Beauty ? Charms ? They’ve got it all. Today , Ani-Culture presents you , the three angels. Aza Miyuko , Angie and Ying Tze. At AFASG 2014 this year , we were privileged to be able to be come up close with them.
Aza , from the land of the morning calm, is a super cute and talented cosplayer. She is skilled in costume making and her photo shoots are top grade.
Angie and Ying Tze are both Malaysian cosplayers who are really passionate about their hobby. They really put in a lot of effort to make sure they are able to bring out the best of the character. Their commitment is really worth the respect. Three of them are all fashion design students, which gives them greater opportunities to further enhance the details in each of their hand-made costumes.
Along with our media friends we bring to you this exclusive interview.
Since the three of you have been coming to Singapore quite some time , What are you expecting from this year’s AFA ?
Angie : What are we expecting for this year AFA ? Well I am interested in the cosplays, especially the ARCC . I am excited to see all the contestants from each country and also the different kinds of content from the booth exhibitors. Because this year most of the booths are exhibiting items from my favorite series , Love Live and SAO (Sword Art Online). So I really hope I will get a chance to walk around the booths to see some of them, and visit some doujin booths too.
Ying Tze : *taps Angie’s hand* It’s okay Angie
Angie : Don’t always like this lah!
Ying Tze : She speaks my mind so … *everyone laughs out loud*
Aza Miyuko : I would like to interact more with my fans and have more fun walking around the events and have more exposure on the venues.
How did you guys start in cosplaying ? What makes you want to cosplay in the first place ?
Aza Miyuko : After watching some anime in secondary school , I really liked the characters , so together with my friends , we wanted to bring the character alive and that is where I started cosplaying.
Angie : For me, I really like to read manga since I am young. When I went to college, I realized that my friends had a hobby called cosplay. It was really interesting as they were able to portray the characters they like and that is why I decided to try out this hobby. I have been doing that since then.
Ying Tze : For me, I have been a very big fan of Anime, Games and Manga since four years old. So, I have been growing up with manga and anime until I discovered cosplay around 2003. But back then , there was not much resources so I only started cosplaying in 2005.
Why do you cosplay ? What is the main reason ? Is it the passion or be like the character or what is it ? For Miyuko , Anyohaseyo !
Angie : For me it is really the passion that makes me want to cosplay. Because actually a lot of people know that cosplay is a hobby which is very time- and money-consuming but why still so many people do it ? Because of their passion and love for the character. Also, it is like transforming something from 2D to reality. It’s makes you feel very proud that you are able to cosplay this character and this is the passion that keeps me cosplaying.
Ying Tze : For me is also my love for the character and I love to make costumes. You can say that that’s what keeps me cosplaying because I love making new costumes and every project that I do, I learn something new from it.
Aza Miyuko : I love to make the costumes of the anime characters that I love and I really had a lot of fun cosplaying and that’s why I cosplay.
As a cosplayer yourself , is there any cosplayer that you find inspiring or you look up to and why ?
Ying Tze : For me it is Pinky Lu Xun from Indonesia. I’ve been following her works for a long time and she is an amazing costume maker. She makes everything from scratch and until now I am still very inspired by her works and constantly wants to improve myself as well.
Angie : For me, actually there are many cosplayers that inspired me as I look at different elements for different cosplayers. For example, I get inspired by the cosplayer’s costume , and some for their photo-shooting skills. But, I have one cosplayer which is my ‘senpai’, who really inspired me a lot when I first started cosplaying, but now she is not cosplaying anymore.
Aza Miyuko : My friends and I look up to many cosplay artistx and we try to inspire each other so I think my friends are my main motivation .
The three of you have been cosplaying for a very long time and have made many costumes. Which is your favorite costume and which in your opinion was the hardest to make ?
Aza Miyuko : Arcade Sona from League of Legends is the hardest that I have done and the one that I like the best as well.
Angie : There are many costumes that are my favorite. For example this set, points to the one she’s wearing* (Nico Yazawa Cheongsam Version) I also like this one quite a lot. But for the hardest to make, will be my Yuzuriha Inori goldfish costume. Because that was done two to three years ago and at that time my sewing skills is not that good and the challenge was to make a very fitting body suit. So, it took me quite a long time to experiment and modify. So that is the hardest costume I have ever made.
Ying Tze : I have many costumes that I like. Because I put in a lot of effort for every costume that I make, so it is really hard to choose. But if there is really one then it will be Queen Ester from Trinity Blood which I made last year for AFA Singapore.
What are the challenges and difficulties that you face to become a professional cosplayer?
Angie : For me cosplay is a hobby so I just try to do my best and do my best. And maybe people might think we are professionals because we have more experience but we are actually still in the learning process. So, I think you have to just do your best and people will appreciate it then you will be a good cosplayer.
Ying Tze : For me it is also the same, because for me it is also a hobby so when you say challenges, there are not really much challenges as I basically just make the costume that I like. So for me, I am still enjoying costume making as a hobby.
Aza Miyuko : Even though in cosplay, there are a lot of things to do and a lot of steps to take , but because I really enjoy it a lot, so all these difficulties actually become something that makes me stronger and more passionate about cosplaying.
As a cosplayer , you have make many costumes. What do you do with your previous costumes ?
Angie : I keep them inside the boxes. By now my house is like a storeroom, full of costumes! So I am trying to clear it out to new owners that will appreciate my costumes and at the same time, to give me support to continue making new costumes. But mostly, if the costumes that I really like, I will keep it in my closet .
Ying Tze : I have many costumes and I am not willing to sell it. Because I am more particular in getting into the details when making costumes since last year, so my workmanship is not that good yet. For those that are not really well done, I will donate it to H&M. H&M has this service where you can exchange old clothes and old fabric for coupons. For those which are nicer made, I will just keep it.
Aza Miyuko : I like my costumes very much so I will just keep them at home. My father is already controlling the amount of clothes that I have.
Have you ever considered or tried salvaging older costumes for materials to construct newer ones ?
Angie : Actually , I have tried before.
Tried before ?!
Angie : Yea! For example , some of the costumes have a lot of laces so I will take it out from the older costumes which I didn’t do well and use it for the new one I am working on.
Ying Tze : I only take out the zips !
Well , that is also a form of recycling… *Ying Tze Nods*
Angie : Yeah ! Recycling ! But fabric cannot . Only some of the accessories and small parts.
Ying Tze : Buttons…
Aza Miyuko : I have a lot of costumes at home and sometimes I will try to reuse and sometimes if the costume is nice enough , I will re-wear and recreate the character again.
What are your other hobbies when you are not cosplaying ?
Angie : For me I am an illustrator too. So when I am not cosplaying, I love to draw. Other than that, I also really love reading manga. So I really enjoy chilling at home, reading manga, drawing or just watching movies.
Ying Tze : If I am not cosplaying, I am playing games. I have a gaming desktop and a PS4 . I enjoy playing Call of Duty, League of Legends and Left for Dead.
Aza Miyuko : Other than reading manga, I also go for exercise like tennis. So I love doing sports when I am not cosplaying.
Which country convention have you been to and which do you find most memorable ?
Angie : Actually we mostly go to Malaysia , Singapore , Indonesia and I went to Thailand before. Each country has their own specialties and interesting points. For example, in Singapore, there are a lot of content and guests whereas in Indonesia there are a lot of great performances for cosplay and in Malaysia , my hometown , it is more to a warm culture and doujin stuff. So it’s like different and I appreciate every event I have been to.
Ying Tze : We have been to the same events! I have been to the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Like Angie said, each event has its own specialty and I find it all very memorable because of the people who comes to see us. It is very heartwarming. But, for Indonesia, I went to visit four cities this year , so it is extremely memorable for me.
Aza Miyuko : I have been to Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and also the ones in Korea. I actually enjoyed all of them because I get to interact with fans and have a lot of memorable experience.
Do you like the food over here and in different countries you visit ?
Aza Miyuko : I ate chili crab over here and it was amazing!
When are considerations do you take into before cosplaying as the characters?
Angie : Mostly, it will be depending on what kind of character is it. Example, today we are doing the idol kind of characters which requires us to be on the stage. We will wear accessories that are ‘Bling bling‘, like laces. Because it’s a idol character it needs something bright to attract the crowd. But if they are game characters or anime characters we will stick to the accessories of the original characters. The background plays a factor as well.
Would cost be a big factor?
Angie : Yes, of course those accessories that are more “Bling” will cost more. It will also depend on the material of it.
Most of the items you can get them on ‘Taobao”.
Angie : Yes, I do get some items there as they have more choices. For example the Japanese fabric which doesn’t sell locally, I will have no choice but to get it from them. But mostly I will get them locally because I can see and touch the item before making the decision to purchase it.
Ying Tze : For me I buy everything locally because I prefer to touch and see as well. Because online I won’t be able to know example how the actual product looks like and what’s the thickness of it. I trust what I see and touch also everything I got is local.
Aza Miyuko : I will try and source to find all the materials required. I will search all around Korea for it.
You have all been cosplaying for a long time. Has this hobby been beneficial to you or any part of your life ?
Angie : I learn a lot from this hobby. Just imagine, last time after secondary school, I am just a girl who knew how to study and knew how to read. But ever since I started cosplaying , I have learnt how to style hair, sew clothes which is a skill I picked up from the internet and other than that , I know how to face the camera, pose, be in the character, know how to makeup and I learn a lot a lot of things from cosplay so it makes my life really wonderful.
Ying Tze : For me it’s the same. Before this, I am quite uncomfortable with many people around me when I am standing on the stage. My first appearance as a guest last year on stage, I was like holding a mic and walking around don’t know what am I talking about. Because of cosplay , I realized I like to make clothes and that is how I decided to pick up fashion designing. Because before this, I was wondering whether I should pursue in arts or design but cosplay had made me realize that fashion designing was a line for me.
Even before I started college , I already knew how to sew clothes so I think from cosplay I get to learn to be more …. perfectionist, Because in college , there’s a lecturer who tells me that, “This is not good enough” and you have to like do according to your lecturer. So I think my lecturer really taught me that I have to be more particular on the details.
Aza Miyuko : I learn a lot of things from cosplaying. I learn how to improve my sewing and create more costumes and stuff . Overall, it is a hobby that I am very passionate about.
All of you have been cosplaying for very long so is there any particular funny or memorable moments that you remember ?
Aza Miyuko : I think the most memorable moment is when I go around the event meeting people .
Angie : Ermmm… happy moments is er..
Ying Tze : Funny moments !
Angie : Eh Oh?! Funny. Er… I try to remember for me , there was once when I was spraying my costume in the toilet and it ends up being yellow color. At that time I am really rushing for my costume and I still have to wash my toilet after that. And for the enjoying time , it is when I am photo shooting with my friends. It is really a very nice moment where we share the same passion towards the character and creating nice photos together. This is my most enjoying part for my cosplay.
Ying Tze : Funny moment ! Like for example ? … mini pause… * Yah ! I am asking you for example. Like what is funny to you ?
I mean like it was so funny that you could still remember it today…
Ying Tze : Oh I have a story to tell you. The funny moment was yesterday.
We have all the time in the world
Angie : * suddenly recalls* *laughs*
Ying Tze : You know KLIA ? We have KLIA 1 and KLIA 2. So Angie brought me to KLIA 2 because our flight was Jetstar. But then , Jetstar was in KLIA 1.
Everyone *laughs out loud*
Ying Tze : So we took a train all the way to KLIA 2 and then Angie saw a yellow logo which was Tiger Air and she thought it was JetStar. So I was like , Angie STOP STOP STOP! She was like , Oh it’s Tiger Air! So, I ask her ” Isn’t JetStar in KLIA 1 ? ” she say , ” Oh wait , I google”. And then , she google and ends up it is really KLIA 1. So we both take train and go back to KLIA 1.
Ying Tze : So, I think it is a funny moment for me.
Did you miss the flight ?
Angie : Ah no no no. Luckily we got out early.
Ying Tze : I knew it already, that is why I make sure we go to the station to wait early. We have around 3 hours before flight so it’s okay.
What is the largest obstacle or limitation you face so far since you started cosplaying ?
Angie : Time
Ying Tze : Yes. She was suppose to do Rin today.
Angie : I was suppose to join with them do cosplay the same version but end up I cannot finish making the costume. For me, I got a lot of things I want to do. I have school, I have my cosplay and a lot of characters I want to do, so time is my biggest enemy. My time management is not as good as Ying Tze so most of the time my costumes are always rushed out, so time is always my biggest obstacle.
Ying Tze : My time management is better. For me , it is time also because costumes take a lot of time to make if you want to perfect the details and all and also , there are many other things that I like to do. For example playing games , which is time consuming and even studying takes up time. So really , it is time. I wish they give me more time.
Aza Miyuko : Because I really enjoy cosplaying , so there isn’t really any obstacles that I face. I simply enjoy making the costumes and doing all the steps so there is no obstacles at all.
That’s all we have from the three angels Angie, Ying Tze & Aza Miyuko, stay tune for more from Ani-Culture.net !
Photo Credits: JT