Interview with cosplayer Mika -
Meet Mika, a 17 year old cosplayer from Philippines. Despite having entered the cosplay scene just in 2010 Mika has managed to stand out with her charismatic costumes and personality. Tifa Lockheart from Final Fantasy VII, Sophitia Alexandra from Soul Calibur III and Madoka Kaname from Puella Magi Madoka Magica are some of the characters that she has cosplayed. Mika was kind enough to share with us some info about her. Read on to find out more.
Name - Mika. I'm also known as Mikachu. XD
Place - Philippines~
DOB - July 9, 1994 (17)
Fav anime - That's hard to answer! XD Angel Beats, Guilty Crown, AKB0048, Fate Series, Code Geass, Macross Frontier, Cardcaptor Sakura, Magic Knight Rayearth, Full Moon wo Sagashite ---- I come to love animes that either stir lots of emotion in me or make me think more about life.
1. How about you introduce yourself to the readers first?
Mika :- Hello~ I'm Mika! I've been an otaku for as long as I can remember, and I love anime and games to bits. If I didn't, I don't think I'd be -me-. Its a big part of my life, and characters have had impacts on me that have made me into who I am today, in the same way that people around you shape you as a person. Aside from being a cosplayer, I'm just your typical student who loves to sing and eat. XD
2. What inspired you to start cosplaying and for how long have you been cosplaying?
Mika :- It began when I first saw these photos of famous cosplayers such as Kipi, Arisa Mizuhara, Aira, and Kaname (If I remember right? XD) on the internet a couple of years ago. The thought of seeing such inhumanely beautiful and anime-esque people thrilled me. I immediately thought of trying the same, and thus I did my first (and really fail cosplay @_@) as Haruhi Suzumiya back in 2007. I stopped because I needed to focus on school first, and felt that I wasn't too fitting for it yet. Around April 2010 I began to cosplay again now that I felt more confident. I've been cosplaying for two years now, but I dont really feel like it's been that long. XDD
3. Why did you choose to cosplay Yuri Nakamura?
Mika :- The moment I saw the Angel Beats trailer, something about the soundtrack was so appealing to me that it convinced me to try watching. I instantly loved the show because of Yuri who has this extremely similar personality to Haruhi Suzumiya (one of my top favorite anime characters of all time), she was just too amusing/funny/interesting. But just when I thought she'd be another Haruhi, the show shocked me when things went for a turn and more of her character was fully revealed. It hit me emotionally, I really sympathized with Yuri; her personality is extremely if not exactly similar to how I am in real life.
When I watched her in the first episode I immediately told myself I'd cosplay her. But when the show explained more about her, this casual desire to cosplay her grew SO MUCH. >_<
4. Could you give the readers some tips on cosplaying Yuri Nakamura?
COSTUME: Yuri's costume might seem simple, but it's actually different from typical seifuku with the unusual blouse layout and collar shape. There are also lots of small details such as the SSS patch, the back ribbon and the change in fabric color of the skirt panels on her sides. The collar and skirt color can also confuse people, in the same way that her hair color is also confusing---they all keep changing hues depending on what images you are looking at. I'm happy with the colors I got and I feel confident in them because I tried to find a balance between the colors of the original concept art/promotional art and the anime screenshots. With enough thinking, planning and attention it's easy to get her costume 100% accurate. Gun props are also easy to get!
PORTRAYAL: This is a little confusing. Although I know her personality inside out, I feel like there's this balance I have to achieve in portraying Yuri---You have to give off this 'serious' and 'confident' aura, but at the same time you can still make small smiles/smirks. She also doesn't entirely make these super angry/fierce expressions. She doesnt have any iconic pose nor does she have a consistent facial expression. She's very overall balanced and 'normal'-ish for an anime character if you get what I mean. XDD She's very regularly 'human'. While she smiles and laughs roughly, she's also mostly no-nonsense. I suppose it depends on your pose, and what aspect of her you'd like to show in photos, but I feel the best advice I could give in making expressions (which I think is the most important aspect of any cosplay) is for you to imagine how she would act/behave.
5. Do you have any favourite cosplayers that you admire and get inspired by?
Mika :- Yes, a lot!! I love Aira, Spiral Cats, Rainer Tachibana, Astellecia, GundamFamiglia, Mon Shie... there are just too many of them!
6. What has been your most exciting/memorable cosplay experience to date?
Mika :- It was at this gaming event last year, 'Level Up! Live 2011' where I first debuted my Rune Knight (Ragnarok Online) cosplay. Lots of cramming was done and it was the first costume that my cosplay family/group/team, Team MARCH, made together. I was really really nervous because that was the first serious competition I had ever joined and the second catwalk I had ever had (first catwalk was in my first cosplay XD). It's a pretty heavy and energy-draining costume but I was so happy, I swung my sword, shouted, ran around on stage and the people were going crazy, the crowd stood up and cheered loudly and I wanted to cry out of happiness for the costume everyone crammed together. XD The people from Team MARCH who were there were watching right at the edge of the stage, so all my nervousness just melted. That whole day, I will never forget.
7. What is your dream cosplay?
Mika :- There are a few; KOS-MOS from Xenosaga, Inori Yuzuriha from Guilty Crown, my own Nord Dovahkiin from TESV: Skyrim, Echizen Ryouma from Prince of Tennis and Sakura Kinomoto from Cardcaptor Sakura.
8. In what way has cosplay changed your life?
Mika :- I became more open-minded, more sociable, more accepting of the fact that there will always be people who are very different from each other. It has given me friendships, has caused me to learn how to sew, how to make props, where to buy certain things, how to use public transport, how to cut and style wigs/hair, how to do all kinds of makeup, it's also made me learn how to appreciate heels (which I used to hate XD). I became more girly because of cosplay, because it has made me more comfortable with wearing skirts, heels, having long hair, accessories and the like. I have come to be less awkward towards the opposite gender and now I even feel like my close friends are mostly males because of my hobbies (games etc). Cosplay has made me a more independent person too, and it has made me learn that if a person wants to do something, no matter what happens it can and will be done. Determination overcomes nearly everything. Also, I've become less shy in crowds and public presentations and have become a better speaker.
9. Do you have any piece of advice for the beginners out there?
Mika :- The most simple and essential thing I'd like to say is this: Please, no matter what, there must always be love. If there is love in what you are doing, things will fall into place---Because you love what you are doing, you will be determined. Because you love the character, you will learn more about them, you will easily be able to -be- them. Lots of people enter cosplay these days and become clouded with the intent of becoming popular and highly photographed, of becoming beautiful and the like---this should not be the case. Cosplay for the character. Cosplay because you genuinely, sincerely, from the bottom of your heart, love whoever it is you are cosplaying. That might be a little over the top for the more casual people but still, there must always be a genuine interest in the character; cosplay is not merely a product of wanting fame or doing something that suits you. Dont be afraid to try new things and always, enjoy.
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