Blood-red wine is poured into a crystal goblet as the sound of a roaring fire crackles in the background. We see two individuals, a man standing behind a beautiful woman seated in front of him; she unconcerned with his presence as he looms menacingly over her. She sips her wine as the following dialogue ensues:
She states, “This has been quite the evening, hasn’t it?”
He replies, “It has”.
She then asks, “I suppose you want answers?”
“If it’s not too much trouble.”
She sighs and says, “Very well…where to begin?”
As the view changes we can clearly see that the beautiful woman is none other than Lady Alcina Dimitrescu, of the eighth game in the “Resident Evil” series titled “Village”; the man standing behind her we come to find out is Albert Wesker, one of the main villains in the entire series. But how did these two come to exist and apparently cooperate with one another?
We need look no further than the Umbrella Corporation Arizona Hive; the scene mentioned above comes from their first fan-film episode titled “Resident Evil: Paradox”, where worlds collide…I don’t want to give away too much, but if you’re a fan of the series you’ll enjoy watching it (a link to the video can be found at the bottom of this article). They have plans to create more episodes as time and support allows, given their already busy schedule hosting and attending different live events throughout the state of Arizona year-round.
You might be asking yourself, what exactly is the Arizona Hive? Anyone who’s ever come in contact (no pun intended) with “Resident Evil”, either through playing the games or watching any of the movies, know of the Umbrella Corporation, their troops (and bio-organic weapons, or B.O.W.s) seemingly everywhere throughout the world. The Arizona Hive, first established in November 2012, are a local non-profit cosplay charity group involved in numerous events throughout the state; their members focused on making costumes/props that revolve mainly around the Umbrella Corporation and overall, the “Resident Evil” universe. Their primary mission includes raising funds and awareness for multiple charities, the chief one being the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA (the largest no-kill shelter in the state), but they also enjoy sharing their love of costuming and bringing great experiences to everyone they meet. Currently the group has around 97 active members, raised thousands of dollars for their charities, and as of this year are now recognized as official Capcom Creators.
I had the recent opportunity to meet with a couple members of the Phoenix/Maricopa County area of the Hive during an event they were hosting for Free Comic Book Day; Commander Wesker, who primarily runs the group’s Phoenix-area events (another Commander runs the Tucson area, just to give you an idea as to the area of the group’s coverage), and ThermoCosplay, one of the most recent additions to the group (she cosplays the Lady Dimitrescu that’s in the aforementioned video above). Both had great things to say about being a part of the Arizona Hive. For Wesker, who has been cosplaying since 2011 and a member of the Hive since 2014, since becoming Commander back in 2019 his mission has been to make the group an inclusive place where everyone can feel that they belong. Having like-minded people being able to hang out with their friends at fun events all coming together sharing in the love of cosplay and gaming, it’s “one great big family” for him which is his favorite thing about being a part of this group.
As for ThermoCosplay, she started cosplaying back in 2014 and has only been with the Arizona Hive for a short amount of time, but she loves what they stand for with giving to others in need. Given her love of cosplay and her own charitable nature (every time she has her own booth at an event, she gives away 100 percent of her proceeds to charity), she felt the Hive’s ideals, combined with its inclusivity, were a perfect match to her own. Considering one of her favorite Resident Evil games is “Village”, it was an easy decision to join the ranks cosplaying as Lady Dimitrescu. Of course, that isn’t to say the group is limited in its selection of characters, or in selection at all; everyone is welcome to join the Arizona Hive that wants to help in spreading both the joy of costuming/cosplay and assisting in a great cause like the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA. ThermoCosplay had this to say about anyone who might be hesitant to join:
“Don’t be afraid to join a cosplay group, there’s a lot more resources in a group than you would expect. There are people who have different skill sets, access to different networks, different connections, and it could be that little bump you need to grow your costume career, if that’s what you want to do; or it could be the connection and familiarity that most people need right now post-pandemic….they’re very, very accepting, so don’t be afraid to join just because you might have some social anxiety.”
The Umbrella Corporation Arizona Hive’s next event will be at Phoenix Fan Fusion, from June 2nd to the 4th; whether you want to take some pictures with awesome cosplayers, donate to the AAWL, or even inquire about joining, it’s guaranteed to be a great time regardless. Looking forward to seeing everyone there!
For more information about the UCAH, you can check out their website at:
https://ucazhive.weebly.com/ (links to their other social media can be found there as well)
To watch “Resident Evil: Paradox”, it can be found on YouTube at:
Until next time, ja ne tomodachi!