Exclusive Interview with Shiroiaisu Cosplay on BlazeBlue Central Fiction
BlazeBlue Central Fiction is already out in Japanese arcades, since November 19, 2015, and to celebrate that fact and the multiple updates and news we received on the game, our writer Benjiro was able to contact and conduct an interview with the lovely Shiroiaisu, a Swedish Cosplayer who graciously and generously gave some of her time to answer his questions on the subject.
In 2015, miss Shiroiaisu (aka Anne or Anne-pan) made a Makoto Nanaya Cosplay, so Benjiro thought it be a good idea to ask her about her life as a Cosplayer and artist, but also to get her opinion, wishes, and more about the newest title in the BlazeBlue franchise, Central Fiction. He conducted and wrote the original English interview, but you can also read the French version, which is available on IMGMR Franco.
Here is what miss Shiroiaisu had to say, in this two-part exclusive interview.
Benjiro: Let me begin by telling you how much of a privilege it is to be able to conduct this interview with you! Let’s start with this: How long have you been interested by cosplaying, what sparked this desire to create cosplays for the world to see, and when did you know, or rather, when was it confirmed for you that Cosplay would be/become an important part of your daily life?
Shiroiaisu: Oh let’s see, Cosplay had and still has a great impact on my life because it literally changed everything up about me and how I see myself, and who around me are my true friends. I don’t remember how old I was, but one day I came home and saw my sister watching Anime, Bleach to be more precise, and I was like “What’s this?”, and after watching it I fell in love with it, because I thought the characters were super cool, I loved the design, the sounds, the story, everything about it, it was so perfect! I did some research about the show and eventually came across the term “Cosplay”, and it really pulled my interest, and then I felt like, for me, this is something I could do. I wasn’t really super cool or popular kid at school, I stayed in my corner reading books, and the friends I had were mostly geeks sort of speak. So Cosplay changed me into something better, and I got more friendly and open-minded friends because they did or wanted to do the same thing I did, and also liked the same things I did, so it became so natural and, in a way, felt so right and so different from the norms of regular society.
Benjiro: You have done a lot of Cosplays in your life, ultimately bringing anime, TV Shows, and of course, Video game characters to life. Cosplaying takes a lot of time, energy, perseverance, patience and most of all passion. In order for you to choose which Cosplay you will work on during a year, what must a particular character have in order for you to choose him or her?
Shiroiaisu: I think it’s a combination of multiple factors really, the big thing that determines if I’ll choose a character is mainly it’s personality and its design, because I want the design to complement my body and I want the character’s personality to be likeable for me, because I don’t want to Cosplay a “douche bag” (laughs). Although if a character possesses a top notch design, I might consider it, but it as to be pretty good for me to want to Cosplay a character whose personality is not so great (laughs). So I would have to say that the character has to be likeable and the design also will determine if I would want to do it or not. The time it would take to complete and the price of the materials needed for it, I always think of these two aspects later on. When I really want to do a Cosplay, I just do it, the future will tell if it will be done eventually or some time in the future, so it depends really.
Benjiro: Tv Shows, Comics, Manga/Anime, and Videogame characters…do you have a preference about which one you like to Cosplay the most, or does it all depend on whether or not you like the character in the first place?
Shiroiaisu: It’s a tricky one! Usually, I wouldn’t Cosplay characters that come from TV Shows like Daenerys from Game of Thrones, because I think it’s harder to try to Cosplay something or someone that’s actually a real person, an actress in this case. In general, I like to cosplay more from anime and video games that have that “anime” look. Western video games (some of them) might be a problem for me as well, because more and more you have digital actors that look very much alike their human actors counterpart models. It’s really hard to capture the exact features of those actors. That’s why I prefer video game and anime characters, who get their inspiration from Japan style animation. I usually avoid characters who have been personified by actors, because I now how easy it is for our society to judge and criticize when you look nothing like the character your trying to bring to life… I stay clear from it in fact, unless I really want to do it, like Daenerys, because I felt strongly about it. Simple as that!
Benjiro: Like previously mentioned, you have done quite a lot of Cosplays in your life, and each are all breathtaking (Makoto and A.B.A being my favorites). Does it get easier with time and practice to create a Cosplay or does it all depend on what you are trying to create and the complexity of the character you are trying to bring to life (For example if one character has multiple props, eye contacts, wig, make-up, etc.)?
Shiroiaisu: I’m glad you like Makoto and A.B.A! I think you always acquire more skills the more Cosplays you do. A few years ago I wasn’t really good at styling wigs, it was really my weak point, but nowadays I’m confident enough that I even style the wigs for my boyfriend’s Cosplays, and I think I really became better at it. Of course there are a lot of things I could learn about styling wigs, like if I want to make them with spikes, dying them and more, even makeup, there are things you experiment on, for example, some makeups are easier to do with airbrushes. You acquire, experiment, and of course when you get it, you have to practice your skills until it becomes a piece of cake. You have to focus on your weak points so that the most, you climb the ladder of skill!
Benjiro: Out of all the Cosplays you have made, could you tell us which one you are the proudest of, the one that was smoother to make, and the one that just seemed like it “didn’t want to work or cooperate” with you? Basically, is there one in particular that you were so unsatisfied with, that you restarted everything over and over until you were pleased?
Shiroiaisu: Let me think for a moment… Makoto Nanaya is the one I am the proudest about, it’s my favorite of all time…until I make something greater that is (laughs) but seriously, she is also the one with whom it went the smoothest I think in terms of actually making the Cosplay. As for a Cosplay with which I had trouble with… that’s a tricky one also. I really have to think about that one! I can’t think of any that I did for myself, but there was one I did for my boyfriend, everything went so wrong, and I was so mad I wanted to throw it out a window, and it was Amane from Chronophantasma. It was so frustrating, I had never been so mad before in my life, because we were trying to work the kimono he wears (Amane), and the fabric, the lining of the fabric didn’t want to cooperate at all like you said, I had trouble making the hole thing perfect and complete…worst thing I have experienced, but now I am wondering if I should redo this Cosplay but for myself, but every time someone mentions this Cosplay to me, I have small cringes in my heart (laughs), because I hate so much. But now that I think about it, I’m thinking more and more about doing it because who doesn’t want to be a sassy kimono boy (laughs). It would be a crossplay because he looks like a girl… I wouldn’t mind being a trap!
Benjiro: To conclude on this segment, do you have any pointers you would like to give to cosplayers who would want to refine their artistic skills or better discipline themselves when attempting to create a Cosplay so that they don’t end up with more than they could chew in terms of workload?
Shiroiaisu: I think the best thing anyone can do before diving in is to do research. Always do research on materials and don’t settle for lesser, if you can, try to aim for the best you can have in terms of quantity and quality. Have a picture in your mind of what you want to do, what you want your character to look like, and most important, don’t let go of that image, stick on it, believe in yourself. Make sure that you always have what you want when you want to begin, because once you begin, you might regret finding later the best alternative (in terms of materials for example) and that’s no good. You must bring your image to life, and feel as if when your Cosplaying in it, you feel like you have become this character. Plan, plan ahead, and plan some more. Never rush, patience is your friend, wait for the perfect stuff for your Cosplay and you should be alright.
Part 2: BlazeBlue Activate: The Wheel of Fate is Turning, Rebel One, Action!
Benjiro: In 2015, one of your Cosplays was none other than the lovely Makoto Nanaya, BlazeBlue’s hyperactive squirrel girl who is able to kick your behind while looking good doing it. I would like to congratulate you for the award you recently received at Nerdify 2015 for Best Cosplay. What was your initial reaction when you learned that you were this year’s winner for this category?
Shiroiaisu: Thank you very much! That was a really big thing for me, because I have never won an award before. Also, the convention was really small so the number of competitors was low. I usually try to compete in bigger conventions, and I felt very outclassed, because there were so many good people there, but I was also surprised because the craftsmanship of the other competitors were really great, especially the props that some of them had. The convention sent me a text message telling me that I was one of the nominees and afterwards I learned that I was one of the winners. I was like: “This is pretty cool!!!” (laughs), I was really happy, it was great, and I felt great about it.
Benjiro: Now let’s talk about the video games. How much of a BlazeBlue fan are you, and do you like to “Rebel it out” (playing the game)? If so, whom do you main and what is it about BlazeBlue that peaks your interest the most: the story, the character’s design, the fact that it’s a fighting game, all of the above, etc. ?
Shiroiaisu: My main is Jin… because I like to spam the “Ice Car” (Laughs). There something so amazing about the Ice Car that you cannot deny how awesome it is. I’m not very good at the game, I’m more of a button masher type of gamer when it comes to BlazeBlue, when I usually play against someone it goes like this: “okay kick my butt, why don’t you, oh… don’t forget to tell me when I can play too” (laughs). I’m just sitting there and I would like to play better. But at least, you can still experience the story even if you’re not that good with fighting games. The story however needs things that need to be better explained in the future in my opinion.
Benjiro: Central Fiction, the latest installment in the BlazeBlue storyline is now out since November 19 of 2015 in Japanese arcades. The last time we saw Ragna, The Bloodedge, he was rebelling with other characters against the rule of the “Imperator” Hades Izanami. What are you most excited about this new game and what direction do you think it will take as far as storytelling is concerned? Will it be darker? Will it have the same usual combination of seriousness and comedy? Who lives, who dies ?
Shiroiaisu: I think BlazeBllue could use some more death and destruction, because to me this is where you really get to have an opportunity to develop your characters to the fullest, because you get attached to these characters, and loss is a good way for the player to feel something when he or she is no more. Goofy moments are a must, it wouldn’t be a BlazeBlue game without it in my opinion, those moments when you can say “how typical”, that’s something they really need to keep. I have been a bit displeased with the new characters they have brought in, because I feel these characters don’t have much impact, at least yet, on future events of the stories, or how they will move the story forward.
Benjiro: Three new characters will join the cast of BlazeBlue in Central Fiction: Hibiki Kohaku, Maoto Kurogane, and Nine the Phantom. Of these three characters, which one are you most hyped for? (NB: Izanami wasn’t out yet at the time of that the interview took place, but when she was announced, Shiroiaisu was very happy and excited about it)
Shiroiaisu: Definitely Nine the Phantom, because she has always been there in a way, she is an original character from the very beginning, and I feel it’s a very smart move that Arc System Works is doing, because now you know her connection to past events and other characters, and finally you can see her full potential as a playable character. Now that the cloak is off, you can really see who she is and what you are up against in terms of special powers and abilities. The fact that she’s playable alone is amazing to say the least! I’m really looking forward to it!
Benjiro: Drives are an important mechanic in BlazeBlue; one that makes each character even more unique. Apparently, Nine The Phantom (also known as Konoe Ayatsuki Mercury) tells the rules to take a hike and will have no such thing, instead relying solely on her multiple spells (including gravity and fire) and her Overdrive, Exceed Accel, Distortion Drives and of course, her Astral Heat named Colorless Void. Do you think it will be a big game changer to have a character that doesn’t have a Drive (like Ragna’s signature Soul Eater Drive) or do you think that Nine the Phantom and her deadly spells will be a powerful and unique adversary that the other characters of the BlazeBlue series and other players should learn to fear?
Shiroiaisu: This is a tough one your asking me there. I think it’s really interesting that the developers have chosen a different path for Nine regarding the absence of her Drive in term of game mechanics, of course we can’t truly fully know what it will look like and how it will feel to play that kind of character, but in itself it makes her unique, so I think it will work. As long as she as her Distortion Drives, Astral Heat and Exceed Accel, she could have the potential of not being a character that’s broken, in my opinion in the very beginning of a fight, like Kokonoe.
Benjiro: Do you think Nine could become one of your future projects?
Shiroiaisu: She is a witch, I like witch hats, she is a badass. Conclusion: I think she might have a chance! (laughs). But Amane would be good to, like I said before, it would be funny to see how many people I would be able to confuse regarding the gender of my character. Like I said, I wouldn’t mind being a trap. But seriously, both are good candidates for future projects so who knows, only time will tell if I’ll attempt such a thing.
Benjiro: What is your greatest hope for this game and the future of the series?
Shiroiaisu: Let’s see! What I know is that I don’t like it very much when they bring in too many new characters, especially some that you don’t really see from the beginning what their inclusion will bring to the story they are trying to tell. To bring Jubei as a playable character would be a good plan, because it’s a character, again, who was there from the beginning and that we always wondered how he would perform in combat, and also because he has had the opportunity to interact with many of the BlazeBlue cast. He’s also one of the Six Heroes so definitely Jubei!
Benjiro: Lastly, I believe that they get along just fine, but some people believe that there are boundaries between Cosplayers/Otakus and Gamers communities. Do you believe that there are any boundaries and barriers in between Cosplayers, Otakus and Gamers?
Shiroiaisu: These three communities, as you say, do get along just fine. There’s not a lot of things that separates us in my opinion, we have a lot of the same fandoms and even sometimes the same characters that go from medium to medium (like bleach = there are video games and anime of that series). It is possible to enjoy Cosplaying, Gaming, and other stuff related to particular genre, it’s only a matter of being open-minded to the preferences of others. When you Cosplay a character, and if your followed by fans of this character, it is possible for these people to connect with one another, regardless if the character in question is in one form of medium or several. There are no boundaries!