Interview for “Beyond Just Cosplay” by Campus Plus magazine 2014

CPM - Thank you for taking time off to speak to us! For those of us who are not in the know, do introduce yourself e.g. name, cosplay name, age, and occupation.

MH - Hi and no problem at all, my name is Hani Suraya. People know me as Miyavi Honey in cosplay community. I will be 25 years old this year. I'm a freelance multimedia designer.

Beyond Just Cosplay from Campus Plus magazine

CPM - How long have you been involved in the cosplay community and what was your first memory of cosplay? Can you remember the first time you decided that you wanted to be a part of the community?

MH - I have been cosplaying since 2006, so 8 years now. My first memory of it was seeing it in gempak magazine in 2005. I decided to cosplay because it looks like fun to dress up as my favourite characters. I saw a cosplay competition in Kreko magazine called Malaysian Manga Cosplay and I, surprisingly went and compete with my first cosplay. I was a nervous wreck because not only it was my first cosplay, I was the first contestant too, but it was an exciting experience that I will never forget lol. I met many people who are very passionate in cosplay too.

CPM - The general public believes that cosplay is just putting on a costume, wig and makeup, and parading around. Is that all there is to cosplay?

MH - Of course there is more. To me, cosplaying is about portraying the character you love the best as you can and having fun with friends while doing it. It is how you express your creativity in cosplay by either sewing, make up, wig styling or prop making. The effort you bring your favourite character to life. Some people are cosplaying casually, some are passionate, some are competitive and some are for fun. All these are fine as long as they have good attitude that goes with it.

CPM - How do you choose which character to portray and get into character, and what kind of preparation would usually go into that?

MH - I usually pick characters that I really like. Sometimes I don't really care whether the character suits my body type or face or gender because I cosplay for fun and I don't really mind not being perfect. But sometimes there are characters that I really like but I won't cosplay them because I know my limitation that I cannot pull off such character, example, I may be able to cosplay a tall character even though I'm short, I can wear platform shoes but I can't cosplay a bulky macho character because I cannot fake the illusion like I did with tall characters. Even if I already like and know the personalities and backstory of the character, I will still do more in-depth research on the details for the costume and the correct poses to role-play.

CPM - Where do you usually source materials for your cosplay costume/outfit? More importantly, where do you get your inspiration(s) from?

MH - I usually get cloth from any local stores like Nagoya and Kamdar because it’s much cheaper.  Sometimes I order online for materials that doesn’t sells in Malaysia like PVC lycra or vinyl. Most of the time I sew my costume myself, other times if I'm too busy, I will commission tailors to make it. I get inspirations from characters themselves and I'm also inspired by overseas cosplayers that I looked up to, like OMI GIBSON from Japan and RRArtGroup from Russia.

Beyond Just Cosplay from Campus Plus magazine

CPM - What has been your best cosplay memory/experience to date and why? Do include event name (if any) and date.

MH - I have many best memories of cosplay! But generally I have to say my best memory is meeting my fiancé, Iskandar or known as Zend through cosplay. I met him in 2007 but we don't know each other at the time, I just saw him around events, not until 2009 that we became friends and started dating in early 2010. We got engaged in August 2013 and now soon to be wed. I think by the time this magazine is published, we're already married lol. This will always be my best memory of cosplay. If specifically, I would say gathering my huge Mortal Kombat group for Comic Fiesta 2013 because we have been planning for 2 years and we managed to make a full group consist of 25 cosplayers. I always love to organize and managing big cosplay group and this is one of the reasons why I cosplay. It’s fun to cosplay in big group of friends while solving problems together along the way. We helped each other in making props and costume. I will never forget the memories of bonding, helping, having fun, geek-ing, being stressed and passionate together with friends for this hobby.

MORTAL KOMBAT! + Cosplay video by miyavihoney on DeviantArt

CPM - How has the cosplay community in Malaysia grown over the years? What are some of the most notable changes that you've seen within the community and the general public’s awareness?

MH - 8 years in the community made me see the transition of the small community, where everyone knows everyone to this massive subculture that’s going on in Malaysia. Cosplay events was so scarce back in my days, but now every month or couple of weeks there are events popping up like mushrooms. I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing for the community to the public eyes, since most of events nowadays are in public places like malls instead of at convention halls. Are they trying to help our community shed good light to the public or exploiting us? We're being exposed everywhere and I know most of us have good attitude but we can't say that all of us are the same. What the community want is to show that cosplay is a healthy hobby for everyone, no matter race, size, age etc.

CPM - Where do you hope to see cosplay go in the near future, in Malaysia?

MH - I hope Malaysia cosplay would have more variety that includes western pop culture; cosplay is not just for Japanese anime and mangas. The term ‘Cosplay’ was first discovered by Nobuyuki Takahashi at Los Angeles sci-fi convention. Cosplay does widely include movies, books, tv shows, cartoons, comics, iconic figures etc. I also hope to see Malaysian cosplay events that can rival San Diego Comic Con, Dragon*Con, Comiket or Tokyo Game Show.

Beyond Just Cosplay from Campus Plus magazine

CPM - We understand that during a cosplay event, there are other activities that run concurrently too. Tell us a little bit more about those activities.

MH - Other activities such as buying merchandise from doujin booths refer to amateur self-published works. Cosplay competition are very popular activity in any events, even government events have them for Hari Belia or any youth related events. They have comic artists or singer/band artists signing sessions. Usually console and card game tournaments will be held in another hall. They also have talks or demos by comic artists or cosplay idols of their works on stage.

CPM - Some bad rep was recently implicated following the case of the Ng Yuk Tim. If you had the power to turn things around, from bad to good, what would you tell Malaysians about cosplay i.e. what it’s really about and how incidents like Yuk Tim’s doesn’t happen to everyone?

MH - Like I said earlier, cosplay is a safe and healthy hobby of costuming and roleplaying for everyone with the correct attitude. It’s a medium where people can be outspoken, socialize, and expand their creativity. I am very sorry to hear what happened to Ng Yuk Tim. In this case, it is the fault of being human itself. In any kind of society, don't make one bad apple spoils the bunch. This goes to everyone and not just cosplayers, self-awareness and being alert are important. BE SMART.

Post a Comment

Popular Posts