enjoy the pics below!

Overtaken by children! Curses! They must be Newtypes!

For the record, that little girl in the pink shirt and white tutu dress was race's first place fastest female costumed runner. :P

Our group photo, incomplete though but good enough.
Come Monday yesterday, Fox released the results of the 500 meter run and it turned out I was 40th place out of 50 participants.  It was beyond my expectations considering I felt so slow thanks to the bulk I was carrying around.  But I was proud enough to post it in Facebook for my friends to see.

There were positive reactions from the community about this first ever unusual costume run and they are hoping for another shot at it next year, if Fox or anyone else decides to organize this again.  As for me, I guess it would be good motivation to be fit again, but as a mecha?  Well, I'll think about it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rest in Peace

This was the first time I encountered the artist Moebius, his artwork of a man riding a pterodactyle-like beast. Being 14 years old and weaned on a diet of Star Wars and Thundercats, this image of a man riding a giant bird may seem regular to you, but it was awesome for me, enough to influence for a few years the way I drew and imagined science fiction. True enough, and thanks to my best friend's dad, who happened to be an avid collector of Heavy Metal, I read the full story of this bird-riding man (later on discovered to be Arzach), and everything else that followed. It blew me away that he was behind several costume designs for scifi movies, one of which was the first TRON.

Now im equally blown when I found out he died yesterday.

I always wanted to meet the man and his art, but I guess I'll just have to be satisfied with just his art.

Rest in Peace, Jean Giraud.