When Akihiko Kayaba revealed his true intents for the game Sword Art Online (SAO) on its grand opening day, Asuna was one of the 10,000 players trapped within the game, meeting the player Kirito in the early stages and forming a temporary party with him. After two years of game play, Asuna and Kirito eventually form a party again and form a strong bond with one another, both determined to ultimately beat Kayaba’s game and one day, finding one another again, this time, in the real world.
Character: Asuna Yuuki
Series: “Sword Art Online” / ソードアート・オンライン
Creator: Reki Kawahara
Version: Casual Chef
Difficulty Level: 30%
Photographer: July 2013
Completed: July 2013
Debut Date: July 16th, 2013
"I cried alone every single night. It felt like every day that passed here stole another piece of my real life away. After I cried, I’d go and fight as hard as I could. My only thought was winning, moving forward and getting stronger."
So this was a super last minute cosplay for me. But luckily not TOO last minute that I had to buy it. In fact, I made this one. (For once when it came to Asuna too. I swear, I love her designs. Bbut when SAO was coming out, I had next to no time to work on any!) In any case, though it was last minute, I liked it because the primary feature that I had to make was the top (deceptively detailed little thing that it was). I really enjoyed adding little details to it. Adding lace, choosing satins and buttons, all of those little things really made me love working on Asuna. One other quick note, I did have to alter the costume a bit. For religious reasons, I don’t show my shoulders. But this was originally an off the shoulder design. To be true to the original design while also honoring my faith based commitments, I chose to add a tan colored shoulder to the outfit. This ended up turning out better than I thought it would! It also reminded me of an evergreen truth: You will always be happier when you do in your heart what you feel most comfortable doing. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 😉
"My life belongs to you Asuna. So I will use it for you. So let’s stay together until the end."
"And I… I’ll protect you too. I’ll protect you forever."
I have fond memories of this cosplay. In fact, I pulled it out again recently just to look it over and I got all these warm fuzzies just holding it and remembering fun times. We shot this at my grandparents’ house which was on the beach over the summer time – a place I sorely miss. I’m pretty sure I haven’t been back in years (gotta change that!). In any case, Asuna was still kind of a new kind of character for me. I really hadn’t done any ‘cute’ characters up until her and while she is cute, she’s also strong, which I found difficult to manage (except for tormenting Kirito-kun aka KitsuneSqueak, lol, that was easy). Either way, I learned a lot when it came to posing and even make up.
Looking back, there are definitely things I would change. But… even so, I look back at photos from this cosplay fondly. It was after I had lost a bunch of weight and had been going to the gym daily. And to my surprise, there were shots where I actually saw muscle in my legs. I freaked out because I never thought that a wimp like me could produce muscle. I’ve gone in and out of having ‘defined’ muscle since then. But still, at the time (and even now) I felt so grateful. It was like shooting in this version of Asuna was a gift. One where I was really shooting a ‘me’ I’d always wanted to see rather than just a character. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Asuna. But I felt like the cosplay itself also reflected my personality and more specifically, what I loved doing.) I was so grateful for the fact that I was able to defy what felt like insurmountable odds that I had faced all through out high school too and really at the end of college, had come to be happy with myself, physically, intellectually, and emotionally.
So moral of the story? Don’t give up. Keep fighting, keep learning, keep growing. Part of growing up is learning how to accomplish what your goals are, whether they artistic, emotional, or even physical. They may seem difficult and impossible, but as Audrey Hepburn says “Nothing is Impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible!'” And there are good people out there. Good people who will cheer you on. We’re all cheering you on, today, tomorrow, and forever!