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Tell us about your first cosplay experience. When, where, who, etc

My first costume was Kasuga Kyosuke from KOR (Kimagure Orange Road) at AWA III, and consisted simply of a homemade yellow apron with "abcb" stitched in. My first "cosplay" experience was actually not too enjoyable. I was Chichiri in the large Fushigi Yuugi group we had at AWA IV. There was a misunderstanding with the cosplay coordinator about the length of time we were allowed on stage, with the result of only half of us actually being able to show our costumes well. We easily had the best group there, but it was not really seen by the judges.

What is your favorite part of cosplay and why?

My favorite part would be comments from other anime fans. Just getting the simple "Great Costume, man!" while in the halls is great. I've done fairly well entering my costumes into various contests, but I get too nervous on stage in most cases for me to really enjoy being in a cosplay event. That's why I always gravitate more towards costume events, as opposed to cosplay.

As for making costumes, I do enjoy making props. I just don't have the time or the resources to make the really good ones. I don't have a handy wood shop, or access to vaccuform equipment. My costumes tend to be made up of things found at Home Depot -simply cut, pieced together, and painted.

When you make a new costume, do you do it little by little or do it all the week before the con?

I'm afraid I am something of a procrastinator. The majority of my costume work occurs in the three weeks or so before the event at which I am supposed to wear it, sometime with a few details to be done in the hotel room on the Thursday night before the convention. Speaking of which, I need to get on that Boromir costume.

If money and time were no object, what costume would you love to make and how would it be special?

Well, if money and time were no issue, I would enjoy getting into more mechanical or armored type costumes. I'd love to work on a Knight Sabers hard suit, for instance - even if I couldn't wear it. Some of the more elaborate armor seen in anime, manga, and fantasy would be awesome to make. Some of the CLAMP designs do come to mind. I get a little jealous when I see mecha costumes, or those with great molded plastic parts, knowing that I don't have the time to really learn the techniques used in implementing them.

Realistically, the Dark Angel costume listed on the lab is my goal. I want to develop my skills enough to do that costume justice.

What's your opinion of ghetto-cosplay - people who throw together a costume at last minute without much thought?

I have no problem with people coming to cons in "ghetto" costumes. Conventions are, at the lowest level, all about having fun. If that helps them have a good time, more power to them. Entering costume contests with them is another matter, though. With the limits on the number of entries that all contests must have now days, and the number of people in good costumes, people who wear "ghetto" costumes really shouldn't try to enter. It does lessen the number of good costumes that can be shown.

Of course, this is my preference to costume contests, as opposed to cosplay contests, coming through as well. Cosplay events are all about the presentation, and if these people really enjoy being on stage and acting out in front of an audience, then that's fine with me. At least they have some form of costume, which is not always the case with cosplay participants.

Who is your inspiration in life?

I can't say that I have a single inspiration in my life. There are a lot of people I admire, though. My father and Bill Gates (gasp!), for what they've been able to do in the business world. My mother, for her ability to cope with what life throws at her. My fiancé, for her enthusiasm in life - something I feel like I occasionally lack. I admire anyone who dedicates themselves in occupations that contribute to the public welfare (firefighters, policemen, teachers, and our military).


How has anime contributed to your life?

It has eaten up a humongous amount of my time, money, and vacation hours. Oh . . . you mean the positive stuff! Let's see . . . easily the best thing that anime has brought into my life is the woman I'm going to marry. My fiancé, Nicole, and I met in JACO ( Japanese Animation Club of Orlando) back in '95, I believe. It was through anime (club meetings, events, costume, and conventions) that we grew closer together - to the point where we couldn't imagine ourselves without each other. We're to be married March 2003.

If you could add another season to a series, which would it be and what would you like to see happen?

Of the somewhat newer shows, I would like to see more of Fruits Basket. There are a lot of stories that can still be told with such a cast, and we have yet to be introduced to some of the eastern signs. There is plenty of room for development in the relationships between Tohru, Kyou, and Yukki, as well.

My favorite all-time series would have to be Escaflowne, so I certainly wouldn't have minded more of that. It would probably require changing the end of the current series, however. Having some Gaia characters come to earth for a spell (ala Fushigi Yuugi) would be interesting. I would mainly love to see more of the world of Gaia, however. I enjoy the world they created, along with the character that inhabit it.

What will you be when you grow up?

Well, I would say I am technically grown up, at this point. I am working in my career (Software Engineering), own a home (me and the bank!), pay the bills, and am getting married next year. Hopefully I never outgrow my "childish" interests, though. I enjoy sci-fi, fantasy, anime, costuming, and video games - and will enjoy them for the rest of my life.

How will things be different after you are married?

Not much, really. Nicole and I have been living together for some time now, so I don't see marriage changing a whole lot in my life. I expect that the real change will come after children enter the picture. :)

See all of Casey's great costumes on his profile page

Casey, I think you have done a great job of maintaining a balance between the real world and cosplay. Many people who've been doing it as long as you have tend to focus only on the next big thing to captivate audiences, while you have a cool and collected approach. As the first official member of the Cosplay Lab, we want to wish you well in your marriage. You and Nicole compliment each other nicely. Remember it's customary to remove your shoes before entering the plane on your honeymoon to Japan. ^_~

Garry aka Prof.Tomoe

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