Monthly Archives:November 2011

A Q&A with Jay Tablante

30 Nov , 2011,
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For fans of comics and cosplay, Jay Tablante‘s something of a household name.

The internationally acclaimed photographer has worked with some of the greatest minds in comic book giant Marvel to craft stunning images that have brought characters like X-23, Emma Frost and Psylocke to dazzling life, and will be hosting his first ever Singapore exhibition at Grid MMS (*SCAPE) this Saturday.

Morrigan Aensland, by Jay Tablante. Used with permission.

Amber B-17 Decal, by Jay Tablante. Used with permission.

So what’s cosplay photography and cosplay like to someone who’s worked with celebrities like Yayahan, Alodia & Ashley Gosiengfiao? We find out.



Crimson: So Jay, why did you choose to hold your exhibition in Singapore, of all places? 

Jay Tablante: Singapore is a hub for a lot of things in Southeast Asia, and the arts is one of its growing strengths through out the years. It’s a good platform to get your works introduced regionally.

Crimson: I hear you’re big on comics. Who are your favorite characters? 

Jay Tablante: Firstly, Psylocke, because there’s something about hot female assassins that gets the fancy of a lot of fan boys. Elektra is also a close second to this criteria. Rogue. She’s similar to Psylocke – chicks who can kick butt are cool. And finally Gambit. His powers are just cool. I also like how Gambit retains his cool in a lot of situations.

Editor’s Note: (Anybody wanna cosplay one of these characters on Saturday? XD)

Crimson: So, what kinda qualities do you look out for in a cosplayer? 

Jay Tablante: It’d have to be someone who is meticulous with the details, and will not settle for anything less in quality. I am not looking for a model, but more of an actor, who could let themselves go and become the character they are cosplaying. I also like cosplayers who are very open to exploring new techniques, art direction and composition; the ones who would entrust me with the images, as much as I entrust them to produce the best costume they can.

Crimson: What’s cosplay photography to you, really? 

Jay Tablante: Illustrating has been a personal frustration of mine since I was a kid. I wanted to draw, but I couldn’t. What I imagined in my head simply wasn’t what my hands were doodling with the pencil. The closest I ever came to doing so was graphic design.

Back in college, I was introduced to photography. Being a geek and frustrated painter / illustrator, photography paved the way for me to realize my imagination. It was an immediate medium for me to come up with images. I started out with portraiture, eventually ended up doing fashion as the bulk of my workload.

But the geek in me never died. In fact, it grew and started to assert itself over the years. So I sought out a way to satisfy the inner geek – of trying to illustrate with my new found skill in taking pictures; if I couldn’t draw superheroes, I would make images of them with a camera.

Crimson: And you’ll be publishing a photo book about them too? Can you tell us more about it?

Jay Tablante: The book is called Geekology 101. I thought of using the same title of this exhibit in Singapore as a prelude to something bigger in 2012. So it becomes Geekology 101: The Book. It’s mostly made out of my personal portfolio over the years, but there’s a special emphasis on cosplay photography. It was this sub-genre that made the most impact in my work, hence the tribute.



Catch Jay Tablante at the “Geekology 101” exhibition this Saturday, 3rd December, at Grid MMS (2 Orchard Link, #04-01, GRID New Media Studios, Singapore 237978).

Doors open from 10 am to 9 pm, and Admission is free.

Other highlights also include a Seminar by Jay Tablante at 1 pm, and a Shooting Demo at 5 pm.

Registration for Seminar and Shooting Demo

We’ve heard your queries, so we’re opening pre-registration for Jay Tablante’s seminar and shooting demo. Places are limited (since the venue’s pretty compact) so register now to avoid disappointment.

Simply send an email to with the Subject Header “Registration for Jay Tablante’s Seminar” or “Registration for Jay Tablante’s Shooting Demo” with your Name, NRIC and Contact Number to apply.

Cosplay Chess 2011

28 Nov , 2011,
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All the sweat, blood and tears (and dramatic dearth of blog entries) paid off yesterday, when Singapore’s first ever Cosplay Chess game went live on stage.

Presented this year by Haru House during the Haru Anniversary Party, Cosplay Chess 2011 pitted the forces of galactic pretty boy Takuto Tsunashi (played by Maverick Villenguez) and the Highlord of Acherus Darion Mograine (played by yours truly) against each other in an epic battle between Light and Darkness.

Cosplay Chess 2011 was a first in many ways.

It was the first time ever that 32 Singaporean cosplayers portraying characters from anime, comic books, games and manga were assembled on the same stage, for a theatrical production that spanned close to 2 hours and incorporated some 27 different fight sequences.

It was also the first time we at The Neo Tokyo Project directed and choreographed a performance of this scale, and we’re definitely hoping to do better next year.

Here’s a shout out to the performers (you know who you are), the crew from Project Zen who helped out with prop maintenance, repairs, and backstage footage, Operation PAniC for their great videos of the game (check it out below), and last but not least, Haru House, for graciously hosting us at their event.

Here’s the chess game, in all it’s glory:

Let's play Chess!

21 Nov , 2011,
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If you’ve been wondering why updates on The Neo Tokyo Project have been sparse in the past two months, it’s because we’ve been working hard to bring you something totally awesome.

We’re proud to be the choreographer & show director of Singapore’s inaugural Cosplay Chess match, presented this year by the good folks at Haru House.

Like the chess games at Anime Boston and Metrocon, Cosplay Chess 2011 pits 32 cosplayers portraying characters from anime, comic books, games and manga against each other in a grand duel of wit and skill.

What’s the line up? It’s epic, to say the least. Just look below.

And here are the event details:

Cosplay Chess @ Haru Anniversary Party

Date: 27 Nov, 2011

Time: 2.30 pm to 4 pm

Venue: *SCAPE, Warehouse

Fee: Admission to Cosplay Chess is absolutely free. How cool is that?

Check out footage from promo shoot at Camwerkz studio (a big thank you to Camwerkz for graciously putting us up, and Project Zen for making the video possible).

So see you this coming Sunday, peeps. We’ll be expecting you!

Until then, cheerio!

AFA11 Day 3: More Cosplay Hijinks

14 Nov , 2011,
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Day 3 of AFA11 was a bit of a rush.

We’d been shortlisted for the Singles Cosplay Challenge, scheduled for an interview at the Nico Nico Douga booth, and had a few early appointments to keep with our cosplay friends, so we didn’t get as many pictures on the ground as we’d liked.

One thing we did notice though was that there were more cosplayers out in force on Day 3, pulling off some really amazing mecha, armor and winged cosplay.

There were also groups from popular series like Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, Sengoku Basara,  .hack, and even rare gems like a Konayuki from Katanagatari and a Skullman (who turned out to be cosplay judge Richfield) on the show floor.

While waiting backstage for the AFA Regionals and Singles, we got to chat with other competitors, and even had a photo op with legendary god of Anisong Ichiro Mizuki!

The competition itself was a really fun experience (you can watch the full video here, thanks to our friends from Operation PAniC) and in the short time we had left after the competition, we decided to pop by the NND booth (we missed our noontime slot) before hustling around the con venue taking what snaps we could.

Here are some photos from our Day 3 walkabout:

We’ll be posting a wrap-up piece later, and hopefully our first set of photos from our convention spy.

Until then, cheerio!


AFA11 Day 2: Cosplay, Cosplay, and more Cosplay

12 Nov , 2011,
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AFA Day 2’s always been a big day for cosplayers, and this year was no exception. When we arrived at Suntec City 9-ish, the place was already jam packed with peeps prepping their props and putting on their make-up in preparation for the con.

Of course, we suited up too – it was a great opportunity for us to show off our latest Lady Mechanika inspired Steampunk togs – and it wasn’t very long before we were scouring the venue, snapping photos on our iPhones as we went.

Our first stop was the Simply Toys booth, where our part-time warrior picked up a limited edition Kotobukiya Gambit statuette. It was a fitting acquisition, considering how Joey’s ‘Singapore’s Biggest Gambit Fangirl’. Giving this rare gem a miss simply would not do.

We dropped by the Artist Alley next, seeing as it was just around the corner, to say hi! to our friends Andy from Toysrevil and Mashi before we headed over to Atelier Royale and Moe Moe Kyun to check out what they had to offer, before starting today’s exploration proper.

Joey and I took plenty of pictures, and our convention spy Kah Wee, who was sneaking around doing his thing managed to get a whole ton more (we’ll be publishing Kah Wee’s pics in a couple days). There was loads of awesome – we saw Wild Tiger and Barnaby from Tiger & Bunny, a really epic Kiba from Garo, a pretty decent Shin Getter Robo, and a really kickass Chun Li, amongst others.

We also managed to meet celebrity cosplayers Kaname and Usagi, and to chat with Danny Choo, which was kinda awesome.

Here’s what we got from our roam-around (and it’s all shot on our steampunk iPhones. XD):

We were also pleasantly surprised to hear that we’d been picked as finalists for the Singles Cosplay Challenge, so we’ll be steampunking the con again tomorrow.

Do come introduce yourselves if you spot us!

Till tomorrow, peeps (and that’s only a couple more hours to go). Cheerio!

AFA11 Day 1: Cool Japan is Cool

11 Nov , 2011,
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We popped by AFA11 bright and early today to check out Day 1, and got a good look at the setup for tomorrow’s con.

We also sat in for the Cool Japan forum, and got an earful of some really neat pop culture knowledge and awesome storytelling techniques, courtesy of the guest speakers.

Here’s our photo story for the day.

Day 1 was pretty fun, even if there wasn’t a whole lot going on and the thoroughfares thoroughly packed by concert goers and Hatsune Miku fans.

It was a real shame we couldn’t secure an interview with the guests today, but there’s always tomorrow, when our convention spies and roving reporters are out in full force!

Don’t forget to check back here if you’re a cosplayer, because there’s a pretty damned good chance you’ll be featured in our AFA cosplay coverage piece tomorrow.

Crimson and Angelus will also be handing out CosCards, so look out for the dude with the glowing cane and top hat!

Here’s to a great con weekend! Cheerio! XD

Geekology 101: Jay Tablante's Cosplay Photo Exhibition

Nov , 2011,
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The Neo Tokyo Project is proud to be the official media and co-organizer for Geekology 101: a 1-man cosplay photography exhibition cum mini-workshop by internationally acclaimed cosplay photographer Jay Tablante.

If you’re a cosplayer or photographer in the local scene, be sure to check it out! It’s a rare opportunity to pick the brains of the man who’s taken the photos of Alodia & Ashley Gosiengfiao, Jinri Park and Yayahan, and worked with Marvel to produce a series of exclusive pictures featuring their characters.

Jay’s also conducting a photography workshop, and will be taking the opportunity to meet and snap local cosplayers.

Date: 3rd December, 2011

Time: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Venue: Grid MMS @ *SCAPE, 2 Orchard Link, Singapore.

Geekology 101: Promo Poster! ^_^

Crafting a Stage Friendly Blade

9 Nov , 2011,
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It’s been awhile since we put up a tutorial, so with AFA just round the corner, we’ve decided to toss together something that might prove useful amidst the prop-making tizzy.

Here’s a quickie guide to creating a basket-hilted sword (also known as a broadsword) that’s LARP (Live Action Role Playing), stage performance and convention safe.

This tutorial will take you through the process, which will take approximate 2 hours to complete. You’ll need some extra time for paint to dry and glue to set though, so that’s going to take a good while more.

Stuff you’ll need: 

1. A piece of PVC electrical wire fitting that’s about 1 meter long. Available at most hardware stores.

2. Some 0.28 mm thick PVU sheets. Available at Art Friend.

3. Some blue foam. Available at Mash Shop, mentioned in this entry.

4. For the wire hilt, you’ll need a piece of 4 mm wide plastic hose/tube. Available at most hardware stores.

5. A piece of 3 mm thick metal wire. Available at Daiso.

6. Some materials for crafting the guard and quillons. In my case, I grabbed a plastic gyoza press and some metal ice cream spoons, both from Daiso.

You’ll also need brushes, contact cement, some masking tape, paint, a pair of wire snips and a pen knife.

Step 1:

We’ll start with preparing the core for this weapon prop. Cut the PVC wire fitting to size (a typical one-handed sword’s about 37-inches), then measure off and snip off a strip of blue foam that sits just nicely in the center of the the PVC fitting.

Next, press the strip of blue foam into the center of the fitting, apply a dab of contact cement to both ends to keep it in place, and snap the fitting together.

Finally, wind masking tape around both ends of the core to secure both halves together.

Step 1: Cut the PVC wire fitting to size...

... then snip off a strip of blue foam and press it neatly into the bracket.

Snap the brackets together and wrap both ends with masking tape...

... and you'll end up with something like so. ^_^

Step 2:

It’s time to move on to the blade.

Typically, your blade will take up about 5/6ths of the total length of the prop, so in this case, we’ll be creating a blade that’s approximately 31-inches long.

Measure off and cut out two blade shaped strips of blue foam measuring 2-inches by 31-inches, then affix them to the core of your prop with contact cement.

When you stick the blue foam on, make sure the tip extrudes about one inch above the core. You’ll know why in a bit.

Step 2: Cut out the blade shapes...

... apply liberal amounts of contact cement...

... and voila!

Step 3:

Now for the sticky part.

Apply contact cement to the edges of your blade, and gently tease the ends together with your fingers in a pinching motion. Work the entire length of the blade, until you have joined them at the seams.

Remember why we had to leave off about 1-inch at the tip in the previous step? That’s because we’re creating a “false tip” that’s malleable enough that it bends and springs back to shape when you stab somebody with it. That’s one of the secrets to making your blade stage safe! ^_^

Step 3: It's time to get down and dirty! ^_^;;

Step 4:

Next, to create the shell of the blade, cut out two blade shaped pieces from PVU.

These should be the same relative length and width as the blade pieces you cut out of blue foam. Crease both pieces in the middle, and snip off a V shaped wedge at the tip.

Join the shell over the blue foam blade using contact cement. You’ll end up with an elongated diamond shape. Use either scotch tape or masking tape to keep the edges binded together.

Step 4: Cut out and crease the PVU pieces...

... contact cement the edges together...

... and the tip too!

Step 5:

We’ll work on the hilt for a little bit while waiting for the contact cement to set.

First, we’ll create the guard of the weapon.

You can use most circular items for this, including coasters and cup covers. In this case, I chose to use a gyoza press since I decided to go with a floral motif. Draw out and cut from the middle of the item the shape of your core piece.

It should be big enough for your core piece to slide through, but also tight enough to fit snugly. Push it into place, making sure it’s flush with the base of your blade, and then stick it in place with a dab of contact cement.

Next, we will create the quillons, which are the metal strips that extend edgewise from the hilt. Metal chopsticks are great for these, but this time, I decided on using metal ice cream spoons because of design considerations. I snapped off the spoon head, and attached the handles directly to the gyoza press.

Step 5: What do these items have in common? Everything!

Cut out that little rectangle there, and your hand guard's as good as done.

Step 6:

We’ll bind the hilt next.

Wind a strip of blue foam around the exposed bit of the core  to create a grip. Go over it with masking tape to secure it together.

Make sure you cover the whole length with masking tape!

Step 7:

And finally, to create the wire worked basket hilt of the weapon, we’ll use a piece of hose. Stick the 3 mm thick wire into the hose, and then bend and twist the resulting product into the design you want.

Coil it around the base of the guard, and out again to create several ornate loops.

Step 7: Look! It's a Tube-y!

And here's some really convoluted "wire-fu"! ^_^;;

Step 8:

You’re essentially done at this stage. All that’s left is to give it a fresh coat of paint and some embellishments to make it look spiffy!

Almost completed product! ^_^;;

And here's the completed project! A stage friendly basket-hilted sword! ^_^

Our part-time warrior's a Cosplay Girl of the Week!

8 Nov , 2011,
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We just got wind that our part-time warrior Joey’s been featured in Otakus & Geeks website’s weekly Cosplay Girl column.

Here’s a screenie.

Woohoo~! You go, Cosplay Girl! ^_^

AFA11 Roundup

6 Nov , 2011,
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AFA11 - Logo Art

There’s less than a week to go till Anime Festival Asia (AFA) 2011 – Asia’s biggest con devoted to Japanese pop culture – and community is already abuzz with excitement.

Into it’s fourth year running, AFA looks set to wow the crowd again with it’s latest crop of personalities and who’s whos in the Japanese pop culture scene.

Here’s a quick roundup of what you can expect at the coming con weekend.

1. Stage Activities

Lots of big names are hitting AFA this year, including producers Atsuhiro Iwakami (Fate/Zero), Go Nakanishi (Mardock Scramble 2), director Tatsuyuki Nagai and voice actress Chiwa Saitou, who will be sharing their experiences on stage in a series of live demonstrations, showcases and talk segments.

Anisong artistes, including LiSA, Kalafina and Ichiro Mizuki will also be making appearances in the afternoon to meet the fans and perform a couple numbers.

2. Bushiroad Vanguard Showcase

We got wind that Bushiroad’s English pre-release of Card Fight!! Vanguard will be happening in a big way on Day 2, so if you’re a fan of Japanese trading card games (TCG), that’s something to look forward to.

3. Anime Theater

Catch some of the hottest animated feature films fresh out of Japan at the Anime Theater, a dedicated screening area on the show floor.

The line-up includes Naruto: The Blood Prison, FMA: The Star of Milos and Sora no Otoshimono: A Clockwork Angeloid, and tickets go for $10 a pop. It’s a great way to while away the hours, if you need a breather between traipsing around chasing stars and picking up convention swag.

4. Merchandise

And speaking of convention swag, there’s plenty to be had this year, with merchandise stores, stalls selling all sorts of nifty anime accessories, and an artist’s alley.

Our friends from Collateral Damage Studios will be there too (check out their Artist’s Alley booth, No. F4) promoting their latest doujin work – Neighbours Club Diary, so be sure to pop by if you’re interested.

5. Regional Cosplay Championships 

And finally, no con’s complete without cosplay. This year, AFA promises twice the fun with not one, but two competitions.

Sponsored by Canon, the Regional Cosplay Championships  on Day 3 (13 Nov) is a mainstay. It brings together teams of cosplayers from five different countries to compete for the right to be called top dogs in Asia.

There’s also a Singles Cosplay Showcase, where celebrity judges KANAME? and USAGI will be handpicking members of the public for best in show prizes (full details here), so if you’ve got a killer costume, be sure to pack it for Day 2, because you just might get a chance to shine!

Looks like this weekend’s gonna be loads of fun.

In the mean, this writer’s gonna be dropping off the face of cyberspace for the next couple days to finish up that costume. Cya at the con!

For further details and ticketing information, do check out the AFA11 website at