Note from the Editor:
The Vamers slogan is “embrace your inner geek”, and there is no better way to express your geek affiliation than through cosplay. With this in mind, Vamers is proud to introduce a brand new series of articles focussed on cosplayers.
Vamers Cosplay Spotlight is a new feature that will bring light to the trials, tribulations and successes of being a cosplayer. We will feature interviews and stories from popular, up-and-coming and even amateur cosplayers, from South Africa and around the world.
We look forward to further allowing everyone to embrace, enjoy and delight in their inner geek.
Although hesitant at first… I ended up diving headfirst into the crazy, hot and sweaty ‘galaxy of rAge’ (that place is in serious need of air-conditioners). One of my favourite parts of the show was discovering and talking to all of the many cosplayers in attendance. Diona and I actually took the time to scout some of our favourite cosplay outfits during the event, many of which were, in my opinion, some of best dressed at rAge 2016.
Not only did many of them make the time to take photos with myself and the Vamers Crew (except for that one super rude cosplayer lady who shouted “no” before storming off – you know who you are), but I also had the opportunity to meet Yuko Ishihara and Kayce – two “hardcore” Cosplayers.
Yuko Ishihara and Kayce were kind enough to be a part of an interview after they found my Instagram (I posted a picture of them from rAge 2016). Without further ado, let us get to know them better.
[Editor’s note: the following interview has been edited for spelling and grammar only]
Age: Yuko: 18 (right). Kayce: 28 (left)
Height: Yuko: 5’2. Kayce 5’6.
Current Location: The Geekspress Train
1.What inspired you to start doing cosplay?
Yuko: I have always wondered what it would be like to step into someone else’s shoes, especially my favorite characters, to actually get into character and be them for a day or two, to bring them to life. I wanted to know what they feel and what they would be like for everyday experiences.
Kayce: Seeing your favorite character come to life is awesome, and the chance to actually become that character is even more amazing. I love making things, and to discover different ways to create them just blows my mind. I’ve gained skills I never thought I would ever have.
2. What characters have you dressed as and which have been your favorite?
Yuko: Well, I’ve done a few cosplays. I did a Punk Version of Serah Farron from Final Fantasy (a personal favourite), Mizore from Rosario+Vampire, and a female version of Uta from Tokyo Ghoul. I have also done many of my own designed anime characters, which I have drawn and made into cosplay (I think there are like five of them). I’m currently working on two new cosplays for next year from my favorite anime and a DC Comics character, which I hope everyone will like.
Kayce: Well this has been my first ever cosplay. I’ve never really had the guts to do the ‘dress up in public’ thing, afraid of what people might say, but being among my kind of people makes all the difference, and the little push Yuko gave me helped. I have a lot of favorites that I want to cosplay in the future, the problem is deciding which ones will be my next. The main two I’ll be working on next are Lightning from Final Fantasy and Shinya Banba from Akuma No Riddle.
3. Do you make your own costumes from scratch? What has been the longest and shortest amount of time time needed to make a cosplay outfit?
Yuko: Yes we both make everything from scratch. It starts out as a paper design, then forms to foam and cardboard. The longest amount of time I have spent making an outfit was five months. The swords and armour took only two months.
Kayce: Everything is made from scratch. The planning probably takes the longest as I needed to redo some things to get everything looking good. My outfit probably took about four months to make more or less.
4. Which cosplay events do you participate in, or is it mainly just rAge?
Yuko: Well I wanted to attend Icon and Geekfest, but unfortunately myself and Kayce could not make it due to work. However, in 2017 we will definitely be attending as many other events as possible; seeing as we couldn’t this year. Sorry guys.
Kayce: Yep, we want to do everything possible, but rAge is the biggest one we plan to take part in without fail.
5. How did you enjoy rAge 2016? The good, the bad and the ugly?
Yuko: I honestly think that rAge 2016 was better than 2015 as it grew bigger with the Blue Wing cosplay area. I also met so many people that are so nice, like Zero Aid, and a few other cosplayers that were really nice and that I actually talked with. The bad and the ugly was seeing a few cosplayers fighting about whose cosplay of that character was better. I thought that was ridiculous. rAge and cosplay are about having fun. I enjoyed it so much this year. It was amazing.
Kayce: Oh I loved 2016, it just felt so much bigger. More people attended and the atmosphere was just amazing. It did seem like there wasn’t as many stalls as last year, but that might have just been because of the Blue Wing being added and a bit more moving room. Although it was still cramped and I was afraid that I might knock someone over or damage my outfit.
6. So obviously, you weren’t born Yuko Ishihara and Kayce, however fantastically cool that would have been. As such, do you mind telling us why you would like to keep your real name secret?
Yuko: Well I don’t want people to invade my privacy. I have been in terrible situations with people being nasty to me, trying to shut down my social media, and sending death threats. I feel like having a brand new name, where no one knows your real name, is a fresh start so you have more privacy this way. My name and surname are a part of my everyday life when I’m not cosplaying.
Kayce: I don’t really care if people know my real name, but I know that not everyone sees cosplayers as normal people, and being called a ‘freak’ does sometimes hit a soft spot. Generally though, I’m actually a very shy and introverted person and having a fake name helps a bit. I’ve used ‘Kayce’ as my gaming name since the computer came out, so it’s a part of me!
7. Besides being an extremely cool cosplayer, what are your other aspirations and interests in life? Body building and taking over the world?
Yuko: Ha ha! I would take over the world if I could! Well, I want to start a J-Rock Band and do what I love to do on stage, which is singing my heart out. Cosplaying is just a hobby for me to keep me busy and to craft. I love crafting.
Kayce: Next year I’ll be playing guitar at a South African competition. I’ve also entered an art competition and I am waiting for the results. I’ll probably enter more [competitions] next year as well. More importantly, I’ll be studying again: special effects. I might even get a career change while I’m at it.
8. If you were attacked by a mad, poop throwing troop of monkeys in the wild, which cosplay/gaming character would you choose to be?
Yuko: Levi Ackerman from SNK
Kayce: Lmao! I’d be Yang Xiao Long from RWBY – hands down.
9. What games are you currently playing? Your favorite?
Yuko: I recently started playing Beyond Two Souls and Mirrors Edge Catalyst. Amazing games so far. I loved the first Mirrors Edge, now I’m thinking of cosplaying as Faith.
My favorite game [franchise] is Final Fantasy. No doubt about it.
Kayce: I’ve been playing Digimon Masters Online, RWBY, Heroes of Might and Magic, and I recently got into DOTA 2. I can mention more, but my all time favorite [franchise] is Final Fantasy.
10. What have you got planned for your next cosplay?
Yuko: I like posting snippets [pictures] of the cosplays I’m working on – I like being mysterious. After the cosplay is done, I post full body pictures. I like hearing my fans reactions to what I did and if they like it or not. I have gotten a lot of Punk character requests like I did with Serah, but no new cosplay names or clue’s will be revealed till next [time].
Kayce: Lightning from Final Fantasy. I want to do more armoured cosplays as well. So I’m thinking something from Heroes of Might and Magic or League of Legends, and I have to do Yang from RWBY.
11. Where can we follow Yuko Ishihara and Kayce?
You can find us on social media:
Talking with, and interviewing, these two ladies was really great. It puts into perspective how difficult it is to actually be a cosplayer (five months to make a costume?!), and what it ‘feels like’ to dress up and impersonate your favourite characters from the geekosphere.
As for myself, I know that the Vamers Crew are hoping to possibly cosplay for rAge 2017. So that will definitely be interesting. I am actually looking forward to interacting even more with cosplayers from all around South Africa in the near future.
Keen to be featured in our next Vamers Cosplay Spotlight? Send us a message via our contact us page.