Trial of the Mask (2013 on YouTube)

It has been a while since I have written up a movie review!  I have been watching a ton of movies still but haven’t had that much time to write anything with all the other things going on with this blog and now writing for Cosplayers Among Us Magazine!  So please forgive me!  Maybe I would have time to write if I didn’t keep watching movies but it has been a nice break from all the projects under way.

Why did I chose to review this independent short film?  Easy! Star Wars and Steampunk!  How can you go wrong with this combination!!  The costumes are great and for being independent so are the effects!  I also  love supporting others in their craft no matter what that art form is!

Besides all the amazing costumes and props I really like the choice of camera angles used. These camera angles take advantage of the beautiful details in the costume!  And also leaves a mystery of who is Boba Fett that the original trilogy created. Personally I think that was a huge draw to the characters fan base.  Who is this bad ass sci fi warrior and what does he look like?!  I know a lot of people were glad to get more on this character with Episode 2 but I often wonder what would have happened if that mystery was left.

You can watch the short film reviewed below.

Is this a drinking movie?  This is to short to drink along with.

Rated: Not rated

Duration: 12 min 49 sec

Mala’s Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Additional links and info: Click here is an interview with Steampunk Boba Fett were he talks about the second installment to this tale. Or click here for the Fan Film website where you can order posters.

Stay tuned for a review of the next edition when this is released!

Heroes Behind the Masks: Heroes With A Heart

Texas has a lot of big hearted people, after all everything is bigger in Texas, and this week is another amazing group of CAUSEplayers! I have been following them for a few months and love the positive attitude and great example that is adds to my personal Facebook feed!  Not to mention the variety of things they have going on from visiting children’s hospitals to supporting local comic book shops and even hula hooping at a library.  And from experience hula hooping in costume is not easy!!!-Mala

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Group Name: Heroes With A Heart

Mission Statement : Heroes With A Heart is dedicated to being involved in our community by being a positive influence in the hearts of children and adults and inspiring everyone to become a hero.

Location(s): San Antonio, TX

When was the group started? And by who?
Our group was started in October of 2014 by a group of friends with the same goal and heart in mind. That goal being to use a common hobby and turn it into something that would help benefit our community.

If you are the creator of this group what inspired you to create Heroes With A Heart CAUSEplay in general? If you are a member of the Heroes With A Heart what made you want to join this particular group or CAUSEplay?
I would say the inspiration came from our first hospital visit together. We decided to get together and go visit patients at Methodist Children’s Hospital. It was an amazing time. The kids were so excited to see us and we were so happy to make a difference and put a smile on their faces during a time that can be scary or disheartening. Since that first visit we realized we wanted to do more things like that and help more kids.
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Do you have a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization status or other designation? If not, do you consider yourself a charity group or just a group of friend who do good? And are you looking into getting a 501(c)3 status?
We are currently a charity group but we eventually hope receive our nonprofit organization status.

How can someone join Heroes With A Heart?
They can email us at info@heroeswithaheart or message us on our Facebook page at

What type of costumes do you accept? Do you have a costume approval process, if so what is it? What do you look for in a costume?
We accept Super Heroes and Princess themed characters. We do accept some villains and anti-heroes and other themed genres. Basically what we look for is that the costumes be family friendly and appropriate for young children as we do visit many small children in hospitals and schools. We do have a committee in charge checking potential volunteer’s costumes to make sure they meet that criteria.

Do you accept crossplay costumes? Gender bent costumes? Customized characters? Yes, yes, and yes 

Do you have people willing to help with the costume making process or a resource guide to help with the process?
At times we do get together and help each other out. We do have some members more experienced that are willing to help out their teammates on a project.

How many people are currently in your group?
We currently have 20 members. 11 of which are full time members and the other 9 are volunteer members.
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Leadership structure: We have a Board of Directors comprised of a President, Vice President, and a Secretary/Treasurer.

How is the leadership determined?
Once a year the full time members will submit votes for the Board of Directors to serve for that year.

What have you done for charities (types of events)?
Most of our events are hospital visits and local shelter visits that we schedule with the coordinators of those locations. We have participated in a few awareness events such as the Ferrari Kid Fundraiser event that was held recently and we do make school visits on request. For school visits we have been asked to speak on different topics like promoting leadership character traits as well as encouragement during state testing.

Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
Most of our events we create ourselves by scheduling visits. We do make appearances when requested if we are available.

How did you build you “clientele”? Mostly we have built it by reaching out to the local hospitals and shelters. Some contacts we have made by participating in events like different local cons.
Do you have particular organization(s) or cause(s) you work with regularity?

I would say we work most often with local hospitals like Children’s Methodist Hospital.
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What is the most amazing thing Heroes With A Heart has accomplished so far?
The most amazing thing we accomplished so far was our event for Free Comic Book Day! It was incredible. We partnered up with our local Dragon’s Lair and Texas Comic Con and took FCBD to as many kids as we could in hospitals and local shelters. The idea came from a team member when we were deciding on which comic book store to hang out at on that day and his idea was, “Why don’t we take it to the kids who can’t make it out there instead?” It was brilliant. Dragon’s Lair donated over 300 comic books and Texas Comic Con donated some little toys for the kids who aren’t quite reading yet. We divided up into teams and visited Methodist Children’s Hospital, North East Baptist, University Hospital, and Haven for Hope all in a single day. It’s a tradition we hope to continue every year.

Where do you see Heroes With A Heart going in the future?
We definitely hope to become a non profit one day and do more to help our community. Maybe start programs that teach kids how to use their own gifts to help others.

Do you use any fun terminology specifically for Heroes With A Heart?
HWAH is more than just cosplayers. We have members who we refer to as “Hero Support”. They are handlers who help take care of the cosplayers and take photographs for our page.

Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay group or getting into CAUSEplay?
Make sure you do it from your heart. It isn’t about becoming famous or anything like that. We do what we do because we see a need in our community and the joy it can bring to a child is priceless. Cosplayers can have an amazing effect on the mind of a young person and you can use your talent to help inspire them and motivate them.
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Anything else you want to add about your group or CAUSEplay: Thank you for the opportunity to tell our story! We really appreciate it. If you know someone who can benefit from what we do please pass on the contact info!

What future events do you have?
We will be at Texas Comic Con on August 7-9th doing some fundraising and talking about our group. We will also be at the Ready, Set, Learn Back to School Fest with Texas A&M at Mission Academy on August 15th. It’s a back to school community event. We may have some more events pop up so please follow our Facebook page for more info 
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Hero Behind the Mask: Meridian Vu

This week I want to introduce you to a new CASUEplayer who is organizing a fund raising event involving cosplay!  She has done fundraising events in the past but this is a new venture for her and I am so glad to share this even with you.  If you are in the Riverside, CA area you should totally check out this event and stop by to support such a good cause.  Please continue reading for more info about the event on August 1st and the cosplayer hosting it! –Mala

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Name: Meridian Vu

Location: Riverside, California

What got you into CAUSEplaying? What keeps you CAUSEplaying? Why did you chose the Salvation Army to benefit from this event? What inspired you to create this event?
I currently work for the Salvation Army, and have been there for a little over 4 years. My job entails sub-managing one of their after school programs, which they call “Hero Club.” In the Hero Club, local children, often from low-income family backgrounds, enroll in the program to receive academic help. In addition to helping kids with their homework, we also feed them a snack and provide playtime and craft activities at the facility. All of these services to the children are provided for them at zero cost.

Other than my main job, sub-managing the after school program, I also help coordinate decor for events (such as VBS, for which I am also Bible teacher), and host small fundraisers (like car washes). As a student at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, loving cosplay and sewing clothing, some of my co-workers has been pushing me to host a fashion show as a fundraiser. However, due to my lack of time, I am not able to design, fit, and make outfits for a full fashion show. It then occurred to me, that with all the cosplay gatherings taking place, I could actually host a cosplay gathering, AS A FUNDRAISER!

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
Causeplay: Cosplay for a Cause, coming August 1st, will be my first CausePlay event: attending and hosting!

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
Not having been to a cosplay event geared towards a cause prior to my upcoming gathering, I have no favorite cosplay! Cosplays I currently own include: Lolita Harley Quinn – D.C., C.C. (outfit from S1 E14) – Code Geass, Gijinka Monomi – Dangan Ronpa, Ib – Ib RPG Maker, and Annie Leonhardt (Titan-human hybrid) – Shingeki no Kyojin.

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment: I’m looking forward to my first CAUSEplay moments come August!

What is your favorite cause to support?
Still new to CAUSEplay, I’m looking into other venues and organizations to contribute to, via these cosplay fundraiser events. I, of course, had chosen the Salvation Army, because, having worked there for several years, I see and know, firsthand, how they have contributed to the community and greatly admire the efforts they take in being true to “Doing the most Good.” Also, being familiar with the venue, and being on the inside, helped me easily organize our upcoming Causeplay Fundraiser.

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
Maybe the silliest thing I’ve done for a cause, in general, is host fundraisers at all! In 2011, I started off at Salvation Army as a 15-year-old high school student volunteer, and wanted to do a lot for them, because of how they’d helped me. I actually tried to host a large-scale fun-fair type fundraiser event, managing to maybe get 150 people to come throughout the event duration. Being ambitious, but very young and inexperienced, I tried to do too much by myself, without enough support from a team. After trying to do these types of events about two more times, and trying to improve upon the last experience, I realized the extreme necessity for a good team of people to be working on one event at a time.

It wasn’t until recently, that I’ve built great relationships and made friends in the cosplay community, who I could depend on as a team to help me put this Causeplay Fundraiser together. I definitely couldn’t have gotten this far without them!

Who inspires you?Can I be that stereotypical fangirl for a moment? Yaya Han is definitely of my top inspirations. Aside from people near me, in this community, I find Yaya Han a great inspiration because of where she has built herself to be. Other than being extremely great at creating intricate cosplays, she has also built her online presence to not only sell prints of her cosplays, but enter the modeling industry, as well as business with her cosplay accessories and props. With my fashion and business background, I would love to follow in her footsteps, with little twists of my own.
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Advice for CAUSEplaying
1. Don’t be a hater.
2. Self-depreciating is also being a hater. To yourself. Don’t do that either. (Please!)
3. When choosing whether or not to go to events, don’t let the reputation of the organization to which the cause is benefitting, stop you from attending. Look at what the community of people coming together are actually trying to accomplish, before you decide whether or not to support it!

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
Since we’re still planning for August 1st, as our first event, we have not yet ventured to other dates. But are presumably looking at a pre-fall or a pre-Christmas event next!

Other than CAUSEplay events, we will be exhibiting at Anime Expo, 626 Night Market August and September, Comikaze Expo, and Akihabara Expo.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?Cosplayer, definitely! For some reason, I feel like “cosplay” is different from “costume,” maybe in that, there is more to cosplay as a subculture, than costume. Semantics and connotations aside, I personally love to cosplay to usurp character roles. It feels empowering in that I can play a part as my favorite characters, and challenge myself to create the outfits that embody that character.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
My first time cosplaying, I was Gasai Yuno at AX 2013 (unless you count a closet Amane Misa at AX 2011, also my first con).

Also, being new to cosplay (though my first official was in 2013, I had a house fire the week after, so I had a major setback in attempting anything cosplay, having lost absolutely everything in the fire and having to start over from complete scratch), I don’t have many cosplays to begin with. It was only in September 2014, that I actually started cosplaying more, after having gathered new materials and enough supplies to make anything again.

Can you tell us about developing a relationship with the business and organization involved?
I guess I got it easy, being that my boyfriend and I (with the help of our great team of friends) run Anime Charms, and I work at the Salvation Army!

Will this become a regular event?
With the traction we’ve been getting, with many people getting hyped for this first event, and our team of great friends putting this together, we’d love for this to be a recurring event! We’ll probably be sticking with the Salvation Army for a while, because of my personal affiliation with the organization and inside experience and ease of access to the venue; however, as this event grows, we would love to venture out and be able to contribute to many other causes.

What advice do you have if someone wants to create an event like this?
Unlike most people, I am very lucky to be closely affiliated with an organization to whom I can trust contributing to, whilst having inside access to the venue and putting it together. For those who want to start events like this, a team of close friends you can depend on is ESSENTIAL.

Finding who you want to contribute to, would be the first step, and doing research on what the organization does, and how much they actually give back to the community, given your contribution is very important!
Establishing a relationship with the organization is also key; after you’ve chosen your organization, speak with someone who does in charge of their fundraising and ask if they will help you host an event for them. It would be good to define exactly what the cause is, so that people attending the event understand where their money would be contributing towards, and how much of it actually is used towards that cause.
Then next step would be finding a venue to host the event at, if the organization you want to contribute to does not have a facility to accommodate a gathering. Finding a facility, such as at a community center instead of a convention center or hotel, would help, as renting space would probably cost lower, if they know the event is going towards a cause, instead of personal profit.

Creating a facebook event page, and other venues for getting the word out via social media is also pretty key. Word of mouth is powerful, and with social media, word can spread fast! We hosted a photoshoot with our cosplay friends to help us have more photos to post to instagram and other social media in order to constantly shoutout each other and the event coming up!

In creating the event itself, have activities that cosplayers would like to participate in, such as games, contests, and photo opportunities. Having prizes help as well! Keeping the initial costs low attract many people, and raising “prices” as events repeat can happen if the event becomes popular enough.
Overall, have fun coming up with ideas on how to entertain everyone, as well as talking to people at other gatherings and events to talk about your upcoming fundraiser. Connecting with people is key to getting everyone excited about going and wanting to support!

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
It may seem like working at the Salvation Army would take a ton of my time (which it does) as it is! But I do have other “jobs” outside of working there, or being a college student. I also currently run Anime Charms, a business my mom helped me start up, selling licensed anime products. I have no current store front, but sell items online and at local cons and events.

My boyfriend (whom I so fatefully met an anime convention), has definitely helped me a ton with this! We’ve expanded our social media presence and diversified our brand to encompass more than “that random booth at a con.”
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If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I would love to cosplay as my job! (Yaya Han is a great inspiration!) I always look up to famous cosplayers and people around me working on their cosplays, and admire their efforts so much! But I would definitely love to make a career out of this passion. Both my boyfriend and I look forward to growing Anime Charms into more than just an Anime gift shop ~ looking to run a manga library cafe/lounge setting, providing a hangout spot for cosplayers and people of the Anime (and other fandoms) community and being able to meet more people and make friends with common interests. We also hope to grow that to accommodate for my fashion interests to release clothing lines with japanese inspiration, as well as cosplay lines!

Tell us something random about yourself: My favorite sport is knife throwing 😉

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Trek; because Spock. (no further explanation needed)

Marvel or DC: DC ~

Favorite Comic Series: Anything Harley, puddin’!

Favorite Comic Character: Harley Quinn for the win!


Favorite Video Game: Runescape – the first and only MMO I’ve played. Shout outs to cooking swordfish!

Favorite Anime Series: I definitely loved Sailor Moon and Pokemon growing up! Code Geass and Madoka Magica have made it to my favorite “classics” (which are more recent, than say stuff from decades ago). Recently, I’ve really loved Psycho Pass!

Favorite Anime Character: I love all the “badass characters” ~ Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail, Lelouch VI Britannia from Code Geass, and Gasai Yuno (a.k.a. Yandere Queen-sama) from Mirai Nikki.
Favorite Convention: My bias would gear me towards Anime California, since that’s where I took my boyfriend’s picture, leading him to find it online and talk to me on Facebook. Comikaze Expo is where I first officially met him and started talking to him, giving me very fond memories of that expo, but the small, yet close-knit feel that Anime California gave me is definitely a win ~
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Affiliations (clubs or groups): Is there anything I’m not involved in?! I have personal accounts, as well as accounts for our Anime Charms business. We’re still building up on stuff for Causeplay: Cosplay for a Cause, so we just have an facebook and event page, for now.

Instagram: @Anime_Charms @Meraidiosyncrasy

Youtube: N/A Meraidiosyncrasy


Twitter: @Anime_Charms N/A


Causeplay event page:


Steampunk Marvel Crossovers (X-men)

X-men is one of my all time favorite comics so I very excited to share this feature with you.  I love to seeing collaborative projects too!  Make sure to check out all the talented people involved in this amazing project.   I really can’t say enough about these detail in each of these costumes. If you know X-men you will appreciate how the design is balanced with the character design and the originality of each piece. I have been debating about how to write up this feature but seriously there is way too much to say!  Instead of me saying how epic these are I hope you can find the elements in each piece that you appreciate for your own reasons.  – Mala

The costumes were made by Maise Designs Seamstress and designed by Art of Jen Broomall.
Photos by Grant Brummett

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In order left to right:
Rogue: Itty Bitty Geek
Psylocke: Natalie Arvizu Cosplay
Jean Grey: Sirenita Cosplay
Storm: CupcakeNinjaCosplay
X-23: Krash Cosplay 
Magik: Empire Kat Cosplay

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Rogue: Itty Bitty Geek
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Psylocke: Natalie Arvizu Cosplay
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Jean Grey: Sirenita Cosplay
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Storm: CupcakeNinjaCosplay
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X-23: Krash Cosplay 

They also won a photo contest from Phoenix Comic Con!  Congrats ladies!

I hope that these costumes inspire you in your own steampunk designs!

If you have a crossover steampunk outfit you want to see featured please email me at Please include the photo, your Facebook or website, and photographer credits. I want to thank those who have reached out to me already!  It is so fun to see what you have done and how you did it!