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.
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!