Cosplay Gen: When did you first start cosplaying and what was your first costume?
Elffi: It was in the summer of 2006. I had watched a lot of Bleach episodes with my friend that summer, and we thought about going to our first ever convention, Animecon, in Helsinki, Finland. I heard that people were wearing a lot of costumes during those conventions. That was when I first heard of cosplay. So, because I loved Bleach and especially Kurosaki Ichigo, as I felt totally similar to him, I decided to cosplay as him. I didn’t have a wig, just dyed my hair and I also used my normal shoes… I was also a bit scared. I had to walk 3 kilometers through the city dressed like that and I didn’t have any clue what people would think about my costume. Would they laugh? Would they mock me? But oh well… That warmhearted acceptance and joy of cosplay was so tangible among all the visitors. I was totally surprised and very happy. I also made many new good friends! After the convention I knew in my heart that I would be cosplaying again in the near future.
Kurosaki Ichigo (Bleach, full hollow version) by Myrtha
Jecht (Dissidia Final Fantasy) by Yayagami
Kurosaki Ichigo (Bleach) by Yayagami
 
Cosplay Gen: To you, what is the most challenging aspect of cosplay?
Elffi: Most challenging aspect? Well, as I am cosplaying for myself, it is very challenging to please oneself. I have made it clear for myself that I want to gain more experience and improve with every costume I make. To do things a bit better every time. That’s a total challenge. Keeping your eyes and mind open for new ideas and improvements. Developing your methods as you learn about them from other cosplayers. Don’t think that your style and methods are the best of all and that you have no reason to change them. You can always learn new things. When you keep those things in your mind you can improve faster and feel happier. Because the most satisfying thing is when you, yourself enjoy your own costume. Enjoying the moment when you finish one part of the costume, enjoying the feeling when you take your first steps in it, enjoying the feeling when you go to a convention with your costume on. Don’t be too critical with yourself. That’s the most challenging aspect.
Vash the Stampede (Trigun) by Jacob Åberg
Vash the Stampede (Trigun) by Jacob Åberg
Vash the Stampede (Trigun) by Jacob Åberg
 
Cosplay Gen: Your impressive Vash the Stampede costume won you the Finland preliminaries for WCS 2011. Why did you choose that particular character and how did you go about making that impressive prop?
Elffy: Oh yeah, Vash! That was one big lump of hodgepodge! As my family is full of musicians, including myself, I’m very keen on the music in series. The atmosphere and vibe in Trigun is very good because of the marvelous background music. And the personality of Vash is a bit similar to mine, always trying to be positive and smile. I also like to try some insane things, so I wanted to add Vash’s Angel Arm in real size to my costume. As I need my artistic flow (it won’t lit before it’s too late) to start a cosplay, I couldn’t start it before it was a bit over a week left for the preliminaries! So, I was sitting on my floor for 9 days in a row, drinking beer and coffee and making my costume. I started the Angel Arm on a Wednesday and finished it Friday morning. It’s made of sewer pipes, 10 pieces of camping mattresses and fake leather. I also added a car’s headlight and battery with an on/off-switch to it. Total length is around 4 meters and as I wanted to make it light in weight, it’s only 3-4 kilos. There is also a linkage so I can bend it in half in a few seconds for easier transportation! Now you know why I call it a big lump of hodgepodge, it was such a big costume and I was so short on time! But I have to say that I loved making it. (laughs)
Gilgamesh (Fate/hollow ataraxia) by Yayagami
Kurosaki Ichigo (Bleach) by Chie
Ragna the Bloodedge (BlazBlue) by Yayagami
 
Cosplay Gen: You have taken part in many contests as both a participant as well as a judge, how does it feel to be on both sides?
Elffy: Yes, I have been a judge in the preliminaries of WCS and EC, in some international and national contests held on the Internet and in many Finnish contests. I have won some Finnish cosplay contests, WCS preliminaries and Internet contests also. It is very mind-opening to be on both sides. As a judge you have to know things about sewing and prop making, but you also have to know a lot about series and games and the characters of those. And if you have ever attended a cosplay contest you know that scary feeling when you walk in front of the judges and they are staring at every part of your costume. When you have once been a judge, being a participant in contests is not so scary anymore. You know, judges are not there to criticize costumes, they are there to encourage cosplayers in their hobby and to just decide the top 3 costumes of the contest. When I’m a judge I always try to be kind and encouraging. Sometimes, really young beginner cosplayers pop in the judging room, and you have to be very careful with your words. Judges are the ones who give advices, tips and encourage cosplayers, not the ones who mock or laugh at not so perfect costumes.
Tyki Mikk – D.Gray-Man by Hunska
Tyki Mikk – D.Gray-Man by Hunska
 
 
Cosplay Gen: What sort of advice can you offer to upcoming cosplayers who are just about to get ready to wear their first costume?
Elffy: Your costume doesn’t need to be perfect. No one is perfect. Even the top cosplayers have mistakes in their costumes. The most important part in cosplaying is to enjoy it. I feel very relaxed when I’m in a cosplay costume. You can just push away your ordinary life and be someone else for one day. Throw away all of your doubts. Talk to strangers, people are always very kind in conventions. Go and ask for tips from fellow cosplayers! Don’t hesitate to make new friends! After your first costume, there is only one way, and that is UP!
 

                  

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