One of the most popular Japanese pop culture is definitely “cosplay.” Passionate anime/manga/video game fans were not simply satisfied from just watching anime, reading manga or playing video games as a third party so they started to act as a character in their costumes; which is called cosplay today.
Cosplay scene has been evolving all over the world and it has been loved and enjoyed by so many people regardless of their nationality, race, gender or age. Now there is a world championship for cosplayers and each country’s representatives compete at World Cosplay Summit (WCS) held in Nagoya, Japan every summer aiming to be on top of the cosplay world.
This time I had an opportunity to interview with Japan’s popular cosplayer Mahio who was chosen as a Japan’s representative at WCS in 2015.
K=Kawaii Kakkoii Sugoi
K: How did you get into cosplay?
M: To be honest I was in the job hunt at that time and cosplay was a perfect escape from reality. I had been to Comic Market a few times before and always admired cosplayer’s amazing work. I also already knew how to make costumes from my experience with Theater Club at university. So why not? I made my first cosplay in April and by the end of the year I made 10 costumes in total.
K: I’m aware that the cost and term of making one cosplay would vary depending on the costume but how long and how much do you often spend on your recent costumes?
M: It usually takes about 7-10 days. As for the materials and fabrics, I don’t mind how much it would cost as long as it doesn’t go over 50,000 yen (about $425). Well, even if fabric is cheap, I still have to spend a lot of money on shoes and props so in total it gets kind of expensive at the end.
K: Why did you decide to participate in World Cosplay Summit?
M: Japanese cosplay scene is heavily focused on cosplay photoshoot, which they can reproduce their favorite anime’s world as accurate as they can on photos. However, I have always wanted to bring my favorite anime characters into life in motion by enacting. Cosplay performance is still a new genre in Japan so WCS was only my choice. Fortunately, I could find my partner who has incredible passion about cosplay performance as much as I do and who was also ready to devote her time for practice to aim for championship so we were ready to make a history.
K: When you were chosen as Japan’s representative to go on final round at World Cosplay Summit, how did you feel? Did you expect to win?
M: I was rather scared to hear the results than being confident! It was a battle against myself therefore I was so busy focusing on myself that I didn’t even have room to think about other contestants. When they announced our names, there was nothing but gratitude for those who have supported us. I was certainly happy to be picked but all I could think about was being thankful for everyone more than pure happiness. It was also the day that I swore I will work harder and have a performance that I will never regret at WCS.
K: If you have a chance to visit America, which cosplay would you like to bring?
M: I want to shoot Trunks from Dragon Ball Z or some characters from Magi at Grand Canyon! Since New York is Tiger & Bunny’s seichi, a sacred land of anime, it would be awesome to shoot my Tiger & Bunny cosplay there!
K: Lastly what is cosplay to you?
M: In one word, cosplay is “the ultimate doujin (unofficial fan art or work) activity that you can enact your favorite character.”
During her interview she answered my questions with a strong passion and I felt like “do you like cosplay?” is the most nonsense question that exists in her world. She also told me that when she was invited to an anime convention in US as an industry guest, it was her turning point in cosplay and that made her even more interested in cosplay performance. Although they couldn’t receive a crown this year, they were still rewarded with Best Sound Effects. Since World Cosplay Summit, Mahio and her partner Mariko got even more popular and they have been invited to both domestic and international events as a guest. No one can stop Mahio from cosplaying. Well even if someone tries to, I’m 100% positive that Mahio will never stop.