Monthly Archives:December 2011

Spotlight On: Maverick

28 Dec , 2011,
Crimson
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Hot on the heels of our Ashe ShadeSki interview, we catch up with the multi-talented Maverick, a cosplayer with a real performance streak.

This spunky lad first wowed the audience at Teenage Big Day Out 2010 and since then, he’s cosplayed a veritable host of characters from anime, games and manga. Just last month, he dazzled the stage as Galactic Pretty Boy Takuto Tsunashi at Singapore’s inaugural Cosplay Chess match and as a Star Prince at the Haru Anniversary concert after.

With New Year just round the corner, one has to wonder just what this cosplay golden boy intends to get up to in 2012.

So in this, our third installment of Spotlight On, we find out.

Maverick as Haseo, Xth Form from .hack//roots.


Crimson: Let’s take it from the top. What prompted your interest in cosplay?  

Maverick: I was inspired by behindinfinity. She’s a famous cosplayer from the Philippines. I was surfing DeviantArt when I came across her pictures, and whatever she did, it looked like she really enjoyed herself very much. I was at a point in my life when I wanted to try something new, to meet new friends, so I thought: “Hey, if I joined this, maybe I could have as much fun as she did”. She turned out to be the perfect role model for me.

Crimson: And your first costume was…?

Maverick: Naruto. That was in 2009. Back then, I was totally new. I didn’t know anyone then, and knew very little about make-up. But I kept on improving thanks to the people I met. They were great people, and people I could socialize with.

Crimson: Were they the ones who helped boost your make-up skills? 

Maverick: People gave me pointers, yeah. But there was also a lot of trial and error. I learnt that everybody had a different face. It’s true that basic make-up principles do apply, but everyone has different features – eyes, ears, noses and stuff, and these differences mean that the process for each person’s make-up, like where to contour and shadow, is different.

Maverick as Itsuki Minami from Air Gear.

Crimson: What’s your take on fame? 

Maverick:  I think being famous means that people acknowledge your skills as a cosplayer. It goes to show that there’s people out there who appreciate your work, and it’s a nice feeling.

Of course, there are individuals out there who enter the scene just to become popular. When fame gets to their heads, they start changing for the worse, and then they imagine they’re some sort of diva. It really makes me question their motives for getting into cosplay in the first place.

Crimson: Then what qualities do you think a real cosplayer should possess? 

Maverick:  For me, I think portrayal is important. It’s essential to present the character well and be recognizable as a character. But that’s just scratching the surface. It’s a package that includes make-up, the costume and the props too.

There are cosplayers that focus on make-up and portrayal, and those that focus on props and costumes. Everyone has to start somewhere, but a good cosplayer should have a breadth of knowledge and be willing to learn and improve themselves constantly.

Maverick as Blade Master from Blade & Soul.

Crimson: So what’s on the cards for you?

Maverick: I’m hoping to pursue a career as an entertainer after completing my National Service. Maybe I’ll join a boy band. Of course, I’d like to broaden my horizons in cosplay too. I would like to participate in more competitions, maybe join WCS (World Cosplay Summit) at least once.

Crimson: Is that why you’re intending to join ACM (Asia Cosplay Meet) this year as Shanoa from Castlevania: Harmony of Despair?

Maverick: It’s a great opportunity for me to expand my repertoire. Shanoa appealed to me because she was a cool, composed character. Portraying her, doing the make-up, styling the wig and choreographing the performance would be a great challenge. I’ll also be making her props myself, so wish me luck!


With his determination and versatility, it’s no wonder Maverick’s cosplay star has been on the rise.

We’re definitely looking forward to his performance at Asia Cosplay Meet (we’re really big Castlevania fans), and if you’re rooting for him, be sure to cheer him on at the event.

Also, if you’d like to connect with Maverick, don’t forget to check out his Facebook page here.

Spotlight On is a new column featuring cosplayers in the local scene. If you’re a cosplayer and you’re keen to be interviewed, or if you know a cosplayer who might just fit the bill, we’d love to hear from you!

Drop us a note at INFO [AT] NEOTOKYOPROJECT.COM with the header Spotlight On, or leave us a message on our Facebook page and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

Raising the (Cosplay) Bar: T-ARA Cosplay Bar & Cafe Reviewed

27 Dec , 2011,
Crimson

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T-ARA Cosplay Bar & Cafe: Interior

Every now and then, a buncha wiseguys will decide that cosplay’s the next in-thing, and jump on the bandwagon with a cosplay-related F&B concept and a wagon-load of misconceptions.

And while that might have been the case with T-ARA Cosplay Bar & Cafe at first, the owners have certainly wisened up since their opening in Boat Quay three weeks ago, and made good on their promise to create a cosplay friendly environment.

Our team visited T-ARA on X’mas Eve for its inaugural Cosplay Night, and we were pleased to discover that the bar had undergone a transformation.

What's Rei and Asuka doing at the till?

The drab brown wallpaper had been plastered over with Vocaloid silhouettes, and pop diva Ayumi Hamasaki was crooning the tunes on the sound system, lending the place a semblance of Japanese chic.

Similarly, the waitresses had spiffed up their costumes (and donned wigs this time), and the barman’s fare included specialty drinks inspired by Japanese animanga, games & pop culture.

Our crew downed a round of Black Rock Shooters (Jägermeister and Kahlua), and we found the concoction feisty and alluring. We also sampled the Macross-themed Protoculture (a greenish brew that included a dash of gin and creme de menthe), and a healthy, shinigami-sized serving of Bleach (vodka, white cacao liquor, milk).

All in all, the drinks were pretty tasty, and the selection of bar snacks affordable thanks to the 20% discount on food items for cosplayers.

Just chilling, mingling, and sipping on the complimentary welcome drink - it's great to be a cosplayer. XD

We were spoilt for choice, but the nachos and cheese fries won out. It turned out to be a good thing too, because the cheese dip was pure heaven.

From the looks of it, Cosplay Nights are gonna to be a monthly thing, with the next one scheduled for New Year’s Eve (that’s this coming Saturday).

We’re definitely gonna make this place a regular hangout, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed for the venue to get even better.


T-ARA Cosplay Bar and Cafe is located at 63 Boat Quay, Singapore 049851. Check out their Facebook fan page here.

Cosplayers (in costume) are entitled to 20% off food items and 10% off drink items on the regular menu. Additionally, cosplayers receive a free Welcome Drink (from the specialty drinks menu) on Cosplay Nights.

Real Escape Game in Singapore

26 Dec , 2011,
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Real Escape Game - Promo Art

If you’ve tried your hand at games like Escape The Room, love complex puzzles, and relish cerebral challenges, then you’ll love Real Escape Game, an interactive production that brings all these elements, and more, to life.

Since it’s inception in 2009, the Real Escape Game has graced places like Japan and China, and this time the game’s made its way to Singapore’s very own CHIJMES Hall from 27 to 29 January 2012, courtesy of Vivid Creations Pte Ltd and Scrap Co. Ltd.

The premise of this awesome adventure is simple: you realize that you’re in a cathedral, and your only means of egress is through solving a string of complex riddles and conundrums before the time runs out.

Cool, right?

Our team’s already pretty stoked, and if you’re big on mysteries like us, then you should be too!

If you’d like to learn more about the mechanics of Real Escape Game in Singapore, do visit the official site at www.realegame.sg and their Facebook page here.

Real Escape Game in Singapore Episode 1: Escape from the Mysterious Cathedral takes place from 27 to 29 January 2012 at CHIJMES Hall.

Tickets are priced at $20, $25 and $30 and are available from www.gatecrash.com.sg


Real Escape Game in Singapore Giveaway

Two lucky readers stand a chance to win a ticket each to Real Escape Game in Singapore (28 Jan 2012, 19.30 hrs time slot), courtesy of Vivid Creations Pte Ltd.

Simply LIKE our Facebook page and answer a simple question for a chance to participate in this giveaway, so check it out now!

Spotlight On: Ashe ShadeSki

21 Dec , 2011,
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In our second installment of Spotlight On, we talk to Ashe ShadeSki, who made waves at Anime Festival Asia (AFA) this year when he debuted Singapore’s first Wild Tiger (Apollon Media version).

This 20-year-old exudes passion for the hobby, and while he doesn’t possess the Crusher of Justice’s Hundred Power, he certainly shares the character’s verve, vigor and sense of humor. He’s also a gamer, martial artist, and a musician in a local aniband, which is pretty cool if you think about it.

With such an impressive skill-set (and chiseled features behind that visor), it’s hard to imagine that Ashe’s cosplay journey only really started this year, or that things haven’t always been plain sailing for this green-garbed hero.

Why’s that? We find out.

Ashe ShadeSki as Wild Tiger (Apollon Media version) from Tiger & Bunny


Crimson: When did you first get into cosplay, and what was it like?  

Ashe ShadeSki: My first cosplay experience was at EOY in 2007, and it was not very pleasant. I started off as Nagi Springfield from Mahou Sensei Negima.

As a newbie, I didnt know anything about make up so I had my mother do it for me. We were outside the toilet putting on make up when a so-called elite cosplayer dressed in an oriental costume walked past us. She gave me a proud and demeaning glare, and that killed the entire mood and the excitement I had for the event.

Crimson: Did that put you off cosplaying?

Ashe ShadeSki: Not immediately, but yes. I tried to make a comeback in the next few months, but whenever I thought about cosplay, or tried to make a costume, I would remember that scene, and the motivation would just fizzle. It was a really nasty experience, and it left me quite lost.

Crimson: What convinced you to cosplay again?

Ashe ShadeSki:  Two of my secondary school classmates dragged me to SOY’C this year because they wanted to try cosplaying. I did a pretty mundane character, ANBU Black Ops from Naruto, and it turned out to be a fun experience. They actually helped me get back into cosplay, and I realized that I should cosplay because I can. That’s what rekindled my interest in the hobby.

Crimson: And the first costume you donned after that was Wild Tiger. Why armor?

Ashe ShadeSki:  I love making things myself. I was a Design & Technology student, and I love armor and mecha costumes. They’re different from cloth costumes, which are easily available from online shops and tailors.

Crimson: Which part of Wild Tiger was the hardest to create?

Ashe ShadeSki: Probably the helmet. Since I only recently started armor crafting, I’ve discovered that it’s actually quite difficult to make a helmet that fits snugly and securely on your head, while giving enough room for all the extra bits. I remade Wild Tiger’s helmet seven times in total because I had trouble getting the size right for the mechanisms and lights, and even the helmet shape. I had very little guidance, and had to do things through trial-and-error.  This resulted in some material wastage.

What followed was the chest, arms and torso. I made the chest and torso separately for easy wearing and movement. Finally, it was the shoes, leg armor, and detailing, followed by the paintwork, but these steps were pretty straightforward.

Crimson: So, what’s next on your list? 

Ashe ShadeSki: I will be doing Gilgamesh from the Fate series, the Dragoner from Dragon War Tactics, and LLWO from Black Rock Shooter: The Game.

LLWO is my World Cosplay Summit (WCS) entry under the Project Zen banner (Facebook | Webpage), and ConJurer CJ (featured in our previous Spotlight On piece) is my partner. I’ve got a fourth project, but that’s a surprise.

Crimson: Where should cosplayers who want to try their hand at armor-crafting start? 

Ashe ShadeSki: You’ll need to practice cutting techniques, and of course get a good pair of scissors. The techniques and tools are important.

For newbies with no experience in cleaning up or concealing excess glue, I suggest avoiding the hot glue gun and contact cement, as these tend to leave ugly clumps. As for materials, I would recommend craft foam as it’s easily available from most book stores. You could also try EVA foam, which goes for about $5 a roll.  It comes in big sheets, and is great for armor. I enjoyed using it.

Crimson: Any parting advice for our cosplay friends?  

Ashe ShadeSki: Plan your time well. You need to finish your armor at least a week in advance so you’ll have ample time to test it out and make the necessary alterations and modifications. Sometimes, you will have to redo certain parts to make it more accurate or mobile. That way, you can be satisfied that you’ve put in your best effort, and proud of your work when you attend an event or a shoot.


Stories like Ashe ShadeSki’s are always encouraging, and testament that a bumpy beginning’s only fuel to stoke your cosplay fire, to motivate you to excel and prove detractors wrong.

Ashe will be competing in the World Cosplay Summit (WCS) qualifiers in 2012 at Cosfest X.2 together with ConJurer CJ, so do come down to support the team!

Finally, if you’d like to get to know Ashe better, you can case out his Facebook page here.

Spotlight On is a new column featuring cosplayers in the local scene. If you’re a cosplayer and you’re keen to be interviewed, or if you know a cosplayer who might just fit the bill, we’d love to hear from you!

Drop us a note at INFO [AT] NEOTOKYOPROJECT.COM with the header Spotlight On, or leave us a message on our Facebook page and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

T-ARA Cosplay Bar & Cafe

20 Dec , 2011,
Crimson

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T-ARA Cosplay Bar & Cafe - Facade

While meandering along Boat Quay, our team spotted T-ARA Cosplay Bar & Cafe, a fresh face in the novelty food & beverage scene.

From our casual chat with the manager of the establishment, we gleaned that this new venue promised to be a cosplayer friendly location, where patrons in costume can chill out with their friends.

Cosplayers can also expect a discount on food items, and cosplay nights sometime in future.

Additionally,  we also discovered that they’re holding a special promotion on Christmas Eve (this coming Saturday), just for cosplayers.

Patrons in costume can not only expect a 20% off food items, but are also entitled to a welcome cocktail or mocktail on the house (limited to 1 per cosplayer).

Naturally, our crew will be popping by this weekend to case the proverbial joint, so if anyone’s interested, don’t hesitate to join us. XD


T-ARA Cosplay Bar and Cafe is located at 63 Boat Quay, Singapore 049851. Check out their Facebook fan page here

Spotlight On: ConJurer CJ

14 Dec , 2011,
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We promised a new column for December, and here it is! In Spotlight On, we train our sights on cosplayers in the local scene, and explore why they do the awesome things they do!

In this very first installment, we have a chat with ConJurer CJ, who burst into the limelight in a big way with his portrayal of female characters Shannon (from Umineko no Naku Koro Ni) and Mami Tomoe (from Puella Magi Madoka Magica).

How did this 23-year-old get into the cosplay (and crossplay) habit, and what are his plans for the future? We find out.

ConJurer CJ as Mami Tomoe from Puella Magi Madoka Magica


Crimson: Tell us a little more about your history with cosplay. 

ConJurer CJ: I’ve been cosplaying for five years. When I started, I happened to have clothes that looked like Light (from Death Note), and I thought I’d just try it out because it was convenient. That’s when I made my first prop too, and it was the Death Note. Later, I did L (also from Death Note) in 2007. Again, I had clothes that looked similar to L’s costume, so I wore them. I also did Lelouch (from Code Geass) in 2008, and that was with a group of friends. I stopped for three years due to National Service, school, and work, and started again recently.

Crimson: And that was as Shannon right? What prompted you to crossplay after the string of male characters? 

ConJurer CJ: I never really thought of male and female cosplay as being different. What matters is choosing a character that you can pull off. Gender doesn’t matter.

How Shannon came about was that a close friend of mine suggested doing a gender-reversed version of a pair of siblings. We decided that I’d portray the elder sister Shannon, and that she’d be the younger brother Kanon from the Umineko series. Unfortunately, her studies got in the way, and she couldn’t complete her costume in time. That’s why it was only Shannon at Cosfest and STGCC.

Crimson: What about Mami? 

ConJurer CJ: Mami was decided right before Shannon, actually. I had just finished watching the series, and I thought I’d cosplay one of the characters. Homura was my first choice, but I thought that since I was tall, and Mami was the tallest, I should do Mami instead. Homura is still my favorite character though.

Crimson: How do you feel about being a successful ‘trap’? It’s like a badge of honor for crossplayers, isn’t it?

ConJurer CJ: I’m ambivalent about this. It’s just a title. For those who know me better, they will know that there’s more to me than just being a trap. You can’t deny that it’s a good jump-start for popularity though.

ConJurer CJ as Shannon, from Umineko no Naku Koro Ni

Crimson: So why crossplay? 

ConJurer CJ: I wanted to challenge myself, to do something that required planning, design and courage. A lot of people advised me against crossplay. They said “don’t try it unless you want to attract negative attention”. But for me, I saw that as a challenge. I’m glad I’ve managed to pull it off and be accepted.

Crimson: You were selected as a finalist for the Anime Festival Asia Singles Cosplay Showcase, featured on Nico Nico Douga, and even made it into an episode of Danny Choo’s Culture Japan. Would you consider that a triumph? 

ConJurer CJ: Actually, I’m just a very plain guy who started out knowing next to nothing about making stuff. I just hope to inspire people. I want to show people that anything is possible if you’re disciplined, and if you put in the right amount of effort, no matter how ordinary you think you are.

Crimson: What do you think about the local cosplay scene?  

ConJurer CJ: I think many cosplayers in Singapore take cosplay too seriously and too soon, while non-cosplayers make light of it. But that’s reflective of our culture. We’re always in a rush to jump on the bandwagon.

It’s a hobby, and we shouldn’t be too stressed over a hobby till we don’t enjoy it. There’s no need for rivalry; it’s hardly even supposed to be competitive. It shouldn’t be overly commercialized, to the point that only a few benefit at the expense of others either.

Crimson: Any final advice for our cosplay friends?  

ConJurer CJ: Just stay focused, be objective. Let cosplay enrich your life, and know when to steer yourself back onto the right track the minute you feel yourself starting to stray.

As for crafting props and costumes, it’s not as complicated as you think. Don’t doubt yourself or your methods, but don’t think of money as a cure-all for your problems. It’s important to reach a balance between time, effort, money spent and the desired end result. Also, learn from mistakes and be open minded. That’s what’s most important.


And that about wraps it up.

ConJurer CJ also let on that he’s competing in next years World Cosplay Summit (WCS) qualifiers (in February 2012), so do pop down to Cosfest X.2 to show him your support.

You can also check out his fanpage and DeviantArt for more details. XD

Spotlight On is a new column featuring cosplayers in the local scene. If you’re a cosplayer and you’re keen to be interviewed, or if you know a cosplayer who might just fit the bill, we’d love to hear from you!

Drop us a note at INFO [AT] NEOTOKYOPROJECT.COM with the header Spotlight On, or leave us a message on our Facebook page and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can! 

EOY 2011 Roundup

11 Dec , 2011,
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2011’s been a year ripe with cosplay events, and what better way to cap the year off, then with End-of-Year Cosplay (EOY) 2011?

Into its 13th year, this annual, mostly fan-driven event’s taking place this coming Saturday (17th December) at Republic Polytechnic, and it’s been dubbed “A Day of Celebration”.

What can visitors expect at this soiree?

1. Much ado about Meido

With this years maid-y inclinations, it’s little wonder that the special guest for EOY 2011 is Japanese artiste Hitomi, from the @home maid cafe in Tokyo. The singer and dancer is one half of J-pop group Team Junjou, and will be putting on several numbers at the event.

She’ll also be taking part in a mini talk-show segment, interacting with the VIPs, and posing for pictures with visitors dressed for the theme.

2. Stage Performances

Music, song, dance, and drama, and on stage, no less. Close to 30 groups will be taking to the EOY stage this year, to wow the crowd with a plethora of solo and group performances throughout the day.

There’s also a lolita fashion showcase, and a cosplay runway (cosplayers on the show floor are encouraged to participate) tucked into the itinerary, so be sure you don’t give it a miss!

3. Booths & Fringe Activities

The venue’s gonna be lined with some 28 booths, showcasing doujin, cosplay and fashion related merchandise, hobby groups, exhibitors and sponsors.

For one, if  you’ve got a penchant for blogging and don’t mind hobnobbing with the media, Anibee.tv is on the prowl for an ambassador, so do check out their booth. Also, our friends from Fightsaber are gonna be there, so prepare yourselves for an impromptu performance or three on the show floor and finally, if you’re a Collateral Damage Studios fan, they’ll be there as well, with some of their latest offerings.

Of course, our team of convention spies will also be roving about the show floor, taking pictures and videos of cosplayers in their “native habitat”.

So if you’re a cosplayer, and you’re approached by someone bearing a Neo Tokyo Project tag (or clad in liberal amounts of steampunk gear), be sure to say hi and pose for the cameras!

We’ll see you at EOY 2011, yeah?

Until then, cheerio!


EOY 2011 takes place this Saturday (17th December 2011). Check out the official website for ticketing information and details. 

EOY 2011 - Promotional Poster

D is for Discontinued

8 Dec , 2011,
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Tonights press conference by the Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) Japanese Tsubasa Club (JTC) put paid to months of online speculation about the fate of the annual Start-Of-Year (or SOY) Cosplay event.

Simply put, SOY will not be happening in 2012, marking this year as the last for yet another stellar event “By fans, For fans”.

While this certainly hammers the nail into the community driven events coffin (at least for now anyway), there’s still alternatives like Cosfest X.2 (happening in late February no less, in the traditional SOY belt) to tide cosplay lovers over.

Check out the official release about the discontinuation of SOY at SGCafe here.

All Geek to me: Jay Tablante's Geekology 101 Exhibition

4 Dec , 2011,
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Saturday was a big day for the staff and crew of The Neo Tokyo Project.

Jay Tablante’s Geekology 101 exhibition was our first cosplay related gig (we’ve just ventured into the cosplay events management arena, woohoo!), and we decided to start it off with a bang by having everyone come in costume.

Guests started trickling in for the exhibition, which comprised some 15 pieces of his work, after 10 a.m., and just in time too, to catch Jay for some early print purchases and signings before his shooting seminar at 1 p.m.

That was when everyone packed it in together in Grid MMS’s cozy studio, where Jay was a veritable font of knowledge, sharing valuable insights on the methodology behind cosplay shoots, his techniques, and cheap ways to create some really stellar effects (a lot of it involved baby powder and the cunning use of multiple lights) with more than 20 members of the local photography scene.

Alodia Gosiengfiao also graced the occasion during our interlude, taking precious minutes off from her packed schedule to visit the exhibition, pose for pictures, and mingle with the fans. (Crimson managed to get a picture with her too!)

This was followed later by Jay’s shooting demo, where Vega Highwell (in her Lightning costume), Maverick Villenguez (Takuto Tsunashi, the White King at Cosplay Chess), and our very own part-time warrior Angelus (as Lady Mechanika) were nabbed for some snaps by the man himself.

It was a real eye opener to see Jay in action, and it was apparent from the deliberation he placed on illuminating the subject that to work some real cosplay photography magic, it was important to get the lighting right the first time round.

The event winded down after 6 p.m., but that didn’t stop Jay from spending more time with the fans, or from shooting our crew just for fun (thanks loads!).

All told, it was an amazing experience and a great honor to work with Jay on his exhibition, and we’re certainly looking forward to his next visit!

Here are some photos from the event:

We’ve also got some nice footage courtesy of our friends at Operation PAniC. Check it out below.

We’d like to thank Jay for his presence, our EightBit Media partners for making the event a reality, Red Dot Diva, Golgolak’s Den and Here Be Geeks for their coverage, our crew, and our guests for making Geekology 101 a success.

You guys rock! XD


Geekology 101 Give Away

Even if you’ve missed Geekology 101 over the weekend, don’t fret! We’ve saved a signed print featuring Alodia as Masane Amaha from the Witchblade anime for one lucky fan!

Simply tell us why you deserve the print, and why we should give it to you on our Facebook fanpage to qualify for the raffle.

Contest closes 19 Dec 2011, so if you want a shot at this, get to commenting!