Kaika is a popular cosplayer and blogger from Singapore; she does cosplay and make-up tutorials at the always awesome The Cosplay Chronicles. I met Kaika back in 2010 as part of Animax & HKTB Halloween Treats Weekend. Today, she’s taking time off from her preparations to fly to Manila and take part in Cosplay Mania 11, and answering five questions from magnetic-rose.net.
When and how did you get into cosplay?
My first cosplay was in 2001 and my dad helped me made it. I think I found out about the local event online and decided to check out the event even if I was going alone. I never turned back since xD
Yes, I’m what you call a courageous idiot.
I know that for cosplay, some things are different in other countries and some are the same. For the curious locals here in Manila, what is the cosplay scene like in Singapore?
Now, defining a culture one is based in is hard but I’ll try xD
Overall, I think Singapore’s Cosplay culture is a reflection of her social climate, highly Westernised but Asian at heart.
Over here, Cosplay competitions are a definite occurrence in every ACG event and the quality and respect for Cosplay competitions are heightening. General public’s awareness of Cosplay is also very prevalent due to national Media coverage. Many commercial entities are also stepping in to get a slice of the cake.
Despite that, there is still the traditional ‘Asian’ perspective on things in the Cosplay Community. Like how many Singaporean cosplayers still shy away from cosplaying on stage and are not very forthcoming.
Also, as the Cosplay scene matures and the community broadens (an official decade for Singapore), quirks, antics and cliques are hard not to form.
Cosplay Drama? You bet.
Many — if not all of your costumes you made yourself. What is the hardest part of making your own costumes? How about the easiest?
The hardest part comes when I attempt something I have never done before. Every new costume is a new challenge. Be it styling a new type of wig style, a new type of prop or like my most recent cosplay; a plushie. They are all difficult because I’ve never done them before.
There are also times where something seemingly simple can become really difficult if the benchmark you set for yourself is higher than your skill set. For my Otome Yokai Zakuro costume, even though it was not my first attempt in making traditional Japanese costumes, it was really difficult to execute because I wanted to make her Kimono as authentic as possible while retaining the ‘Anime’ factor and ease of wearing.
As they say, practise makes perfect, things become easy when you’ve done it more than once. Hence the usual costumes such as pleated skirt and dress are the easiest for me.
Due to the lack of time and increase of life commitments, I’ve also turned to tailoring my costumes. When I do, I make sure I spend a good 2 hours discussing every detail with my tailor.
Last year, you were the Singapore representative to AFA Regional Cosplay Championships. What was the best part about being a contestant to such a huge event? The most stressful?
I guess being part of a high profile competition helps in your profiling (oh dear, please don’t flame my lack of tact xD). I don’t know how useful that is but it’s always nice to have a title under your belt haha.
The biggest takeaway for me, other than the prize would have to be the friends I made and the experience by itself. I’ve gotten close to a few of the contestants and intend to visit them in their homeland soon.
Needless to say, representing your homeland is an enormous honour but the stress that came along wasn’t small. When we saw the other representatives we thought we were doomed. What started off as a casual application instantly turned into an “OMGBBQ! YOU MEAN US?!?!” situation .
The other most stressful part came when other life commitment crash into the schedule and caged our work progress. My partner was posted abroad for near a month prior to the competition and we couldn’t finalise many things until the very week itself. Talk about rush!
What advise would you give to others who aspire to compete internationally as well?
If you’re the target oriented sort, it would be good to work backwards. Design your skit and select your characters accordingly. Look for something that works well on stage and characters that allows you to build an interesting skit upon.
Reading up on the judging criteria and deciding which portion to focus on is also a strategy. Put aside as much time and money as you can for it because it WILL consume you on many different aspect. And even though it’s hard, remember to enjoy what you’re doing because that will show through.
And I left the heavy at the end to cushion the impact.
I hope I don’t come across preachy but one of the most important advice I would give to anyone is to “be prepared to lose”. Hope for the best and prepare for the worse.
I know I’m horribly factual and uninteresting for saying this but there are too many unforeseen factors that can contribute to a win. No matter how well prepared you are, your win is never guaranteed. Don’t bash yourself over it and don’t bash your opponents either. Winning is good but learning to lose gracefully is even more important.
Kaika’s flying to Manila to mingle with fellow cosplayers at Cosplay Mania 11 — there she’ll be meeting up with us, plus her pals from AFA X Regional Cosplay Championships Philippine team Sese and Kune of Team Bajina. “You guys seem to be such an awesome bunch of people xD! Looking forward to seeing more of your cosplays online!”, she says. So drop by and come say “Hi!” 😀
To get to know Kaika better, drop by The Cosplay Chronicle’s Fanpage on Facebook.