“Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery” – Charles Caleb Colton
We love Cosplay, unabashedly so, and one of the cool things about hanging out at Cons is hearing why someone enjoys a character or genre. Cosplay is the biggest form of that flattery, and we aim to bring you the stories behind all those people in funky, fun dress up.
Let us welcome Chinako
MoGT: Lets get it going with your favorite story from a Con?
Chinako: My best story from a con happened at Dragon Con 2012. My roommates had decided to put together a huge group of people dressed as participants from the 1995 television game show series Legends of the Hidden Temple. They tossed me a shirt and I joined in the fun as a Red Jaguar. We had finished a loop in the Marriott hotel and were hungry, so we went to the food court. We were walking by a table who recognized the t-shirts and one person started clapping, which turned into their whole table clapping, and pretty soon the entire food court was clapping for us like we were celebrities! It was an amazing experience and one I’ll never forget. Sometimes the best costumes are a simple t-shirt, yellow helmet, khaki shorts, and sneakers!
MoGT: How does your family react to you dressing up? Who in your life is the most supportive?
Chinako: The one who is the most supportive of my hobby is my husband. He is always giving me gentle nudges to stay on track, and asking what he can do as I near the deadlines for each project. He also helps by making sure I have plenty of quiet time to myself to get things organized and completed. He doesn’t cosplay, but the fact that he understands how important my hobby is to me, really means a lot.
At first, I think my parents thought it was just a passing creative outlet. I’ve always been good with my hands and sewing was something I loved to do, so it made sense that I would try cosplay when I discovered it. But as I aged and started taking cosplay more seriously, my parents started to support me and would ask what I was working on next. Now I send my parents books and photographs featuring my cosplay and they love to see how much I can do all on my own.
MoGT: What are some upcoming events or projects you are a part of/or looking forward to?
Chinako: I am the most excited to reveal a cosplay team project that myself and Jelfish are working on. I can’t say too much about it now, but it will be fun and I’m looking forward to working with Jelfish on a lot of really creative designs and fun photo shoots! As far as upcoming projects, I am planning on redesigning my chocobo and bringing him to lots of local Texas conventions. I’m also looking forward to making my first cosplay that involves armor later this year.
MoGT: You’re a pixel artist, how does that tie into your creative costuming side?
Chinako: Pixel art is something I’ve always been a fan of. Once my cosplay started to dominate my creative life, I wanted to tie in my love for pixel art somehow. Upon designing a web site to display my costume creations, I knew that pixel art had to represent who I was as an artist, so I turned my feather logo (designed by my brother) into pixel art and then created pixel art as icons for each of my completed cosplay! Sometimes, the best part about finishing a costume design and having photos to display, is creating that pixel art icon.
MoGT: What are your biggest pet peeves while Cosplaying?
Chinako: I would say one of the biggest pet peeves of mine would be that people forget that everyone started somewhere. Back when I started cosplay, we didn’t have Worbla, amazing wigs in every color of the rainbow, nor half the costume patterns available now, but that doesn’t mean that someone who crafts their first cosplay today will be able to afford these things! I wish people were more open-minded with cosplayers. We are a good community and should work together to help one another achieve cosplay dreams, not crush one another with things that a certain cosplayer didn’t do “right”. Cosplay is an art form—let others try new things and do it their way. You’d be amazed by the creativity within the community if you would stop to listen to the story behind each cosplay.
MoGT: What Cosplays are you working on and which are you most proud of?
Chinako: My costumes usually come about from my love of a character or series. Currently, I am in love with Abigail “Fetch” Walker from InFAMOUS Second Son (a video game created by Sucker Punch Productions). Fetch just got her own game release titled InFAMOUS First Light and I’m planning on making all of her outfits from both games. Once I latch onto a character that I love, it’s pretty much impossible to stop me from recreating their design in real life.
I am most proud of my Chocobo, Blaze! He took me one year to create and I loved the process. I wanted him to be life-sized, and I over-achieved that. Everyone told me it couldn’t be done, and that it was too ambitious—I had to prove them wrong. To this day, Blaze is still my “rock” and when I think I can’t make something or can’t do something, I think of him. You can do anything you set your mind to!
MoGT: Where did your Nerdness come from and whats the story behind it?
Chinako: My “Nerdness” comes from my Dad. He raised me on Atari 2600, Dungeons & Dragons, and Command & Conquer. I loved it all, still do! Anytime a new game or expansion comes out, we are talking about it. He loves to see how far gaming has come from pixels to motion-capture. I love staying on top of the gaming community and seeing what everyone is excited for or talking about.
MoGT: So you’re a gamer, what do you play and does it inspire any of your cosplay?
Chinako: I play a lot of games and they definitely inspire my cosplay! I’ve played games for nearly every system. Currently, I own a PlayStation 4, a PlayStation 3, Wii U, and a 3DS. I have costumes in the works from games on all of these systems, I just need to find the time to craft them!
MoGT: Last question, what advice do you have for readers and your fellow Cosplayer or life in nerdom?
Chinako: Life in nerdom is a fun place to be. It is a growing, exciting place right now! We have crazy reality shows, documentaries, and even characters dedicated to the cosplay and nerdom fandoms. Everyone has a little bit of love for something “nerdy” and I think that’s really amazing. Our community is growing and as long as we are good to one another and stay open-minded, we will achieve amazing things.
My advice for all of you about cosplay–anyone can cosplay! Buy a costume, make a costume, toss clothes together from your closet that remind you of your favorite character. And it should be fun! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Keep up with Chinako, make sure you check out all her Cosplay:
Fashionably Good Taste