“I sincerely think that if you really love that character, you will do your best to present that character in the best way possible.”
Most of the times I tend to choose characters that I like and am interested in, but for the major part I still prefer characters that suit me physically. As such, most of the characters I choose tend to be female characters, because my physical appearance is much more suited for feminine roles. This, however, does not mean that I only like such feminine characters!
I sincerely think that if you really love that character, you will do your best to present that character in the best way possible. For example: my head is very large, my face shape and all my facial features are round; so it would be really difficult for me to achieve the best possible results if I were to cosplay ‘bishie’ sharp-featured handsome characters.
As for the characters that I really love, but which my physical features are not suitable for, I’m waiting in anticipation for the right Coser with suitable features to appear in their cosplays. If it’s only a slight difference between my facial features and those of the character, I will do my best to achieve the right effect with makeup & cosmetics. But if it’s a height and body figure difference, I can only have a ‘look on plums and imagine them quenching my thirst’ kind of consolation by looking upon others who could achieve it far better than I could, and in turn, supporting them.
Apart from just the character, I am also really particular about the costume. If I happen to really like some character’s physical appearance or costume design, I also add that character to the wish-list, and proceed to research and go more in-depth into the character’s profile. This does not necessarily mean that if I fancy their costume I would proceed with cosplaying that character! I will still take the character’s attitude and profile into serious consideration before determining to what extent, and if I like the character in question enough for me to cosplay it.
What was the most difficult costume you have ever made? Can you describe the creation process of this particular outfit?
I think the hardest costume would have to be Inori’s goldfish-like costume. That is because it was my first time making such a tight-fitting costume, and I had never been through any professional tailoring courses prior to it. All that I have learnt about sewing, I picked on my own bit by bit from books and off my friends whom I sought help from. During the time I made that costume, just the pattern drafting alone caused me huge headaches. I think I re-drafted the patterns over 7-8 times before I managed to achieve an “ok” result (though there were still several areas that required ‘safety measures’ to ensure they were ‘safe to wear’)
Even though I had managed to complete the toughest and most challenging part – the body stretch-suit – the gloves and the tail-like region on the back all had fading color gradients on the fabric, and that proved to be another challenge. Because the material was fake leather, it was not possible to dye it. The only other way out was to spray on paint layer by layer, extremely carefully, to achieve the right effect. It was perhaps due to the tremendous amount of stress I was already under, coupled with a minor problem that occurred just shortly before, that, at the very end, regardless of giving it my all, I was still unable to perfect some of the smaller details on the costume I wished I could have otherwise achieved better.
“… why not just buy the costume straight off, and save myself all that time, trouble and extra money making it myself? But, nonetheless, in the end, I still believe that if it’s something within my own skills and means to make, I would still like to face up to the challenge and attempt to make it on my own.”
After that entire costume-making episode, I found myself looking at so many online & cosplay stores selling Inori’s ready-made costume, and have once thought: why not just buy the costume straight off, and save myself all that time, trouble and extra money making it myself? But, nonetheless, in the end, I still believe that if it’s something within my own skills and means to make, I would still like to face up to the challenge and attempt to make it on my own. Even though it’s going to be very difficult, tough and tiresome, but nothing beats the sense of achievement and pride you feel upon completing the costume successfully.
Hatsune Miku (Eager Love Revenge)// Photo by Shiro Ang
In your opinion, with such a popularity gained by cosplay more recently, do you think we can talk about a so-called “professional cosplay”? And if yes, to what extent do you consider this could affect cosplay as a hobby?
Oh, I think that term is still very new to me. Prior to this year, I have never thought about how to make a professional cosplay, but rather focused on how to make a good cosplay instead. When I first started cosplaying, a lot of people told me that I looked really cute. Given that, I was happy with just portraying super-cute characters, and creating typically cute ”moe” photos with heavy use of flash on facial features and hard-flash backgrounds. But, after a while, I saw one of my senior’s (Senpai’s) cosplay photos, and I was really shocked. I felt that her every photo left behind a very deep impression on its viewers: it was more a portrayal of the character’s feelings, than it being simply ‘moe, pretty and cute’. Thereinafter I looked up to her as an idol, and started to research different types of photography, and in each and every outdoor photo-shoot I tried to structure a different concept: with fire, underwater photography, etc. and kept a constant search for different types of locations, all in hope of being able to portray the character’s feelings ever more accurately in the photos.
“… Cosplay will just be one of the best and most exciting memories of your life, but… don’t let it rule your life.”
If I were ever asked if this could affect my views on “cosplay as a hobby”, I think that would highly differ from one person to another, depending on every individual’s personal perspective. Perhaps some might see it as: once a hobby brings you ulterior privileges, it no longer remains simply a hobby. I personally believe that all these ulterior privileges could affect your views on this hobby, but if these privileges could help you further in your hobby, and do not affect your personal daily life, then I personally still view it as ‘just a hobby’. But should your life be affected by your hobby, then it really is no longer a hobby to you. At the very end and at the very best, Cosplay will just be one of the best and most exciting memories of your life, but…don’t let it rule your life.
Talking about cosplay as a whole, what do you consider the most challenging element in giving life to a character?
I think it must be the look in your eyes. As the saying goes, ‘Eyes are windows to the soul.’ Because physical looks can differ and be altered from person to person ever so easily, but the look in a person’s eyes, and the feeling it gives, is the most direct and distinct.
What was the most rewarding memory you have related to cosplay?
The most rewarding experience is that every time I was able to complete a goal, or to achieve the photo I wanted to present, I felt an immense sense of achievement, and felt as if everything I had done was worth it all – trying my hand at portraying different characters and roles, meeting like-minded friends with same interests as me, coming together to work hard and to challenge difficulties together: all because of our common interest in this hobby. All these experiences are my most valued, and most treasured memories.