My second new costume of 2016 is Taruto from Magical Nyan Nyan Taruto (also known as Magical Meow Meow Taruto), a remake of a costume from 2006! My original web alias was Taruto!, and it was taken from this little one here. Until a few years ago I used to host the biggest English language Taruto fan-site (“Kyou no Hana”), too.
The series originally aired in Japan in 2001 and is pretty unknown, but I love it a lot. It takes pride of place at the top of my favourite ridiculously obscure anime list!
I wore her to Anime Go! this March and once the event was over, I did a small shoot in a nearby park for her which turned out pretty cute (and has the me of 2002 absolutely overjoyed). Once the weather improves I’m hoping to do another shoot with some cute props and accessories!
Photos by Frazzy
Looking at the costume now, the design is actually kind of horrible. Clashing colours everywhere and weird blunt square hair, but for nostalgia’s sake I really wanted to redo her. There are so few Taruto cosplayers that I wanted to be one of the few decent ones out there. There are still a few things I dislike about my new costume, but I think it’s a huge improvement from my original attempt. Let’s take a look!
The photo on the left is from 2008 and was shockingly the improved version of this costume next to my new 2016 version. This is one of the first comparisons I’ve done where I’ve genuinely taken a step back and thought, “what an improvement”. A shiny camera helps, but the whole costume just looks so much better!
I couldn’t actually find a photo of my original costume from 2006, which had a horrendous purple bob wig and a mismatched shiny braid. The version pictured above was one of the first wig styling jobs I’d ever tried, with big faux fur ears made from foam, tape and lots of glue. The original dress was kindly made by my sister and wasn’t actually that bad, but the bow & accessories were a huge let-down, and it generally looked like a mess.
So what did I improve? Well.. quite a lot really. I eventually learned to smile (unbelievable right?), but also remade the wig, dress, yellow bow and tail, and improved the tights and shoes. The apron is the same one I commissioned in 2006, which still worked really nicely with the costume after a little cleanup!
Starting from the top, the wig is made from a Katinka and Long Wefts in Indigo Blue from Arda Wigs, trimmed around the face and on the fringe. I used the wefts to create the braid at the back and the little ears. I wanted a wig that didn’t have big comic faux fur ears, so I decided to make them with hair from the wig itself, lined with a short-pile fleece and thin pieces of marabou. It’s hard to imagine what “realistic” cat ears would be like on a person, but I’m really happy with the result!
I was picky for years over the colour for her wig, because so many references are so different. Some are bright blue, some are royal blue, some are purple(?!), and finding a nice medium was hard. Eventually I took the plunge and I think the colour is pretty ideal, and because the fibres are mixed it looks different in different lights anyway.
The dress is made from purple and white polycotton, which makes it light and easy to wear. I decided to remake it because the old one wasn’t quite the right colour and also had a high, stiff collar which was uncomfortable. The bodice is made with princess seams with a circle skirt attached. I made my own pattern so there’d be less emphasis on the bust than a premade pattern – Taruto appears as a child, so the seams are fitted to make it look smaller. The dress closes up the back with a concealed zipper and has a fitted collar.
The puff sleeves are padded to create the rounded shape and gathered with elastic so they’re easy to “re-puff” if needed. The bottom of the sleeves were also made from a custom pattern to gather around the cuffs, as Taruto’s sleeves fitted at the elbow then baggy at the bottom in most of the art, as you can see above. It makes my hands look tiny too, which adds to the whole look.
The yellow bow is made from polycotton drill with a thin layer of wadding inside, then with the cute little bell sewn on top! The bell was also reused from my old costume.
Finally, the accessories! The tights and shoes were bought. Different references show her with socks or tights, so I went for whatever was most comfortable for me. The shoes have little bows made from grosgrain ribbon, gathered then tacked in place around the strap on the shoe so they’re easily removable if I ever need them for another costume.
The tail was a new experience for me. I didn’t want one made of faux fur, so I looked into different methods and was recommended to try and make a “Yarn Tail” instead, following this tutorial. It worked surprisingly well, and while it was time consuming (it took maybe 8+ hours to make the tail over two days) the result is excellent. Even with really cheap wool, the effect is much more realistic for a cat tail than any fur I could find – and this way I could match the wool to the wig fibres and get a nice close match. I added a thin piece of jewelry wire inside the tail which also helps it bounce more naturally than just sit flat.
I’m hoping to commission Chompworks for a 3D printed version of her wand, ideally in time for the nice spring weather. Taruto is a simple costume and didn’t take long to make, so I might as well make her “complete”! If you have any questions with this costume, techniques or anything else, please feel free to ask!