Fiona is wearing… Ratchet (and Clank)

This issue of WAYW introduces us to Fiona, a UK-based cosplayer and the outfit that helps her to bring a much loved character to life.

 

Who are you wearing?

I’m cosplaying as Ratchet (and Clank) from the Ratchet & Clank series (developed by Insomniac Games of Spyro, Resistance, Sunset Overdrive and Song Of The Deep fame). 

 

Photo by Neil Canon Keogh

 

How long did it take you to complete the costume for Ratchet?

Several years ago, as soon as I realised there is an official Ratchet & Clank costume when I stumbled across a tweet by a former Insomniac Games employee which featured a photograph of a Ratchet & Clank costume. I went through A LOT OF hoops to track down said costume, the Clank backpack and the foam OmniWrench. It took me weeks, maybe even months or years searching on various websites for these pieces but I failed at every turn. I eventually became aware of a former long-time, die-hard Ratchet & Clank fanatic by the name of LurkingLeanne from Twitter and deviantART was selling a lot of Ratchet & Clank merchandise she collected throughout the years. As luck would have it, she had all of the parts I was looking for to complete my cosplay so I immediately bought all of them lest they’ll be sold out down the line. Altogether they cost a lot of money considering she is from New Zealand and the fact the cosplay parts originated from America but it’s worth it. Last year or later on in 2016, I bought an inflatable OmniWrench from her. This year, I also ordered a new hood with Lombax ears from the Etsy UK website, serving as a replacement for my old hood with Lombax ears or acting as an upgrade. 

Fast forward to July 2018 and I’m surprised the costume still fits me perfectly despite it’s a large child size. 

 

What does the Ratchet & Clank fandom mean to you?

(Read my Ratchet & Clank: Back To The Beginning retrospective on my personal blog which explains more about the series as a whole and how I got hooked on the series in the first place)

Truth to be told, I became aware of the series several years ago but the third-person gunplay put me off of the entire series for a number of years until 2014 when a former acquaintance persuaded and convinced me to give it a second chance. The next thing I knew my curiosity soon resulted in me binge-playing all of the games starting from Ratchet & Clank 2: Locked and Loaded.

Ever since that fateful conversation on Facebook, the series caused me to slowly become open to more platforming games (in spite of the fact that I’ve always been into platformers since Crash Bandicoot way back in 1996), platform-shooters, child/family-friendly shooters (for instance, Splatoon and Splatoon 2) and other shooters (for example, Hyper Sentinel) and it sparked a new pastime: stargazing.

Ratchet and Clank’s long-lasting bromance is something I used to relate to. Back in the day, I used to compare their endearing friendship to the (seemingly) everlasting strong bond I shared with my ex-best friend. My former long-time best friend and I established a friendship in 2006 but it unfortunately ended in 2017. Back then, I tended to refer to her as the Clank to my Ratchet, given how long we’d been best friends for. Looking back on it, it’s bittersweet.

Not only did the series teach me about friendship, I also learned about teamwork, loyalty, companionship, what it means to be kind, considerate and compassionate, putting people’s needs before your own and that not everything new or different needs to be avoided like the plague.   

If there’s anything I learned about friendship from the series is a true best friend will always stick by your side, even if you’re harsh towards him/her. Friendship is a precious thing and it’s something you should hold onto dearly and it’s not to be taken for granted; you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

Thanks to this series, I’m able to explore the expanse of outer space and travel to planets I never thought were possible, even if they are fictional. The earlier techno and electronica soundtracks composed by David Bergeaud helped convey the feeling of being lost in the vastness of the outer limits, embracing the starry sky; it’s like floating around in ecstasy without a care in the world.

 

Photo by Nicole Saxon Bate Photography

 

What is special about Ratchet and why did you choose him?

I almost have the same personality as Ratchet, sans the courage, and I share a stubborn streak with him. There are times when I don’t think things through properly and I act before I think. Apparently, Ratchet’s recklessness has rubbed off on me. Not to mention the fact that I have always been a cat person; considering his species, the Lombaxes, are bipedal, anthropomorphic, desert-dwelling alien felines. In other words, they’re space cat aliens.

Due to his feline appearance, he is irresistibly cute but in an adorable way. I’m not sure which part of him is more loveable: his Lombax ears, his emerald eyes, the fluffy tuft on the end of his tail (a Lombax’s tail is nearly similar to a lion’s tail), his short stature and his white-clawed feet.       

Prior to meeting Clank, Ratchet becomes bitter due to living on a backwater planet in isolation for countless years. The feeling of loneliness (due to a number of years of depression and social anxiety) is very relatable despite the fact that I’m surrounded by my friends and family. 

At the end of Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction, Ratchet is left devastated after the Zoni snatched Clank away from him. This left me to wonder if Ratchet suffers from separation anxiety. Though, the subsequent sequels never delve deep into his insecurities.    

Out of all of the pilot suits and armour he wore throughout his intergalactic adventures, the pilot suits from Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction and Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One are my favourites. Initially, the pilot suit from Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction wasn’t my favourite but the more I cosplayed in it, the more I appreciated it.

 

Photo by Ian Cai Mercer/Tigletverse Travel and Photography (Twitter: @IanCaiMercer)

 

What advice would you give to anyone who is new to cosplay or anybody that wants to start but doesn’t know how?

If you’re hesitating to cosplay due to worrying about how people and other cosplayers will judge you, just wing it! Be yourself, ignore the naysayers and cosplay as anyone you want to be. Don’t let people tell you who to cosplay as and don’t cosplay as a character just because it’s popular.  

If someone confuses your cosplay character for a different character, either correct the person or ignore them if they deliberately mistake you for someone else merely to wind you up (although this will be very rare).

I suggest you start off small before you work your way up. Back in 2014, I dressed up as a hippie (back then, I still didn’t understand the concept of cosplay in spite of what I heard and read about it) before I upped my game and I cosplayed as Ratchet & Clank for the first time in 2016. I attended more conventions such as Animeleague Manchester Anime and Gaming Con, MCM Comic Con Manchester and Play Expo Manchester as Ratchet & Clank three years in a row (2016, 2017 and this year). 

But I’ll give you a heads up, if you’ve donned a jumpsuit, it may look cool and wearing one may be empowering… that is until you decide to go to the toilet. Once you enter a lockable toilet and you remove your jumpsuit to relieve yourself, it immediately falls to the ground leaving you feeling exposed. It can be frustrating and annoying to take off and to put back on but the payoff is satisfying, especially when you flaunt it at a convention, cosplay event or meet up.

Most importantly, cosplay is meant to be fun. Wear who you want and enjoy yourself!

 

You can find Fiona on Twitter and loads more of her writing via her personal blog.

 

Do you cosplay and have a story to tell? If so, get in touch via or social channels or send an email to dave@nerdod.com. 

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