By Rizwan Merchant

Editor Note: Cat-chan Cosplay is part of The Cosplay Team C4 with fellow cosplayer C.C. C4 was chosen at San Japan 2013 to represent The Gulf region of The United States at the 2014 U.S. World Cosplay Summit Finals at Anime Central 2014. Winner of this competition will travel to Japan for the International World Cosplay Summit, and compete against one representatives of the other countries involved in the WCS as the representatives for America.


Introductions

Sakura Kinomoto from Card Captor Sakura Photography by Angelwing

Sakura Kinomoto from Card Captor Sakura
Photography by Angelwing

Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! I’m Cat-chan, and I’m a cosplayer. I love making costumes and attending cons all over the country (but mostly in Texas)!

I am a professional graphic designer by day, specializing in digital design for multi-touch platforms. I am also a bit of a couch potato and love watching TV and reading manga. I have two very frisky cats (Karma and Yourichi) and a wonderful husband I enjoy spending most of my time with.

When did you start Cosplaying?
I started cosplaying in 2004.

What got you into Cosplaying?
When I went off to college I decided to join my campus’ anime club. This is how I was introduced to conventions and cosplay. The club attended a local con annually and so I went with them. A few of the girls cosplayed and I was amazed. I wanted to cosplay too!

Haine Otomiya from The Gentleman's Alliance Photography by Squidflakes

Haine Otomiya from The Gentleman’s Alliance
Photography by Squidflakes

What is your favorite Cosplay that you’ve made (or worn)?
This is always a hard question because sometimes I love wearing a costume or I love making a costume but I don’t always love both. One costume that I really enjoyed both the experience of crafting and wearing is Mami Tomoe from Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

How do you determine what characters you Cosplay?
I usually start with characters I love or that have really cool or unique designs and then narrow it down from there. How much time do I have, how much will it cost, do I feel confident I can portray them well, ect.? I have a to-do list a mile long at this point…

Why do you enjoy Cosplaying?
I enjoy cosplaying for many reasons: I love crafting and sewing, I love seeing a project come together and embodying a character, but most of all I love all of the amazing people that are in my life thanks to this hobby.

Do you have any dream costumes you want to make or wear?
I have a lot of costumes I want to make but I suppose two of my “dream” costumes would be Yoko Ritona from TTGL (timeskip) who I haven’t done yet because I’m still not confident enough to show off that much skin and Sakura Hime from Sakura Hime Kaden in her moon princess dress which I haven’t done because I have nowhere to put a dress that huge.

Out of all of your costumes, which was the hardest to fabricate?
Ryuuzuki Umi from MKR. It was a case of not budgeting enough time and being way out of my skill range. This is the only costume I’ve ever pulled an all-nighter for and after that experience I vowed never to do it again!

What are some Cosplays you are currently working on?
Currently I’m working on additions to my WCS skit. ;)


Which costume are you most looking forward to wearing in the future?
I’m really excited about making a new Maru costume (From xxxHolic) to wear with my cosplay partner C.C. We made Maru and Moro costumes all the way back in 2008 and we are finally going to update them with fabulous new gowns.

Do you think you will ever retire from Cosplaying?
I might stop “cosplaying” but I don’t think I will ever stop making things. Halloween costumes for my future kids, outfits to wear to renaissance festivals, cute clothes to add to my closet…I don’t think I could stop sewing. I use it as a creative outlet and I think everyone always needs one of those.

Have you ever considered wearing costumes outside of conventions, for your day-to-day life?
I’ve worn costumes to planned meet-ups outside of cons, but I would never wake up one day and just throw on a cosplay.

Do you tend to fabricate/make your own costumes or buy them?
I make or modify all of my costumes. Part of why I enjoy cosplay is the process of making the costume. I’m not sure I would get the same enjoyment out of wearing something completely purchased.

In the World of Cosplaying

Kiyone Makibi from Tenchi Muyo! Angelwing

Kiyone Makibi from Tenchi Muyo!
Angelwing

What experiences in your life have changed the way you Cosplay?
I’ve learned over time that I work best when I try to go with the flow, even if that’s difficult for me. I try very hard to plan things out, but sometimes life gets in the way and it just can’t be helped. I’ve learned over the years that it’s better to pause on a project and keep your sanity than push on and feel miserable.

What kind of reactions do you receive for any alterations and reinventions of character designs and attire?
I usually try to be very accurate to my source material so I don’t really make alterations, but I fully support people who choose to modify costume designs so that they feel more comfortable. Sometimes these characters have outfits that defy gravity.

How do you react to the attention your cosplays generate?
I don’t think I generate too much attention, but I always try to be polite and courteous.


What are some of your favorite moments while cosplaying?
My favorite moments are the ones I share with friends, but one of the best I have is from Anime Fest years ago. I had just met a bunch of really cool Bleach cosplayers and we had spent all day together. We had all just left the cosplay contest when a newly married couple walks out of a ballroom (probably their reception) and proceeds to ask to take photos with all of us. How cool!

That same convention I also witnessed a car accident with 4 other cosplayers and we had to hang out on a Dallas street corner for an hour to testify to the police. I’m pretty sure the guy ran the red light because he was staring at us…oops! (Don’t worry, no one was hurt.)

Do you participate or have you participated in any cosplay contests (Convention, online, etc)?
Yes, I’ve entered a lot of cosplay contests over the years. I’ve met a lot of really awesome people by participating and I’ve always had fun hanging out with the other cosplayers in the line up.

Have you won any awards for your cosplay? If so, what kind and/or where did you win them?
I’ve won several awards, but the biggest one is probably winning the WCS Gulf Regional qualifier at San Japan 2013.

What was the first event/convention you went to?
Ushicon 2004

What is your stance on handmade vs store-bought cosplay?
I personally will always make my costumes because I find joy in that process, but not everyone does. If you find joy in acting in character or recreating dances or just hanging out in a costume with friends then more power to you! Cosplay is all about your experiences and if you have positive ones buying instead of making then that is awesome.

How do you feel about those who get into character while cosplaying? Do you get into character as well?
I admire people that can “become” their character because I am really bad at it…

Is there anyone you’ve always wanted to meet and have a photoshoot with?
My biggest dream right now is to meet and put together a full Idolm@ster cosplay group, so you know, if you are interested feel free to email me! ;)

Personal Experiences

Yukari Yakumo from Touhou Project Photography by Squidflakes

Yukari Yakumo from Touhou Project
Photography by Squidflakes

What would you say are the challenges of Cosplaying?
Time management. Even after nearly 10 years, this one still gets me every time. Always allot yourself more time than you think you need, especially if you are trying out a new technique.

How do you deal with  the constructive criticisms that you receive on your Cosplays?
If it is truly constructive criticism I’m always open to it. I think as an artist it’s important to hear outside perspectives. Sometimes we get so entrenched in our projects that fresh eyes are helpful. If it’s just flat out criticism I try to let it just roll off my back; there’s no point in getting worked up over one person’s opinion.

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring Cosplayers?
Go for it! Don’t be afraid to try something new. If you don’t know how to sew, try taking lessons or asking someone who does know to teach you. If you don’t know how to make props or armor, look up tutorials about methods to build them. You will not be amazing at anything at first; it takes time to learn a skill. Keep trying and getting better! Don’t be intimidated. Everyone started at the beginning once.

Outside of Cosplaying

Nefertiti Vivi from One Piece Photography by Squidflakes

Nefertiti Vivi from One Piece
Photography by Squidflakes

Do you have any hobbies other than cosplaying?
If watching TV counts then yes… I’m only half kidding. I also enjoy figure collecting and lolita fashion.

Do you have any helpers (pets) that often assist you?
I have two cats and they both love to help in their own special ways. One loves jumping into boxes and the other loves jumping into my lap.

Is there anything you do outside of Cosplaying that gives you ideas of what to do for a costume?

LITERALLY EVERYTHING

Final Words to the Readers:
Thank you for the interview!
If you want to follow me online check out www.catchancosplay.com or fb.com/catchancosplay

Photo credits:
Vivi, Haine, Yukari: Squidflakes www.gallery.prairiesquid.com
Kiyone, Sakura: Angelwing www.fallingfeathers.net/
Mami: Mike Boike www.flickr.com/photos/mike_boike/