Our first Male CotM, He had a great presence at rAge 2012 and I’m sure anyone who was there saw him in Character. GES proudly presents…
TheNasd: Background: When did you start cosplaying? What was your first costume?
A: I started around 2006; don’t really have an exact date, because I’ve always been kinda doing “ghetto cosplays” without even knowing I was doing them.
My first “official” cosplay ever was at Rage Expo 2006, I was an ANBU from the Naruto Series, and let me say how awesome it was – from the fellow cosplayers to the people watching the cosplays it was an amazing event, because it was so great it fuelled me to go on and make more cosplays thereafter.
TheNasd: How do you choose which characters to cosplay?
A: It’s usually a mix of decisions from:
– What is my favourite anime series at the time?
– Who do I “want” to cosplay as?
– Who do I “look” like?
– What materials do I have available to me?
– How much time do I have?
Once I find a common ground, I have my decision.
I think I’ve reached a balance between finding characters that I’m a fan of that I can say, “Hey yes, I can pull off that look” and it’s doable.
The hardest thing sometimes as a cosplayer is putting the “inner uber fan” of a character aside and saying to yourself, “Dude, you can do it, but there’s no way you’ll look like the character, no matter what you try, you’re just not built that way.” Like I’ve wanted to do “Muggen” from Samurai Champloo but anyway I look at it, I don’t have the body type. So it’s a matter of finding a balance.
TheNasd: Are you currently busy with any cosplay projects? If so, what are they?
A: Which cosplayer isn’t always busy with a cosplay, or at least thinking about it?
I am working on my Jiraiya Sensei Cosplay from Naruto (white wig challenge of doom), I haven’t done much since rAge where I was Pyramid Head from Silent Hill (free hugs guy), but now, I’m fully doing Jiraiya. 2 other cosplays I have in the Pipe line are Gildarts from “Fairy Tail” and Witch-king of Angmar (Lord of the Rings). I plan on doing Jiraiya at Rage 2013, but the other two, I have no idea when.
TheNasd: Do you prefer to cosplay in a group or on your own?
A: GROUP! So much more fun to cosplay with others! It’s always good to do it in a group (not necessarily from the same series) but doing it with other cosplayers, as we can support each other and help with whatever needs done on the day of the cosplay (accidents happen, and glue comes apart and one needs safety pins, and we cosplayers always carry one of those extra, just in case). Also we can play and have fun with a character. A lot of times one forgets that cosplay is fun, we must enjoy going out in full costume and act out. If you share that fun with other cosplayers doesn’t that make it even better?
TheNasd: Since you started cosplaying, what has your favourite costume been? What cosplay are you most proud of?
A: Tough question! It’s a tie, between my Asuma (Naruto) cosplay and my Pyramid Head (Silent Hill) cosplay.
I say, Asuma Sarutobi from Naruto, (I’m a little of a Narutard), as this character was allot of fun, not only the outfit was uber comfy, it had usable pockets! (We cosplayers forget about the value of pockets until we are at an event then it’s like, “Where do I stash my wallet, cellphone, etc.) This was probably the cosplay where I looked the most like the character, this made the embodiment of the character so much easier for me, so it was all about playing the persona and having fun, So much detail went into the Special Jounin jacket and accessories (including growing the Asuma beard) that it all just gelled really nicely, making it a fun cosplay to really “kick ass” in.
But then we have Pyramid Head, now this one was so much fun to build (nerve racking too), the Head was difficult to get right, from the proportions to the materials used, to making sure it wouldn’t fall apart, so it was a good challenge and I am extremely happy with the results. But wearing it – now this was completely different from my very “comfy” Asuma cosplay. I can’t say it was comfy and I can admit to almost passing out after doing the Dance Dance Revolution at one of the stages in full outfit youtube.com See the thing one must do as well, is add a little of yourself in your cosplays and with this one I added a “free hugs” sign and that made it so much fun! Rage was uber packed and I think in two days I pretty much gave close to 5000 hugs, still 4000 short of my target of over nine thousand! Big heads up to Kelly (Kii) who did all my fake blood and make up for Pyramid Head , go show her some love!
So I’m not sure which cosplay I’m more proud of.
TheNasd: What is your most memorable moment whilst cosplaying?
A: I have had many awesome moments. I think the one that has to take the cake is the following: when I was Pyramid head at rAge 2012, I was walking in between the stalls in zombie walk mode, all creepy like, and there was this lady that approached me to take a photo, I was like “Urrggghh grrrrr, suurrreee” (insert undead voice there) and I reached in to pose for pic and she said, “No not with me, with my baby,” and I went … “Ergh?” She had a 3 month old baby with her and she wanted me to hold her baby as Pyramid Head, covered in blood and giant sword looking all scary… yep. And the prize for coolest mom ever goes to… her.
If someone took a picture of that, please, please send it to me, I want to see it!
TheNasd: Do you take on the character’s mannerisms/personality when you cosplay? If so, how important do you think this is to cosplaying?
A: Most definitely, this probably is my biggest strength when it comes to cosplay. I love becoming the character, acting out the character, having fun with the character. Hell, I’m sure we’ve all had that moment when we were watching a series and said, “I wish I could do that.” Well, here is your chance, go forth and become the character that you so connected with. I guarantee that you will have fun!
This becomes very important to me and I normally connect with all my characters that I have cosplayed. To me the biggest justice I can give them is to pretty much try my darndest to be in that role. That is why in your character selection it’s not always about the outfit, but also the personality of the character, if you know you are extremely shy, and your character is extremely buoyant and fun and always laughing doing silly things, it will be harder to take on that cosplay, we mustn’t forget the “play” in the word “cosplay”. And I’ll be the first to tell you that if you do a cosplay, and you do the character with the right personality and mannerisms there will be a big internal reward right there, you will feel good for ages about your cosplay.
TheNasd: Are there any cosplayers that inspire you, both locally and internationally?
A: All local South African cosplayers are inspiring! It’s true, for us SA cosplayers to come from such a small community and seeing the support that we all give each other on a daily basis is amazing. I can’t say all the names here, or else you will all be reading for days and days, but I’ll mention Baka Sakura and Morgue Chan are tops in my books, they are perfect examples on how the Cosplay scene in SA has grown and is improving day to day, their work is tremendous! They are always so enthusiastic and they make me feel like I’m lazy (in a good way), and they inspire me to make more cosplays!
Internationally, I don’t really have many people that inspire me, things there are done differently as the cosplay scene is much bigger, I like my SA peeps the most!
TheNasd: What advice would you give to new cosplayers, or people interested in cosplay?
A: Aside from the obvious “have fun” or “keep the cosplaying pimp hand strong” I have one:
Use what you have on hand to cosplay, don’t go and get expensive fancy materials, look around at what you’ve got in your house and what is at your disposal to make your costume. A lot of the time we all get too fancy on our costumes from finding that special foam that you can mould your sword around to that shiny awesome fabric that would be just great for that cape. Use what you’ve got around you first before going all fancy in your searches for items for your cosplays.
I give you some examples of uses: the “zanbato” from my Sagara Sanosuke cosplay was built out of wooden flooring that I had left over from when we did the floors of my house, the Anbu vest is from the back of an old white couch I had at home (remove the back of the couch, plenty of fabric there). Utilize what you’ve got at your disposal before attempting fanciness, this will save you costs and give you fun stories to tell your friends on how you skinned the families furniture for your cosplay.
Oh, and don’t be afraid to ask for help, you’re just starting, don’t expect to know how to do everything on your own. After all there is only one Sheldon Cooper and thankfully he is in Pasadena, California far, far away from us.
So ask for as much help as you need, from fellow cosplayers to your mom to teach you how to sew. Nothing wrong in having the ability to sew clothes or repair holes in socks.
And to people who are interested in cosplaying, don’t be shy! Come over to the dar… erm… cosplay side!
TheNasd: What is your view on the local cosplay community and how do you think cosplay will grow in South Africa?
A: Our cosplay community is awesome! We have come a really long way since way back when, and we continue to grow day to day, event to event! Sure we don’t have the resources the Japanese, Americans or Russians have in terms of materials, wigs, etc. but we make it all up with a tremendous self-drive and inter-help, we support each other, and that spirit, to me, is what makes it worthwhile doing it! We are cool, we make a plan to make our cosplays awesome with the limited resources we have and knowledge (Google is your friend), and when we can the SA cosplayers are always willing to lend a hand to help!
How it will grow? Well, if I can say my thoughts, and as much as we are dependent on our own strengths and how that is a good thing, we have to take an example of how they grow cosplay internationally.
One of the ways cosplay can grow is with the support of companies and getting them involved into our events as well as their events that the companies are sponsoring. Now bear with me, this probably sounds like, “Eeekkk, I don’t want to do that!” but look at it this way. How often have you heard of a cosplayer in the states or in Europe having their costume sponsored by a gaming company, or a cosplayer being taken to different events on the pockets of a sponsoring company? I know I have, plenty of times. Examples of this are Meagan Marie, she gets flown to events in and outside of the states by Square Enix to promote Tomb Raider and Jessica Nigri with Lollipop Chainsaw and Crystal Graziano Wo is sponsored by Red 5 Studios and Firefall, just to name a few.
So let’s not be shy of getting companies to be enthusiastic in getting cosplayers to help promote their brands and when they do, let’s show that we can make it all awesome as well. You never know, you may be the next cosplayer to be hired to represent Square Enix and flown to Japan to see the unveiling of the latest Tomb Raider game!