It’s always great to see strong female characters and it’s unsurprising that you find these characters being cosplayed at numerous conventions around the world. The sheer skill and dedication on show is astounding and often people who don’t cosplay who attend conventions too admire the end results. The latest in our cosplay features takes us to Canada and the brilliant Akishuna Cosplay.
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a cosplayer and librarian from Québec, Canada (yep, I speak French). I’ve been a geek for a long time since I read for the first time The Lord of the Ring in Elementary school. That book changed my life, I began to play D&D at 13 and never quite stopped since then. I tried a lot of game systems but my favorite one is Legend of the Five Rings. I play a lot of video games, mostly form Bioware, Bethesda, Blizzard and some independent game studios too (Winter Wolves, Idea Factory).
What or who inspired you to Cosplay?
I have been making some costumes since my first LARP. In High School, I dressed up as television show characters I liked for Halloween. What really get me started is when I first cosplayed at a convention. I did most of my costume myself (I bought some pants that I modified). I cosplayed Izumi Curtis from FMA and some people I didn’t even know told me that they loved that character. I was so thrilled! The next year, we started a cosplay trio that became The Three Queens cosplay (the name came from an inscription Monica Lee wrote on a print for us).
Are there specific types of character that you particularly gravitate towards and why?
I like badass women and I tend to choose character that fit my body type (I’m tall and curvy). I like to add some roleplay while in cosplay, I think that it’s part of the fun of it! Characters that wear armor are my favorite. I really enjoy crafting armor, so it plays a big part in my decision.
What has been the most challenging characters that you’ve cosplayed as, and which have been the most enjoyable?
Without a doubt the most challenging cosplay I did was Project Leona. It was a cosplay full of first times : first time using a jig saw (in my kitchen!), first time working with acrylic (plexiglass), first time soldering, first time working with LEDs and first time using my airbrush! Yep.
The most enjoyable would probably be my barbarian from Diablo 3 (tier 7). I just fell in love with the character design and having the midriff exposed is really a blessing in the heat of cons in the summer! I keep growling while posing for photographer! So much fun!
Could you take us through a little on how you made your outfits?
I begin by drawing the costume, piece by piece. While I draw, I think about how they will be attached. What color and what material I’ll use. Then, I create my pattern. With the help of math, I try to make the costume to scale (a barbarian with a tiny axe would be a sad barbarian). I mostly use EVA foam and craft foam for my armor, but sometimes, Worbla is the solution. Heat, glue, and add details: « repeat til cry », as one cosplayer I follow (Wirru) says. After that, caulking and priming is done before the painting. Finally: you varnish all your hard work! Then, I go to sleep the con is tomorrow! 😉
Which Conventions have been the most enjoyable for you to attend and why?
I went mostly to cons in the Montreal area since I’m from there, Montreal comic con and Otakuthon. I go to Ottawa too for Pop Expo and Ottawa Comic con. I have to say that Otakuthon has a special place in my heart. I remember the first time I attended, I couldn’t believe how many cosplayers there were! A lot of characters came from anime, so I was looking at so many beautiful, colorful and so splendidly combed wigs!
Have there been any memorable reactions to your costumes, and if so, what were they?
At our first con as a trio, when we reached the hall, we were asked by a photographer to stop for him to take a picture. We were really happy about it and the second we struck our pose, a crowd formed before us. We were not prepared! Ahah! I couldn’t believe it, it was hard to walk because we were asked to stop by photographers, and I felt like I was in a movie or something!
A question about photographers. Obviously cosplayers are a dream come true for photographers, great outfits and poses, does it ever get a bit tiring having to pose endlessly for them, and how do you prefer to be approached by a photographer?
Well, as any normal person would, I like when someone begins the conversation by a form of greeting. Having a photographer coming to you saying « Can you go near the wall over there? » without saying « Hi » or looking at me in the eyes makes me feel dehumanized.
I love to strike a pose and I’m always happy to do it for photographers. I made a choice to wear a costume and anyone who asks for a pose will get one, I feel very grateful for the interest of photographers.
What impact has cosplaying had on your life?
It made me realize that I love to learn and cosplay is all about that for me (and fun). I acquired a lot of new skills and I’m not done yet!
Cosplay made me meet some wonderful people. The community is welcoming and I am happy to have met people that have the same hobby as me.
I learned a lot about social media too, sharing your work is really different from browsing the content of a web site.
Do you have any advice for anybody thinking of cosplaying?
Just do it! 😉 More seriously, have faith in yourself. The creativity and talent of other cosplayers around don’t throw shade at what you do. What you should aim at, is fun itself. Fun of creating something and fun of sharing the result of what you work so hard to do. Don’t be shy to ask questions, learn and learn some more.
Tyrande Whisperwind courtesy of Narcissus Photography.
Trio and the barbarian (Diablo 3 at an angle) courtesy of Lexa One Photography.
Three other barbarian (diablo 3) pictures and Evil Queen courtesy of Narcissus photography
Leona’s picture courtesy of Mr. Jechgo and Dan Shea