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Buccaneer Ben and his Trip to Naka-Kon

We caught up with that piratey rogue, Buccaneer Ben, of the Mighty Magic Pants last week, who had just returned from Naka-Kon, an anime convention in Overland Park, Kansas to show off his latest cosplay.

Ok, back up. Wha??

If those words are foreign to you, Ben can explain:

Buccaneer Ben as Emperor Kuzco

BB: The Naka-Kon convention is a magical place where lovers of Japanese animation (anime, for short) and culture, or just any kind of fandom, come to cosplay. It’s got everything: contests, game shows, panels of artists and voice actors, vendors, anime showing rooms, workshops – even a charity ball. It’s a great way to connect with other people who share your interests. All just a ton of fun!

Cosplay is a broad term. It’s short for costume play, because it’s a type of performance art where cosplayers dress up and act as a specific character, often from anime, but it can also be from comic books, video games, even TV and movies. You can cosplay anywhere and go on an adventure pretending to be that character.

(If you’re still confused, you’ll just have to go experience it for yourself. It’s every March in Overland Park, KS.)

Wow! So now we have a boat-load of more questions!

Buccaneer Ben's Cosplay

FF: Who went with you and who did they go as? BB: I was with a very large group of people and we dressed as characters from the series “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” which was a lot of fun. We had Katara, June, Varrick, the legendary Cabbage Man, and I went as Prince Zuko. I posted pictures on the Magic Pants’ Facebook Page. I was Prince Zuko from “The Last Airbender” and Emperor Kuzco from “The Emperor's New Groove.” I absolutely love both characters and their respective show/movie. Plus, I knew they would both be recognizable and stand out in a crowd. In fact, Cabbage Man (Melvin Northrup) and I actually won the Hall Cosplay Contest! It's the first time I've ever won an award for costumes that I've made, so it was a pretty exciting feat!

FF: How long did it take to make the outfits? BB: The Emperor Kuzco outfit took me about a total of 2 weeks, Cabbage Man took me only about a week to make, and Prince Zuko (which was much harder!) took me about a month and a half.

FF: What’s your next costume project going to be? BB: That's the really crazy, awesomely outrageous one that I'm keeping secret, so unfortunately I can't say...but I will give you a hint: think Disney villain.... I'm a huge Disney fan, so my dream project would be to create a massive collection of Disney cosplay. FF: Can we find you at any other events like Naka-Kon?

BB: Absolutely! As I pirate, it's almost MANDATORY for me to go to as many renaissance festivals as possible! Each year, I try to make it to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival and the Larkspur Renaissance Festival in Colorado, two of the midwest’s biggest.

FF: Do you have any other secret hobbies we don’t know about? BB: Not a lot of people know that I play the bassoon (or, as many people call it, a burping bedpost!)

FF: How do you feel about Hugh Jackman never wearing yellow spandex? BB: I say "Smart choice, Mr. Jackman!" Yellow only looks good on piratey mighty magic pants, anyway! :P FF: Who wore it better – Johnny Depp or Keith Richards? BB: Piratey swag runs deep in the Sparrow family. Never get on the bad side of Captain Teague...but if you want to get out of a sticky situation, always sail with Captain Jack.

FF: Which fantasy pirate do you admire most? (eg, Sinbad the Sailor, Long John Silver, airship pirate Captain Shakespeare, space pirate Malcolm Reynolds) BB: Captain Jack Sparrow. Reason? One quote to live by: "Bring me that horizon." Nothing is the limit with Captain Jack! FF: What’s your favorite line of Pirates of Penzance? BB: GENERAL: But wait a bit. I object to pirates as sons-in-law.

KING: We object to major-generals as fathers-in-law. But we waive that point. We do not press it. We look over it.

FF: Are you more like Peter Pan or Captain Hook?

BB: I'm as rough and tough as Captain Hook, but as cunning and adventurous as Peter Pan!

FF: Pirates vs. Ninjas. Who would win?

BB: *points with hook* Is that a joke?? Or do ye reeeeeally want to find out? FF: Pastafarians claim that the severe decrease in pirates since the 1700s has contributed to global warming. Do you find this true? BB: The way I see it, the warmer the weather, the more melting of glaciers. The more melting, the more water in the oceans. And if there's more water in the ocean, then there's room for MORE PIRATES!!! FF: I’ve read that “buccaneer” comes from the French word, boucan, which means barbeque, because the original hunters of cattle and pigs on Haiti and Dominica preferred this method of cooking. These “Brethren of the Coast” joined runaway slaves and deserters to prey on Spanish ships. Yet aren’t you vegetarian? How do you resolve this paradox? BB: The beasties and I had a Parlay and we resolved not to quarrel. FF: How important is presentation in pirate cuisine? BB: Presentation is key to a scallywag's meal. We call it the Arrrrrrt of Grub!

Misha Darcy


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