Cosplay interviews! A weekly feature on Animetion where we talk to cosplayers on what motivates them, plus a cool gallery showcasing their cosplays.  Here we talk to American cosplayer:

Name: Jennifer Cornelius
(a.k.a. Raiji Magiwind)

Q: When did you start cosplaying and how long for?

First off, hello to all my fellow cosplayers that hail from the UK! I send you glomps, doughnuts, and all that fun....

Anywho...I have been roughly doing it off and on since about 1997 or a little earlier, though back when I started it was more for parties and Halloween.  It wasn't 'til about 2004 that I became more of a active cosplayer, and doing it for conventions and such as well.

Q: What attracts you cosplay?

I would have to say what attracts me to cosplay is probably both the creative aspect and the passion for the craft by those who make it more then just a hobby and sometimes part of their lifestyle.  I also do it to stave off 

boredom, stress and other things as well.  It has also given the chance to meet some very interesting and unique people, along with a number of fun and memorable experiences.  Of course just dressing up and having fun is all worth it too!

Q:  What has been your favourite cosplay?

Oddly I kinda have a four way tie there....with my Ichigo Kurosaki (Bankai form) of Bleach, Cissnei from Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, Zexion from Kingdom Hearts, and Neliel Tu Oderschvank (Nel Tu) of Bleach.  Each also represents important points to my cosplay life... Ichigo was my first convention cosplay, Zexion was the suicide of my sewing machine (may it rest in peace), Nel was the first FULL hand sewn piece (as in did all the stuff by hand with hand sewing tools and so on), and Cissnei brought together the first "Shin-Ra Reunion" Final Fantasy gathering, along with the christening of the Final Fantasy Jump Rope...

Q: Most memorable moment whilst cosplaying?

I probably have several. One of my first though was at Anime Central 2007 (ACEN- a convention outside of Chicago, Illinois, USA which is held around early May), when they had the band High and Mighty Color as the special guest for the band to perform. They happen to perform the opening theme "Ichin no Hana" from Bleach.  Well I basically decided to go to there panel/autograph singing, which happened to be right after the end of the Bleach photoshoot, so I went straight from it to the panel dressed as Ichigo.  Suffice to say the panel was awesome, but the moment of pure fan happy for me was at the end when I got my turn to go up to have a item signed by them.  I had a CD signed by then, but the awesome part was Sassy actually asked to check out my Tensa Zanzetsu sword from my cosplay.  Suffice to say I was -blink, blink...um...dizzy near faint- and I finally said sure, and handed my sword over to him to look over.  Interestingly enough the rest of the band decided to check out the sword as well so I got a lot of awesomes, cool sword and such, as well and Ichigo's my favourite from the group, so they played pass my sword and oogle while signing my CD.  Finally I get to the other end of the table and get back my sword and my CD.  I sorta walked out of that session in a daze.  Of course just had to talk about it for the rest of the con weekend...

Another favourite relating to the same sword prop was at Youmacon 2007 (Youmacon is my home convention; held in Dearborn, Michigan, US...around Halloween).  This one involved getting my sword signed by the US English Voice Actor's and Actress from the characters Ichigo, Isshin and Orihime.  Here in the US that is Johnny Yong Bosch (Ichigo Kurosaki), Patrick Seitz (Isshin Kurosaki) and Stephanie Sheh (Orihime). It makes a interesting conversational topic amoung my fellow Bleach cosplayers.  Even got to snatch a pic with Johnny and Stephanie as Ichigo which made it even cooler.

Q:  Have you had any cosplays go wrong/encountered problems whilst making cosplays?

So far about the only major SNAFU's I have encountered was with Zexion, whom I like to call now the cursed Organization member...oO

During creation, it made my sewing machine commit suicide, I was nearly impaled by the machine's leather needle twice, before the needle broke.  It then meant HAND SEWING leather/vinyl like material.  Sewing Leather or vinyl by hand is EVIL!! A friend and coworker watching me do it at work finally was like 'PLEASE for the love of God, come by my house and let me help you... watching you is making my hands hurt...'.  She too is a big crafter and sewer so she knew how much of a pain it was. 

The other major incident with it, involved my cat BARFING on the nice wig I had for Zexion, less then 24 hours prior to me leaving for Anime Weekend Atlanta 2007 (AWA, a con held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA around mid September).  So the day of departure I had to literally run around town and find a close match, hack it apart, then dye it before I left in 12 and half hours.  Suffice to say it went to Atlanta with me on the Greyhound bus in a plastic grocery bag still half damp attached to my wig head, where it was finished in the hotel room the night before con started....

Q:  Have you ever regretted cosplaying?

No I have never regretted it.  To me its so much more then a hobby and a lil bit of an expensive one at times.  It for me is a chance to also find fellow people with a passion for it as well as the cultures of anime, gaming and such.  It's allowed me to travel and grow and see and meet a lot of people.  I mean I even met a person who came to my home con, Youmacon from the UK!  They travelled all the way across the Atlantic to Michigan for a convention, because they happened to hear from some friends they had in the States that it was cool.

Q:  Have you ever done group cosplay? If so how did you find that experience?

I've done a few, most of them revolving around Kingdom Hearts or Final Fantasy.  I myself started with Youmacon 2008 a group cosplay gathering called the Shin-Ra Reunion, which gathers all the Final Fantasy cosplayers who are doing characters of the Shin-Ra Electric Power Company.  It includes not just Rufus and the Turks, but any character that was a part of Shin-Ra at some point, but they have to be doing the costume that was worn by the character while they where a Shin-Ra employee.

Q:  What cosplays are you planning?

O.O...do we really WANT to try and list them....Actually I think I will!! Be warned the list is a little long.

Persona/Shin Megami Tensei Series: Naoto Shirogane, Yosuke Hanamura, "Main Protanganist", Teddie [Human form] (all from Persona 4), Philemon (Eternal Punishment/Innocent Sin Ver.)
Yugi-Oh Series: Jack Atlas (5D's), Yubel (GX)
Ouran High School Host Club: Takashi Morinozuka
Final Fantasy Series: Genesis [Degenerated Ver.] (Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core), Carbuncle, Siren, Shiva, Chaos [Dirge of Cerberus Ver.] (Final Fantasy VII)
Legend of Zelda Series: Navi
Bleach: Grimmjow Jeagerjaques [Pantera Release]
Immortal Rain (Manga): Zol Balfaltin "The Grim Reaper" [Grandpa of Machika]
Devil May Cry Series: Virgil (DMC 3)
Naruto Shippoden: Garra
Deathnote: Mello

The ones that are finished are Cissnei (Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core), Vincent Valentine [Turk Ver.] (Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus), Neliel Tu Oderschvank [Child Form] (Bleach), Larexene (Kingdom Hearts: CoM), Teru Mikami (Death Note), Zexion (Kingdom Hearts: CoM), Squall Lionheart [SeeD Dress] (Final Fantasy VIII), Light (Raito) Yagami (DeathNote) and Ichigo Kurokasi (Bleach)

Q:  Do you have a dream cosplay?

Right now, my dream piece would have to be Vincent Valentines Chaos form and the in progress Pantera release of Grimmjow.  I am hoping to debut Pantera this year...if I can get it finished.

Q:  Do you have one piece of advice that you would give to cosplay virgins?

I probably could say I have more then one.  First and foremost RESEARCH your character!  I cannot stress this enough.  Learn all you can about them.  Find plenty of screenshots, read the manga if you can, watch the anime, play the game, etc.  Learn there quirks and such.  After all the more 'life' you put into the characters, the funnier it is to cosplay them.  Not to mention that you will earn even more brownie points of the fellow fans, because they know you put the effort into it. 

Other thoughts would be to be honest about your costume.  If you didn't make it yourself, don't be ashamed to say so as not all of us are wizards of the sewing machine, and in some cases may just not have the time.  Fellow cosplayers will respect you for being honest, plus you never know, you may just give that commissioner a future customer! 

Lastly, as we at Anime Central say... "Got Soap?"... bathe daily and also stay hydrated and fed (and not just on Pocky and carbonated beverages).  Sleep is also good - get at least four hours if you can.  Trust me hygiene, hydration, nutrition, and sleep are just as important to looking your best in your cosplay as the makeup, as well as the costume itself.

Q:  Do you have an account with the website Cosplay island/other social networking sites?

I am on:

Cosplay.com: http://www.cosplay.com/member/58945/

American Cosplayer's Paradise: http://www.acparadise.com/acp/display.p ... cd67063a0a

Cosspace: http://www.cosspace.com/raijimagiwind

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