* Second Place Performance, Master's
Anime Boston 2008
PowerderKeg Graphic Design
Bruce O'Bryan Photography
Canti is a friendly, well-mannered service robot manufactured by Medical Mechanica; with Haruko's help, the powerful being Atomsk possesses Canti in an attempt to escape from the Medical Mechanica facility. Canti, with Atomsk sealed inside, travels to Earth and befriends Naoto, a teenage human whom Atomsk hopes will help him escape the robot by periodically merging with him. Canti's default color is teal, but when he merges with Naoto, Canti turns red and Atomsk's symbol appears on Canti's screen.
When I got the crazy idea to cosplay Canti inn 2005 I really wanted the challenge of tackling something that would require me to learn several new skills. The project turned out to be a bigger challenge than I ever expected, however, and it took me three years to complete it. I started making Adobe Illustrator files of cross sections and scaling from photos of a toy I bought for reference, then used chicken wire and plywood frames filled with drywall plaster to create positive molds for the legs, arms, and head. The chest mold was created with Plaster of Paris-infused cloth wraps added to insulation foam and drywall plaster. I used heavy-weight fiberglass and a general epoxy over the molds to create the final robot pieces. Since Canti is 7 feet tall, I also made stilts by casting my legs in fiberglass and form-fitting braces inside, while the arms were artificially extended and I used pull strings to operate the hands so I could still rotate them and hold things. The hands were hinged segments of aluminum and steel box piping wrapped in a vinyl glove. The jacket was a thrift shop buy and conveniently covered up the ill-fitting attachments of the upper arms to the body.
The robot head is my proudest achievement of this costume and the one part which still exists; from the fiberglass base it is tricked out with a wiffle ball bat, two fiberglassed Monster energy drink cans and a two-way mirror layered with colored acrylic and LEDs for the TV screen. After attaching the screen the whole head was extremely front-heavy, so my brilliant solution was to insert a metal pipe into the wiffle ball bat to counter balance it, adding even more to the monstrous weight of this entire costume. LEDs were not readily available in strips like they are today, so I hand-drilled/inserted/wired a total of over 250 lights all over his body and used special automotive reflective tape to line all the lights to shine outward. All were wired to two homemade pipe battery holders that held three D batteries each which gave me 8 hours of power and a LOT more weight. During our masquerade skit, however, this was made worthwhile when they called me back onstage and dimmed the lights so the glow could been seen on stage. Overall, this costume was very well received and I'm proud of it for the time, but it was a nightmare to wear and I only wore it once despite all the work that went into it. When asked, I like to say that I learned how NOT to make a giant robot, and if I ever remake this I will do it completely differently.