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Cosplaying Reki From ‘SK8 the Infinity’ Reminded Me What Cosplay Is All About

I truly did appreciate Reki's overall message of "it's okay to like things."

Me in my Reki cosplay

Spoilers for SK8 the Infinity

Once upon a time my wife and I would go to several events throughout the year and cosplay at each and every one of them. That all came to a halt because of a certain something that happened in 2020. While we certainly could’ve kept cosplaying and sharing photos online, my motivation for cosplay tanked. Cosplay wasn’t high on my list anymore and, for a while, I kinda thought I wouldn’t do it again—at least not to the extent I did before.

Then? I watched SK8 the Infinity. Like. SIX times.

When I realized that the conventions we had planned in 2020 were coming back in 2022 (meaning our artist alley tables were rolled over), I was surprised that one of the first things I wanted to do was work on a new cosplay. I wanted to cosplay SK8’s main character, Reki, so much that I actually grabbed a sketchbook, designed an outfit, and excitedly waited for my wife to go to the fabric store.

The cosplay

Reki cosplay
(Image: Studio Bones/Hiroko Utsumi and Briana Lawrence)

My wife and I work together when it comes to cosplay. I design what I want my cosplay to look like, then she goes about making it. I don’t sew (I married my seamstress, lol) but over time I realized that I enjoy putting my own spin on the characters I like. So, I design an alternate look in a style I like, then she brings it to life.

With Reki, I decided to use the outfit he normally wears. I picked the yellow hoodie out of his rainbow collection of colored tops because it’s also the color of the bottom of his board, which meant I could have some extra fun and have the skateboard decals on the dress itself.

@snowstoryteller Got the SK8 Reki dress done for my wife this weekend, have a video of me adding the custom patch! #sk8 #reki #cosplay #applique #dress #cosplaywip ♬ Paradise – Rude-alpha

Along the way, we decided to alter some of the design, for example, with this being a cosplay for Anime Central we decided that long sleeves weren’t the way to go because, well, I’d get hot (especially since we have more conventions this summer). We also decided not to add some of the extra bits I had on the coat (which is actually a part of the dress instead of a separate piece I put on). We felt that the patches my wife created made the dress vibrant enough. She also made the headband I’m wearing, making it stretch enough to get over the red wig.

In conclusion, I absolutely adore this look. Being Reki all day at a convention was so much fun!

Completed Reki cosplay
(Image: Briana Lawrence)

Why I picked Reki

SK8 the Infinity
(Image: Studio Bones/Hiroko Utsumi)

Reki’s entire story in SK8 meant a lot to me. As a creative who struggles to not try and turn everything I do into a job, it’s the exact message I needed to hear – especially these days. He skateboards because he likes it, and he struggles with those feelings when he starts to think that he’s not good enough compared to the people around him – especially Langa, who just started skateboarding AND who Reki trained. As if doubling down on the relatability, Reki fails to realize that he is a fantastic skateboarder. Not only is he good at it, and not only did he train the person who would go on to beat the best (Adam), but he MAKES the skateboards he and Langa use. He’s a character with a wild amount of talent, but none of that matters when he gets too deep into his head.

Like. You didn’t have to come at me like this, SK8. Reki’s whole arc reminded me so much of feeling inadequate as a writer, or cosplayer, or, well, ANYTHING, really, especially since we live in a society that puts an age limit on your achievements. I’m 38 going on 39, and society tends to set the expiration date of success at 30 or younger.

What really made Reki interesting to me is that he felt these things for something he wasn’t trying to make into a career. He really just wanted to do something that made him happy but was made to feel that “happiness” wasn’t a good enough reason. It’s sad to watch because, in the beginning, Reki was genuinely happy with how much Langa liked skateboarding and was fine doing it with him. He didn’t feel like he was fading into the background until he was TOLD to feel like that by the people around him. I remember watching those episodes and thinking about the times I’d do something “for fun,” be so proud of myself for NOT turning it into something more, only to have someone say I needed to do more with it which would, inevitably, invite unwanted criticism.

One of the most satisfying moments to watch in SK8 (after Reki and Langa work things out) is when Reki goes up against Adam a second time. He loses the race, but it doesn’t matter, because he had fun skateboarding and that’s all he wanted. Despite losing, the crowd cheers for him as if he was the winner. This carries over into the last episode where Langa doesn’t even realize he won, nor does he really care, because he had so much fun – something he’d been missing out on since his father died.

People cosplay for a lot of reasons. My own personal reasons vary. Sometimes, it’s because I like the character and think reinterpreting their look would be fun. Other times, it’s because I relate to the character so much that I end up learning a lot about myself through their story. Either way, cosplay is a creative outlet for me and a way to show my love for whoever I’m dressed like. As I designed Reki’s look, though, I realized that I related to him a lot more than I realized, and I truly did appreciate his overall message of “it’s okay to just LIKE things.”

You don’t have to have some grand reason behind everything you do, you can do it just because you want to.

SK8 the Infinity
(Image: Studio Bones/Hiroko Utsumi)

(Featured image: Studio Bones/Hiroko Utsumi and Briana Lawrence)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)