Cosplay Interview 04 – Sean
Hello! Thank you once more to be interviewed for eMagi.co.uk. Please state your name and current occupation.
My name is Sean and I currently work as a Playleader in an afterschool club at a primary school.
Do you have any hobbies or interests?
I have loads. In my free time I write novels (some of which can be found on my deviantart and one of which a group of my friends are cosplaying from to the MCM Expo this October), I play guitar and sing in a band who will be playing live at the MCM Expo Ball, I make costumes and build props (although that’s maybe a little TOO obvious LOL) I play video games, spend far too much time on the internet and hang out with friends and my girlfriend as much as possible!
When did you first show interest in animé and more specifically cosplaying?
I honestly cannot remember when I first showed an interest in animé. I remember watching the more obvious starting-point animés like Pokémon and Digimon, but at the same time I was watching the late-night movies on the Sci-Fi channel. Through that I got introduced to Martian Successor Nadesico, Guyver, Orgus 02 and the psychological drama Perfect Blue. Some of these were a bit over my age range but I loved them.
My first time specifically cosplaying was at an MCM Expo and I am still unsure if it was a May or an October event. I think my first time attending the expo was in May 2005 and I had seen cosplayers by that point, but never thought I could do it. That October I had a costume commissioned and wore it to the event and enjoyed myself, but I realised that I would get more satisfaction if I made the cosplay myself and I wanted to get into the masquerade so, for the next event, I remade the costume that I had bought, styled my own wig and made from scratch another one to wear on the second day of the Expo.
From then I never looked back!
Why cosplay at all? To some, people find it weird yet it is gaining more popularity in the UK due to various events and coverage. What do you enjoy the most about it?
I think that deep down what everyone enjoys most about it is the escapism. Granted, it is unlikely to be the first response people give as most have yet to think about it this deeply but I always seemed to be seeking escapism. If I was not reading, I was playing video games, if not that, I was role-playing online or writing stories. For me I think one of the best things about cosplay is that you can take a character that is in a fantastic world, a world that is bright, beautiful and interesting and BECOME that character. I think all too often people forget that this is cosPLAY and that making the costume is only a part of the grander scheme. You need to act as well as make the costume.
I also love the fact that no matter what background you are from, you can bring something to cosplay. I have known seamstresses, costume designers, carpenters, metalsmiths, those from a military background, psychologists, teachers etc. and all of them have brought something unique to the field.
Cosplay requires so many different talents. On average (and this is not the same for everyone as I certainly do not possess all of these skills!) you need to be able to sew, to act, to pose, to perform, to sing, to dance, to make props (from metal and wood right the way to cardboard and papier mache, it is so diverse!) to have high stamina, to be a little bit crazy… Ok, I think that last one all cosplayers possess 😉
Which characters have you cosplayed thus far and your favourite amongst them?
Wow, ok well I shall attempt to do this in order. I have cosplayed, Zaraki Kenpachi from Bleach, Kankurou (Chuunin Exams) from Naruto, Kankurou (Jounin) from Naruto, V from V for Vendetta, Jiraiya from Naruto, The Phantom from The Phantom of the Opera, Alucard from Hellsing (I’ve done four variations of this to date), Uriel from Angel Sanctuary (wings are not fun to make!) and an original Steampunk character, Count Louis de Theudubert from my novel Flight of the Valkyrie. I’ve also almost finished two more costumes and have costume booked from now until next October LOL
My favourite has to be Alucard from Hellsing although Jiraiya is a close second. I love Alucard because of the small details rather than the large ones. Yes, I love my red duster and my large fedora, but I like having red eyes, I like having fangs, I like waving giant pistols around and customising a pair of 1930s welding glasses. More than any of that, I like being able to ACT like him. Alucard is one of those characters that seems on the surface to be a psychopath, but he has so much more that you can see when you look closely enough and I enjoy the deep characters. I think my favourite part of the costume though has to be the Baskerville Demon Dog Arm that my friend Amy made for me. It is a heavy thing to carry around all day, but the detail is amazing and the fact that it has LED light-up eyes ALL OVER IT makes me so happy. She did a great job!
Actually, I have one more favourite thing about it. Alucard is the first costume that has been part of a group that so many members of Random Accent (the cosplay group I am a part of) have been in together. In the past, none of my costumes have worked with so many of them at the same time. Although my girlfriend and I do tend to do cosplays that compliment one another most of the time!
How long on average was spent on your cosplay to create it?
It is very difficult to say. I could answer with “weeks” as Alucard’s first incarnation was made while I was at university back at the beginning of this year, however, I am still adding things. In fact, when I finish this interview, I need to go and do some repairs and see if I can touch-up the hat!
So on one hand, it took a few weeks of here and there sewing, painting and costruction. On the other hand, it has taken almost a year of slow but loving work!
If there was one aspect of cosplay you would like to improve on, what would it be?
Cut out the drama? LOL Honestly I find it hard to find a good answer to this. I love cosplay and I enjoy the cosplay scene in general. I would say I’d like to see people encouraged to do less well-known characters or characters that would really challenge them. I know of several people (myself included) that started off doing quite simple costumes, which is great. However their next costume they upped the difficulty, and again for the next until now they are quite famous (or infamous LOL) for their difficult work and I think that is great! So, just encouraging people to keep raising the bar as cosplay in the UK is really beginning to take off now! Competition is heating up LOL
The eternal cosplay question “ Make or Buy?
*laughs* I hate this question! I really, honestly do not understand the stigma which is attached to buying a costume. Many of us simply do not have the time to construct a costume, others have skills in areas that are not sewing. Sometimes it can actually be cheaper to buy a cosplay than to buy all of the materials and invest the time into it. I think all of those are understandable and I would definitely not hold it against someone if they bought a costume!
I think that it is sometimes less satisfying if you have bought the costume as at the end of it all, when you see the finished product of a created costume you can be so proud. I will add that if you are buying a costume, I think you NEED to get into character properly or I just would not understand why you are cosplaying. On a personal level, I cosplay as a mixture of pride in the work of making a costume and the enjoyment of acting like someone else while I am wearing it. There is certainly no shame in buying a costume!
The one thing I will say is, if you have bought a costume, do not claim it as your own. Other than that, there is nothing at all wrong with it!
Any characters you would like to cosplay in the future?
Far too many to mention. My top few are Angeal from Crisis Core as I have already made my Buster Sword and love his character. Totoro from My Neighbour Totoro as he has always been my dream but the amount of work means it keeps getting delayed. I am currently starting work on Fu Xi from Warriors Orochi 2 as I was asked recently to cosplay a character from a KOEI Warriors game and when I began researching and getting into playing the games again (last one I played was Dynasty Warriors 3!) I found so many character designs and personalities that I loved. Fu Xi was high on the list (come on, he is a God!) and when my girlfriend decided to do Nu Wa, my decision was made!
Ever enlisted to be in a cosplay masquerade?
Every event I go to I have to take part in at least one event that puts me on stage! I love to act, I love to be in character and, after spending months working on a costume, I like to show it off! I have been in several masquerades at the MCM Expo, I took part in the masquerade at Amecon, I spent time on stage at the Naruto Launch and will continue to sign up for every stage category from here until I retire from cosplaying LOL
Ever had a wardrobe malfunction or a prop go wrong?
Oh who hasn’t!? For my Uriel costume I pushed the stitching on the coat a little too far and had a massive rip under my arm for the entire day, this was before the construction competition and the masquerade but I think I hid it well. Also my scythe for that costume had been badly damaged in the car due to simply being too large! When I first cosplayed as Alucard, the paint I used on my glasses was rubber-based and I hadn’t had time to seal it…so it came off on everything including my face! I think these kind of problems are common, but it’s how people deal with them that makes it a do or die situation!
Most impressive cosplay you have seen?
This is really difficult as I have seen some fantastic cosplays over the years! I will use screen names so as not to get in trouble with anyone! Sands has done some truly breathtaking costumes, her Ixion was what first caught my attention, but then seeing her Jenova impressed me more and her most recent costume, Orochi from Warriors Orochi 2 is just…impeccable. Fat Kraken’s Kimhari from Final Fantasy X was amazing. Alias.com has done some great costumes since I first met her and I must say that her Edea from Final Fantasy VIII is fantastic but I think her newest costume is looking to be the best! Leadmill’s HUNK from Resident Evil was great. water_clone’s Steampunk costume has so many surprises and tricks that it is hard to even think of them all. Tak’s Oogie Boogie was so amazing I have actually asked to borrow it LOL And the Wessex Cosplay group’s Optimus Prime was ridiculously cool!
There are too many to name, really. I have been simply blown away by so many!
Overall, I think Efia has done some of the best. Her Morrigan from Darkstalkers was a pain to make because she went down a strange road with the demon wings (most seem to use wire to attach the wings to their arms whereas she made them fully self-supporting) and her Alexiel from Angel Sanctuary. Anyone who can pull off a costume that has THREE feathered wings is amazing in my book. But then, I might also be biassed LOL
What do you think of Crossplayers? (People that cosplay as the opposite sex)
In all honesty, most of my female friends and also my girlfriend have crossplayed at one point or another. The fact of the matter is that many animé and video game based characters that come out of Japan seem to be Bishonen, or “beautiful boys”. This means that the have quite feminine features anyway, and I think that many times, a woman actually pulls off those kinds of characters better than most men. Orochimaru from Naruto being a good example. There are exceptions of course LOL As for men crossplaying as women, I have nothing against this and at first I found it really amusing. But it seems to be becoming a bit of a fad now and the more I see it, the more it has lost its appeal. From what I’ve seen, men crossplaying as women usually go for really feminine characters and do it solely for the purpose of it being funny, which is fine, but like I said, it is now being overdone. If a guy was crossplaying as a manly looking woman, I would wholeheartedly support that. Zorin from Hellsing would be a great example of this and I think a male could pull her off quite well!
Best anime related event you have been to thus far?
*cringes* I am a moderator at the MCM Expo Forums and really should say the Expo…but I really cannot do such a thing. I went to my first Amecon event this year (for my birthday) and it was phenomenal. The work and attention to detail that had gone into it was just mind-boggling and it was fully catered for animé and cosplay. They had a masquerade that spanned two floors and several rooms as well as two stages and a catwalk…what more can you ask for really? Well, how about an AMV Disco, a flawless Cosplay Ball and an excellent afterparty?
It was fantastic and I adored every second of it. It has made me expand my horizons quite a lot in regards to conventions!
Thank you for your time! Would you like to leave a little message to our readers?
If you do not cosplay already, why not give it a go? You might not think you have the skills, but I have seen so many people suddenly discover they are excellent sewers, or that they are fantastic working with wood. It gives you so many opportunities to learn new skills (if modrock, buckram, wonderflex, fosshape, fiberglass and craft foam mean nothing to you, you are in the same position I was a few years ago LOL) and more than that, it lets you meet new friends. Some of the best friends I have in this world I gained through cosplaying. And if you would like advice/help, do not hesitate to contact me! I will do my very best!