Leslie Carpenter, or Carpento-chan, as she is known among friends and online acquaintances, appreared at Santa Clara’s Fanime-Con “Der Cosplay” Masquerade event bearing a striking near-resemblance to the character Ayanami Rei from the popular Japanese anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. And for Carpenter, a five-year veteran of “cosplay,” in which fans dress up in homemade character costumes, her choice to dress as Rei was a carefully calculated one.
“Everybody usually always dresses as schoolgirl Rei,” Carpenter explained. “How hard is that? That’s just re-using your schoolgirl Asuka costume and adding a wig.”
“When I think Rei, I think plug-suit Rei,” Carpenter declared proudly, referring to the form-fitting armored jumpsuit worn by the character while piloting her Evangelion, a giant robot.
As she posed for pictures with other convention attendees in a poorly-lit hotel convention hallway, Carpenter modeled her handiwork: a crooked, too-bright blue wig and a wrinkled, loose-fitting jumpsuit of satin and spandex marred only by an distracting Fanime-Con guest tag.
Though Carpenter is not noticably overweight when dressed in ordinary clothing, her costume, perhaps inevitably, invited unfavorable comparisons to the impossibly skinny, yet shapely fourteen-year-old animated character upon whom it is based. Confronted with this fact, Carpenter remained unfazed.