Otaku Corner: The U.S. vs Malaysia

By: Chloe
Irashaimase to this month’s Otaku Corner! During the first issue of Otaku corner, I managed to interview a friend who was part of the cosplay community in Malaysia. For this session, we will be hearing from a friend all the way from the United States of America! She has been cosplaying for some time and her cosplays are also cool to see. 🙂
Cosplayer Name: Imari Yumiki
Based at: United States of America

Imari Yumiki as Kashu Kiyomitsu from Touken Ranbu Source: acparadise
Imari Yumiki as Kashu Kiyomitsu from Touken Ranbu
Source: acparadise

Q1: Can you tell us a little about the cosplay scene in the U.S?
Imari: There are many conventions in the USA that occur every year in different states. Over the years it has increased massively in both attendance and cosplayers. Everyone wears mostly handmade costumes around the events in USA in the past because of the lack of ability to buy outfits/ready made wigs. Since resources are more easily available now, there are a good 50% ratio of handmade cosplay and ones that are bought in the currently years. There aren’t many restrictions in the USA and people mostly could freely walk in costumes. However human etiquette and respect between each other applies no matter where we go.
Q2: Have you ever attended a convention overseas? How does it differ from the cosplay culture in the U.S?
Imari: Yes I have attended events in both Hong Kong and Japan. I feel overseas is more photo/picture based for cosplayers. In America people can just start up a conversation based on what they wear or a fandom they like. There’s more formality that goes between Asia convention scene than what I see in the USA. Event centers are much bigger here and people are more freely wearing their outfits and not worried about eating in cosplay. At the Asia events it’s very common to see people just get dressed at the event and even doing their makeup in public space corners which they have claimed. And they have photographers who take pictures of them during the day as they stay in one spot. In the USA there’s more roaming and people just wearing it like an outfit of the day. Both have their own uniqueness so it’s quite the experience when I do go overseas.
Imari Yumiki as Tohru Yukimura from Aoharu x Machinegun. Source: acparadise
Imari Yumiki as Tohru Yukimura from Aoharu x Machinegun.
Source: acparadise

Q3: Being an experienced cosplayer, how do you normally start a new project (cosplay)?
Imari: I usually fall in love with a character or series and I want to own their clothes. So right off I start planning and thinking of how to make a certain outfit and what I need to buy as fabric/props/wigs etc. I always imagine the pattern before I work on the outfit. Having the wig for the character done first usually gives me bigger inspiration to work on the outfit. And I really love thinking about how to do their makeup too. I get really inspired while working on an outfit if I play/watch/listen to the music from the series.
Q4: What is your current goal / dream as you pursue into this hobby?
Imari: Continue to do what I love and love what I do. So many interesting series/characters appear over time, I don’t think I’ll get tired any time soon.
Q5: What’re your usual hurdles when you’re completing a cosplay project and how do you overcome them?
Imari: Ahh, when things turn out more difficult than when I first thought it would be. I usually try my best to pick out the details as I work on the outfit. If it comes to a point where I mess up or get stuck I force myself a break so I can fix it properly when I am back in the mood. Another hurdle is cost. I always try my best to make cosplay as affordable as I can but sometimes that is difficult. So I take time on waiting for deals/coupons and find ways to make the overall cost affordable with different techniques. Such as reusing wigs and parts of another costume.
Q6: Do you have anything to say to our readers who’s interested in this hobby?
Imari: Feel free to try it for yourself if you want to use this to express your love for a series and genre you enjoy. It’s never too hard unless you make it hard for yourself. This is a hobby after all, if you don’t enjoy doing it, then it may not be for you.
Imari Yumiki as Kuroo Hazama from Young Black Jack. Source: acparadise
Imari Yumiki as Kuroo Hazama from Young Black Jack.
Source: acparadise

That is all for now. See ya next time!

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