Nerds Gone Wild

Savannah rules runways and cosplay

by Ashley Rankin

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WHO: Savannah Hagin? Tyki Mikk? Not sure. WHERE: Lurking about, taking a break from hunting exorcists. SHIRT: From that thrift shop down the road. QUOTE: “If you’re gonna do a costume, do it so well that you shock everyone. Don’t half-ass it.” SECRET STYLE WEAPON: Originality, authenticity and putting in the effort.

Savannah Hagin is a shameless nerd who flaunts her geekitude at comic conventions. A part-time server, model and actress, this cosfreak loves to unwind with good manga and she really gets into it. Like REALLY into it. Her rendition of androgynous antagonist Tyki Mikk from Katsura Hoshino’s supernatural-themed manga D. Gray Man has earned Savannah notoriety and respect among her peers. This is her story.

Who is Tyki Mikk?

The character is an androgynous dude: one of the Millennium Earl’s henchman from D. Gray Man. He’s this weird hobo who plays poker and works in the mines by day but moonlights as a suave exorcist hunting gentlemen in the evenings. Hilarity and tragedy ensue. A lot of people die. There are hair growth serums and zombified medical practitioners, people with weird eyebrows, cannibal golems shaped like a pretty butterfly. It’s all pretty neat.

You’ve obviously got mad love for this Mikk dude. What’s behind the adoration? Perhaps he inspires you somehow?

The makeup, the props and the fact that he has seven other outfits make Mikk a very challenging cosplay. It’s a huge commitment. I’ve completed four out of the seven but I WANT MORE!

I wanted to try Mikk for several reasons, but I would have to say I mostly caved to peer pressure. My friends would say things like, “You look like him; it’s creepy.” It’s the truth though. I enjoy dressing in suits as I have a pretty major thing for British fashion and rockin’ the stereotypical Korean boy band attire with crazy hair. My hair is so unruly that keeping it short is kinda necessary, so this look works for me.

In general, I like to dress as though I were from an anime about school girls who fight random monsters and then watch people play the cello. Anime is a little weird.

Run me through the process of creating your cosplay.

Ebay! I’m sewing challenged, so most of the outfit was purchased from various locations. The gloves, vest, and shirt were all really lucky finds at Value Village. The shoes were tricky: Mikk’s are super shiny, pointed and pretty much men’s dress shoes. I searched everywhere for them. I’d broken down and was about to order a pair but they just weren’t right. Then I popped into American Apparel [Saskatoon] on a whim and saw the PERFECT shoes! Yay!

The rest of the outfit was loitering around my house — the scarf, the pants, the makeup… I already had all that. I already had three of his other costumes hanging in my closet, so I was able to rework a lot of the staples.

Well-planned costumes make me appreciate the art of cosplaying. But it’s all fun — from the time and effort that people go through to make their costumes to the reactions from your peers or checking to make sure you’ve done everything right. Even getting makeup stains on the pages of your book because you are referencing it to make sure you get all the details correct. If you read the chapter or watched the episode, you get a little giddy about this sort of thing.

Some people would consider this to be a nerdy pastime. What do you say to the haters?

It is indeed a nerdy pastime and I’m totally okay with it. I think I’ve even called it that. We’ve all got something that we enjoy — for some people it’s music, others it’s the drink, and for me it’s cosplay. When I discovered anime and cosplaying it was something I was completely comfortable with and had WAY too much fun doing. It’s a challenge that I give to myself and if I pull it off well, it feels like I’ve accomplished something.

Any last words?

Do it properly and don’t complain about how much time it takes you. The payoff is gonna be even better than you imagine and you’re gonna love every minute of it.