J-Rex Cosplay is an amateur Cosplayer currently living in Beppu Japan. He prides himself on Cosplaying characters that don’t get enough love. Which is one of the things I like about J Rex. So I called in a few favors from Aquaman and rode the back of a Dolphin…yes, a Dolphin in order to get him in the CCU hot seat. I help you enjoy.
Jack Nickelz: What got you started in Cosplay?
J-Rex Cosplay: Back in 8th grade I went to my first anime convention, I was only there for a short time, but I saw Cosplayers decked out in all kinds of cool things and I wanted to do the same.
Jack Nickelz: What was your first Convention in Cosplay like?
J-Rex Cosplay: The next con I went to I Cosplayed Nabeshin, from Excel Saga. I will never forget walking to the venue Friday night thinking to myself, “I wonder if people will even know what I am from. Oh well, as long as 1 or 2 people recognize me I will be happy.” And before I even got inside the official convention area, 2 guys ran up to me and yelled, “OMG Nabeshin!! Can we get a picture?”
Jack Nickelz: What have been some of your fav. Cosplays to do?
J-Rex Cosplay: I have always enjoyed when people Cosplay the “less”-popular characters from popular anime/games. Many Cosplayers will Cosplay Cloud or Tifa for instance, but in comparison there are FAR less Yuffie or Kimari (sorry for series hopping haha)
Jack Nickelz: Do you have a Cosplay that you are becoming known for?
J-Rex Cosplay: By far I would have to say it is Sazh Katzeroy from FFXIII
Jack Nickelz: How do you pick out which Cosplay to do?
J-Rex Cosplay: This part is actually complex. 90% of the time I think of my favorite anime or games of the moment. From there I pick a character based on how close my body type is to theirs, and how “Cosplayed” the character is. [I do want to say that I believe anyone should Cosplay who and what they want regardless of skin color, body type, or even gender. I just chose my own Cosplay based on accuracy, but we all Cosplay for our own reasons, just love what you do!]
I love to hover over the line of obscurity. For me, I would much rather have only 8 people come to me and say “WOW! You Cosplayed that, awesome! No one ever shows that character love.” than have 200 people know what I am from say “nice Cosplay”
Jack Nickelz: Have you always been crafty or did that come as you started Cosplaying?
J-Rex Cosplay: In the idea of physical crafts, Cosplay was my first real entrance into such a world. My first few Cosplays were all “closet” Cosplay before I had the means to start making my own parts and items.
Jack Nickelz: What has been one of the hardest Cosplays that you have had to put together?
J-Rex Cosplay: I would have to say the Homerun Sandbag from Super Smash Brothers series, and it wasn’t the construction itself as much as trying to figure out how I was going to construct it and have it be feasible to wear at a convention
Jack Nickelz: How long does it normally take you to do a piece?
J-Rex Cosplay: That is REALLY hard to gauge. I have done ones in a weekend, and I have done ones over the course of 2 weeks
Jack Nickelz: How different is the Cosplay culture in Japan then in the states?
J-Rex Cosplay: This was something that was SUPER shocking to me. So for the conventions I have gone too (more akin to expos) have a COMPLETELY different feel. While in the US, it is a chance to meet like minds a form friendships, in Japan it feels more like you go there to look at the newest news and announcements, then just leave. I think this is largely due to Akihabara existing, so there is no need for dealers’ rooms, and game rooms, or anything that would form a community. SO, coming back to the question, in Japan at conventions, you have to register your Cosplay first. At Anime Japan you are even requested to not wear your Cosplay to the con, but change in their designated rooms. Oh and I HAD TO PAY to Cosplay. I gave them about $5 and they gave me a sticker I had to wear like a badge to confirm they acknowledged my Cosplay.
Next there were areas that you could go to and just stand in line to take pictures of Cosplayers. It was funny because I stood in line to take a picture of some Lupin Cosplayers, then when I got to the front and took the picture, they asked for mine, so I went to their spot, where I was stuck for about 15 min because I line formed to take my picture.
This is getting wordy, but lastly I wanted to point out, I have never been told “no” to pictures so often by Cosplayers. I would walk up and ask if I could take a picture and they would say “sorry, no.” And I almost wonder if they were afraid of being stuck in place, or if they were just a booth Cosplayer that needed to get back to post, or if they just did not want the attention. Strange indeed.
Jack Nickelz: What do you think of the whole #28DaysofBlackCosplay movement?
J-Rex Cosplay: This is actually the first I have heard of it, but I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, being a black Cosplayer, I think it is cool to have something to boost the confidence of Cosplayers that feel intimidated from Cosplay due to their skin color limiting the amount of characters they “look like”. But on the other hand, it is just sad that it has had to come to this. It is as I feel about the term “girl gamer”, why can’t we all just be gamers, why can’t we all just be Cosplayers, why must we further divide ourselves?
Jack Nickelz: Why do you think that there has been an increase in Black Cosplayers?
J-Rex Cosplay: I think there were just a lot of Cosplayers that were shy at first, more black Cosplayers is a natural progression of the black fan base becoming more comfortable, and not letting a few discouraging comments take away from doing what they want with their friends and having fun.
Jack Nickelz: Who are some of the Cosplayers that you admire?
J-Rex Cosplay: I am about to put my foot in my mouth, but as much as I say “why must we divide ourselves?” I do feel happy when I see Male Cosplayers get notice amongst the sea of pretty girls that do so. So I will give a shout out to many of the guys of “Men of Cosplay” as well as Okageo, Ivy Chu, Cosplay Engineer, and Yaya Han (I know controversial, but she really is talented, and I do VERY much appreciate that she doesn’t “sex” up every outfit “just because”)
Jack Nickelz: What future Cosplays can we expect to see from you?
J-Rex Cosplay: Well, with the lack of my loving Cosplay Network I left behind in Atlanta Georgia it will be a while, but I still want/need to do:
K-dash (King of fighters)
Tiger (Tiger and Bunny)
A character from Phantasy Star Online
Shop Keeper (League of Legends)
Enemy (Lovely Planet)
Jack Nickelz: Thank you for taking time to do this. Is there anything that you would like to say to the fans and readers?
J-Rex Cosplay: If you are here reading this, you likely are already wise enough to know, but just to say again, Cosplay is for fun, and people have different ways of having fun. Some like to go for accuracy, some for fame, some for audacity, but at the end of the day we are all having fun doing something that most people think is a little odd. So whether store bought, crafted, commissioned, slightly off colored, $40, $1,300, just remember that we all get together to have fun, and putting someone else down to lift your own esteem really just lowers you further.
Oh, Japan does not believe in peanut butter, so if you have some extra, please send. I will love you twice forever for it ^_^