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 English cosplayer:

Name: James Funnell
(a.k.a. Ilpala)

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

I started making my first anime costume in 2001, so about 8 years.  Though I had been making costumes for LARP (live-action role playing games) events before that

Q: What attracts you cosplay?

I started cosplaying because the masquerade had always been the highlight of the events I was going to and it looked like a lot of fun.  At heart though, I love making things and I love testing my ingenuity, so cosplaying became a very satisfying hobby for me.  Of course it's also great to have the opportunity to show off such work amongst like minded friends ^_-

Q:  What has been your favourite cosplay?

Oh, that's a tough one.  Most of my costumes have a place in my heart and I still have almost all of them.  If I had to choose though my favourite (and probably most worn cosplay) would be Auron from Final Fantasy X  

Q: Most memorable moment whilst cosplaying?

Somehow I've managed to avoid anything to embarrassing happening whilst in costume, so my most memorable one would have to be when I wore my first cosplay - Vash the Stampede from Trigun.  I think I was the first Vash in England and the reception was amazing.  My cosplay group won our first masquerade and I ended up stumbling back to our B&B through the centre of Southampton at 5am.

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

Always, every costume has it's challenges.  Half the fun is finding ways around them!  I've never encountered any show stoppers though.

Q:  Have you ever regretted cosplaying?

Not regretted per-say.  After a particularly mad and stressful year I did have to take the next one off though.  I'm much more choosy over the costumes I do now.

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

I'd say about 75% of my costumes have been for groups, either with friends or my girlfriend.  When I started cosplaying I got all my mates from Wessex Anime to join in and we have never looked back, so we often do cosplay groups.  Definitely more fun in a group.

Q:  What cosplays are you planning?

I could tell you.... but I would have to kill you, lol.  Truthfully I rarely announce what costumes I'm making.  I might make a new Soul Calibur costume for Ayacon 2009 and I've been planning a Ryuk from Death Note for some years now, but that's all I'll say.

Q:  Do you have a dream cosplay?

Maybe a full size Landmate from Masamune Shirow's Appleseed, that would be cool.  Whatever it is, it has to be significantly more challenging than my 9ft tall Optimus Prime (from Transformers - ed.), unfortunately that also means I'd have to buy a bigger house.  Optimus is fussy about his personal space.

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

Have fun, don't get stressed out.  Cosplay is a lot of different things to different people so work out what you enjoy doing, be it making, competing, performing or just having a laugh and stick to that. 

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

Yeah, I can be found on Cosplay Island, or on the Amecon and MCM Expo forums (where I'm the cosplay coordinator) as Ilpala. 

Ilpala is also one of the founders of the Wessex Anime Club, which meets every second Sunday in Bath.  Contact wessex_anime@dsl.pipex.com for more information if interested. 

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