Saturday, 7 December 2013

AFA 2013: Guest Cosplayers Angie and Ying Tze (Interview)

Angie as Kotori from Love Live! and Ying Tze as Enoshima Junko from Dangan Ronpa
Photo Credits:  Project Harata

At AFA'13, Project Harata had the chance to interview guest cosplayers from Malaysia, Angie and Ying Tze who are also known as MMK meidos Ringo and Mio! They are rising cosplay stars in South East Asia known for their handmade costumes and amazing portrayals of characters. Both of them juggle their studies while going to international events.

Read on to find out more about their cosplay lives!

Note: As this was a round robin interview,  we would like to credit the various media entities who were in the same group as us!


Q: Regarding your cosplaying, we noticed you have been coming out of Malaysia more and more, so do you see like a trend, towards getting more international exposure?

Ying Tze: Go Angie go!

Angie: The more chances, exposure we get, the more chances we get to travel to different countries. Lke well, my previous trip, I went to Japan, for an event, CoFesta, it was a great chance that I managed to get. I feel very lucky, so, is that something you want to ask? Cause I don’t really *laugh*

Ying Tze: She’s confused

Angie and Other Ambassadors at CoFesta
Photo Credits: Evangeline Neo

Q: I mean career-wise, is that the direction you want to go to? Like more exposure outside of Malaysia?

Angie: I see. I think for me, this kind of chance, to know more people, and see more stuff, maybe it will help for my future career. For me, I won’t take cosplay totally as my future career, but it’s my biggest hobby and also a chance for me to travel around to see around.

Ying Tze: Yeah, Angie say finish already lorh. *laugh* For me, it’s like, I feel happy and honoured when I am given chances to travel overseas. For example, recently I went to Jakarta again, for Japan Matsuri. I was invited as a judge and also a guest. To me, I really enjoyed seeing other cosplayers. I enjoyed getting to know them, like how they make their costumes and just like Angie, travelling overseas. I get to visit other places and all, get to know their culture, get to know more friends. This is what I enjoy about cosplaying, and for now, yeah more exposure means I get invited more often and I get to see more things, so I’m really happy.

Angie as Ayanami Rei

Photo Credits:  AFA Channel

Q: You have met cosplayers from Malaysia, Thailand, China as well as Indonesia. Is there any difference between these 4 countries in Asia?

Angie: Actually, it’s a very big difference. I realized that for every country, they have a different style in their cosplay, like maybe for Malaysia, they prefer photoshoots, but like in Indonesia, they prefer performing, they like to use their cosplay to perform, but for Malaysia, they do more photoshoots. So it’s very fun when you go to different countries, you can see their culture and the way they make their costume, which depends on the material the country has. Like some countries produce a lot of nice fabrics, so you can see a lot of cosplays which focus on the fabrics, then some of the other countries, they produce a lot of materials for props at cheaper prices, so they can do very awesome props. So this is how I think different countries can influence the cosplay style. That’s why it’s a very great chance to go to other countries and learn from them.

Ying Tze: Just like Angie said, different countries, they have different materials. For example, like Indonesia, they use a lot of foam. Then they have different kinds of thickness unlike Malaysia, we only have like one type, so it’s difficult for us, unless we outsource lah. Usually Malaysians, I think they buy from Thailand to make armor and props. For Malaysia, I think the cosplayers focus more on photoshoots, they do a lot of planning for photoshoots, like how to get nice pictures, but for Indonesians, they focus a lot on performance, like how their armor, when they roll around, the armour won’t drop, and they can do all sorts, like martial arts, they can do a lot of actions. Then as for Singapore, I think Singaporeans they are very precise about their costume, very detailed, they are very like perfectionists, so I really enjoy seeing them.

Q: So can I say that the Indonesian cosplayers, they have a lot more teamwork, cause like for sketch, they usually need like 2 cosplayers.

Angie: Yeah, teamwork in a different style. Like cause in photoshoot, they will also hold a big team during photoshoot together. And actually you can say that what material you can get from the country, then it’s what style of the costume. Just now Ying Tze said that Indonesia can get a lot of foam so they focus on the competitions, and Malaysia mostly get fabric, that’s why most people go for photoshoots.

Photo Credits:  Project Harata

Q: This would be directed to Ying Tze. I understand that you are currently a fashion design student in college. So it’s not easy to juggle school with making costumes and events cause you get invited overseas a lot as well. So how do you actually manage your time between all these commitments, and balance your time so effectively?

Ying Tze: I can say that I have good time management *laugh*. Now I am in semester 7, that means I am graduating next year. So let’s say, for example, for AFA Singapore, I know that I don’t have time to make two new costumes, so I make one only, and focus on that one. I’m quite good at focusing, so let’s say, today, I’ll write down a list of what needs to be done, and I must finish it before I sleep. So that is how I manage my time.

Q: So you make sure you will follow what you have written?

Ying Tze: Yes, I will follow. I must do this today, so tomorrow I can do this.

Q: So what you do is you plan over time, such that you set a deadline but you have to finish the costume and then over time, you just complete it.

Ying Tze: Cause I don’t like to do last minute jobs. I like to feel prepared.

Angie: I’m the last minute queen.

Photo Credits:  Project Harata

Q: Both of you are into cosplaying a lot, but would there be a time where you think that you will stop this hobby?

Angie: Like what I said just now, cosplay is a hobby for me. It gives me exposure, but I feel every person’s life has a different state. So maybe I don’t know, maybe like something change, a big change in my life, that make me need to give up cosplay to go further for other things. But currently, I haven’t had any plans for retiring, make it more naturally. Maybe I might get tired of it or I want to try other hobbies, then I will just slowly get out of it.

Ying Tze: For me, I mentioned before that making costumes is like for me to practice my sewing skills as well cause there’s many misconceptions about fashion design courses. You thought that oh, you study fashion design, then you’re really good at sewing but actually it’s not. Cause fashion design focuses mostly on designing and they don’t really teach you how to make it. So for me, making costumes is a way to learn new things, new skills then I can make better things, and make things that I design. So, if you ask when will I stop, I won’t say that I will stop, cause for me, this is still a hobby, something that I enjoy doing, because I really like making costumes.

Ying Tze's Sewing of Her Queen Esther Dress
Photo Credits:  Ying Tze

Q: Do you think that anyone, regardless of body shape, skin tone, gender, can cosplay any character they want? Why or why not?

Ying Tze: To me I don’t really have a problem with anyone cosplaying, regardless of race, gender or age or anything. Cause for me, you cosplay because you want to portray the character you love, but then for me I won’t really choose a character that doesn’t suit my physical appearances. For me, it should be convincing, for myself, I will be more precise about like physical-wise but for other people, I enjoying seeing any type of cosplay so it doesn’t really matter whether they suit the character or not.

Angie: For me, I trust one thing. If you like the character, so you will do your best for the character. So actually, it’s like, I like the character, but she has really big boobs, but I don’t have boobs *laugh*. Then sometimes it’s like if I really really like it, but she has super big boobs, then I will just hope to see people cosplay more than I cosplay by myself. But if you really like the character, but it’s just some small differences, like some people, their body shape’s not so accurate, they can go slim down or something. I mean, you put in effort for the character you like. So, sometimes I don’t really agree with cosplayers that say I love this character, so I just don’t care whatever and cosplay. But, I think if you really like the character, you will respect the character and do your best for the character. So I think, even though you may not be accurate for some points, but people can see the effort you put in it. Like maybe not enough boobs then add padding, then maybe your waist a bit fat then you wear corset. A lot of small things can make it more accurate, so it depends on how much effort you put inside.

Q: What do you like about both your characters that make you want to cosplay them from time to time other than how easy it is to transport the costumes?

Ying Tze: *laugh*

Q: And what do you think are your favourite moments from each series?

Ying Tze: You mentioned about transportability, for AFA SG, I chose this costume because it’s light and I like it and I’ve worn it to Malaysia and Indonesia, so I feel that Singapore should see it as well *laugh*. And second is because my day two costume is very elaborate, it’s Queen Esther from Trinity Blood, so it’s a really big gown. And hmm, what do I like about Junko? It’s like cause everyone expected oh, she die already in the beginning, then in the end, she came out like, ahahahahaha. It’s like a shocking moment and then I really like how she has different kind of personalities like suddenly she will act cute, and suddenly she’ll go crazy, so to me, she’s a really interesting character to portray. And yeah, I had fun in my photoshoots. I don’t show crazy faces in events, but during photoshoots, I’m quite in character *laugh*.

Ying Tze as Enoshima Junko
Photo Credits:  KennTee Photography 

Angie: For me, the reason I like Kotori is very simple, because she is super moe and very cute. *laugh* Actually I watch Love Live! because of her *points to Ying Tze* Yeah, she kept making me watch, end up I cosplay more than her *laugh*.

Ying Tze: *laugh*

Angie: So for me, for events, I prefer to do characters who are cuter and genki. It is easier for me to portray. Imagine I cos a character that is very emo, then you’ll see I whole day like L.

Ying Tze: *laugh*

Angie: It’s not that nice to perform. Like you go up stage, people hope to see you’re pretty, you’re cute. I mean, I have a lot of characters I like, but for events, I will choose something that is more presentable on stage. I choose this character cause she’s an idol, singing on the stage. And I like Love Live! Cause the anime is very cute and another thing is, because of the costumes *laugh*. And actually costumes, has quite a big percentage for me to choose the character. But of course, the character’s characteristics come first for me to choose.

Angie with Her Alpaca!
Photo Credits:  Kippygraphy

Q: So with regards to the characters, what happens during events, for example, there’s a lot of Junkos today and we have a few versions of Kotoris as well, so when you see someone cosplaying the same character as you, what are your views? For example, certain people will feel, like "Oh, am I better than this person or is she better than me?"

Ying Tze: Actually I’m quite happy cause I took photo with another Junko. *laugh* She’s from Malaysia. And I enjoy seeing characters from the same series, like today, there’s actually a big group of Dangan Ronpa :D.

Angie: For me, it’s like, yeah, I’m happy to see people that cosplay the same series together because you like the character, so of course you’ll be very happy to see others. But maybe for me, maybe last time… I’m like you know, you always hope that you cosplay some version that is unique in the event, but now, for me, I think it’s ok. At first I feel like “Ehh, why like this?” *laugh*, but now I’m happy to see different cosplayers that share the same love for the character together *laugh*.

Q: Both of you probably got a lot of compliments about your costumes. What is the best and maybe the worst thing, if there are any, that someone has said about your cosplays.

Ying Tze: Oh worst thing… Always say the best thing! *laugh* For me, the most rewarding experience, is when people tell me that they really like my costume, not much on the appearance, but I really like when they tell me, “Oh I really like the workmanship of your costume!” cause that is what I put the most effort in, the workmanship. I take time to slowly make my costume, so when people tell me that “Oh I like your costume very much”, I feel like “*Gasp* Ohh Thank you QAQ!” *laugh*. That’s what I feel happy about.

Angie: For Ying Tze, she puts more effort in her costumes, for me, I put in more effort in photoshoots. So for me, it’s like, people will say, “Oh,our photo is awesome!”, some days I receive a lot of say, “You’re really cute”, “You’re really pretty”, I’m really thankful for the comments, but the thing that really really makes me happy is “I feel your photo is full of” something, the thing I want to present and people get it, then I will feel very happy. For the very bad comments, uh, I think I get some very weird messages *laugh*. Um, it’s not a really good thing to share…

Photo Credits:  Project Harata

Q: Moving on, what is the craziest thing both of you have done in your cosplays?

Ying Tze: Craziest… Wah, then Angie got a lot of crazy things *laugh*

Angie: Uh, you say first, let me think *laugh*

Ying Tze: *laugh*I need more time to think than you *laugh*

Angie: Uh, I’ve done a lot of crazy things. Like, I went inside the water for an underwater shoot, then my costume burst *laugh* because of the underwater pressure, but not everything burst, just some parts and it’s a bit out of my imagination, because I thought that every time you see the underwater cos photo, it’s like wow, so dreamy, but actually when you go inside the water, the hair is like PSHHHHH *laugh*. Then I tried playing with fire for my photoshoot and in the photo you see the other cosplayers’ photo, like wow, fire so nice, then when you do fire that time, the fire is so small, but you feel it’s very hot, even though people will say like oh, it’s just a small fire, but actually it’s quite dangerous when you go near it, because the temperature is very very high. And sometimes I climb very tall walls, like maybe like level 4 or level 5 building then I climb on the top to do some poses without any safety *laugh*. Cosplayers don’t care, just get the photo, awesome!

Ying Tze: For me, you should see my costume tomorrow then you will understand the craziest thing I’ve done. Because my whole costume is full of pearls, then I need to hand stitch it one by one, then so it’s like, people were telling me, “Why don’t you just glue it?” then I was like, “If you glue it, then it won’t look nice”, that’s why I spent about one month making it, so please come tomorrow and look for my costume *laugh*. And that costume I cannot wear it by myself, someone has to wear it for me, so yeah, please look forward *laugh*.
Ying Tze as Queen Esther with Baozi and Hana
Photo Credits:  Ying Tze

Q: How much time and money do both of you spend on your average costume?

Angie: This is a very very very very hard question…

Ying Tze: *laugh* It depends on the type of costume.

Q: So what about the lowest price or the highest price, or the least time you spent and the most time you spent?

Ying Tze: I think the easiest is school uniform. School uniforms and patterns are very similar, if sailor fuku, then it’s the same pattern, then it uses the least fabric, I think around 2 meters, which is around less than 30 ringgit, so yeah. Cause sometimes they say like oh, you make your costume is cheaper than you buy, but actually it depends on the type of costume. Let’s say, school uniform is cheaper if you make yourself, but dresses, then I think it depends on how much you’re willing to spend on material cause there’s different types of materials. If you’re willing to spend, 1 meter can go up to 80 90 ringgit. And it also depends on how much money you are willing to spend on the embellishment, like lace. There are different types of lace, there’s cotton lace, which is like 1.80 per meter, or you can use chemical lace, which is 10, 15 bucks per meter, so it depends on how much you’re willing to spend on that one costume, right?

Angie: Yes *laugh*. For me, like I said just now I’m the last minute queen. Like actually today’s and tomorrow’s costume, I did them in less than one week, cause a lot of changes in plans. The shortest time I did my costume, and also my cheapest costume, is like in an hour *laugh*. It’s actually very simple, it’s Ayanami Rei, she’s in a simple white dress because I want to do in a blood pool, cause I mostly put more effort in the concept of the shoot rather than making pretty costumes, so that’s my cheapest costume. You just need to buy a 1 meter white cloth *laugh* and it’s very fast. I remember that time the photog come already then I said “Hi”, *sound of sewing and sewing actions*, *laugh*. Then the longest time I spent… It’s very hard to think which one is the longest time, cause for me, all like do a bit a bit a bit. Cause for me, I want to cosplay a lot of characters, so like sometimes I’ll do a bit of costume A, then a bit of costume B, then I’ll jump from costume to costume. But the most expensive costume I spent… around 400 ringgit and above? Because sometimes it depends on the material. I quite like trying different kinds of weird materials, like different kinds of leather. I always go Taobao to search for different kinds of leather. So sometimes when the fabric arrives, it’s wrong, then I need to rebuy and rebuy again, so this is where most money is wasted on. Like when I did the Saber Lily costume, I bought 3 kinds of different fabrics, then I made 2 suits, so actually the final one, I finished in 3 days, but because of a lot of trial and error in the beginning, so the whole costume, the time range is around 3 weeks. So it’s very hard for me to say which one is the longest, which is the shortest.

Photoshoot at the end of the Interview!
Photo Credits:  Project Harata

-Transcription/Commentary by Cheryl
-Layout/Pictures/Posting by Cheryl

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