Hanabi is a 19 year old American Jpop singer, Cosplayer, dancer, model, and avid follower of Japanese street fashion. She is awesome one cool person who agreed to jump into the hot seat for the fans and give a little insight into her Cosplay adventure.
Jack Nickelz: So tell us what first got you started in Cosplay?
Hanabi Flare: Honestly, I’d always wanted to Cosplay but I didn’t really know how to get started with it. I’d always seen really amazing Cosplays and props on facebook and tumblr and I really admired Cosplayers.
Jack Nickelz: What was your first Cosplay outfit?
Hanabi Flare: My first Cosplay was actually not planned at all. It was a really weird version of Hatsune Miku. I showed up at the convention in normal street clothes and throughout the day, I ended up with more and more Cosplay gear. By the end of the day, I had on Miku’s iconic outfit and a white wig on. Surprisingly a lot of photographers stopped me for a picture even though I looked horrendous.
Jack Nickelz: How was it going to a convention in full gear?
Hanabi Flare: The first convention I really Cosplayed at was Metrocon 2013 as gender bent Trafalgar Law from One Piece and it was honestly amazing to go in full on Cosplay. Back then I was extremely self-conscious of myself so the short walk to the con was a bit nerve-wrecking since a lot of people stared. After I arrived, I just felt at home. People stopped me for pictures and other One Piece Cosplayers complimented my Cosplay. It made me so happy that people actually liked my Cosplay since I was so new to the scene.
Jack Nickelz: What has been some of your fav. Cosplays to do?
Hanabi Flare: Two of my favorites would have to be gender bent Roronoa Zoro from One Piece and Nudist Beach Kiryuin Satsuki from Kill La Kill. Zoro because he’s my absolute favorite One Piece character and Satsuki because she’s ultimate bae and she can step on me any day. While I was in my Zoro Cosplay I couldn’t find the One Piece photo shoot and I showed up 45 mins late. Once I got there, one of the Sanji Cosplayers shouted “WHERE’VE YOU BEEN MARIMO?” and I confidently responded “I got lost.” Extremely in character, right?
Jack Nickelz: Do you have a Cosplay that you are becoming known for?
Hanabi Flare: The Cosplay I’m most known for is definitely my Nudist Beach Kiryuin Satsuki. I had posted some work in progress photos on tumblr when I’d completed the Nudist Beach gear and it completely blew up. The first post got 10,000 notes in a few days. I didn’t think that one of my Cosplays would ever get so much positive feedback. People at the con even came up to me and told me that they had seen my photos on tumblr. Sure it’s my most revealing Cosplay, but everyone was just so nice about it.
Jack Nickelz: How do you pick which Cosplay to do?
Hanabi Flare: I pick my Cosplays by literally following my heart. When I see a character I want to Cosplay, I know immediately. I straight up fall in love with the character the second they appear in the anime/manga/game.
Jack Nickelz: How long does it normally take you to do a Cosplay?
Hanabi Flare: Depending on if I’m buying the Cosplay or making pieces, it takes me one week to a month.
Jack Nickelz: What’s the hardest Cosplay that you have had to do?
Hanabi Flare: None of my Cosplays have been particularly difficult to do but I’d say my Yang Xiao Long from RWBY and Tachibana Makoto from Free! Iwatobi Swim Club was difficult for certain reasons. Yang was difficult only because of the makeup. At the time, I had no idea how to do eyebrow make up so I just had awkward blond and black eyebrows. For Makoto, open shirt binding all day became extremely comfortable. I probably would only ever do binding once per con.
Jack Nickelz: Who are some of the Cosplayers that you admire?
Hanabi Flare: One of my huge inspirations is Alyson Tabbitha. Not only is she absolutely gorgeous, but her Cosplay and makeup skills are top notch. If you don’t believe me, she Cosplayed both Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean and Lightning from Final Fantasy 13 and both of those Cosplays look like the real thing. Not only that but she’s amazingly humble and kind to all of her fans and she’s always happy to give tips and tricks for makeup and Cosplay. If you haven’t already heard her, I definitely recommend you check her out!
Jack Nickelz: Are there any Cosplays that you had to adjust because they were too revealing?
Hanabi Flare: Seeing as my Nudist Beach Satsuki is just as naked as it sounds, I definitely had to wear underwear and a bra because there’s no way I could go barebones like in the anime.
Jack Nickelz: Why do you think that Cosplay is becoming more main stream?
Hanabi Flare: I personally think that Cosplay is becoming more mainstream because more and more people are realizing just how fun it is to become your favorite characters rather than just labeling Cosplay as some weird geeky ritual. The more people see it in mass media, the more people get interested and end up trying it out. I can’t wait to see how the Cosplay community grows in the upcoming years.
Jack Nickelz: What do family and friends think about your Cosplaying?
Hanabi Flare: At first, both of my parents though it was a waste of time, money, and was a distraction to school and sports. Over time, they warmed up to it and although they still probably think it’s a distraction and waste of money, they support my Cosplay activities and always compliment me when in Cosplay. As for my friends, pretty much all of them either think it’s really cool that I Cosplay or they’re Cosplayers themselves.
Jack Nickelz: What are your thoughts on people saying Cosplay is becoming too corporate?
Hanabi Flare: When it comes to that, I partially agree as I think that Cosplay is becoming more of a “who’s-better-than-who” contest rather than having fun dressing up as your favorite character. Although, I think that contests are a great thing to compete in, I don’t like seeing over competitive Cosplayers bring other’s down.
Jack Nickelz: What future Cosplays can we expect to see from you this year?
Hanabi Flare: As for my future Cosplays, you definitely expect to see a lot of gender bends and League of Legend Cosplays. Gender bending has always been my favorite thing to do when Cosplaying so I definitely want to do more in the upcoming year. As for League, I was formally introduced to the game a year ago and like many others, I got hooked. How can I not Cosplay my favorite champs?
Jack Nickelz: Thank you for taking time out to do this. Is there anything else you would like to say to the fans?
Hanabi Flare: Thanks so much for picking me to interview and I just want to say that if anyone is unsure about Cosplaying, just go for it. You’ll meet so many new people, make great new friends, and you’ll just have a lot of fun with every new Cosplay!