Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Cosplay in the Animal Kingdom - Meet Volkodav and Dante

A while ago Anime Picks shared an awesome Amaratsu (Okami) cosplay photograph on our Facebook page, I don’t mean a dude in a furry suit, I mean a dog with accessories! To google I went to search the origin of the cosplay to unmask the truth, was it a Photoshop masterpiece like the Pikachu cat? I found a deviantart profile with a full album of professional photographs of the same dog belonging to a chap by the name of Volkodav. I approached Volkodav about the cosplay and was pleasantly surprised.

Volkodav is American established cosplayer of about four years. Living in Boston with his wife, he actually picked it up from her, initially helping her obtain accessories for her outfits and eventually joining in and doing joint cosplays too. Whilst planning his Otakon trip in 2012 his wife suggested (semi-jokingly) to bring Dante the dog as part of the cosplay act. Their roommates at the convention loved the idea, and the hotel allowed dogs, so they did!

Dante is a Samoyed, which is a sled dog breed selected for friendliness, they also fed the weaker sled dogs. As a result, Dante adores attention from people. Surely I thought the accessories on his back must have aggravated him? Volkodav assured me as part of his personality he didn’t care about anything being on him, he was more interested in fuss from others. His fur is as soft as a cloud which can be sheared and used for wool (hypoallergenic too) it was natural to think of making the Ameratsu costume for him.

Amaterasu seemed like an ideal choice as Volkodav liked the game and he looked like the character too - apparently the custom made accessories weren’t at all too cumbersome to make for him. Hats off to Volkadav, this needed mechanics as well as paper-mache to make and the final results were amazing.

Basically, the costume was built in separate pieces which were then attached to a harness that buckles around him, and the marks on his head are made with food coloring- all animal friendly. It took about two months in total to make. Volkodav even made a detailed instructions of it on his blog for people interested and there was a lot of interest for sure: http://volkodavcosplay.com/okami-dog-cosplay/

Dante was oblivious to the costume being on him. In fact he only reacted when he noticed one of the 'wings' out of the corner of his eye. He must have thought it was a toy or a small animal? And tried to bite it off, however Once told to leave it he went back to whatever he was doing.

Generally, Dante doesn't care about anything so long as he's being played with/getting attention, and this time was no exception. He was (unsurprisingly) a giant hit at the convention. He wasn’t taken inside, since the convention center explicitly forbids non-service animals. So the couple walked him outside around the con on three short (30minute) outings, and he was surrounded by people pretty much the entire time.

Other than Otakon, he hasn’t been to any other cons - since it has to be in driving distance - most places don't allow dogs, and they have to make sure it'll be a good experience for him. However, they are always on the lookout for nearby cons that let dogs in, and they will definitely be bringing him to Otakon again this year 2012.

In addition to Otakon, they have taken Dante to his own private photo shoot Volkadav as Susano, and a friend as human-Amaterasu. That was the shoot from which they made a cosplay/comic: http://volko-dav.deviantart.com/art/Okami-Cosplay-Comic-Susano-and-Amaterasu-307990054

For more creative cosplay ideas go to Vokadav’s Facebook page: http://facebook.com/VolkodavCosplay

You can also find more images of dashing Dante on deviant art here: http://volko-dav.deviantart.com/

It’s great to see people come up with more and more creative ideas with cosplay as well as introducing new factors, and Dante was happy throughout, everyone wins.
One of the images above was taken by http://enchantedcupcake.deviantart.com/


  1. Wait, so if Dante's a boy dog does this count as crossplaying?

  2. I think it does! Dog-crossplaying.