Ctrl+GeekGirl recently caught up with TheCosplayChronicles‘ Elpheal and talked about her love for all things cosplay…
Kaika – aka Elpheal – is a Singapore-based cosplayer who has been cosplaying since 2001. From her first official cosplay as Rurouni Kenshin’s Yukishiro Tomoe, Kaika has come a long way since then.
Kaika didn’t start out as a ‘cosplayer’ because she wanted ‘to be a cosplayer’. The concept of cosplay immediately intrigued her from the start as Kaika strongly believes cosplay has the ‘ability to empower one’s self’ and also providing the opportunity to ‘become the character’– even if it was just for a day:
“When you cosplay, you can be anyone you choose to be and these characters are probably those that have a personality that I admire or would like to emulate,” Kaika explained.
“With these characters, I dream of having the chance to be cool and doing something cool as him/her. Personally, cosplay is the kind of hobby that can literally change a person and when you’re surrounded by like-minded people who likes the same hobby, it feels great.”
But cosplayers do not just ‘dress up’. Most cosplayers design and create their own outfits from scratch based on referenced images of their desired characters. One look at the World Cosplay website (http://en.worldcosplay.net/) undoubtedly shows the popularity of cosplay from around the world and you’d be surprised at the amount of effort and attention to detail being put into these costumes and photoshoots.
“One of the most challenging and bizarre cosplay photoshoots that I have ever done was the recent Shakugana no Shana photoshoot,” Kaika reflected.
“Working with Photographer Brian Lim and pyro-enthusiasts ‘Nutcase’ and ‘Shane’, we worked with fire throughout the entire shoot. Being the only cosplayer meant all the attention was on me and that can be a bit stressful if you’re with the wrong crew.
“But since I was comfortable with all of them and everyone knew exactly what to do, it was a very conducive yet challenging shoot. The crew had to get the fire burning at the right places and I also had to throw my wig or garbs in the air at the right time whilst ensuring my safety at the same time. It was an amazing experience.”
Inspired by fellow Singaporean cosplayers such as Reiko, Kanasaiii, Lennethxviii and Thailand’s Yuegene Fay, Kaika has participated in numerous cosplay events over the years. From Vocaloid PVs to various stage performances such as dance, karaoke and cosplay skits …this is the hobby that Kaika especially loves.
Behind the fun exterior and glamour of it all, Kaika affirms cosplay is an artistic form of expression and an escapism outlet, “Because of these fellow inspiring cosplayers, my personal goal is to inspire someone else as well.”
“In order to achieve this, I want to cosplay different characters, break out from my comfort zone, work with different elements and portray different themes,” Kaika said. “Cosplay has opened up many opportunities in my life – I’ve formed lasting friendships and it has also given me the confidence. By the end of the day, it gives me a place to belong, learn and blossom.”
But there are cosplayers out there who express their love for cosplay via other additional avenues, and this is ultimately how Kaika’s status as a ‘cosplay-blogger’ began.
As expected from any hardcore cosplayer, Kaika enjoys talking about cosplay and anything Japanese-related. Kaika’s blog TheCosplayChronicles is essentially a platform where she entertains, educates and shares her love for cosplay via photos, event coverages and how-to tutorial videos.
Commonly known as her alter ego alias ‘Elpheal’, her popularity as a cosplayer and cosplay-blogger is evident via the praise left on her Facebook page and DeviantArt portfolio. Canadian cosplayer ~Usui is a huge fan of Kaika’s work and finds many of the videos useful for her own cosplays as she comments: “I just wanted to let you know that your tutorial for Tao Ren’s wig helped me SO MUCH for my cosplay! I admire you a lot – keep up the great work!”
With this highly-valued respect and acknowledgment amongst her followers, cosplay-blogging also permits Kaika the opportunity to represent Singapore in various countries such as Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia – an accomplishment that ‘she never dreamed of’.
“I love the hobby and I love talking positive things about it,” Kaika said with enthusiasm. “The best about this hobby is that I get to attend conventions and cover events. And If I’m lucky, I get to interview and interact with celebrities of the Otaku world.
“I mean, I couldn’t stop rubbing into my fujoshi friend’s face that I met and interviewed Miki-shin at Sydney, Australia’s SMASH! last year! But besides all of that excitement, people are always telling me how my work has helped them with their cosplays and whenever I hear this, it makes me feel good.”
But of course, like any other hobby, being a blogger and cosplayer has its perks. The amount of work and time required for these two similar-yet-different hobbies takes a considerable amount of toll on Kaika as it can be ‘mentally and physically tiring’. This ultimately makes it difficult for her to find a balance, especially when she’s studying and working full-time.
“But the best thing about cosplay is that it gives me a purpose for another day,” Kaika said. “Humans cannot live on bread alone, and the food for the spirit needs to be fed as well. With that on mind, cosplay feeds my soul, making me a happier person.”
With twelve years worth of Otaku experience already under her belt, Kaika’s investment in this hobby will surely continue to motivate her in venturing forward with her blogging and striving to achieve high quality cosplay.
It is not often that we encounter young individuals who are insightful and passionate about their art and Kaika is one of those individuals who want nothing more than sharing her love for all things cosplay. With many years ahead of her, she hopes to attend more anime conventions in the western region one day, including Japan’s Comiket convention, aka the largest dojinshi fair in the world.
Want to read the UNCUT version of this interview? Click here –> [CtrlGeekGirl Elpheal Interview UNCUT]
***** Photography Credits to Brian Lim (http://www.facebook.com/BrianLimPhotography and Zerartul http://zerartul.deviantart.com/)